I HAVE ADHD PODCAST - Episode #245

January 9, 2024

Burn Your To-Do List

How long is your to-do list right now? If you’re like most ADHDers, you’ve got a laundry list of things that you’ve been carrying around for years now — and it’s anchoring you down.

It’s time to stop holding this never-ending to-do list over your head and feeling guilty about not accomplishing the things on it. This isn’t serving you.

I want to help you remove this unnecessary pressure from your life. In this podcast episode, we’re walking through how to let go of that anchor weight so you can quit being hard on yourself and create realistic expectations about what you truly want to get done.

This is an interactive episode, so I’d love for you to grab a pen and some paper. You’ll walk away with a clear vision of:

What you can let go from your list

  1. What’s on your list because someone else wants you to do it
  2. What’s *actually* important to you
  3. How to set boundaries so you can get more done
  4. What’s truly worthy of your to-do list

Stop trying to do all the things. We’re here to love and support ourselves with the expectations we set. If you’re ready to burn your to-do list, this episode will help you focus your attention on what’s really important.



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Kristen Carder

Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain. Unlock your potential and move from point A to point B. Hey, what’s up, this is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated. I am caffeinated. I am regulated ish, which I think is enough. And I’m ready to roll this in. If you are regulated ish as well, that’s totally fine. Like we can function at the at the dial at the marking of regulated ish. We’re not always going to be regulated. And that’s okay. That’s very, very normal. Welcome to the show. I’m really glad you’re here. Thank you for pressing play on this podcast.

Today we are talking about burning your to do list. And please don’t hate me for this episode. Please. I beg you, I beg of you. Please do not hate me. But we’re carrying around too much on our lists. And it’s paralyzing us. That is like in summary, that’s it. We could close in prayer and just end the end the whole thing right now. We’re carrying around too much on our lists. And it is paralyzing us. So today we’re going to talk about removing a lot of the pressure from your to do list. Now this harkens back and yes, I did say hearken this harkens back to my episode on archive all, which is episode 186 ish. Again, we’re doing a lot of ishes this episode, and I apologize profusely from the bottom of my heart, but it’s around 186. The numbering I think got messed up a little bit. But episode 186 of the podcast where I talk about archive all we do a lot of deep work in this episode about what do we need to archive from our list so that we can free up space and stop burdening ourselves and paralyzing ourselves with our overachieving to do list.

And so I really hope that you enjoy this. Now, this is a class that I taught in my group coaching program focused and focused is where adults with ADHD from around the world gather to do the hard work of self development. This program was created by me a busy adult with ADHD for you a busy adult with ADHD and it’s amazing, it’s incredible, you can go to I have adhd.com/focused to learn more about it. And I hope you join us I really, really truly do. But if you don’t, that’s okay too, because I trust you. And I know you know what is best for you. Please enjoy this class on burning your to do list. Welcome, time to get rollin, I have to admit to you that the title of this call is rather click bait. And I apologize for that sort of, obviously, we’re not going to burn every single to do list. Okay. But in the How to REST calls that I did a couple of weeks ago. I just got on this, like huge tangent about how y’all have too many things on your lists. And I was like, you gotta burn them. You gotta burn your to do list. And then I took it a little too far and name this class burner to do.

And I promise you that, like, yes, you get to keep a list. But what I’m hoping for today is that I sell you on letting go of the anchor weights of the 200 things that you’re carrying around from years of not accomplishing everything you wanted to and telling yourself I really should do that. I really should do I really got to do that. I gotta get that done. I gotta get that done. That’s what I want to burn. Okay. Freddie says 200 is an adorable number. I need to try again. It’s much higher than that. And that’s what I’m that’s what I’m saying. Yeah, it’s really just silly. It’s silliness, how we try to hold on to so many tasks that we tell ourselves we should do and then we hold it over our heads and we act as if that should just be enough to get us to do stuff. Okay, because now do we not see that this is actually paralyzing us. And that is where we’re going today. It’s actually paralyzing you to be holding on to that anchor of the list of tasks that you have been telling yourself for years, I really ought to do that I really should get that done. Oh, I really want to get, I really want to do that. That is weighing you down and keeping you from being productive is a whole ironic situation happening. Okay, sounds very ironic, and very sad. And I hate it for you. And I hate it for my past self, who did it to myself,

