I HAVE ADHD PODCAST
July 4, 2023
How to Complete a Project That Feels Undefined
Tackling big milestones like attending university, moving out on your own or writing a book can be both exhilarating and intimidating. For those of us with ADHD, we can feel frozen in indecision as to how to begin such an endeavor.
In this week’s episode, I offer crucial steps to guide you through these ventures, and then you can listen in on one of my coaching sessions as I do this process with someone contemplating graduate school.
As part of the process, I emphasize the importance of being kind to yourself, setting realistic time parameters to not feel overwhelmed, and how celebrating every little win along the way!
Speaking of big milestones, I can’t wait to celebrate the launch of a new podcast series, which comes out on July 6! Stay tuned for the announcement, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
PRINTABLE ADHD SYMPTOM LIST
This totally free printable includes a psychologist-approved list of symptoms that adults with ADHD commonly experience. This could give you the answers you’ve been begging for your entire life.
Kristen Carder 0:05
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 are listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated, I am caffeinated. I am regulated and I am ready to roll.
Okay, in all honesty, I’m regulated ish. But I think regulated ish is enough. Like I can record this podcast while being regulated ish. So let’s just continue. Today we’re going to discuss how to complete a project that feels undefined. Something that feels like it’s really out there. Maybe it’s in the future, maybe it’s a long term project, like getting a new job or writing a book or being ready to apply to grad school or something kind of nebulous like that.
Those types of long term projects can make our ADHD brains completely paralyzed. Because while they seem like they might be really doable, and we tell ourselves, we should be doing them upon further investigation, or like, every time we try to start, we don’t really know what’s involved. We don’t really know how long it’s going to take. We don’t really know how much time to spend to it or, or how to call it done. Because it’s such a long term project, but it never feels like it’s done. So that’s what we’re talking about today.
I just got back from vacation. It was the most fun adventure I’ve ever been on with my family. We went to Washington State, we visited a Olympic National Park in Washington, we went to Ruby Beach rial to a beach, the whole rain forest, Lake crescent, it was just so beautiful. I’ve never been in such a remote area of the country, it was just so gorgeous. And then we flew to Las Vegas, spent 24 hours in Las Vegas, which I have got to say, in my opinion is not for the neurodivergent it was so overwhelming to all of my senses. But it was great. And then we drove to St. George Utah, then we spent a week in Utah. And it was incredible. We went to Zion National Park, we went to snow Canyon State Park, we went back to Zion, it was just amazing.
We love nature and hiking and all of the things and when I say we I mean Greg and I love that stuff. I’m not sure that our kids like they were fine with it. But we did some adventuring things, and they enjoyed that part. We joke with our kids that like Sorry, your parents think that National Parks are more fun than Disney World. So like we’re gonna visit national parks and like, not visit Disney World.
And I apologize profusely to my kids for that, like that’s just the way it is. So we had the best time and I am back in action here ready to serve excited to be with you today. So let’s talk about those long term projects that maybe you kind of let hang over your head, the big things that you tell yourself that you should do, but you’re not really doing them. I’m gonna venture to guess that one of the main reasons why you’re not doing those big projects is because you haven’t clearly defined the scope, or you haven’t made a plan that actually feels doable. And so that’s what I’m going to help you with today. Now as a part of this podcast at the end, after I go through my five steps here, I’m going to share a coaching conversation that I had yesterday with one of my clients on this very topic because I think it will be super helpful to listen to an example of me walking someone through this entire process.
So let’s start with step one. When you have something big that’s kind of hanging over your head that you want to get done, it’s so important for you to clearly define the project. Now some of you are going to like immediately come back with well I’m not really sure what’s involved it’s not gonna sound really definable. I’m not really sure. Don’t believe your brain. Don’t believe yourself. When your brain tells you that it’s not definable. We can define it, I promise you.
What is it that you want to do? When do you want it completed by and maybe you can just make that part up. Like for example, I have a goal to write a book someday I need to decide when I want it completed by or I’m never going to write it.
