Friday, April 20, 2018

Keeping ADHD Perfection in Check

February 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Coping, Ourselves, Success!

How do we self-monitor to balance our ADHD perfectionism and getting the job done?

Shooting for Perfect
There is room in life for self-expression in a perfect manner. If we enjoy some art or other hobby in our free time, perfection should be taken as far as we want. True perfection is infinite. It can never be attained. A painting we create for our own enjoyment is perfect only when it feels that way to us. There is no harm in spending years crafting that one special thing, if we find fulfillment in doing so.

When Deadlines Loom
What about when it comes to our more limited time – our hours at work or in school, or the time we must spend on getting projects done at home? It is in these tasks that managing and balancing our ADHD and our time is more critical. If something does not get completed, we are likely disappointing others or putting more pressure on ourselves to “catch up”.

The Fix
To keep our ADHD perfectionism in check with these tasks, we need a plan or a budget for our time. If we have an expectation as to how long something should take, we are better able to monitor if we are running “over-budget” and what the impact might be. A time budget is like any other budget – it is not a locked down amount. It gives us something to compare to and raises a red flag when we may have a growing problem with our efforts, our plan, or both.

There are many systems and approaches to planning, but it can be as simple as a note pad with lists of tasks and a calendar.

Start by listing all of your most pressing tasks, with approximate times and due dates. For more complex projects, break them down into steps of no more than a few hours. Be generous with the allotted time. It is much more encouraging to complete steps within the planned time, rather than feel you are losing ground with each task.

Using the calendar, drop notes into the available days, showing what can be completed each day. Allow room for the unplanned surprise that will likely come up and leave an occasional day open. Monitor the schedule throughout the various tasks to determine if adjustments need to be made.

If we periodically compare the plan to our progress, we can quickly see if we need to wrap up our work quicker, possibly eliminating extra details that are not critical to getting the job done. We have a better chance of determining if we have gotten off track and can adjust our focus to what really matters.

If after falling behind, we see that the task is just bigger than we first expected, we will discover that fact in time to adjust our schedule accordingly.

A third possibility exists. We may find that the task at hand was worth doing when we thought it would take 2 hours, but now that we see it will really be 10 hours it may not be practical to continue. Having wasted 2 hours is better than losing 10 hours on a project that’s taking us away from the other, more important demands in front of us.

How do you manage your time and stay on task? Please share your comments below.

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One Response to “Keeping ADHD Perfection in Check”
  1. AJ says:

    I have always been a perfectionist. I once forgot about a deadline (classic, right?) and then spent the next hour crying and trying to figure out where to even start. If I couldn’t do it perfectly, I didn’t want to do it. The problem is that I forget deadlines. My perfectionist (not ADHD in the least) friend turns her stuff in days ahead of time – I turn mine in on time (barely) and after working on them as long as possible.

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