Piddling with ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 515

Do you piddle?

I was going through my emails, deleting some and putting some into folders, which is like touching the same piece of paper twice, not really doing anything. I paid a bill and made a few to–do notes.  I studied the table of contents of the book I’m working on and wondered how to organize it better.

So I wasn’t just wasting time, and I wasn’t stagnant, but I was kind of procrastinating, not really accomplishing much.  I couldn’t get my teeth into anything significant.

Suddenly I realized, “I’m just piddling.”

My strategy was to get up and make the pleasant walk to the mailbox to get the mail. Now I’m back, and I’m writing this post, so I’m not piddling anymore. The break broke the spell.

The strategy:

  1. Recognize that I’m piddling.

2. Name it – piddling.

3. Do something else instead.


Question o the Day:

Isn’t piddling  a good thing sometimes?    


Bonus link:

Why more women are getting treated for ADHD (video)

add, adhd, coping with add, add strategies,procrastinating

The mountains are still there!



About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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16 Responses to Piddling with ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 515

  1. Maestrasasha says:

    We all need “incubation time” – it is part of the creative process. Perhaps that is what you have (with negative connotation named piddling)? If you think time spent pursuing your favorite creative endeavors is frivolous, think again. Saying yes to the creative experiences you crave leads to a happier, healthier life says, creativity coach, Jill Allison Bryan. Whether coloring, taking photos, writing, cooking, gardening, painting, knitting, baking, or taking in a concert or gallery exhibit (or taking a pleasant walk to the mailbox) … time spent in creative flow decreases stress levels, enhances memory performance, renews brain function, increases happiness, improves your mood, and cultivates confidence and self-worth. Not to mention it’s just good fun! Perhaps “piddlers” are more right brain dominant – temporal time – people trying to survive in a microwave high-stakes linear time world? Just a thought.


  2. Pingback: ” I Don’t Need Any Medicine!” — ADHD Tip O the Day 772 | ADDadultstrategies

  3. Scarlet-being able to accept who we are is a great gift. I like your insight, – disengaging our brain sometimes allows our creativity to come up.
    Thank you for your comment, no matter how belated


  4. homemakersdaily says:

    i LOVE to piddle and absolutely have to have piddle time. If I don’t, it means I’m too busy. But, of course, piddling can get out of hand really fast. Therein lies the problem with piddling.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    From what I read, although I do not have a strict definition for piddling, the process is important downtime for recharging. One should not expect oneself to be be productive all the time unless one allows for piddling.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gail B says:

    Piddling often helps me to be more productive. I find that I piddle after an extended high focus period or whenever I am avoiding doing something. My solution is to allow 15 minutes of piddling such as sorting emails and then going back to my To Do list. For the piddling after a high focus, I think of it like a break – similar to your walking to the mail box. If I am avoiding a task, I will try to break it down into multiple steps so that it does not seem impossible. It seems that I avoid certain task because I can’t see how to reach the end. The piddling lets me restart and take a fresh look at the dreaded task.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gail – small steps is indeed a key strategy.

      what is your strategy for limiting the piddling to 15 minutes?

      thank you for commenting


      • Gail B says:

        Doug, I have to time myself when I am piddling at work because I can piddle for hours. While it is relaxing, it is not always the most productive way to spend the day. I keep mentioning productivity because I found myself working 55+ hours per week at work and still couldn’t get all of my work completed. I started to track my time so that I could figure out the problem. Three issues were identified: too much piddling – sometimes to avoid a task, sometimes to recharge, and sometimes just getting lost; the second issue was that I was not accurately identifying the priorities and worked on the ‘right’ item in terms of customer service but not necessarily what my manager wanted done. The third issue was that I could not accurately estimate how long a task would take to finish. Tracking my time has helped (rarely work more than 45 hrs/ week now) even though I still don’t get everything done. The items that are left undone often fall off the radar. If something is not getting done yet is important….. Well I am still learning how to raise my hand and ask for help.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Gail –
          great comment. may repeat part of it if you don’t mind.
          We need strategies to control the piddling.
          Priorities is a booger.
          Problems with time! – I try to estimate how long it will take and add 50%
          asking for help is a great strategy, I too am still trying to learn how to do it; spent so long thinking I had to figure it all out by myself.
          Thank you for commenting.


          • Gail – PS
            also, do we ever get everything done??? I wonder what that would be like.


            • Gail B says:

              I cannot remember a time when everything was done. The closest I have been is when I threw away the To Do list that had become unmanageable. Figured that if it really needed to be done, it would pop back up. Some did; most did not. That is an entirely different story.

              Feel free to use my comment(s) when writing your posts.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. scarlet – what do you love about it? how does it make you fabulous?
    i believe you, but that has not been my experience.
    thank you for commenting


    • scarlet801 says:

      I love that it took me until Sept 2 to respond to you! … ha ha … no, I like piddling because it is a chance to just be me. I piddle with my blog, I piddle with my ADHD groups. I piddle with Nursing school. I accept it as part of who I am. Sometimes I make my greatest discoveries, find insight, or just find something truly enjoyable or funny. I do agree, though with your strategy. My coach said the exact same thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. scarlet801 says:

    I am an adult w/ ADHD and I love it… piddling or not — my ADHD makes me FABULOUS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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