For me personally, I’m resisting, defining that for myself so that I don’t have to actually do it. So if you’re anything like me, look out for those sneaky sneaky sabotage type thoughts because they will be there. Define what it is you want to do when you want it completed by and then I want you to ask yourself this question. How will I know? When I’m 100%? Finished? How will I know that I’m done? What does it mean to be done with this project? The second step, after you’ve defined the scope a little bit is understand how you’ve been thinking and feeling about it. Now this part is hard for us because people with ADHD really struggle with self reflection.
But I want to encourage you to just take 30 seconds with me here and start to think through how have I been thinking and feeling about this project to date? Because how you think will determine how you feel, how you feel will determine what you do. So do you like the results that you’re getting for yourself right now?
If not, it’s really important to self reflect and think through how have I been thinking and feeling about this? So common thoughts include things like it’s too much, or I don’t know where to start? Or it’s not really definable? So I’m not, I just don’t know. And all of those will be detrimental. It’s important that you notice them as thought errors, and you see how they’ve impacted you. It’s too much, we’ll have you doing nothing at all. I don’t know where to start, we’ll have you not starting ever. It’s not definable, will keep you from actually defining it.
So notice the thoughts that are kind of like naturally coming up for you and just understand, like, not every thought is true. It’s okay that you have those thoughts. But how can you help yourself to move past those limiting beliefs, and maybe grab on to something a little more helpful. Common emotions that are attached to those types of thoughts will be confusion, overwhelm, then probably apathy like forget it, I’m not going to do it, and then eventually regret for not doing the thing that you actually want to do. Okay, I hope that that is hitting home, because it sure is for me.
So when I have this thought of like, I want to write a book. But I, I want to have written a book. This is the first time I’m sharing this on here. So brand new information from Kristen Carter, I want to have written a book I want it done. But I don’t want to do it.
I don’t want to actually do it. It sounds terrible. I don’t want to go through the process of writing a book, I definitely want to be the person who’s written a book, I want to have a book in my hands that I’ve written. I want to be able to share things with the world and with people who don’t listen to podcasts, right?
Like, I want to be someone who’s done that. But I don’t want to go through the process. And so common emotions for me are for sure overwhelm. And then that leads to apathy. Forget it, I don’t need to do it’s not a big deal. And then this feeling of like, regret, I think I’m going to regret it if I don’t do it. And so if you’re experiencing confusion, overwhelm apathy, and like, what is the type of regret that like, you don’t regret doing something you regret having not done something, right, I guess it’s the same kind of regret, but it feels a little bit different. I want you to understand that that’s very common with these really long term undefinable type kinds of projects. So here are some useful thoughts that I can offer to you. I can decide what to do and when to do it. I can decide on a beginning and a middle and an end. I can decide for myself what’s involved. I’m willing to take action on this because I want it to be done. I’m willing to work until it’s complete. I accept the discomfort that comes along with being the person I was meant to be in the world.
Those types of thoughts are going to lead you to emotions of willingness, acceptance, determination. And those types of emotions are so useful when you’re trying to get a project done. Now, here’s the thing once you’ve defined the project, once you understand the scope once you set a goal for like finishing and completing it, you have it broken down into smaller tasks.
What’s really, really, really important is that you decide how much time is reasonable to spend on this project, daily or weekly. Here’s the thing is that these long term kind of nebulous projects hang over us. And we think that every free moment that we have should be spent completing the project. And that is just not true. So if I decide to write a book, it will be hanging over my head probably for two years, I am not willing to dedicate every free moment that I have to writing this book. And I’m also not willing to feel guilty. When
I’m resting about not being productive on writing the book, do you know I’m saying so I understand that it’s going to take a long time. And I’m not willing to dedicate every free moment to the project. So what I want you to do is determine how much time is reasonable to spend on it either daily or weekly.
