Decision Making & ADHD

Decision making is not an executive function. Difficulty with decision making is not a symptom of ADHD. So why do so many ADHDers have difficulty making decisions? I think there are a few reasons. But the primary reason is that the actual process of making a decision is the perfect storm of Attention, Working Memory (Executive Function,) Managing Impulsivity, and Managing Anxiety. In short, to make a difficult or complex decision, we need to do all of the things that we stink at.

So, what’s the solution? I have a few tips.
  1. Make the commitment to actually make decisions. Decide to decide. Don’t let yourself kick the can down the road. If I’ve learned anything from doing this for over a decade it is that NOTHING GETS BETTER BY PUTTING IT OFF. Occasionally things go away, but even that usually has negative consequences.
  2. Be intentional about making your decision. Separate the decision from any other related tasks that you have to do and isolate that as its own task.
  3. Give yourself time and space to make that decision. Do research if you need to, but limit yourself to a specific amount of research so it doesn’t drag on indefinitely.
  4. Recognize that there is often no perfect solution and no amount of research or thinking can come up with all the answers. Rarely are things 100%. Sometimes 51% has to do.
  5. Recognize that in many cases, there are more than one right decisions and/or the decision isn’t final or can be changed/fixed at some point down the road.
  6. Manage any anxiety you may feel with exercise, meditation, and/or self talk, especially if it is a big decision.
  7. Lastly, make sure you are optimal when you set aside time to make your decision and/or do your research. Be medicated, well slept, not ‘hangry,’ and generally in a good state of mind.
Hope this helps! Happy ‘ciding!

Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and 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.