Okay. So when I am teaching this class, and so many classes in this program, it is the class for my past self. Really, I am like, nurturing the past version of me, who was so hard on herself, and was so paralyzed and was so unable to see clearly. And so this is for her. And this is for you. Alright, y’all. So here’s a couple things that I want to ask you. First of all, this is a wonderful class, if you’re able to, to grab a piece of paper, even if the back of an envelope scrap piece of paper and a pen, pencil something to write with. Because this is a great class, if you want to, to take some notes to write down like, what are you actually holding in your to do list. If you have a running to do list in your brain, or if you have a running to do list on the wall? What are you holding over your head. So as I’m talking, if you’re in the room, or if you’re listening to the replay, this is a great, great class to do with some notes. And I don’t always say this, like I never say this, right? Because I want you to be able to listen on the go and do your thing.

So if you are on the go, just start naming things out loud. What is on your list, start writing it down, or start saying it out loud, like what are the things that your brain is holding, and saying to you, we need to get this done, we need to get this done. This needs to be done. This needs to be done. If you want to pop it in the chat, you can, if you want to write it down, that’s fine. But just start doing a brain dump of all of the things that is holding space in your brain. All of the things that are just kind of cluttering up the things that that when you try to go to rest, when you try to sit on the couch, where you’re just like, Oh, I’m going to actually enjoy myself. And then all of these tasks start coming to mind. What is on your list, I’m just giving you a little space here, I will do a lot of talking. But I do want to give you some space to kind of like jot down the things. Okay. Yeah, you guys got a little running list. Okay, so I want to communicate so clearly that this is an anchor. And I want you to picture a literal like chain, anchor weight around you, if you can make visual pictures. Or since you have a pen in your hand, some of you do. Draw yourself with like the anchor the weight around you. And I so want you to understand that it is completely unfair for you to expect yourself to perform when you are carrying around an anchor.

It’s unfair. It’s not kind.

You are anchoring yourself. You are weighing yourself down. Yes, Karen Bailey says dead weight. Exactly. It’s like dead weight on your body. And yet, you’re still like, I can’t believe you’re not getting stuff done. I can’t, I cannot believe you’re not performing these tasks. When honestly you are weighed down. And so what we’re going to do today, hopefully, is pull off some of that weight.

Okay. We’re just going to try to pull off some of that weight. And so as you are I hope that you’re still writing stuff down or at least like compiling your list. As you look at your list, I want you to assess what have I been carrying for months that I could just get rid of off of this list that I don’t have to actually accomplish? I put it on my list months ago, or years ago. I’ve been telling myself we got to do it. We got to do it. We got to do it. is not getting done and everyone is still alive. What can you just release with compassion, and grace from your list? I would love to have some answers. But I also don’t want to prioritize you writing in the chat over you doing your own work. So whatever is the best way for you to get it done. Or to use this class, I really want to just encourage you to do it the way that works best for you. Also, I just want to mention, if you have a question that you want me to answer, I’ve seen a couple questions pop up in the chat, can you please put them in the q&a box? Because I will answer them. I really do like to save time for questions at the end of these calls. But I don’t always like to interrupt the flow to answer questions. So the question that we’re answering right now is, what can go from your list? What can you just with grace and compassion, say, Honey, I know you. I know you, I understand you. And I like you.

I’m not going to make you do this thing.

I want you to think about it like that. I’m not going to make you do this thing that you’re obviously avoiding. I’m not going to make you do this thing that you don’t want to do. You don’t have to do it. Let’s just take it off the list. What can you remove with grace and compassion, going through my Google Drive and deleting things that I don’t need or old pictures from my phone cosines we don’t need to do that.

We don’t need to do it. If eventually your storage fills up, you’ll solve that problem if it happens, but we don’t need to have that hanging over your head 100% cosigned sending Christmas gifts to all of the family out of state cosines

when 100% cosines that does not need to happen, sort out and check most of my close cosines you do not need to have that hanging over her head, Freddie, probably eventually the winds of motivation will blow in. And you’ll just look around and say today’s the day and you’ll get it done. But we don’t need to have that on a list. I wouldn’t even put laundry on a list. And we’re gonna get to that in a little bit. So those of you who are saying, like, I don’t know what to do with laundry, because it’s just always there. It doesn’t go on the list. So I just want, I want you to like we’re gonna get to that part, okay, painting the kitchen. Love, it doesn’t need to happen. Literally, you can survive, thrive and have a beautiful life without painting your kitchen, you can just take that write off your list, all of those 800 email messages from like four months ago. Guess what? If you archive all of those 800 emails, they will no longer be weighing you down. And if you need to find something, you can search for it and go find it. Okay, becoming a spin instructor can go. I love that. Clean the car.

