I HAVE ADHD PODCAST - Episode #260

April 23, 2024

How to Use The 7-Minute Principle to Get Sh*t Done

What if you could change your life in 7 minutes? I’m here to tell you it’s possible. In fact, I’m doing it myself. It’s called The 7-Minute Principle, and it’s the idea you can do anything for 7 minutes.

Here’s an example. A former student of mine had drama around doing the dishes. For years and years, she HATED doing them.

One day, she decided to time herself. It took her 7 minutes. All of the drama dropped immediately because – let’s be honest, you can do anything for 7 minutes and it’s not that bad. Now apply this to other areas of your life.

  1. What would your email inbox look like if you spent 7 minutes cleaning it up?
  2. What would your laundry situation look like if you spent 7 minutes folding clothes?
  3. What would your morning routine look like if you spent 7 minutes getting ready?

In this episode, you’ll learn the ins and outs of this simple but life-changing hack.

Try applying this principle to your life for one week and see what changes you experience. It’s a small change that can make a huge impact.



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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.

What’s up, this is Kristen Carter and you are listening to the I have ADHD Podcast. I’m medicated, and caffeinated and regulated. My hair is not done today. But I am ready to roll. I had to just let it go. I had to just let it go that the hair is not done today, because sometimes you just need to let stuff go to get out the door. And that’s what I let go Sinha messy ponytail with a old scrunchie. And that’s what we got today. That’s it. That’s what we got but showing up. And I encourage you to also show up messy hair or not do whatever it takes to get out the door and do what you’re meant to do. Okay, like these things that we think perfectionistic ly about, such as hair, we don’t need to we can just let it go. So here I am letting it go, medicated, caffeinated regulated, can’t wait to chat with you today, we’re going to talk about something that I’ve developed, called the seven minute principle. And essentially, I’m going to invite you to start believing that you can change your life in seven minutes, because I think it is actually possible. But first, let’s just chit chat a little bit, shall we? Let’s just hang out you and me because we need it. We need it. I want to tell you that I read a book last night that was sent to me as a new book about ADHD. And it was very activating. And not in a good way, my friend. I wanted to throw it against the wall. And I feel bad saying that actually, I feel bad saying that because I really wanted to love it. And there were parts about it that were really, really good. But gosh, I just think we can do better. I think that we can do better.

And so if you come across ADHD content that you also want to throw against the wall, I just want to say, Yeah, solidarity, same. This is what happens sometimes. It’s okay. We can just feel that activation and do the things anyway. I am glad to a certain extent that ADHD is getting a lot of traction right now, I do worry that people are trying to capitalize on it. That’s okay. That’s okay. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it’s exploited, it is still a really good thing that the conversations are being had. But I just want to make sure that they’re being had was really informed people. And that can’t always be the case. Sometimes somebody has a platform.

They’re not necessarily informed, but they get to write a book about it, because they’ve got a lot of followers. And you know what? That’s annoying. That’s an That’s annoying. That’s annoying to me. And also, it’s okay, that I don’t agree with everything. It just does activate me, right. So like, I know that I don’t have all of the perfect opinions on all of the things, but my body is still going to react to it, I promise you, my body is still going to feel a big feeling. And a lot of times that feeling is protection. Like I really want to protect our community, make sure that the right information is getting into the right hands like that kind of a thing. And so it’s just like it can be really activating for me as someone who’s really protective of our community. But nothing is all bad or all good. And this book certainly wasn’t all bad. There were some really great parts about it. But yeah, made me want to throw it, throw it against the wall. But hey, let’s just move on. Okay, we are in the month of April right now. And April is autism acceptance month. And here’s the thing, I definitely am going to have at least one episode on this topic. However, since I have ADHD, it’s going to be late. It’s not going to be in April, so I apologize for that. And also, I recognize that I got ADHD unchain. So things are going to be late and so this is one of them.

But this conversation has been particularly of interest to me because I have a kiddo in an autism evaluation. Currently. It’s about a month long. process for us, we filled out a bunch of paperwork. And I can’t wait to share with you what I have learned about autism through this process. And what I’ve learned about myself and my kiddo, it’s just been a really interesting journey. And yeah, so we’re gonna have this conversation, but we don’t have an A May or June, I apologize for not having it on time during autism acceptance slash Autism Awareness Month. But you know, it is what it is, I do want to say that there are so many things that I have been letting go as just like quirky behaviors about my kiddos, that are actually falling into the category of symptoms of autism, which I think is really, really important to chat about, because I wonder if you’re doing the same whether for yourself or for your child, so be on the lookout for those episodes coming at you soon. Okay, today, we are talking about changing your life in seven minutes, the seven minute principle, we are working through healthy habits this month in my focused ADHD coaching program, I’m bringing in experts, and they’re talking about healthy eating, exercise, sleep, nervous system, regulation, etc, etc. And it’s been great. And one of the things that we talk about every single call is that a tiny, tiny change is enough, we’re not looking to create a fantasy about what a healthy quote unquote habit is going to look like. We’re not looking for consistency, we are simply looking to make small changes that are going to make a big impact. And I started throughout this process to think through how long does it really take to change your life?

