Those Boring Tasks that ADD / ADHD Adults Avoid
In the last post, I described the concept of “dog tasks:” the mundane, tedious type of work that give ADD / ADHD Adults such a hard time. Without a strategy, we would put off walking those dogs forever!
Have you been waiting for a sudden burst of motivation to handle your dogs? This may work for a once-in-a-while dog. But what about dogs with deadlines, a promise to someone else, or an obligation to a client? You usually can't count on motivation for a boring or unpleasant task. With a deadline, we're often rescued by a last-minute rush of ADD adrenaline to get the work done.
The toughest dogs for most people with ADD/ADHD are open-ended projects, where there's no definite deadline to drive you to action.
Three Steps to Taming Dogs without a Deadline
1. Create a deadline – If you don't have a real deadline, make one up. Make a serious commitment to yourself to have the project complete by this deadline and put it on your calendar.
2. Break the task into steps – Creating a list of steps allows you to gain a sense of completion as you finish each one. Assign a deadline for each step, working back from the main deadline.
- Don't forget to include pre-steps! For example, if your project is to create shelves for the garage, you'll first need to measure the space and take inventory of what has to go on the shelves, before you cut the wood. And before that, your pre-step may include looking for the tape-measure and saw!
3. Schedule “DOG TIME” – Here is the key to your strategy. Create a routine in your schedule of certain hours that you assign to your dog tasks. Since these tasks are tedious, you shouldn't go beyond your attention span without taking a break.
Think about how you'd work best when assigning your dog time. Things to consider:
- What's the best time of day for dull, routine work
- How will you avoid interruptions
- What environment would be best for the task (home, office, café, music or silence, etc.)
- Should you schedule a variety or single task at a time
What has worked best for you in handling your paperwork dogs? This time of year, you'll find me doing my taxes at my local Starbucks!