With these long term projects, we can let them hang over our heads. And I don’t want you to do that to yourself, I want you to set time parameters. So decide how much you want to spend daily or weekly, maybe you decide that one hour a day is enough. That’s enough, right? Don’t beat yourself up and make yourself feel like you should be spending more time on it. No, you’ve decided to dedicate an hour. And that is enough. Another thing that’s important here is be willing to have some flexibility and some trial and error with your time. I don’t know, if five hours a week is going to be enough, or if it’s going to be too little. And so I’m not going to know until I start the process. Is it too much? Is it too little? How can I be more flexible? Where can i Where can I find more time, maybe I need more rest?
Okay, so making sure that I’m having some very strict time boundaries here. I want to put it in terms of like entrepreneurship, if you’re an entrepreneur, and you you know, you have a goal, let’s say to make $50,000 in a year. That is a long term goal. If you want to make $50,000 in a year, that’s a long term goal. Here’s the thing, you can’t use every waking hour to accomplish that goal that is not sustainable. And so it’s so important for you to set time boundaries for yourself where you say, for example, I work between the hours of 10am and 4pm. And that is my time to work toward reaching the goal. And anytime outside of 10am to 4pm, my brain is not focused on reaching the goal.
So many people with ADHD struggle with time boundaries. And so everything seems really smushed together really mixed up really like a muddled meaning an entrepreneur feels like they should be working around the clock, an entrepreneur doesn’t feel like they can sit on the couch and watch Survivor with their family because they’re feeling guilty about not working and not reaching their goal. That is not a good way to live. In my opinion. That is definitely not how I want to live my life, I want to set time boundaries, where I say, I am going to work on the goal between this time and this time. That’s my time to work on it. And when it is not that time of day, I’m not going to be thinking about it.
I used to be the type of person that would work, like all day and all evening, and it was not good for me. I was not taking care of my needs. I was not resting I was constantly depleted. And and I was in a hustle, burn out cycle. And so when you’re planning these projects that are long term that are big, that are kind of like a little bit nebulous, I want you to set parameters for yourself where it’s like, I’m going to give it two hours every Thursday, and that’s where I’m going to spend all of my time on it. Those types of boundaries are so helpful. Okay, step one is clearly define the project.
Step two is understand how you’ve been thinking and feeling about it and do some shifting, and some self coaching if necessary.
Step three is determine how much time is reasonable to spend on this project, either daily or weekly, whatever you choose. Step four is evaluate and adjust.
Now I’ve already mentioned that people with ADHD have a real struggle with self evaluation. And this is because our self awareness is impaired. Our working memory is impaired which means we struggle to picture the past and picture the future and so we’re kind of just like living in the present moment. That makes it really hard hard to evaluate and learn from our mistakes, which is why you need to be very intentional to do so. So ask yourself, what’s working? What’s not working? What do I want to do differently? How can I do this more efficiently? Or how can I make this more fun?
It’s important during those times that we understand that we can feel a lot of like shame and regret and self judgment around like, I didn’t accomplish the goal yesterday, or I didn’t spend as much time on it. Two days ago, as I said, I was going to and just understand that, like, it’s okay, to not do it perfectly. We’re just all making up the rules here to understand that, we’re just all making stuff up. So when you set a goal, it’s your own rule that you have for yourself, when you set your time boundaries, that’s your own rule that you have for yourself. It doesn’t have to be rigid, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And it doesn’t have to be mean, you can be kind to yourself in this.
So you can ask yourself, Okay, be kind to yourself, as you evaluate notice what’s working, notice what’s not working, and don’t be a jerk. Don’t be a jerk to yourself, be nice. We’ve all had a manager, or someone in authority over us who was not kind and we did not like that person. So don’t do that to yourself. Come alongside yourself and say, Okay, what’s working here? What do we need to do differently? What Where do you need help? Where do you need extra support.
So make sure that you’re evaluating and then being willing to adjust, allow that to take time, do a weekly check in, if that’s doable for you, and coach yourself on your thoughts and your emotions, help yourself to understand the thought errors and the limiting beliefs and the, this is taking too long, or I knew this would never work or this is never going to happen. Like those kinds of limiting beliefs need to be questioned. Remember, not every thought you have is true. Not every thought you have serves your long term goal.
