Back in the 1960s, Timothy Leary, a counter culture guru, advised my generation to tune in, turn on, and drop out. It was a catchy phrase and many of us took it to heart but in hindsight it was not great advice. My advice is tune in to the stuff you need to do, turn off the electronics, and drop in to your life. Start small by turning off your electronics, cell phone and computer for an hour a day and use that hour to focus your attention on getting things done. Don’t be afraid of missing out. People know how to leave messages and you can take control of when to read your e-mails, texts and tweets.
People with ADHD often fear missing out on whatever is going on so we tend to zoom in on all kinds of interesting things but ignore the tasks we urgently need to work on. In case you are wondering, the tasks you need to work on are the ones that will have a negative consequence if you don’t complete them in a timely manner.
Whether you’re a kid or an adult with ADHD, every day brings more distractions to deal with and new technologies to stay on top of. It may seem harder than ever to get anything done even when you want to. There are so many time suckers vying for your attention. Here are just some of them:
- You Tube
- Play Station
- TV, Cable, Amazon, or Netflix.
I feel lucky that there were a lot less distractions when I was growing up. Instead of listening in class or doing my homework I only had three main time wasters:
- Gazing out the window of whatever class room I was in.
- Incessant doodling, especially drawing horses all over every notebook.
- Reading comic books and trashy magazines.
Of course there was TV when I was a kid (I’m not that old) but there were only six channels, color TV hadn’t been invented yet, TV screens were small, someone had to get up and change the channel, and the reception was often iffy.
Today kids and adults have many more opportunities for distracting themselves. Instead of doing homework or paying attention in class they have an infinite variety of distractions some of them right on their cell phones and some waiting for them when they get home.
If you are a child or adult with ADHD you may notice that you have a hard time prioritizing, planning, getting started and finishing your tasks. Throw in a whole world of distractions beckoning to you with bells and whistles to stop doing whatever you are doing and check your electronic device and it becomes almost impossible. Remember, it is within your power to shut off the distractions and take care of what you need to. Turn off your devices and then tune in to what you need to do, turn off the distractions and drop in to your life.
Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach in Brooklyn, NY. She helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD with time management, planning and prioritizing, getting started with and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and improving social skills. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in downtown Brooklyn. For more information visit her website: www.bravolifecoaching.com or email Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org