Expect delays. Time blindness, resistance, procrastination, perfectionism, and indecision are hurdles that can cause slowdowns, stumbles, or create roadblocks. It’s even harder when we don’t see them. Tired of stumbling between hurdles and roadblocks Moira shares how she’s easing the discomfort just enough to make it easier to lower or clear the hurdles.
Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle Podcast, for those of us with ADHD, who have had enough of trying harder and want to live a more comfortable, healthy, and happy life with less frustration and overwhelm. It’s time to get rid of guilt and shame–around having ADHD, our needs, and challenges through stories, knowledge, and humor to speak up about the experience of women, moms, and being late diagnosed with ADHD.
We can build acceptance and growing our self-compassion over time, to help us take care of ourselves, ask for help when we need it, and be comfortable with who we are. Join me, Moira Maybin, as I share knowledge about ADHD to make your life easier, and what choices you have to make your tomorrow a more ADHD Friendly day.
- Moira reveals her time blindness, resistance, procrastination, perfectionism, and indecision when it comes to created podcast episodes—some of them that were obvious and others that were harder to recognize
- Attempting to find ways to deal with her tendencies led to insights how similar problems and solutions can help in her writing and other areas of her life
- Moira shares how and why to capture insights, understand ourselves and our feelings to be able to recognize when tendencies aren’t helping us and having our own ways to cope with them.
- Time blindness shows up in various ways with challenges with perceiving how time passes, being able to estimate how long things will take
- Moira shares how she handles uncertainty with time in three scenarios—things she does daily, things she does infrequently and things that she has no idea about how the time involved
- Moira shares examples of how this shows up in her writing and her life
- It gets bigger and harder the longer it goes on, wishing it away doesn’t work
- It also relates to how we perceive things will play out, often it’s not as bad as we think it will be
- Doing something similar or easier to help grow awareness that we can in fact do this thing
- Prepare and expect resistance or procrastination to show up by having pre-established ways to get started
- Moira shares the concept of moving the goal post to build resilience, confidence and building up to more over time
- Moira shares how learning and hearing from others solving similar problems helped to get her going
- Perfectionism and indecision can be powerful together
- Indecision is a way to play it safe, to avoid fears and vulnerability about what choices or decisions we have made
- We can go around telling ourselves that may or may not be true
- Can show up as flight, fight, or freeze
- Perfectionism can also be a reaction to fear of what might happen or trying to avoid a possible outcome that we don’t want to face
- We can cope with it by starting with smaller tasks, trying something related but perceived easier that we know we can do
- Pausing here in the messy middle: problems identified, challenges recognized, growth occurring, it’s hard, awkward, and incomplete with some satisfactory parts
- when it feels like nothing is working this is normal and part of the process.
- What to do about it then? Take a break, ask a trusted person for some perspective, and try to remember that we don’t have to get this sorted in one go.
- We tend to forget insights gained—make it easier by having ways to capture details, processes, and the work that got you there
- Success is more likely if we limit change to one thing at a time
- Cultivate self-awareness, and self-compassion when our tendencies show up by first recognizing our feelings, instead of hiding or denying them
- Understanding our emotions and experience then help us to move or shift just enough to consider our options
- Moving the goalpost can make it possible to get going. Plan the first step, making it as small and easy enough that doing it seems possible to prove to ourselves that getting started isn’t that bad.
- Next episode, tips, and tools for getting started, keeping going, and getting it done, especially when we are dealing with our less than helpful tendencies.
Moira Maybin 00:00
I acknowledge with gratitude that I’m a settler who lives and creates on the unceded traditional territories of the Semiahmoo First Nation, which lies within the shared territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, and Sto:lo First Nations.
Moira Maybin 00:16
This episode was finalized and recorded while on a family vacation. Right now, I’m sitting on the floor in the hotel room between two beds trying to do the best I can with lots of equipment that’s not working properly. And some background sounds that I don’t know if you guys are going to get to here too. That wasn’t the plan. Yes, I did start the day before leaving. Because all week I hadn’t been able to pin down how to proceed. I really did think I could complete the writing and recording before leaving for the airport. To be completely honest, I hope to knock out two episodes in a new record-breaking timeframe. My ADHD challenges were in full force, timelessness, indecision, procrastination, and perfectionism. The difference is time, I recognize just how familiar they are for me, especially in writing episodes. I also accepted that the partial or temporary fixes I tried in the last year weren’t getting the result I needed.
Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle. I’m your host, Moira Maybin a woman mom, educator and I have late diagnosed ADHD. This is the place to practice getting rid of guilt and shame and spending more time with our strengths and passions. There are things that I wish I had known about my ADHD sooner that are allowing me to make different decisions to make my life more ADHD friendly, and I want to share them with you. For show notes including next steps, resources and articles on this topic, visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com.
Moira Maybin 01:58
I have loved writing these episodes so very much and struggled immensely with them. I recently attended a workshop presented by Jenna Avery of Called to Write to help common struggles of writers with ADHD looking for help. That workshop combined with the suggestions I was taking from Dr. Tamara Rosier’s recent book, Your Brain’s not Broken, helped me to wrestle, persevere and keep grinding to create episodes more easily. At the start of this episode, it ultimately led to an epiphany about the ADHD challenges writing brings up, except this epiphany was less about writing, and more about my ADHD. With ADHD we can experience extremes more often and easily. The things we love the most may also be the things that challenge us the most. The love/ hate areas of our life, often bring up roadblocks we don’t want, then we tend to stumble, get stuck, sometimes even give up on the things we really do want. We are not alone in this. They are common experiences made harder by tendencies. We also have tendencies we don’t always know are there. Sometimes they are evident. Other times not. They can be disguised just enough. We don’t see them there.
My newfound clarity came amidst a bundle of emotion. The first day of my vacation, a travel day and my husband’s birthday, I had self-committed to getting a few more episodes written while still needing to pack and check if our teens and oldies were ready to go. Clearly my time blindness was working overtime. As I slowly accepted that I couldn’t do all of this, a bolt of euphoria inducing inspiration hit me. Up to that moment, I had no idea how to begin. Even with all of this, surprisingly, I was feeling cautiously optimistic. Not that I was on the right path, because that doesn’t really exist, but on a path that felt worth exploring.
Moira Maybin 04:03
Part of building my ADHD friendly lifestyle is holding true to the idea that we do best when we know how to meet our own needs. Then with practice, freedom, space, and time, we can learn how to adapt things to suit our own needs. Doing just that, with the barriers to writing that were highlighted in the workshop made them so recognizable because they are some of my most familiar and stubborn ADHD tendencies. Procrastination, perfectionism, time blindness and indecision, suggestions for writing could also help in other areas of my life, too. That’s what got me so freaking excited. I felt like not only could I slay my writing demon, now I could conquer the world. Okay, maybe not the world. More likely this episode and get to the airport on time. So clearly time blindness still a problem.
Moira Maybin 05:05
I remember to first take a minute to gather my thoughts to have a way to capture the details, the process and work that led to the insight, we will forget. Oh, yes, we will. Even seeing how it can make writing easier, and make other challenges easier too, I had to ignore the temptation to pursue it all now. To increase my chances at building a sustainable way of writing episodes, limiting my changes to one area, not my whole life is the way to go.
I am still struggling with the perfectionism piece a lot. And after working on and reworking on this episode, for more hours than I care to admit, when it feels almost done, I realized it will be better for both you and me if I break it into two episodes. Today, how do we recognize our tendencies that aren’t helping us? And what are some baby steps we can take to deal with them? Then next week, how does the recognition and small steps help with getting started keeping going and finishing things?
Moira Maybin 06:14
All humans have tendencies tending towards certain characteristics, actions, behaviors, inclinations, or predispositions. Having ADHD means many of us have similar neurocognitive patterns and experiences of the world that neurotypicals may not have. It’s not surprising then that we can share tendencies too. How aware of them are we? Do we need to be more aware? They develop for good reasons. But sometimes those reasons change. Do we have some that aren’t helping? Maybe they did in the past. But if they aren’t now, do we have to keep them? Perfectionism, procrastination, time blindness and indecision. Those are four tendencies I have. If you’d asked me before I knew I had ADHD, I wouldn’t have seen them or had other ways to describe them. With greater understanding of myself and my ADHD, it’s an easy yes. To I struggle with him and my writing. Mm hmm. I didn’t know what to do about it.
