Bonnie

Breakthrough Solutions

for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults

Bonnie Mincu

Senior Certified ADHD Coach

Get Training, Strategies and Insights

It becomes clear when you think about it

When we aren’t moving forward on getting something done, we tend to fall back on the same old typical Adult ADD / ADHD catch phrases:

  • I’m procrastinating
  • I’m overwhelmed
  • For some reason, I just can’t get myself to do it

Something my ADHD Coaching client Jake said today reminded me how often we aren’t identifying the REAL roadblock.

Jake had fallen into a river a few months ago while working overseas.  The mishap resulted in an injury that required surgery.   Unable to work, much of Jake’s time since then had been taken up in dealing with insurance companies, disability payment paperwork, physical therapy and the like.   Although it sounded like a time-sucking nightmare for someone with ADD / ADHD,  Jake was doing well dealing with the obvious discomfort and bureaucratic hassles from this incident.

But Jake mentioned he was procrastinating on scheduling a long overdue consultation with an attorney on an important family matter.    When I asked what was getting in his way, he said he didn’t remember the attorney’s name, which was hidden in his non-working iPhone.

It turned out that Jake’s iPhone had fallen into the water with him.  Although the phone was retrieved, it was now a useless piece of plastic.   Like many of us nowadays, Jake stored his “whole life” in the phone.   That included contact information, appointments, notes, passwords, ideas, status of projects – everything.

Unfortunately, the phone had not been synced with his computer, so there was no back-up of the data.

It was only in talking about the attorney call that Jake realized how often his missing data was holding him back from getting started on other projects as well.  So much important information pertaining to all of his projects was lost that it was quite demotivating to have to reconstruct things again from scratch.   Just thinking about starting brought on an unsettling feeling of ambiguity.

So the REAL first step in moving forward would be to attempt to retrieve Jake’s information from the phone’s computer chip – or perhaps from cyber-space.    A trip to the Apple store was suddenly bumped up to first place on the to-do list!

Next time you find yourself procrastinating “for some reason,” visualize yourself starting and try to identify the real stumbling block. Then you can create a specific small action to break the impasse.   That first step becomes a lot easier once you see clearly what it is.

Are you avoiding starting something “for some reason?” What real stumbling block can you identify?  What is the smallest first step to break the impasse?

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Author: Bonnie Mincu
Senior Certified ADHD Coach, Founder of "Thrive with ADD," Bonnie has been coaching adults with ADD / ADHD traits since 2001. She has developed numerous training programs to help with the challenges of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

Comments

    dougger

    Fear of failing and being reminded of it prevents me starting.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Pick a very tiny beginning step that you CAN’T fail on and just do that. Then you can do the next small step, and so on.

    Dorothy Wilgus

    OMGoodness! That’s so me, and Jake’s example just helped me break a current procrastination item all due to work technology changes. It is a project I used to be very good at, but when the technology was changed.. . I haven’t been able to complete even one report! Now I am at crunch time.

    So today: I am closing my blinds, locking the door for one hour . I have a call in to tech to help with the first roadblock to the new system. . . Let’s see how far I can get in one hour.
    Thank you example “JAKE”
    DW

    Bonnie Mincu

    Wow, I can really relate to technology roadblocks! I recently hired a young man to tutor me for two hours on a tech platform where information was easily available to teach myself… but it felt easier having him show me. Good for you on making the tech call!

    Shannon

    This really hits the nail on the head! Too often I procrastinate a task because I don’t have the right tools and know I’ll get stuck in the middle of a task and create yet another mess to clean up. For example, I can’t get started organizing the family photos because in the pile are some that need to be framed, and since I don’t have the right frames, I decide to buy them “next week.” Or I don’t clean something because I don’t have the “correct” cleaning product. Or I put off a reorganizing task because I lack the storage containers needed for the accumulations of stuff. All I really need is a large trash can and to convince myself to use it.

    Bonnie Mincu

    It can help to break down the project into smaller discrete steps. Then you can start on each step knowing you have what you need to finish it. For the photo project:

      The first step would be to separate the photos into those that need framing and those that don’t.
      The next step would be to organize the ones that don’t need framing.
      Then you can make a separate mini-project out of shopping for the frames.
      And finally, frame the remaining photos.

    That way most of the project could get done quickly while you’re waiting for time to pick frames.

    Sabine

    My coworker once lost his phone on the subway tracks. He had all his contacts in there, and again that was before really everybody synched his phone.

    Bonnie Mincu

    That must have been an “AARRH!” moment with a huge temptation to jump on the tracks to retrieve it.

    Pamela

    This story is a 1968 equivalent to losing one’s cell phone to a watery grave. My husband and his college friend were writing their Master’s thesis’. All the writing was done on a manual typewriter and cutting and pasting was literally that! Our friend put the briefcase containing his thesis on Marine Biology, on top of his car while he did something inside the car. You guessed it, he drove off with the briefcase on the roof and at some point it fell off never to be retrieved! The only backing up in those days was to go have copies made, which he had not done. He started over, finished it, graduated and went on to get his PHD in Marine Biology.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Wow, that friend had tenacity. He probably lost a year off his life with the stress and anguish alone!

    Spud

    Clearly, he didn’t invest in the power of a SONY Z. It should be a real life-saver for people with ADHD like me who might forget I put my phone on a stack of clothes next to the shower… see this http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/GAD-comparison-sony-xperia-zr-vs-xperia-z-vs-galaxy-s4-active-4288889-NOR.html

    Andrea

    I can so relate to this! I have a new program at work that I’ve been hesitating on moving forward with. It’s 75% done, but I keep focusing on other things. I’m telling myself that I don’t know what to do next, and the whole thing seems overwhelming. But I’ve run these kinds of programs before so I probably SHOULD know. Hmmmm…

    Kimberly

    Oh, far too relatable. I have a glorious day to myself today, and so many things I want to do. I often get stuck because I can’t prioritize the “things to do”. Never have been able to! They all seem equally important! That it’s Father’s Day and I didn’t even send my Dad a card, swirls into thoughts about how bad and worthless I am. Certainly de-motivating thoughts! I also have the technical challenges, don’t know how to upload my pictures, let alone back up my phone, or computer! Lastly. I have concrete health challenges, severe carpel tunnel on both hands to start. Anxiety to finish.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Kimberly, I’d say on Fathers Day: #1: Call your dad. #2: Go to Google or YouTube and type in the question: “How do I back up my computer?” You’ll find loads of instruction for whatever computer or program you have. When you’re paralyzed by something you don’t know how to do, just type in the question and you’ll find the answer.

    The anti-virus programs like Norton and McAfee offer computer back-up service as well. When you subscribe to it, you don’t have to do anything; they’ll back up your data for you online.

    Kimberly

    Thank you Bonnie. I feel relief just acknowledging the truth.
    I couldn’t call my Dad, he’s out of the country till tomorrow…I sent a very sweet ECard from Blue Mountain and decided to buy a membership there for a year. I’m anticipating that it will help me when I run into the same issue over and over. Won’t be nice to be able to reach out to loved ones more easily!
    Thanks for the hints on backing up...will do later!

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Bonnie, there are no words to express how deeply I’ve been affected by your blog! I’ve only read a few things, but they have created such a complete mind shift that the tears shed have washed away my struggles forever!

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