Yeah, we do not need a clean car to thrive in our lives. And again, cleaning the car is the kind of thing kind of like with what Freddie was saying with his clothes, the winds of motivation. Do blow in once in a while. We all know this, right? And it’s just going to be like one day, you’re going to wake up and be like, I want to clean my car today. And when you feel that great, go do it. Empty the garage, which isn’t one task. Exactly. That’s like 150 tasks. Right? Okay. So the first thing that we’re doing is we’re just looking at the list and we’re saying, What do I just not want to do that I don’t need to hold over my head. What can I just cross off and say like, Dude, we’re just not like, I don’t want to do it. And I’m not gonna make you do it. I’m just gonna cross it off. We don’t need to do it. If eventually it gets done. Great. That’s lovely. Like, eventually, I suspect that Freddie is just going to like, wake up one day and be like, I kind of want to sort my clothes and they’ll just sort of close. Right and it’s not going to be like a big thing. We don’t need that to hang over our head that doesn’t need to weigh him down. Can he be a productive father, a productive spouse, a productive member of society? A good worker at his job? With a messy closet? hills to the Yes. Do you all see it? What why we ever gonna let a messy closet hang over our head? You hear what I’m saying?

Okay, the other thing that I want you to do as you’re scanning your list is what is on here? Because someone else wants me to do it. What is on here because someone else wants me to do it. It’s not something I want to do. It’s not something that I even care about. But someone else suggested it. And now I’m feeling obligated to do it. 90% of my list is for my needy kids. I mean, yeah, you’re a mama, what are you gonna do about that? Right? That’s a different story. I’m not talking about like, parenting your kids. Sorry. What I’m talking about is like, maybe your spouse is like, gosh, your closet is so messy. Or Gosh, your side of the closet is really annoying. And then you feel like, oh, that’s something I should do to make them feel better. When in actuality, if you’re fine with your side of the closet, Kiba messy, you do you, boo. Okay. What are the things that are on your list that are on there, because you’re kind of jealous of other people. And I mean, this isn’t just like the most adorable way you look at someone else’s. Let’s just continue to use the closet. Because it’s a very simple example. You look at someone else’s closet, and you say, oh, my gosh, that’s an awesome closet. I want my closet to look like they are qualified. And so you tell yourself, your closet should look like that. And then you make it hanging over your head. What on your list? Are you trying to make yourself do to be like someone else? That’s a better way to ask it. What on your list is there? Because you are trying to make yourself like someone else. When I go to people’s houses, I will often be like, That looks amazing. I should do that. That looks so great. I should do that. When I see people like working out, oh, I guess I should work out. It’s like not something that I have decided for myself necessarily. I just see someone else doing it. And I’m like, I guess I should be doing that too.

Yes, Nicole’s getting a good example here. I feel guilty that my kids don’t have pictures with Santa like other kids do. And I who I feel that Kristen chooses minimalism, so I should, too. Yeah. And you know what’s so interesting, Karen, is that I think Kristen chooses minimalism as a trauma response. And you do not need to choose minimalism. Some of the things on our list, like the photo books, you guys are saying photo books, like it’d be so great to have those. They are haunting you. Wow. I wonder if you have a partner, or a friend that could help with the photo books. I wonder if someone else could take over that project for you. So let’s look at your list and say, what do we need to ask for help for on this list? What’s important enough? And I would venture to say that photo books are? Yeah, that’s important, right? So like what is on your list that is important enough to ask for help. So here’s what I’m gonna say to this. If you are, let’s just say that your family looks like mine, where there are like there’s a two parent home and there’s kids. It is on why is it on just one partner to worry about photobooks?

Usually, it’s this is very gendered. And so I know I’m making a sweeping statement, but usually it’s the mom that cares. I don’t think that dads don’t care about that. Honestly. I think dads do see the value in in photos and memories.

I think if we were vulnerable and ask for help, and let them make it in perfectly. Seriously, imperfectly let them do an imperfect job of making the photobook we could delegate that and say listen, this is so important but I just really need some help. To COVID says they care but they don’t let it haunt them which is exactly why they should be tasked with with doing it can you give us examples of how to ask? Yes, of course, I love doing this. If you’re in a partnership, and photo books are important to you, I would ask the partner, your partner, if it’s important to them, Hey, is this something you ever think about? Because like, one of the things that I think about a lot is that we don’t have printed pictures of our kiddos. And like, what if something happens to my phone? What if something happens to the computer?