Moira Maybin 07:23
I was skirting the issue by not understanding the sheer number of complexities that made this more difficult. Writing is hard. For a year, I haven’t given writing its dues. I did not recognize how involved it is. On top of that, I completely misjudged what it takes to write well and have ADHD. I didn’t know how to recognize or deal with my tendencies that have made this so very hard. Recognized or unrecognized. Our tendencies are there. When we don’t see them. We feel them. Love, hate, trepidation, inspiration. Impossible. doable. engrossed, withdrawn. My indecision can feel like confusion. I’m going around in circles. And I’m not sure where to focus. And that happened in the middle of this episode, too. I felt lost for days. There’s paralysis being frozen. And it seems I can’t move. Does any of this sound familiar? I hope it doesn’t, but I expect it does. The good news is you’ve done the hardest part, realizing your feelings.
dMoira Maybin 08:43
Learning to recognize what feelings we have when procrastination, perfectionism, time blindness, or indecision show up, reduces the chance they will get in our way. When we are mindful of what we are feeling. Next, we can be curious about why we feel that way. For me, those feelings are often more connected to what has happened in the past, not what is happening now. When we can understand why we feel a certain way, then we can make decisions based on that. It’s having a way to deal with what comes up without having it stop us in our tracks or leave us in an emotional stew. This is different than letting it go or trying to heal underlying wounds. It’s being able to be aware and acknowledge what we’re experiencing. And it can make it easier for that feeling to move or shift just enough to get ourselves on the path we want to be on. Or in the neighborhood at least. It was opening myself up to this idea that allowed me to recognize that these tendencies don’t just exist in creating episodes. They show up all over my life. It’s clear now that I struggle with perfectionism and procrastination in writing, and more areas of my life than I would have admitted a few weeks ago. I am not going for a total tendency make over though, I want to make it easier to create these episodes. Because for one, at least, I am putting in too many hours for each episode. To crack that nut spotting and coping with some tendencies is part of the challenge. It’s with a sigh of relief, when I realized that this won’t involve a major course correction. Now that I can recognize them, I can start managing them.
Moira Maybin 10:38
Okay, so how can we shift and manage our tendencies? Let’s start with a big one. I don’t know if there’s a person with ADHD who doesn’t struggle with time blindness in some way. Not all of us are chronically late. If we have anxiety, we may be chronically early. I am typically a maximum of five minutes late. And it really depends on the thing if I’m late at all. Time, blindness can show up in different ways. But it all comes back to challenges with not being able to estimate how long things will take. Or underestimating the amount of time things take. When we get surprised by the passage of time, either it’s very fast or painfully slow. That all relates to how we experience and process time. You can learn more about that in Episode 29, the one about time and energy. If someone asked me how long something will take the answer to that question really depends on what it is I am doing. I have grown my skills for the things I do regularly. And it’s helped a lot. I figured out how long those things will take. So I have a realistic idea.
Moira Maybin 10:38
The way I worked on figuring that out for the things that I think I know how long they will take but I don’t really know how long they will take. Once I take that Inkling I double or triple it. And then I get into the realm of reality. All of this involves use trial and error to determine the possible timeframes for me doing things. I like to start with the things that I do every day. Do you know how long it takes to make your breakfast? How about to brush your teeth? What about a shower and the various versions that could be? Most of us have different levels of grooming, that take different amounts of time. The answer to how long it will take me to do things that I don’t do all the time is harder. It might be a random guess. Or I could try to base it on my less than trustworthy memory of previous experiences. Now with a question like how much can I write in that timeframe? That’s still one, I have no idea how to answer. Knowing that I have a few ways that I try and answer when asked and I don’t want to take a shot in the dark. If it’s with a trusted person, and I’m wanting to develop some time awareness around this thing, I might actually tell them that I honestly don’t know. Then I’ll follow up with asking them for their perspective. If they know how long, it would take them. That can be fun sometimes, like if my husband says oh, it would take him 15 minutes to do the thing. And then we acknowledge that I might either be faster or slower at the thing due to our differences. It does help though, with the right people.
Other possibilities to figure out how long something will take includes breaking things down into steps, having targets and timing them, making workflows and adding in buffer and contingency time. Other options that helped me included trying out different ways of scheduling my time, like planning backwards, blocking off time than the schedule. Those things do help with my time issues in general. But for writing an episode, I still don’t know how long it will take. The time disappears. And it just goes on and on. I don’t understand how I can spend so much time on a single episode. Once it’s written, I am good. The rest I know the timing like clockwork. So to work on the hard part. It will also involve capturing through pictures writing voice memos, anything that I can come up with an idea to do to build an understanding, and then interpretations of what works when I’m going to try writing blocks, different lengths different times a day for more than a few times, like a few weeks at a time to build consistency and awareness. What all of these ideas offer are ways for me to create timelines to bring what I want to do more of into the current moment that can help me get into action as opposed putting it off until the last moment.