Here’s what we often do, we will not bother to do something in a short amount of time. Because we say to ourselves, it’s not worth it, it’s not going to make a difference. We have a lot of perfectionism around waiting for the right moment, the right amount of time, like, Oh, I’m not going to I’m not going to start that because I won’t have enough time to finish it. And I think actually, that’s the wrong approach most of the time, because we can actually make a very, very big impact in a small amount of time. What if it only takes seven minutes to change your life? Seven minutes? What if that’s it?

What if seven minutes at a time, you can make huge, substantial, significant changes in your life? Here’s the thing that often deters us is that transitions are really hard and getting ourselves to start feels insurmountable. So we look at a project and we estimate and by the way, we’re terrible at estimating time because hashtag ADHD, we estimate, oh, that’s gonna take me three hours. And then our body is like, Oh, the cost benefit analysis of this does not work out, I don’t want to do it, it’s going to be too much effort. It’s not going to be enough immediate gratification. It’s not worth it. And so our body then goes into this really strong resistance. I mean, when I say our body, I mean my body. And I wonder if you relate to that. But what if seven minutes is enough? What if you can get yourself moving by saying, hey, let’s just do it for seven minutes and see what we can get done. I want to share a story with you about a former client of mine, Tasha and shout out to Tasha, love you. You’re amazing. I had the privilege of training her as a coach. And now she’s out coach and all the ADHD years. And it is amazing.

One of the things that she shared years ago was that she constantly had drama about doing her dishes, doing the dishes was the worst job in the whole world. She would avoid it all day long, there was a ton of resistance to it. But eventually, she just decided to time herself. She just decided one day she was like, I’m just going to tie myself, let’s just see how long it takes. And it took her seven minutes. And all of a sudden, all of the drama that she had carried around for decades about doing the dishes, it takes too long. It’s not worth it. I don’t want to do it. Whatever all of that drama was just dropped because I would only take seven minutes. I can do it for seven minutes. And now dishes are not an issue for her because she knows it only takes seven minutes to get it done. I want you to apply that to so many areas of your life. What if we just look at the email inbox for seven minutes? What if we just do laundry for seven minutes? What if we allow ourselves to get ready like start the getting ready process and see how much we can get done in seven minutes. What can be done in seven minutes. I bet your little ADHD took us can get a ton done. If you set a timer and try to beat that timer in seven minutes. If you set that seven minute timer and put on some fun music and just like start going to town, I bet you can get a ton of stuff accomplished within that seven minutes. But what is so hard.

And the reason why we just like resist resist resist is because we’re just like, this is going to take forever, this is going to be so painful, this is going to not be worth it. And again, that cost benefit analysis that our brain does naturally does put so much weight on the side of the cost and very little weight on the side of the benefit. Which is why we as adults with ADHD needed little hacks like this. Seven minutes, I challenge you. I’m so curious, what can you do in seven minutes? What can you accomplish your car, that messy, messy car that you’re driving around? I bet if you set a timer for seven minutes and hold asked to clean it, I bet you’d get it done. I bet you’d clean that whole thing. I bet the trash would be emptied out and everything would be organized, you probably wouldn’t have time to vacuum it. But at least it is a clean car. At least it’s not a trash heap anymore.

Seven minutes is enough. I want you to start playing with this. What if seven minutes is all you need to change your life. Now here are some important parts about this experiment. You need to allow yourself to stop when that timer goes off. What you will likely be tempted to do is say, Okay, well, I’ve already started, just keep going. And if you actually want to keep going, that’s very different. But if you have had to convince yourself to start, and you’ve hated it, the whole seven minutes, allow yourself to stop. Let yourself stop and tell yourself great job. Seven minutes is enough. We’ll pick it back up later. Seven minutes is enough. Do not shame yourself into continuing. Because long term that’s not going to work out for you long term, you’re going to know well, you don’t actually mean seven minutes. You’re just lying to me to get me started. And then you’re going to make me keep going. And so I don’t trust you. And so no, thank you. I’m not going to start. Hello, yes, yes, I know this is true. I know it’s true. I’ve done it to myself, I bet you’ve done it to yourself as well. And so what we need to do is build trust within ourselves that it’s like, no, you’re allowed to stop without shame at that seven minute mark. And actually, I’m going to celebrate you.

