With ADD or ADHD, we need routine and schedule, in order to have structure in our lives. Maybe this is less important for vanilla people, who are free to live in the moment and be spontaneous and just follow any opportunity, attraction or whim that comes up (I don’t really believe this), but for us, structure frees us to be effective and not disorganized and stressed out.
So, since I retired, I am needing to:
1. Write down goals, and then strategies for reaching them.
And seeing the list of all the goals helped me prioritize, which I am no good at. What is important? What will pay off, will help me reach my longer term goals? When we have ADD ADHD, we have a lot of interests, lots of things we want to do; we want to do all of them and it’s hard to prioritize and hard to let go of any of them.
2. Make a schedule for a typical day (do we actually have any “typical” days? Is this a process designed to create more frequent typical days?) What’s the best time to do my various exercise routines? To do my Spanish?
3. Make a weekly schedule, using the typical day schedule plus whatever else is on for this week.
4. Make a to do list each day, and then a second one limited to five items. And on some days, just one item (so I can actually focus).
5. Watch out for distractions – “Is this a distraction? How is this helping me? What is the payoff? Is this the best use of my time right now?”
(Just read a great book, Fooling Houdini, which was helpful for recreation and also happened to have some useful information. So I got interested in magic, and wanted to go to the library and get books on card and coin tricks. But wait! Nothing wrong with that, but clearly it is a DISTRACTION. I have a lot of other things to do which I would also enjoy and that would be more productive. Magic can be pretty low on my list of priorities.)
6. Simplify- cut down on my facebook and linked in and other connections. Pick out one book to work on for now (either psychiatric emergency services or marriage); focus on two songs and learning the fretboard. The Youtube will have to wait.
7. Remember (how could I forget?) that the schedule and to do lists are flexible, just guidelines, depending on what comes up (doesn’t it always?), but they provide that much needed structure. Otherwise, I’m just flopping around and stressed out, and that isn’t how I envisioned my retirement.
How do you prioritize, set goals and create structure?
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