Moira Maybin 15:06
Resistance and procrastination contribute big time to putting things off. This tendency shows up in my writing before I start. And in the middle of writing, sometimes it feels like I’m going around in circles, not being sure what to write, being confused about what ideas to pick or where to focus. There’s times I can’t go forward, can’t go back, can’t get unstuck. I just feel blocked. When this happened, I don’t know what to do the best option seem to use the time for other things that are needed doing things I’m not stuck on. That doesn’t solve the problem. It just helps me feel a bit better. And it’s true to for other things, I procrastinate on phone calls, cleaning, errands, booking appointments, making decisions to name a few. The longer I procrastinate, the harder it seems to get the thing started or done, secretly, I guess not so secretly now, I just want whatever it is, to magically get sorted or go away. I can spend days telling myself I need to get started on writing an episode or getting back to a half written one. For weeks now, I haven’t been able to write what I wanted the episodes about being a mom with ADHD. When I’m procrastinating or struggling to get to work on an episode, I now have things to try. One is to choose to write something else. Something that I feel is easier to do. How this is different than doing something completely different instead, is that I’m facing part of the challenging task. Resistance and procrastination exist in part, because we imagined that doing the thing will be much worse than it probably is. By writing something else that I do feel able to get started on helps me to see that I can start writing. It’s not an all or nothing situation.
Moira Maybin 17:01
Pre thinking different options ahead of time to handle possible resistance or procrastination helps to so when we are struggling, we aren’t then faced with coming up solutions to this problem, too. It’s about having various ways we can prove to ourselves that getting started isn’t that bad. It’s a game of moving the goalposts to increase our odds of a win. Trust me, we need more wins. A goalpost that is far away or has a small target is hard to score on. One that is right in front of us and super easy to hit is a guaranteed goal. For you skeptics, I promise you if we move our goalposts close enough to get a shared goal when we have had enough of them to feel confident and able, we will move the goalpost. As a society we tend to put our goalposts too far away to start with, then blame ourselves for not having the skills, resilience or consistency needed to hit a hard target. Or if we do move the goalposts so we can score we don’t allow enough practice scoring goals before moving the goalpost too far away. Again, as people with ADHD, we do that even more than most having the first step, making it as small as we need it to be to help us demonstrate to ourselves over and over again, that it’s okay, then we can do more. With success, we build up to more over time.
While I have yet to see an end to resistance and procrastination in the writing of episodes there has been progress on other parts of creating episodes. I needed to learn the necessary technical and practical pieces to having a podcast and a website. And those aren’t where my talents lie. I’ve known for several months that I need to hand that part off to people I trust, but I have resisted and procrastinated. Part of my hesitation is that I like doing those part. And it doesn’t bring up the struggles I have with writing. I was able to learn how to do them how long they take, and it feels like an accomplishment with each episode. When I don’t have enough time overall. This is an area that I can accept help. But I explored ways to get help. And then would stop. I would tell myself, maybe I could do it still. I would avoid deciding making a call setting up a meeting. But what was really important is that if I accept that this podcast is a part of my real life, not an idealized life. It needs to fit within the responsibilities and commitments I have outside of creating a podcast and take up a smaller part than it has for the last year. Having helped will also allow more time and capacity to write. Even though I know I want to make that part small. Something had to change though. And as of this episode, I now have others to do the post production pieces. What made a difference? A little competition not really competition, but knowing that I had brought this up with Will Curb of Hacking your ADHD, and he acted on it before I did was one reason. More importantly, he told me how much it is helping him both with his creation and his time. He also made it easier for me by introducing me to the person he had hired. And since Will’s episodes sounded great, I was able to make an easy decision to follow his lead.
