Boring is Better When you have ADHD
People with ADHD only spring to life when excitement sizzles and chaos abounds. How could boring be better?
Let me give you one example:
I have a friend with ADHD whose mother-in-law was having a birthday. Despite the challenges of shopping amid coronavirus shutdowns, she managed to buy and wrap a birthday present AHEAD of time. When her husband asked if she had bought anything for his mother, she proudly went to the closet and retrieved a beautifully wrapped present. It went without saying that her husband was very happy!
When I complimented her on planning ahead, my friend shared that her success hadn’t brought as much fulfilment as she had expected. “It was great to be ready to go,” she said, “but it was also a little boring. There was no last-minute flurry of activity, playing beat the clock. The gift was ready to go but it felt—well—so normal!’’
What’s wrong with normal?
So why did having the gift ready ahead of time feel boring?
When we have ADHD, it is easy to be reactionary. Ideas come at us like tennis balls. Everything we need to do seems equally important. Our thinking is often scattered, and we can have trouble prioritizing. Without a plan in place, we’re like the person who jumped on a horse and rode off in all directions at once!
Our minds don’t always operate at the same, steady pace as many people who don’t have ADHD. What’s ‘normal’ for them may feel mind-numbingly mundane to us.
Do we thrive on chaos?
Sometimes, we leave everything to the last minute because it cranks up the adrenaline. The resulting shot of dopamine—a feel-good chemical in the brain—puts us in a state of high stimulation. Being in this crisis state causes us to focus.
Living amid chaos may feel comfortable (even normal) for us, but it carries a big price tag. We become exhausted, let people down, and forget important dates. Others can view us as scatterbrained or space cadets!
Most of us living with ADHD already have enough stress. Admittedly, interest equals focus, but how could we find that focus in creative ways? Are there ways to get things done that do not deplete our energy but rather energize us?
Could there be another way?
What if you and I could pace ourselves, so that we actually had time left over for fun?
I have found that creating small-scale deadlines can be motivating. For example, if I have dishes to wash (boring!) I might do it in 15-minute breaks between clients (stimulating!). Having the deadline of an arriving client forces me to get into action quickly. Limiting the time frame seems to make the boring task more doable.
Like my friend, you may discover that that being ahead of the game feels just “too normal.” If so, I would encourage you to consider that less stress equals less burnout, which leaves more energy for what matters most.
People who have good treatment for ADHD do not have to depend on last-minute drama in order get the job done.
Boring can be better! Take the first step toward a stress-free life. Talk to an expert, today!