Flexibility and ADD/ADHD: Why it is hard to shift gears

So my driveway has looked like this for the last three weeks. Yes, that is my backyard on the other side and the only way to get to it is to walk around the block to the back gate. The second week of driveway repair, my tub leaked into the ceiling, which then looked like this,

and the plumber couldn’t get back to fix it for a week.

So what has this got to do with flexibility?

For folks with ADD/ADHD we struggle to find our equilibrium when our routines are disrupted. I have misplaced my keys three times in one day, because my driveway is still under construction, and we can’t use our normal route in and out of the house. Where the hell do I hang my coat and keys? Where are we going to keep the leashes, shoes, coats, bags, and everything else we have organized to make getting out of the house easier?

Most people can adapt and adjust to a disruption of their routines pretty quickly. ADD/ADHD folks find it much harder to adjust.  It often takes us a very long time to find a routine that enables us to accomplish our goals. We seem inflexible because any disruption of our routine makes it that much harder for us to get out of the door and accomplish anything because we feel frustrated, confused, and angry at the disruption.
We can’t let go of our routines, and we can’t let go of our desire to return to what was working. We sabotage ourselves so often, that when our routine is disrupted from the outside, we freak out, call it a wash, act out, and get nothing done.

Here are my five tips for coping when an event disrupts your routine.

1. If your normal staging area is blocked (your landing/take off pad), take the time to establish a new one. You will waste less time in the long run.
2. Forget about keeping all of your routines in place. Breathe. Decide what is most important. Enlist help from other people if you need help with sorting important tasks from unimportant tasks.
3. Understand that home improvement projects are unpredictable. Estimated completion times are just that, an estimate.
4. Remember to eat well. Do not fall into the uber-caffeinated/ junk food/ drink a lot/ screw all my good intentions/ I’m stressed out because my house is broken, excuse.
5. If you work at home, try and stick to your office routine. If you can not work because the noise of the project is disruptive, or watching the large equipment is hypnotic, find another site to work.  Libraries often have study rooms you can use during school hours. I call the local library my branch office.
6. Do not start any new projects, even if you really, really want to because of the stress.
7. Remember renovation/ home improvement projects are hard on other family members, including pets. Work together to figure out what works for everyone.

I hope these tips help. Remember if it all is too much, you can always watch the heavy equipment.



2 thoughts on “Flexibility and ADD/ADHD: Why it is hard to shift gears

  1. Pingback: ADHD and Resistance: Five Steps for Overcoming Resistance | Writing While Distracted

  2. Pingback: Rebalancing Act | Writing While Distracted

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