So allow yourself to feel whatever is coming up. Allow yourself to experience the discomfort of actually following through on your goals. I’ve talked about this before. following through on your goals does not feel good. We all think it’s supposed to feel good, but it’s not. Do you know it feels good. Accomplishing it and having it done. It feels good for about five minutes.
Feels good for about five minutes, but actually following through, it feels terrible. It’s so uncomfortable. It’s hard. So allow yourself to be uncomfortable and allow it to be hard. All right, let’s review the steps. And we’re going to our last and final one. Step one, define the project make it as clear as possible and don’t believe your brain. When your brain says I’m not really sure it’s not really definable. Just really keep asking yourself to get clearer and clearer and clearer step to understand how you’ve been thinking about the project thus far, and do some self coaching on that. Make sure that your thoughts and feelings are going to lead you to the outcome that you want. Step three, determine how much time is reasonable to spend on it either daily or weekly. Don’t make it so black and white, but really tried to set some parameters for yourself. So it’s not always hanging over your head so that you don’t feel guilty about not working on it. 24/7 Step four, evaluate and adjust. Ask yourself, what’s working, what’s not working? What do I want to do differently. And then step five, celebrate the small victories. Don’t withhold pride, and celebration from yourself until the project is fully complete. That’s going to take forever. Like if I eventually write a book, I can’t withhold pride and celebration for the full two years. Until the book is actually complete. What I need to do is, every time I sit down to write, I need to celebrate. Every time I complete a chapter I need to celebrate every single time I have a meeting with an editor I need to celebrate. So allow yourself to celebrate wins along the way. Every day that you complete what you said you were going to do or even close to it or even tried or even half of it. When every week that you complete a goal when so set small goals for yourself. So if the goal is one hour a day, celebrate every time that’s accomplished, celebrate with a dance party, celebrate with a popsicle, celebrate with I don’t know a call to your best friend. Celebrate yourself acknowledge the small wins. I think one of the big myths thinks that we do is we tell ourselves that we don’t deserve to feel proud until the goal is accomplished. And that is just not true. It’s not true at all. And it’s a very sure fire way to make sure that we don’t accomplish the goal. Because remember, people with ADHD lack dopamine, we have fewer dopamine receptors, meaning that our brain receives less dopamine than the average brain, what is the dopamine it is the feel good drug. So it allows you to feel rewarded for the small things that you do. Because our reward system is effectively broken, we need to put in external rewards, we need to manufacture that for ourselves. So every time you accomplish a small step along the way, celebrate every time that you sit down to do the thing that you said, you’re going to do frickin celebrate every single time that you allow that discomfort to be in your body, and you do the hard thing anyway, you’re one step closer to your goal, it’s a win, and you deserve to celebrate. So make sure that with these big projects that feel kind of long term, undefined hard, make it very, very clear, break it down into extremely small steps. And then make sure to celebrate every single win. Okay, what’s going to happen now is that I am going to share a coaching call that I did with one of my clients, and it is on this exact topic. If that is interesting to you. Perfect. What we’re going to do is transition to that conversation with her. What she is struggling with is she wants to apply to grad schools at the end of the summer. But it feels like a long term project that’s undefined. She’s got a lot of time on our hands. And she’s not really sure where to fit this in. Because as you know, when you have a lot of time in your hands, you often get less done. So what does it mean to apply to grad schools? How can we make that happen for her? How can we define the scope of the project and break it down? We’re going to walk you through that entire process. Please enjoy this conversation. I hope it’s really helpful.
How can I help you? Yeah,
Coaching 1 22:14
so I joined my program like three months ago, because I’m finishing up my undergrad, but I’m trying to go to grad school and that whole bit. And so I was like, I need to figure out how to get my stuff in gear. And so I started the time management course. And then I kind of froze, because I like the structure. And I think it might work really well for me just the way that you have planning your week setup. And then I thought it’ll be summer, I’ll have time to work on the program. And I’m doing I’m working like a part time internship, and then have a bunch of free time that I could be doing. Like, I have a lot of home improvement projects, and then like, professional and like academic extra for like I need to be researching grad schools. And I thought it’d be easier. But I’m kind of paralyzed with the scheduling because it’s when I have like a more full schedule. It’s like, okay, you know, I have this assignment due Friday, that’s got to be done. I’m working full time I’m doing that. But now I have the part time job. And then a bunch of free time in which I can be researching grad schools or working on, you know, extra certificate classes or just doing other things are all you know, the tedious things, like how do I schedule that? Or it’s just random computer tasks?
