Planning and Prioritizing

April 17, 2017 - 10:02am

This is the seventh in a series of articles about living with ADHD for families and adults put forward by the Prince Albert Branch of the Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan.

The purpose of the series is to assist those who live with this this disorder and their families to live better and more successfully with this disability.

ADHD is marked most often by chronic inattention, impulsivity, and frequent hyperactivity, coupled with inconsistent performance of tasks and behaviors. This disorder is most frequently observed and diagnosed in childhood, however for about two thirds of those diagnosed the symptoms continue into adulthood. The most common treatment of the symptoms is the ongoing use of a variety of medications designed to manage the symptoms.

The skill of planning and prioritizing is the subject of this article. Setting a goal, recognizing priorities, planning a strategy to achieve the goal, and effective time management are critical to success in our modern world. Getting lost or meandering along the journey is frustrating to both the person with ADHD and those around him or her. Jobs, chores, and activities don’t get done efficiently, accurately or effectively.

A seemingly easy way to start is with making time to plan. A written to do list with all the steps in the plan or activity and a calendar/ time organizer of some sort get the process started. A good idea is to start at the end and work backwards to the beginning, estimating time allowances, allowing some time for unknowns, corrections or redo’s and progress evaluations. This is much like planning a trip, knowing where you going, selecting a route, estimating travel time, stopping or rest points along the way, and allowing time for flat tires detours or other unexpected happenings!

It is best to start with short trips or small projects and to try to avoid perfectionism. It may be important to plan for evaluation/reward points along the way to reduce the project to manageable sized portions. An important element for many people is to declutter and remove distractions and obstacles as well as creating workspace. Many times in the workplace as well as in life, there are many tasks that seem to arise without notice. It is important to learn how to prioritize the tasks to plan the day effectively. It may be useful to ask the supervisor or boss what is the most import task on the list or which tasks have time constraints especially if the tasks come as interruptions to other tasks. Involving others may facilitate better relationships. Did we mention we should be writing the tasks down as well as numbering them for importance or order?

If you or a family member wants to improve their skills living with ADHD, you are invited to call LDAS Prince Albert Branch to meet with an ADHD coach to discuss how coaching new behaviors or skills can make life better. LDAS PA also offers an ADHD Support Group that meets every second Wednesday to help people put some of their ADHD issues into perspective with help from group members’ experiences. The group meets from 7:30 to 9:00 pm at the LDAS Center 1106 Central Ave. Please call 306-922-1071 to pre-register or to inquire into either service.

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