I had to laugh when I saw the topic for this essay. At the end of each year I brainstorm topics that I will write about in the coming year. Then I make a list and assign dates as to when I will write on each topic. It helps me avoid struggling to come up with a topic when I need to out of the blue. It also helps with the avoidance of writing because I don’t have the excuse of not having an idea.
Aside from being an ADHD coach, I am affected by ADHD myself. Avoidance is something I struggle with everyday. I make excuses in my head as to why I am not doing what I should be doing at any particular time. Avoidance is a chronic issue for those affected by ADHD. I try to remind myself of that all the time. I am not a bad person or a lazy person, just someone who happens to struggle with getting lots of things done.
Avoidance is sneaky because we are often not aware that we are doing one task to avoid another task. We simply have a story telling ourselves that what we are doing needs to be done before or instead of what we should be doing. Here is the thing – it is a story. And not all stories are true. Often when I need to write something I find other things to do instead. I tell myself stories as to why those other things are more important to do. Sometimes they are but mostly it is just avoidance.
Knowing you are telling yourself a story can be helpful in breaking through the wall of avoidance. I try to ask myself “is this true or is this a story I am telling myself? What is the actual data of the situation telling me?” Data is key. For example, my newsletter comes out on Thursday so I have to make sure that my newsletter is written by Wednesday. That is data. What if I am busy all Wednesday. That is another piece of data. What it means is I need to start writing on Tuesday. Come Tuesday I can think of a hundred other things I need to do and avoid starting the newsletter. Stories about how maybe I could fit it in on Wednesday or how I could get up really early on Thursday to write it. Or an even better story is that if I just wait I will want to do the task so it is better to wait until I feel ready to start.
Being affected by ADHD often causes us to struggle to get stuff done in a timely manner. Unfortunately there are no easy answers. If we remember that we often tell ourselves stories to avoid doing things we can sometimes stop the storytelling and look at the facts. Then take action.