Yeah. Okay. So first, thank you for bringing this I think that it’s very relatable that oftentimes, we ADHD ears. As much as we bulk against like
Kristen Carder 23:41
rules and structure, it’s actually super helpful for us, right. So to have the accountability of like, a class that’s in session with a due date, a project like that is really, really helpful. So what I’m hearing you say is,
Coaching 1 23:57
when it’s up to you to decide what to do with your time, it’s a lot harder.
Yeah, I would say no, especially like, when it’s less of like definable scope project. Researching grad school programs to be prepared for when I apply next year. That’s not like, I think I could check off of a list. You know, it feels like a lot of things that are always in progress. And I don’t know how to be like, well, that’s two hours and it’s done, you know?
Okay, so what if we question the thought that it’s not definable? That the scope isn’t definable? What if we actually make it definable? What would that look like? So like, let’s take the researching grad stuff. And right now your brains like this isn’t definable. I don’t know when I’m actually done. Like what is done look
Kristen Carder 24:52
like. Right? And then what happens is oftentimes You won’t actually even start because you’re not sure what finished looks like. Or you won’t even like make progress because you’re not sure how to define the terms of like, the scope of the project. So let’s make it defined.
Coaching 1 25:19
I guess I could be like, a slight, like having a certain number of programs I want to look into or like reach out to
Kristen Carder 25:29
Coaching 1 25:30
I don’t know week, I don’t know.
Kristen Carder 25:33
And what do you think is reasonable with that? Three? Okay. Let’s sit with that for a second. Because I have no context for it. So I’m curious, does that feel like a lot? Does it feel like too little?
Coaching 1 25:58
You feel like I have no context, either. I’m first generation students and like, diving into macadamias and figuring out but that feels reasonable from my like, and because what I ended up doing typically, when it’s like stuff like this is I’m just like, Okay, now I have 47, tabs open. Sure. Different things. And I don’t know, I’m not ever gonna close any of them ever. So. Okay,
Kristen Carder 26:23
so let’s, yep, I liked the idea of, let’s start with three. And then let’s give that a couple of weeks. And see. And you’ll be able to know, oh, I can do way more than three, or Wow, three is like, there’s actually a lot more involved than I expected. And I really need to put it down to two. Gotcha. So what do you think about checking in and even putting on your calendar, checking in a month? And see, like, is three doable or checking into, you might know, after two weeks, you know,
Coaching 1 27:01
generally duty tips, how to schedule all of the like, not big things without like, so let’s
Kristen Carder 27:09
just, let’s hang on first. And let’s go back to the research.
Let’s make sure the scope is defined. Okay. So we, you know,
you want to research grad programs, that’s what it is, right? Okay.
What’s the end goal? Is it to have applied by the end of the summer, is that what the goal is, be ready
Coaching 1 27:32
to apply? Because applying is in the fall, and it needs to be like reaching out probably this summer to potential mentors to figure out finding a grad school mentor that would take me in their
Kristen Carder 27:46
lab or whatever. So how would you know you’re ready to apply?
Coaching 1 27:54
Like, there’s a couple of programs that have interests me, but I don’t feel like I know enough about the range of options to start making decisions. So
Kristen Carder 28:04
you want to understand the range of options.
Coaching 1 28:06
Yeah, feel like, grasp on that. And then if it’s like narrowed down, understanding fully, like the work or the subject area of the department that I’d be going with, or the faculty mentor, I’d be going with,
Kristen Carder 28:26
understand the subject area of the faculty,
Coaching 1 28:30
like looking at their, like CV and reading the research and like fully making sure. I’m like, Okay, I want to sign on to this before, you know, commit in two plus years.