Like, external hard drives can be stolen? I just I really want to have printed pictures. Is that something that you care about? And even if it’s not, would you help me with it? Because it’s something that I care about so much, and I know you care about me. I know you care about me. And this is something that I really care about, is this something we can work on together? Or that you can make a plan for? Or even just take over? Like? I’m just talking one photo book a year? Like, is that even possible? Also says, isn’t that what the cloud is for? Kristen? Yeah, I don’t know all the things. I don’t know. Like, Cloud Storage gets full, and then you have to pay for it. It’s just like, it’s a whole thing. Can’t wait to bring them on amongst guys. Okay, so this is a small example of not bearing the full burden of something that’s important. And and so I want to zoom out and say, on this list, is there anything that you are bearing the full burden of even though you are partnered?

Now, not all of you are partners, so I’m talking to those of you who are okay. For many people who are partnered, you’re carrying a load that is meant to be shared?

And even if you’re not partnered? Can you ask a friend, a coach, a trusted confidant, a therapist to like, can we make a plan for this, I need support in this area, this task is important to me. I want to get it done. But it is just like haunting me. Okay, you guys are naming things that could be shared, deciding on and cooking meals for the family. Agreed. Let’s share that task 100%. Claire says selling our unused designer clothes on Facebook marketplace. Sure. I would also just say you could donate it and take the loss. And just check it off your list. Actually co signs that donation, just take the loss, it sucks that you spent the money and that you didn’t use it. But do you know what else sucks having to sell it

on Facebook marketplace. Don’t make it worse for yourself. Okay.

We’ve done a brain dump of our to do this. We’ve crossed off the things with so much grace and compassion that we’re just like, You know what, I’m not going to make you do that. I’m not going to make you do it. Like this is not something that I’m going to make you responsible for anymore. And so if you’re laying in bed, and you’re like that, that thing pops in your head, like an intrusive thought, you can reassure yourself, Oh, that’s not on my list anymore. That’s something that I crossed off. I like myself too much to make myself do that.

It’s just not on my list anymore. If the winds of motivation blow through, and I feel like doing it someday, I will so for sure, do it. But this is not life or death. This is not even going to improve the quality of my life, I can thrive without doing this. There are hundreds of things on your list that don’t need to be done. And I get angry when I start talking about this. Because I think that we are the victims of society that tells us we should be a certain way. And so we take on all of this stuff, and we tell ourselves I have to do it. I have to do I have to do it. No, you don’t have to paint that kitchen. You don’t have to become a spin instructor. You don’t even have to make a photo book. I understand the poll to that i do i So do. So I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying society is a real big word when it comes to the expectations and what and we are a sponge for other people’s expectations. Most ADHD ears are a sponge for other people’s expectations. Because from birth, our brains have worked differently. And it has not really been safe for us to be ourselves and so we have had to try to fit into everyone else’s box. This is the way that we have kept ourselves safe. What I’m saying now is that you are grown, and you are safe. And you don’t have to do it like everyone else, you just don’t, you can build a life that works best for your brain. And that is going to look like you not taking on everyone else’s expectations. So I want you to go through your list and cross off the items that are weighing you down, that are from someone else’s expectations.

Gotta cross those items off, we cannot bear the load of it, we cannot bear the load of it.

I want you to bring to the forefront. A couple things that are very important to you. Just a couple of things. Here’s how we’re going to think it through.

We’re gonna have a separate list for work. Okay, so there’s a work list and a homeless with the work list, I want you to really think it through this way. What is within my job description? What is my boss or my team? Waiting on me for? What will affect the bottom line if I don’t do it? Okay, so we’re talking about work right now. Because I know that I think that the lines are very blurred. I think that you all are carrying a load of like, the work and the home. And it’s all just like messy. And so I want you to with your work list, think through what is in my job description. That’s like, I got it, I have to do it. What are people waiting on me for? What’s going to affect the bottom line? Not all of you have jobs where your work directly affects the bottom line, but some of you do. So for example, if you are an entrepreneur, what’s going to make me money today? Or if I don’t do it, what’s going to cost me money. Okay. And now, a word from our sponsor. Hey, Kristen here. I’m the host of this podcast, an ADHD expert and a certified life coach who’s helped hundreds of adults with ADHD understand their unique brains and make real changes in their lives. If you’re not sure what a life coaches, let me tell you, a life coach is someone who helps you achieve your goals like a personal trainer for your life. A life coach is a guide who holds your hand along the way as you take baby step after baby step to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish.

