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March 17, 2010

Adults with ADD: Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Posted in: Organizing with ADD

butterflyWhen you make a change in your life—presumably to better manage your Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)—what's the hardest part?

If you ask me, the hardest part of making any change is that there is a stage in the process in which you are guaranteed to be uncomfortable.

If change was easy, we'd all be in great shape, get places on time every time, be completely organized, and get along well with every member of our families.

If it was easy to make changes in our lives, we'd all have everything we ever wanted. But life doesn't work that way, does it?

Specifically when it comes to managing adult ADD, the changes you want to make and the skills you want to learn don't come easy. They take time, energy, patience, and practice. They may manifest in stages and layers, too, coming together one piece at a time.

The process of learning certain skills can be slow, tedious, boring, and even painful. It's downright uncomfortable! But the process is necessary.

Let's look at a few examples using the 5 Essential Skills for Managing Adult ADD, from my book, Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD:

Example #1: Breaking the Cycle of Overwhelm

When learning how to Break the Cycle of Overwhelm, you have to learn how to take really good care of yourself, and that often means creating strong boundaries and saying "no."

I've worked with a number of clients who say "yes" to everything because they feel guilty saying "no." They get roped into all sorts of commitments—from volunteer work to airport pickups to doing other people's work—because they are afraid to say "no."

Saying "no" can be dreadfully uncomfortable. But until you learn how to do it, you'll find yourself stressed out and over-committed.

Example #2: Taking Control of Your Space

When learning how to Take Control of Your Space, you have to learn how to create organizational systems that work specifically for you. This means spending time straightening up and organizing your stuff.

I've worked with a number of clients who have unrealistic expectations when it comes to getting organized. They convince themselves that they can transform into Martha Stewart overnight, just because they want it bad enough! But they often burn out and give up when they realize that getting organized requires an investment of time and energy that they're not used to making.

Getting organized, throwing out junk, and creating systems can be awfully boring and uncomfortable. But if getting organized is really important to you, then it's necessary to jump in (with realistic expectations) and spend more time and energy than you have in the past.

Making any positive, lasting change in life requires steps that are uncomfortable, but necessary.

The good news is that uncomfortable feeling is often a cue that you're moving in the right direction!

You can expect that some of the changes you make when learning to manage your ADD will be difficult. Make it easier on yourself and get comfortable being uncomfortable.


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