Kristen Carder 28:41
So the question is, so Okay. And this is so good, because so many of our members here are like, Yeah, I have projects that don’t feel definable. And here’s what I want you to know, I want you to keep the end goal in mind. And your end goal is I’m ready to apply by the end of the summer. But then we even need to define that. What does it mean to be ready to apply? And so you said I will understand the range of options, I will understand the subject area of the faculty. What else does it mean to you to be ready to apply?
Coaching 1 29:21
I think for the moment, like that’s it because I finished my CV this spring and I’m doing the internship thing and I need to get a couple more volunteer stuff checked off the list.
Kristen Carder 29:33
Yep. Okay, cool. Do you need to choose schools?
Coaching 1 29:38
Yeah, so like, that’s what I like figuring out is because I’m a geography How many
Kristen Carder 29:42
do you want to apply to?
Coaching 1 29:46
I don’t know what’s typical, but like, ideally, because it’s like finding trying to pre weed now of like, who I like and also who will like you know, give me money like me back. So I feel like if I could find like five A somewhat matches who’s seen, you know, like within my range, right?
Kristen Carder 30:07
That’s defined. Find five matches within my range. Okay, good. So now we have the end goals. And they’re clearly defined.
How will you know when you’re done, you’ll have five matches that you want to apply to. And so then we work it back, right? And so now, if you are researching three a week, and you’re keeping a list of like, yes, this goes on the this, this goes on the Yes pile, and this goes in the no pile, and you’ll have way more nose than yeses.
Because if you had even one, yes, a week is going to be too many. Right? Right, because we’re only looking for five. What you’re looking to do is research. And how long do you want to spend each week researching?
Coaching 1 30:59
I think I kind of thought a tiny solution while we’re having this conversation, you might have probably mentioned it I’m sure is why it’s coming up, is I think I just what I’ve been missing is the category of like admin time for myself, of just having like a bucket category, because that’s where all the tiny things get lost. It’s like that case, feels weird to scheduled pay this one bill, you know, which would pry is
Kristen Carder 31:24
hilarious because I literally have that on my calendar. today. I’m going to share my screen with you. So you asked, like, how do you account for all the little things like look, pay the workbook invoice them. Like I just scheduled it as a task because I hate doing it.
And it might take me that full 30 minutes and whatever, I actually have to write a paper check and write like address an envelope and find a stamp and put it in the mail. Right. So I want you to see that. Like sometimes I don’t schedule the little things. But today especially like it’s all they’re all the little tasks, and I’m allowing for more time, like I know that ads for reader are not going to take 30 minutes, but I don’t care, I’m giving myself 30 minutes. And if it if I’m distracted, if I need to go the bathroom, if I need to get food, whatever it’s going to get done in that 30 minutes, the workbook invoice, it shouldn’t take 30 minutes. But if it does, whatever it’s done, decide on a pod topic. Like all of these little admin type tasks, I put them as tasks. Sometimes I’ll block off an admin time, like you’re saying, and I’ll and I’ll have a list.
I’ll just write myself a list.
But as for today, I needed the specifics of like, here is exactly what you’re going to do. Like first you’re going to do this, and then you’re going to do this. Is that helpful to you?
Coaching 1 32:57
That is helpful. Yeah, thank you.
Kristen Carder 32:59
Yeah, you’re welcome.
So the question that I want to circle back to is, how many hours a week do you want to spend researching?
Coaching 1 33:09
Four off top, my head feels not crazy.
Kristen Carder 33:13
Cool. Okay, so in four hours, we’re gonna see, and you’re gonna have to play with it, you’re gonna have to like do trial and error. We’re gonna see if you can research three schools in
four hours. Right? So I want you to, I want you to really question the thought, it’s not really defined, it’s not really define that thought has really kept you from defining it.
So I want you to take your brain through this type of exercise as often as necessary, where you’re like, Wait a second. Don’t tell me it’s not defined. I can define it. Okay,
I know exactly what I want to do. By the fall, I want to be ready to apply to five different schools. Okay. In doing that, I need to understand the range of options, I need to understand the subject area of the faculty and I want to find five matches.