When you do a great job. You can stop now, go back to whatever you were doing. If you genuinely do want to stop, please stop. Do you hear me? I want to say it again. Stop. Seven minutes is enough. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, look around and be like, Wow, this was really cool. I did get a lot done in seven minutes. Okay, I’m gonna stop now. However, if you start getting into the project, and it’s fun for you, you start cleaning your car and you’re like, This is amazing. I got all the trash out. And let’s say the timer beeps. But you actually do want to truly desire to vacuum, go for it. Allow yourself to keep going. Because so often just getting started is the hardest part. As we have previously discussed. It is the insurmountable wall that we have to climb over. Somebody labeled it the wall of awful I forget who who did but I love that the wall of awful and that’s exactly it’s like we have to scale this insurmountable wall to start the project. And if you have started and you want to keep going if that seven minute timer beeps and you’re like, Huh, I wonder what I could get done in another seven minutes.

Go for it, test it out. See. But again, if you want to stop, please stop and celebrate what you have done. What if you could actually change your life in seven minutes? What would your email inbox look like after just seven minutes of deleting or unsubscribing? What would your closet look like after seven minutes of just organizing? What would your car look like after seven minutes of cleaning it? What would your text message inbox look like after seven minutes of responding or deleting? On replied texts? What would your friendships look like? If you decided to reach out to someone and chit chat for seven minutes? Seven minutes might just be enough to change your whole dang life. What about exercise? So many of you are not moving your bodies because you don’t have time? Because you feel like it’s just like too hard. It’s too much. What if you can choose and your whole relationship to health in seven minutes.

What if you just start going for about and you say, I’m just going to walk for seven minutes, I’m just going to sit here and do yoga for seven minutes. I’m just going to jump rope. Because apparently that’s a thing for seven minutes. What if we just start with seven minutes, and then we celebrate the accomplishment? Great job. That was amazing. I’m so proud of you, you did the thing. But what that does is it eases our resistance to the thing, right? If I grab some weights, and I just lift weights for seven minutes, I can do upper body and lower body in seven minutes. Again, it’s not going to be perfect. But it’s going to be way better than nothing is going to be way better than nothing. By hop on the treadmill for seven minutes, that’s going to be way better than nothing. If I spent quality time with my kid, screen free for seven minutes, like face to face eye contact time with my kiddo for seven minutes, that’s going to be way better than nothing. But what we do with our ADHD brains is we say, it’s not enough. So I’m not going to bother. It’s not it’s not going to make a difference.

So I’m not going to bother, excuse me, I promise you, if you look at your finances for seven minutes a week, is going to make a huge difference in your life. I just got really serious there. And I’m not sure why I think I really want you to hear it. If you look at your finances for seven minutes a week, that’s gonna make a massive impact on your success financially. If you’re an entrepreneur, and you promote yourself for seven minutes, a day, seven minutes a week, seven minutes a month, whatever you’re like, whatever is more than what you’re currently doing, that’s going to make a difference. If you want to be a writer, and you commit yourself to writing seven minutes a day, that’s going to make a difference.

I can hear the resistance like nah, it’s not. But think about the times where you’ve been able to accomplish a ton way more than the average human in a very short amount of time. And that’s what’s so fun about this seven minute principle is if you set that timer, and you start watching it tick away and you’re just like, busting your butt to get it done. And whatever it is, and you’re trying to race against the clock and you gamify it, you’re gonna get a lot done in seven minutes. What would be really fun is maybe finding a song or two to put together like seven minutes total, like hype songs that you love. And just knowing like, Okay, I’m gonna get through these two songs, whatever it is that I’m going to do, I’m going to get through these two songs, and I’m going to enjoy the music. I’m going to pump up the jams, pump it up, pump it wow stuff. I’m going to really play the music loudly. And I’m going to enjoy like feeling the vibe of this intense music and getting the thing done. I want you to just try to apply the seven minute principle to the mundane, annoying things that you resist in your life and see what changes. Seven minutes. I want you to report back. Let me know how it goes. I am cheering for you. I’m also changing my life. Seven minutes at a time solidarity. Let’s go. I’ll see you next week. Bye bye.

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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