A good life coach is a trained expert, who knows how to look at situations or situations with non judgmental neutrality, and offer you solutions that you’ve probably never even considered before. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, and maybe even you’ve done some work in therapy, and you want to add to your scaffolding of support, if you’ve got to join my group coaching, program focused, focused is where functional adults with ADHD surround each other with encouragement and support. And I lead the way with innovative and creative solutions to help you fully accept yourself, understand your ADHD and create the life that you’ve always wanted to create. Even with ADHD. Go to Ihaveadhd.com/focused to join. And I hope to see you in our community today. For the home stuff, I want you to think through is there anything on your list that is kind of like life or death.

Some of you might have life or Death things on your list like you might need to schedule a doctor’s appointment, you might need to make sure you have a system for your medication.

You might need to make sure that you’re paying your mortgage or your rent on time so that you don’t get kicked out right like there are certain things that need to be front and center because they for sure affect your quality of life. So like painting the kitchen, not even on the list. But if there is something that’s hanging over your head, let’s say there’s a bill that you haven’t even wanted to open that you feel like deer I think that this is going to like affect things that needs to be front and center. Okay. Please remember to put questions in the q&a box, okay, because I’m not going to stop to answer questions, right? The second. But if you do have questions that you want me to answer, I’m happy to do it, I’m just going to save time for it. Another thing that I want you to think about is this, I think that we have very blurred boundaries, as people with ADHD. And so what I want you to think about is, when you’re at home, you’re thinking about home. And when you’re at work, you’re thinking about work. So we are separating work and home.

This is very hard for most of us.

And this is one of the reasons why we’re not getting things done. Because we’re at work, and we’re like, Oh, I got to do it. And we’re being pulled and distracted by Homestuck. Or we’re at home, when we could be doing the things that we want to get done at home. But we’re pulled and distracted by work stuff. And so I really highly, highly, highly encourage you to set time boundaries for yourself. Yes, and this is especially applicable to those of you who work from home. Y’all need time boundaries. What I mean by that is, you wake up in the morning at, let’s say six, and you start work at nine, the first three hours of your morning are dedicated to you and your home. We’re not thinking about work for those three hours. Okay, so this is the time where you practice your self care, you work out, you just sit and stare at the wall, you may be throwing a load of laundry, you’re just you’re you’re doing your own self care, and you’re doing your own home chores. Okay, let’s just say you start work at nine and you work until five o’clock. Even if you work from home, you are not doing home stuff, you are doing work stuff. Okay, you’re doing work between the hours of nine and five. This is work time. This is the time where whatever pulls you from home.

Now obviously, there’s emergency sometimes. And like, that’s not what I’m talking about, of course, is exceptions. But I want you to be very cautious not to be like, well, I since I work from home, I should just do the dishes while I’m home. Since I work from home, I should be doing the laundry. If that works for you. Great. It does not work for me. That works for Greg. He’ll do the laundry all day long. While he works from home. I don’t understand it, how he hops in and out of tasks. And he’s so productive at work. But he’s doing the laundry at home. It’s witchcraft. Exactly. Exactly. I cannot I can’t like that is not how I operate. That is not how I work. And I get too distracted. Like then I’m going down the laundry rabbit hole, then I’m like organizing something else that I’m just like, and then I’m never going back to my work. There is no way. Okay? So if you’re working for you, but like let’s say nine to five, then at five, guess what’s done, you’re done with work, no matter how little or how much get done. And then from five to 11, it’s back to home.

So we transition back to self care, self nurture, taking care of your family, doing things like laundry and dishes and cleaning your car if you want to those types of things. I know all of your schedules are different. Okay. So the like, nine to five, work day is not applicable to everyone. And some of you have days where you’re like, you’re home all day long. And then you’re at work, you know, the next day and it fluctuates. And I understand that that is difficult, but there still needs to be separation. When you’re at work, you’re thinking about work. Only. This is so hard and something that I had to practice over and over and over. I still have to practice it. When you are working, you’re thinking about work. I don’t care if it’s your home office, it’s still your workspace. If you work nights, you’re thinking about work at night. That’s and we’re all making different choices here. But what I’m trying to put forth is one of the reasons why your to do list is wild is because you have this like running to do list of all of your work tasks. All of your home tasks is Just like this big blob of stuff, and there’s no separation.

