Executive Functioning Masterpice

Last week was my off week from coaching, usually a week to dig in at the computer and do some of the running my business stuff I need to do.  This month, however, I took the week off from “work” to get the house squared away for our second child, who is due in early April. I was building a nursery, reorganizing our oldest’s play area, moving rooms around, buying stuff at Ikea, putting that Ikea stuff together, getting some local kids to move furniture for (with) me, coordinating my mom to come in and paint, etc. etc. etc…  All while not killing anyone, or throwing any power tools out the window.  

I didn’t think much of this process in terms of my ADHD until I was discussing it with one of my clients yesterday.  Turns out it was an executive function masterpiece!  I point this out not to “pump my own tires” but to illustrate that it is possible for any of us with ADHD to learn the EF skills to make a huge project like this manageable.  It was not easy or fun, but more or less went according to plan.  

I guess the key point here is that THERE WAS A PLAN for it to go according to.  Any minute I spent planning, either by myself or with my wife was saved three fold in the doing of all this. Here are a few highlights that can be good templates for all of us.  In no particular order…

  1. I know that transitioning my attention to write stuff down when I’m doing really intensive planning is hard for me.  So, during the planning process I walked around the rooms in our house with a tape measure and my wife had a pen and paper.  Also, at Ikea, I did the same thing.  She wrote down the bin no.’s and such.  
  2. I had a detailed plan before we went to Ikea.  Detailed in the sense that we had objectives like under-bed storage for my son’s room, something to contain his art supplies etc.  This allowed us to know exactly what we were looking for… without exactly knowing what we were looking for, if you understand what I mean.   I did have some ideas of specific pieces that I was looking for, but if I had waited until I had an exact list, we never would have gone.
  3. By having a list and specific objectives it also keeps us from buying things that we don’t want an don’t need.  Believe it or not, we aren’t going to have to return anything!
  4. I had no idea how long it was going to take me to do all the stuff that I needed to do this past week to get ready for the baby.  So, I didn’t do it during my last off week before the due date.  That would have been cutting it close and would have resulted in a much higher stress level over the next month.  Basically, I have another half day’s worth of work to do, which can easily be taken care of over the next month.  Me + planning well ahead = Me + much more relaxed!
So, again, I don’t point all of this out to pat myself on the back.  Anyone who has know me for a while knows that all of this is made possible by the work I have done overcome my ADHD-related EF issues.  I don’t think I could have handled this the way I did, say 10 years ago.  But by taking baby steps forward, organizing commercial kitchens, planning moves, starting my own business, etc., I’ve taught myself the skills.  And, if I can do it, you can to!

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