LIving in the now vs. planning aheadNov 9, 2019
As ADHDers we are often a mystery to others and to ourselves. Our behavior regularly contradicts itself and as a result can be very difficult to change. We generally have difficulty being mindful in the moment and being aware of what we are doing on some levels. Though sometimes we are so immersed in the moment that the rest of the world might as well not exist. Yet we also struggle with planning for the future and perceiving time. Though at the last minute we can often pull off miracle of focus and planning. But often a great personal cost.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the real estate adage, “Location, location, location.” Well, for ADHD, I always say, “Planning, planning, planning.” That is one of the main skills I’ve worked on over the years and one of the key skills I work on with most of my clients. But the fact is that we can’t only look to the future. We have to learn to be more present in the moment in order to plan for the future and create the future that we want. I like to think of it as having both feet firmly planted in the now but always having one eye on tomorrow through next week.
I guess what I’m saying is that as we attempt to strengthen our execute function skills we also have to manage our attention. We have to balance the attention we focus on today, while also devoting enough focus to what is coming up that we can be prepared for what’s next. Let’s take a very simple example. My wife and I are going to a concert next week, two actually. I have both on the calendar. It’s unlikely that I would forget about either of them. But they are on Sunday and Monday. If I hadn’t been looking ahead on my calendar, I might not have been able to get a babysitter in time. Small, not super significant example. But if you are always looking ahead, things like that don’t surprise you. If you aren’t looking ahead, multiply the problem of finding a babysitter last minute by everything in your life. That sounds like a pretty overwhelming scenario.
Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much, if at all. Please excuse typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.