So while you’re at work, you’re home to do tasks are weighing you down. And while you’re at home, your work to do tasks are weighing you down. And what I’m saying is, can we create separation? Can we create a tiny bit of compartmentalization, or at least an intention to compartmentalize? Which is so, so hard for people with ADHD? So I’m just I understand, I understand. Yeah, there’s a lot of discomfort. I understand. One of the things that I realized so I was working from home when I ran my tutoring business. And even when I was like, running the tutoring business and coaching some as well. I remember the strong urge to do the dishes, do the laundry. And what I kept telling myself the way that I like disengage from that was, okay, so Greg was working outside of the house. It’s not doing laundry at work. Greg’s not doing dishes at work. Greg is working at work, why am I feeling obligated to clean and do the dishes? This is my workday. Why am I feeling obligated to do home home chores?

Right. Okay. The other thing that I want to say,

with your list is, I wouldn’t put a task like laundry on a chore, like on a to do list. What I want to encourage you with a to do list is simply like one or two or three things that are just outside of the norm. Wondrous got to be done all the time. dishes have to be done all the time. And it’s the kind of thing that you can see. So I understand ADHD or that like, you’re like, Well, what if I forget, but like, you see your laundry? Yes. Like, I can see my drawer when there’s no socks left. And I’m like, dang, it’s time.

It is time. Right? You can see the dishes piling up.

Those are just things that happen every day. And maybe maybe for those of you who are like, No, I don’t, I don’t see my laundry or I don’t see my dishes. Maybe what you do is you schedule a time. Meaning and I don’t mean like actually scheduled but like you create a time. So like, every day when I wake up, I throw a load of laundry in the in the wash, and I set a reminder to move it to the dryer.

I guess it’s my morning routine. Or every night before I go to bed, I just have a dishes party might just do all the dishes from the day. It really is dependent on kind of like what works best for you. Some of you like to do dishes throughout the day, some of you just like to save them until there’s no dishes left, it doesn’t matter. Either way is totally fine. Did you know that you have to do whatever works for you. But what I would start to tune into is what works. What works.

And if you’re avoiding your laundry pile, that’s not because it’s not on your to do list. If you’re avoiding dishes, it’s not because it’s not on a list. Oh, you’re avoiding it. It’s deeper than that.

Hello. That was an important word.

For some of you. Again, this is like, do whatever you want to do, do whatever works for you. But I think for the majority of you, if you’re avoiding, let’s say dishes, putting it on a list, it’s not going to help that he says those tasks require capacity that I just don’t have exactly and putting it on a list is not going to change that. So how do we change that? This is true I avoid my to do list all the time. Exactly. So why bother habit? I want you to think about a to do list of like an actual something to get done.

Not just like the normal every day like yeah, laundry is done pretty much every day. They just have to be angry that we don’t need to put those on the list. I got to eat everyday that that doesn’t have to go on the list. I could set a reminder like hey, don’t forget to eat. Oh, great. Thanks.

The last thing I want to say before I take questions is are you being unreasonable with yourself regarding the list that you are keeping? Are you being unreasonable on that list, is it reasonable?

Are these things that you can and want to accomplish? Are these things that are actually going to get done? Or do we need to take a minute to grieve?

Your capacity and to grieve the loss of like, I’m just a human. And I can’t get all of this done. There’s no way. There’s a big difference between a to do list and a wish list. And some of y’all are letting that wish list way you down. There’s some measure of like, I think we’re being a little bit unreasonable with the length of our to do lists.

And why are you continuing to believe that you can do all the things, Tom, and friends? And why are we continuing to set the bar too high for ourselves, and pat ourselves on the back, for having high standards, when really, it’s just debilitating. We’re not getting the stuff done. And then we feel bad about ourselves. And it’s just this like, vicious cycle of setting the bar too high. Inevitably not meeting our own expectations. And then shaming ourselves for not being good enough. Is not fun. It’s really not fun. Brain, dump all the things and then only take the things that you actually want to do. Now, I think that a lot of people would say, Well, I want to do it all. But it’s like, yeah, and I want to be a butterfly. It was super fun. But I’m not. I’m just a person.