And so you’re defining okay, how do I want to do that, or I want to research three schools a week, I want to spend four hours doing it, I’m gonna have a lot more nose than yeses. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for it like you’re defining, defining, defining, so I want you to become a master Definer.
Got it? Does that make sense?
Coaching 1 34:29
Do you ever like, I’m in church, like with people struggling with like, when there’s more time, it’s like, Oh, my God, there’s if I only have, you know, okay, this task, let’s say I have no other tasks to do, which I do 24 hours a week. Right. Well, then there’s bajillion other hours a week, you’d think I’d fit in easier to the schedule, but it just like when you have something’s just scheduled, but the rest of it feels like it could be I don’t know if that makes sense.
Kristen Carder 34:55
Yes. So first of all, yes, it’s makes you Whoo. So normal here with us normal, normal normal.
What I want to say the way that I do that is I set strict time boundaries for myself. So I only work between the hours. Well, now it’s all like, messed up because of summer. But as of two weeks ago, I only work between the hours of 10 and four.
That’s all I got. And if it doesn’t get done in between those hours, it doesn’t get done. Because I’ve got other stuff to do with my life. And work is one of the things that I do. But it is not the only thing that I do. So I would really encourage you to set some strict time boundaries for yourself and convince your brain this is the only time I have to get it done.
That also means that when somebody reaches out and they’re like, Hey, have you Let’s go for coffee during this time that you’re like, no, sorry, that’s my work time. So it’s hard. But it certainly helps our brains to have more urgency.
Because it’s like, this is the only time I can get it done. So I would encourage you to set work hours.
So maybe it’s like, I have no idea. But I’m just like so you have your your part time job that you’re doing that I would set part time work hours for yourself, like this is my job.
And I need to get it done between this time and this time. What are your thoughts on that?
Coaching 1 36:30
I like that a lot. When I read through the workbook originally, it’s something though that I thought might be a useful alteration for me and like my life is like a college student. Having it is like if I can get to the place where I have the schedule pre planned and I can know the layout of my week, because college didn’t suck at planning things you want to do just today. And I feel like saying always making it a no is it like useful it will make my social life and mental health battling is having like a swap system. Like if I’m supposed to be studying for two to four, and you know, at the library and that friend pops up, I’m gonna go grab coffee right now. If I change it, it’s then my job to swap out something else. So it’s because I’ll do it later and then later never happens. It’s like, if I’m missing my two to three Tuesday study slot, that means my two to three free time slot on Thursday. That’s now my study slot. I don’t know.
Kristen Carder 37:25
You’re me. I love that. And I think that, again, if we just allow there to be some gray area, and just trial and error, we’re going to be creative. We’re gonna see what works, we’re gonna see what doesn’t work. And then just allow yourself to tweak, allow yourself to be like, Okay, last week, this worked really well. But this one thing didn’t work out. So great. Let me let me see if I can tweak it this time. And the time management workbook is next up on my list to revise because I feel like the four year three year ago version of me that wrote it is a lot more flexible now. Just so you know, just so all of you know, like, if you’re like this sounds like really rigid. Well, yeah, that was three years ago, me. So we’re gonna like be a little more flexible, and give ourselves grace. But also understanding that like, time boundaries are so hard for us ADHD years. And just like you said, when you have more time, we seem to get less done. So creating those guardrails for ourselves where it’s like, this is the only time I can get it done. So I better you know, I better get it done is really helpful.
All right, my dear. I hope that was so helpful for you to hear me walk my client through this process. There are so many long term undefined tasks in our lives that can be really hard to accomplish. And if we’re not managing our thoughts, and our emotions, they may never get done. So I want to remind you clearly define the scope. Notice your thoughts and feelings and coach yourself into emotions that serve you determine the time that you want to spend on it and schedule it, evaluate and adjust and then celebrate your small wins along the way. I am cheering for you. I’ll see you next week.
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