Having ADHD myself and coaching people affected by ADHD over the years I recognized that we have a habit of creating complicated systems and processes that get in our way. The problem is follow-through. It is exciting to set up the system because it is “Bright, shiny and new.” Maintaining the system is difficult for us if it is time consuming or complicated.
The same is true with big projects and tasks. We spend so much time thinking about what is the best way to do the task that often we could have completed the task in the same time. Don’t get me wrong – we struggle with figuring out how to get started on tasks and how to approach them. Unfortunately we get caught up in trying to find the “Perfect” way to do the task and end up spending too much time thinking about method. That often means we run out of time to get the task done.
If both cases I try to remember KISS. Or at least my version of KISS that is “Keep it Simple Sweetheart.” I get that process can be important but you fail if you spend so much time on process that you don’t get the task done or don’t utilize a system because it is too complicated and time consuming.
An example I use often is how I paid my bills before electronic bill paying. I made a folder for every vender I paid a bill to. So one folder for electric, one for gas, one for rent, one for my landline, one for my cell, etc. I often paid bills late because I couldn’t find them. The reason I couldn’t find the bills is I never filed them so a huge pile of paid and unpaid bills would build up waiting to be filed which never seemed to happen.
Then it was suggested to me that I make one file for paid bills. Once paid the bill would go into the file. I argued against this because what if I needed to find a bill again I would never find it. It was pointed out to me that the bills in the folder would by default end up in chronological order so they would be easy to find. This was true and as I adapted this method I never had trouble finding an old bill. My initial system was too cumbersome and therefore I didn’t use it. We need simple, easy and quick solutions to maintain a process or get a project done.
So next time you are setting up a system or starting a project ask yourself intermittently: Am I making it so complicated it just doesn’t get done in time.