And how does my, my past inform my present? What do I know about myself? What do I know about my capacity? What do I know about my desires? What do I know about my ability? Wanting to do it all is adorable. But it’s a very well, I’m gonna say a word here.

I wonder how you feel about this word. I’m gonna say it’s very childish. A child wants to do it all. And an adult knows better. And adult knows, hey, we can’t do it all honey. There’s no way that we can reasonably do it all. And so let’s be sad about that. That’s worth being sad about. It sucks to live in reality.

But a grown up an adult knows. I can’t do it all.

I just know I can’t. And it’s unreasonable and unkind to expect myself to do it all. And being mature means living in reality. Yes, Bill.

Who? Yes, yes, yes. And I really appreciate your engagement here. Because for those of you who are not on the call live, the chat just really blew up with that idea of it being very childish to want to do it all. And I think that’s something that maybe we would want to explore. What immaturity am I bringing to my to do list? What childish expectation am I bringing to this list? What fantasy a child lives in fantasy?

And a mature adults lives in reality, of course, we go into fantasy sometimes. And that is so fun. But like, for the most part, we cannot stay in magical thinking. Exactly. Terry, thank you for that phrase. Yeah, it’s not self nurturing. This is so good, Claire. It’s not self nurturing, to have a list of fantasies that we’re like holding over our heads and beating ourselves up with you have to do this. You have to get this done. Why aren’t you doing it? I can’t believe you’re not doing it. Everybody else is doing it. Why aren’t you doing it? Everybody else can do it. Why can’t you? And I want to let you know that we are going to be redoing the time management course in February. And I think that that will be very helpful with this concept because a lot of this goes into understanding time being able to have an accurate assessment of yourself. Claire says she’s doing that one now. It’s old. And I’m really looking forward to reading it. I think you will get value from it, Claire, I definitely do. But that was an older version of Kristen Carter that recorded that course. And I look forward to to redoing it. So we’ll be studying self trust in January, and then time management in February, and I cannot wait.

I’m really excited. All right, I’m gonna take questions. Let’s see here.

What’s the difference between what we are holding in our brain as opposed to offloading to an actual list? Doesn’t the act of keeping it to do lists allow you to prioritize and only focus on what’s important? So, it sounds like you’re saying, If I offload it to a list, isn’t that enough? And what I’m saying is no, it’s still technically something that you’re holding over your head that you’re requiring yourself to do. And so yes, the first step is like brain dump everything out of your head, but then take a critical eye and say, Where am I being unreasonable? Where am I asking myself to do something that I don’t even want to do? Where am I taking on someone else’s expectations of my time and my capacity? Where can I just let things go? What’s actually not important? What are the top three things from this list?

I would just pick three.

Where do you make or keep non to do lists, I will tell you what I do. So I have this notebook that I get from Amazon and I order they come in a pack of two, I order them see how it’s like a grid, they also have dots, but I prefer the grid. And so what I will do is, if I’m not sure what my list is, or if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I will write down a brain dump. And just like make a little thing, I will cross stuff off. But if it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done. Really, the only home day that I make a list is like a Saturday where the day is open or a Sunday where the day is open. And I’m like, if I don’t plan to do something, I’m gonna hate my life today. You know, surviving Saturdays, anyone, anyone. And so those are the days that I like to make a little list. And those are the days that I’m like, like, these are the things I could do. I could clean my car, I could do the laundry, I could, blah, blah, blah. But if it doesn’t get done, I’m not going to lose the board. My team keeps track of things in Asana.

I know a lot of teams use Trello or notion. Let me see, because I’m on leave for work. What are your thoughts on me considering the things my kid needs as work items? I love that. Yes, cosines. And that’s great. Then when they’re at school, I can focus on the home chores, sometimes it feels overwhelming to clump them all together. I love this, Ashley, and that’s a really creative, wonderful way to get it done. I love that. And for all of you, like you’re all in different situations, obviously, our lives are not exactly the same. So being creative and figuring out for yourself. Like, oh, I could use, you know, my kids school time for home stuff. And then when they’re home from school, I can commit, you know, to like taking care of them. That’s great. Like a bank call a nine to five task, but also during work hours. Yeah, once in a while you’re gonna have something like that. I mean, how often do we have to call the bank once a year, so sure, once a year, call the bank during work hours. You know, I’m saying like, of course, it’s gonna be exceptions, but I’m talking about like, in general, like, once in a while, you’re gonna have to schedule a doctor’s appointment during work hours, of course, but like, that’s rare. And you could also, if you want to set aside time, like,

