ADHD, Decision making and Organizing
Decision making is the first step in all organizing projects. And when those decisions become overwhelming is when we become paralyzed. For ADHD and executive function challenges, decision making can halt organizing progress. There’s a definite connection between ADHD, decision making and organizing.
Too many decisions
It’s overwhelming to think about the number of decisions we make in a day. Research reveals that when we make decision after decision, we become frustrated, angry or anxious. Each day we are make decisions about literally thousands of questions or crossroads. When it comes to decision making, think about limiting choices. Keep it simple like just 3 -5 options, rather than ten or more.
- When you begin organizing, make decision making simple and easy. Start with decisions to let go of things that are easy to part with, you have not used or seen in a long time, or without hesitation know your decision.
- When it comes to the stuff in your life, one question can be all you need. Make decision making easy with one big question to answer: does this make me look or feel fabulous? If the answer is no, off it goes.
- Use the tournament method. Compare two items, pick the best. Use the “winner” and compare with another item, pick the best. You can divide items into four piles and use the tournament method too.
Good decisions start with wellness
It’s not surprising how much rest and nutrition play a role in good decision making. Research shows that a good night’s sleep makes for better decision making, improved retention of information and a better outcome.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Not only will you feel better on all fronts, it’s easy to make decisions and be productive. Start with an earlier than expected prep time for bedtime. It’s easy to get in bed when you are ready.
- Hydrate throughout the day. Our brains are need water.
- Keep protein handy. We can’t make good decisions with just snacks. Eating protein regularly helps us think clearly.
Resources for decision making
We know we don’t know it all. But that’s not a problem! We have trust resources to help make decisions. Our resources include an array of options, including our friends, professionals and the internet. Build competence and confidence with your resources.
- Start with your easiest way of finding information. Phone or text a friend or look online are the simplest first steps. Reading a book or blog can help you find the information you need. Add in a clutter buddy or paper partner. They are your trusted friend for decision making; your go to resource for no matter what the question is. Decide on what’s easiest for you.
- Take the emotion out of your decision. Think about the decision as if you were making it for someone else. Take a deep breath, do 10 jumping jacks, call a friend and share why this is so hard. Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen if this decision is not right. Then get back to that decision. It’s often not the decision at all that is hard but an emotion associated with it.
- Ask for help. It’s hard to accept ask for or accept help. But a partnership can make all the difference. Ask for help when you find yourself lacking a skill, not sure of how to manage technology or to speed the project along. Remember that in doubling up with a partner you have more brain and brawn to find solutions.
We all get stuck sometime. Find ways to help yourself with decision making whether it’s paring down, wellness, or resources to make decisions happen.
More resources on my ADD/ADHD pinterest board.
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Ellen, great breakdown of the organizing process as a “big” to do. You have simplified the overwhelming task in smaller and very doable actions. Those in need can understand how to take the first steps. As you suggest, if they stumble, enlisting help will provide them with the support and effective solutions they might be able to do on their own.
This is great advice for anyone who struggles with decisions (i.e. me), not just folks with ADHD.
Thanks Janet! It is hard for all of us!
Thanks Nancy! Doing anything in baby steps makes it happen!