“You are doing the same thing you always do! What new idea
will you have next week?” my friend bemoaned. I had just quit 1 project to take on this blog. In the past I’d always started with, “well I’m going to do that too!”. Lying to myself more than anyone else. Does this- sound familiar to you? If so, you aren’t alone! It’s not uncommon for those who experience ADHD to bounce from job to job or project to project and why shouldn’t we? While the rest of the world is on the outside looking in we have a plethora of experiences! We have the oppurtunity to know firsthand what we like and don’t like, what we are passionate about and what only somewhat enjoy. So next time someone tells you that you need to settle down, ask yourself, “are they on the outside looking in?” You may indeed find that the answer is yes.
Find Your Passion
That being said it is important that you find your niche in life. Your niche is going to be the one thing that you are passionate about, the one thing you can’t live without doing. Saying that brings up the “chicken or egg,” concept. We have to find something we are passionate about but to do that we often have to bounce from job to job in order to find what we are passionate about. This is actually common with people who experience ADHD.
I once worked as a fire extinguisher technician for a small but successful company. The people who employed me were quite nice but the work was hot, sweaty and repetitive. The only good thing about it was that I was constantly moving. People would come in and I’d want to be the one who was helping them and resolving their issues. Eventually we parted ways, but from there I learned that I enjoyed working with people.
Knowing that I went on to work in car sales. My timing was absolutely terrible as the recession was just starting. The fact was though, I learned that I didn’t like selling someone on something that I didn’t things was good for them.
Knowing those 2 things (that I like to work with people, and that I enjoy helping them) has been part of what caused me to make this blog.
My point is don’t be afraid to try new things, don’t be afraid to fail and to stop projects or quit jobs as long as you are learning along the way. I was once fired from a job, and I had called my parents to tell them the bad news. Instead of being disappointed my dad said: “as long as you learned something, it wasn’t a waste of time.” So to you I bestow my dad’s wisdom, “no matter what it is you do, what you fail at, whatever project you drop or job you quit; as long as you learned from the experience it wasn’t a waste of time.
Starting A New Project & Hyperfocusing
I have found that when I (and others) who experience ADHD do something we love we have a certain energy about us and tend to hyperfocus on that one subject. Of course it isn’t uncommon for that energy eventually dissipate. While writing this blog I have had to deal with that exact set of circumstances and in doing so this is what I have learned:
Be ready for it.
- Know that the energy you feel about something is going to dissipate and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that you have to stop what you are doing.
- What happens when your car runs low on gas? You fill it up right? The following points should help you refill your gas tank.
Set Obtainable Goals
- I have had grand ideas so many times, the real question is, “are they obtainable?” Can you reach your goals in a timely manner. I hate to say it like this but when embarking on something new either plan for double the time or half the results. When learning something new it usually takes people way longer than they expect to grasp new information.
- Don’t be afraid to set more robust goals later on.
- Go look on Play store (or the app store if you must.) App makers launch upgraded versions all the time. Some companies actually make their business model making a minimally viable product, then they will launch it and make changes based on what the public wants. The same can apply for your life. Do well at something, but don’t bite off more than you can chew, then work on making it better.
Use Patterns, Checklist and Cheat Sheets
- Patterns and repetition helps us to do things without putting so much thought into it.
- Checklist and other cheat sheets help us to ensure that we are meeting standards put on us by others and ourselves.
Tip: Be careful not to put too much time in making your cheat sheet or checklist. Remember you want to get to the task at hand as soon as possible. It might be helpful to set a time limit for making a plan.
Keep Yourself Well-Rounded
- Don’t focus on only 1 thing. Make sure you are doing other things in your life.
- Go for a bike ride, spend time with friends and family, make sure you are putting fuel back in the tank so you have something to burn.
Ask yourself: Is the task still worth doing?
- As I stated earlier, sometimes the only way for us to find out if we are passionate about doing something or not is to do it. This often drives our loved ones mad! One week we might be talking about this awesome thing we are passionate about, the next we might move on to something else. The fact is, you can’t allow them to live your life for you. If a task is no longer worth doing, DON’T DO IT!
- If it is then it us up to you to acknowledge where you are and determine the actions you need to take to get back on your path.
Task / Jobs We Aren’t Passionate About
Life is littered with things we don’t enjoy. Whether it’s the job from HELL or a chore that you really don’t want to do there are some tools you can use to help you persevere and overcome.
- Acknowledge what you don’t like about the job.
- Ask yourself if it can be mitigated in some way. Can you work with your employer to change the work environment to help you?
- Is the job worth doing?
- If you really don’t like the work maybe it’s time to break open the web browser and start looking for other employment.
- Is there anything you like about the job?
- If you decide to move on knowing both what you like and don’t like can be instrumental in choosing your next job.
If it’s a specific task:
- Get started
- Usually the hardest hurdle to overcome
- Set a time to work on it and a time to end it.
- Follow both start and end times strictly
- How much did you get done?
- Find some aspect to be passionate about
- Story about being deployed
- Break the job up into smaller chunks
- Hyperfocus on one area
- Take breaks
- Find some aspect to be passionate about
- Will completing this project enrich your life?
- Focus on how nice it will be when this task is complete
- Reward yourself at the end
- Listen to music or an audiobook
- I’ve done this before while cleaning my room.
In closing we can’t always do things that we enjoy, but it helps if we can. When we can’t there are always tactics we can utilize to push though and endure. What are some of the techniques you have used to get through task you don’t enjoy? Please share in the comments below!