Okay, if I ever make an appointment, it’s going to be between these hours, like, it’s going to be between 12 and one or if I ever have to make a phone call, it’s going to be between these hours. I know that it’s like it doesn’t always work that way. Of course, there are exceptions but what I’m talking about and what I’m really trying to get us away from is just the constantly Blurred Lines. I’m saying this is especially hard for like entrepreneurs and so I’ve really had to work on like I don’t do fun things with friends during my work day. I could I have a technically I have the quote unquote free time in my workday to do that but I don’t do it because I really am committed to dedicated my work time to work. Once in a while we got to take a kid to like the orthodontist. Sure. No biggie. Okay. Our to do lists big projects rather than small, quick tasks. asks, how granular are the two to three things on your list? I had to find financial planner on my to do list for so long. I’ve had five financial planner, but I can’t envision future me clearly enough to motivate myself. I don’t have someone I can delegate this to this is such a great question. I think, find financial planner is a really good thing to have on your list. Because it is the kind of thing where you’re like, This is important. Nobody else can do it for me. I know that it’s going to affect my life. But the question that I want you to wrestle with is why aren’t you doing it?

One of the reasons why we don’t do the really important things is because we let the stupid stuff take up space on our to do list and we’re like, oh, so then we’re just procrastinating. It’s just progressivity tasks. But like Maggie, this is a, I just want to cosign like, this is a really good, great thing to have on your to do list. So, but I think one of the problems is it’s too general, what does it look like to find a financial planner? There’s probably 10 steps in that task. So what I would suggest you is breaking that task down into the 10 steps, and putting those 10 steps on your to do list. How do we address the challenge when we don’t consistently visit and manage a physical list? Goblin dot tools will break down tasks for you. Chat, GBT will give you the task broken down as well. Also, and as a financial advisor. Jeff, are you still here, honey? When you say how do we address the challenge when we don’t consistently visit and manage a physical list? What challenge are you speaking of? I’m thinking I could group grad school tasks into work hours since work as a transitional job. And graduate school relates to my second position as a research assistant. That way instead of having a gap between which makes transitions hard, I’m able to compartmentalize more between work and home life and use that gap for grad school tasks. Applause Applause Applause Applause. Love it. Okay, Jeff says, I space out and don’t even look at my list. Here’s what I want to ask. Why is that a problem?

Like, if you’re just living your life, and you don’t have a to do list, isn’t that? Shouldn’t we celebrate that?

Great. live your best life? Just don’t look at a list. I think that’s wonderful.

The things that you want to do? And like, won’t they come back to you? Haven’t you all notice that the things that are like, the most important to you always circle around, and they always come back to you and they just kind of like, tap on you. And they’re just like, hey, don’t forget about me. I’m important. I mean, sure, I can give you like, you could set a reminder. You can make it visible, you can put it on your bathroom wall like you can. There’s like tips and tricks. But what I’m asking is like, why is this a problem? You’re telling me? I’m living my life without a to do this. And I’m like, amazing. Go do it.

I don’t see a problem with that. Does anyone else? Alright, so hopefully your list is half the size, if not less. Please consider this your permission slip, to archive all to do a hefty reassessment to start fresh, to just trust yourself.

Trust yourself, you’re going to be okay. You’re going to get the things done. You’re going to have laundry tomorrow. And if you don’t, you’re going to figure out how to function in dirty clothes. Right? You are going to be okay. We don’t need to place our trust in a to do list. Because we are grown adults. I can take care of us and we know what is best for us. And we know that we are going to be okay.

Whether we have a long list or a short list, guess what you’re here. You are functioning. You might even be thriving, and that’s beautiful. We’re all going to be okay and And if we cross things off the list without doing them, that is one of the ways that we can care for ourselves and our ADHD brains.

All right. So much fun. Thank you.

Thank you have a great great afternoon, evening all the things I will talk to you so soon. Hey, ADHD, er, I see you. I know exactly what it’s like to feel lost, confused, frustrated and like no one out there really understand the way that your brain works. That’s why I created Focus. Focus is my monthly coaching program where I lead you through a step by step process of understanding yourself feeling better and creating the life that you know you’re meant for. You’ll study be coached, grow, and make amazing changes alongside of other educated professional adults with ADHD from all over the world. Visit Ihaveadhd.com/focused to learn more.

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