Moira Maybin 21:19
In the case of this episode, resistance and procrastination are no longer their problem. Perfectionism is I want it to be done this hours ago. And now I might be trying to record this with a show going on outside of my hotel room. Perfectionism can be joined by its friend indecision, and together they are a powerful force. I battle with not picking something as my topic. I’ve made content calendars and plan out orders of episodes, and then decide it’s not right. I outlined in my last episode, how I can get stuck in rabbit holes, have resistance paralysis and procrastination, when I can’t decide what the actual episode to work on is, by not picking, I’ve learned that it’s a way to keep it safe. Because once I pick something and put it out there, I feel my vulnerability and fear around it being not good enough. I can see all the mistakes I made. I also worry about what I didn’t include or do that’s more burden than I want to carry. And I can find myself looking around for an idea that I’m more comfortable with. Not picking is a way of saying I don’t have to do that. Until I put it off to the point that there’s no choice but to stare it down and do it anyway. At that point, it’s fight, flight, or freeze. And we all know one thing that does help me is to break down the steps involved. To create an outline with a timeline to focusing on what I need or can do in a current moment helps me get into action. It’s not always straightforward, though, I completed a detailed outline for an episode about being a parent with ADHD. And then I realized that there was enough of material in there for at least three episodes. And that’s when perfectionism wanted to take the upper hand and made it even harder for me to decide about what topic to choose. Once it’s three episodes, and I have to decide on the order for each one. And it’s like the cycle begins again. The songs playing in my head start up that it’s important to do a good job on these episodes. I know people are waiting for them. They’re looking for help and support. Why am I taking so long to get back to this topic? What if I do a poor job What if I get it wrong? I may be able to try and talk myself down from these unproven fears but they’re still there, I may be able to try and talk myself down from these unproven fears. But they’re still there. Once this tendency kicks in, and the closer I get to being done, the louder these thoughts can get. In this case, I didn’t decide about those episodes, I did something easier.
Moira Maybin 23:18
Now I can see that even when I do that, those tendencies are still showing up. Now I can see even when I pick something that I think is easier, these tendencies still show up. Perfectionism can be a symptom of fear, fear of criticism, of failure, sometimes even of success and attention. Perfectionism can also be used when we’re trying to avoid being uncomfortable about things big or small. I have struggled to finish this episode. So many times I have thought it was close. And then not. I think I’m happy with it. Sort of either way, it’s got to be enough. It’s what I’ve got for now.
Moira Maybin 23:18
So in closing for today, I’m leaving us in the messy middle. I’ve identified problems or recognized some challenges. I’m trying to grow, but it’s not quite working yet. It still feels hard. Creating this episode has had moments that felt good, but more that felt awkward and tough. Thankfully, I also know that when it feels like nothing is working, that this is both normal and part of the process, what to do about it, then take a break. Ask a trusted person for some perspective and try to remember that we don’t have to get this sorted all today. The icing on the cake. I was just asked how my timing was coming on this episode that I’ve spent almost three full days on now. My answer closer than I was last time you asked, because I still don’t know. Next week, tips and tools for getting started keeping going and getting it done.
Moira Maybin 25:30
Okay, you’ve done the hard work by saying to the end your reward. Here are the main takeaways from today’s episode. Number one. When we gain clarity, we can help ourselves by having a way to capture the details, the process and work that led to our insights. We will forget Oh yes, we will. We can increase our chances of success by limiting our scope to one area of our life at a time. Number two, not being able to recognize our tendencies, like procrastination, perfectionism, time blindness, and indecision makes life harder. Number three, we can learn to recognize them by cultivating self awareness and self compassion. Paying attention when they show up instead of denying or hiding them can help us to understand our experiences and feelings. And that recognition of what’s happening might help move or shift us just enough to get us on the path we want to be on. Number four, learning to cope with procrastination, perfectionism, time blindness and indecision starts with becoming aware of the feelings they bring up. Noving the goalposts can make it possible to get going. Planning a first step, making a small and easy enough that doing it seems possible. This way, we can prove to ourselves that getting started isn’t that bad. It helps to reduce worries about vulnerability, or trying to play it safe that lead to indecision, as well as reducing discomfort, fears or avoidance that can lead to perfectionism. Next week, tips and tools for getting started keeping going and getting it done, especially when we’re dealing with our less than helpful tendencies.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show and would love to hear your thoughts. To get in touch you can write me an email at ask@ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. Connect with me on my website, Instagram, and Facebook at ADHDfriendlylifestyle or Twitter @ADHDFL. Every episode has a website page with show notes, transcripts, next steps, resources and articles related to the topic. To get these visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. If you’d like to support the podcast, the best way is to subscribe on the podcast player of your choice and by taking the time to rate and review it there. There are other podcasts for your listening pleasure. On Hacking your ADHD Will Curb gives Tips Tools and insights. Brendan Mahan hosts ADHD Essentials focusing on parenting and education. Thanks for listening. See you later.