I have a confession to make.
Ten days ago, I returned from our family vacation. And I’ve yet to unpack my filled suitcase, which is still sitting on my bedroom floor. Every morning when I wake up, I look at it and make a mental note that I really need to unpack that annoying thing. And every night when I hit the sack, I make a 2nd mental note that I really really need to deal with this.
It’s annoying because even with these daily/nightly reminders, I continue to procrastinate. Most without ADD don’t think twice about such a little inconvenience- they unpack the day or next day after a vacation. End of story. For those of us with ADD, it’s this constant hide and seek game we play- we know it’s there, know what needs to be done, but we avoid avoid avoid. “It’s boring”. “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Or..we’re so used to seeing it, it becomes part of the landscape of the room.
A suitcase is a metaphor of sorts for our ADD brain. We can keep it closed and no one can visibly see the tangled mess inside. If we’re trusting or alone, we open it to see the disorganization of our thinking processes and how it affects the world around us. Either way, the stuffed, disorganized suitcase is there and we know it. And we kick ourselves over it.
It’s not something people with ADD do on purpose– this pack ratting away of chores that need attending to. Our ADD brain makes it hard to deal with seemingly easy tasks because well, they aren’t easy at all! How do you transition from something you’re hyper focused on and enjoying, to doing something that’s painfully boring? Our poor sense of time makes the task seem like a 2-hour chore when in actuality, it probably would take only 10 minutes to take care of.
I know that at some point, I will get so annoyed with myself, that I will run in and remove everything from that box and put everything away. Once, it took over three months to get to that point of disgust. Ok, maybe six.
When you are faced with a chore or project that stops you dead in your tracks, whether it’s because it seems too difficult, too boring or too time-consuming, remind yourself: by putting in a mere 10 minutes, you will take away hours and hours of self-deprecation, obsessive thinking, and in cases like this, one heck of an eye-sore.
What’s in your “suitcase” that needs tending to? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
** Do you need support and guidance in managing your own suitcase? Join the Queens of Distraction and let me and your fellow Queens help you get rid of clutter, finish projects and enjoy the camaraderie of those who truly “get” ADD.
This is exactly me! EXACTLY. I know the tasks don’t take that long in reality, but I am so overwhelmed just looking at them that I am frozen. For me it’s putting laundry away, and so the piles grow and then everyone is more used to fishing for clothes in the piles that when the stuff does get put away in drawers, no one can find anything! And each time I swear I’m going to put stuff away quickly, when it’s small and doable instead of waiting until it’s a mess… and yet it never happens. The same goes for decluttering — the mere thought of starting can drive me to tears. So frustrating!
Kendra, I think we can all relate to those struggles. I sure can! How about adding tasks to your calendar, ie put away laundry each Sunday afternoon? (just an example).
OMG this sounds all too familiar! I have lots of of those eyesores laying around that need tending to – and I know I will get to it “soon”.
I thought I was the only one with this problem!
I have a pile of clothes that I removed from my closet (2 years ago) because they no longer fit me, and I was going to give them to Goodwill ( which is about 2/10 mile away). But they are still there. I have a box of junk that I removed from my cubicle at the last decent job I had gotten fired from – 5 years ago – still untouched in my bedroom.
Not to mention the pile of papers that is piled next to the shredder (about 6 months worth) that I intend to shred “today” – to get rid of.
And that is just a few examples of piles of stuff that needs to go away. I feel so hopeless
to make it stop happening.
Stephanie, instead of looking at all of those “to-dos”, can you just pick ONE and spend 10 (or 12) minutes working on it?
I have a solution for this problem.
I devote 12 minutes a day to things that need “unpacking”. Sometimes I really get going and spend more time BUT if I devote the 12 minutes, I consider my day is done.
The surprising matter? Just putting in those few minutes — not even a quarter of an hour a day — makes a difference. It accumulates!
We’re not helpless. We just have to devote 12 minutes a day.
Nona, I love your tip. Thanks for sharing! I was trying to beat your 12 minutes when I unpacked my suitcase just now- it was 15, but I’ll take it! 🙂
ME TOO, Nona. Great concept. NOW I need to figure out how to make it a habit.
Sounds like. I need to get my head together and so hard. I just joined and I feel this going to really help. Thanks for being here for me..
Sandy, so glad to have on board. Did you mean the Queens of Distraction group? 🙂
Oh my gosh, this is one of my biggest problems too! It’s so tedious, so many other things I’d rather be doing. My laundry all gets washed every week, but then the clean clothes sit in the clothesbaskets for WEEKS, and like you said Kendra, my family is used to fishing through the clothesbasket for what they want. Sometimes (rarely!) I actually get everything folded AND put away and it feels SO GREAT, but laundry is neverending, so then several weeks go by where I don’t get it put away and I feel like such a failure. Even if I put it on my calendar I can’t get myself to do it. So frustrated with myself!
Patty and all- these are HUGE problems for us. Check out my Queens of Distraction group- we just had our Procrastination Workshop today and we’ve cleared off shelves, filed papers, prepared for presentations and more. And I FINALLY unpacked my suitcase! 🙂
Stephanie, I am so relieved to know that I am not the only one that has various piles of stuff in my bedroom that have been there for more than 2-3 years!
I’m trying to write things down during the week so I can be focused on the weekend and not have to figure out what I need to do. If I try to decide what to do without some kind of list, I just get overwhelmed and I don’t do anything… But inevitably I remember something else that has a higher priority and my list gets scrapped! After a while, I just have a huge pile of sticky-notes with all of my to-do’s on them and no good way of really determining what needs to be done the next weekend!
It’s good to hear everyone’s stories and frustration. I have a box of slides to be scanned onto a CD, sitting on my desk for about a year, some of the slides in little piles under a piece of paper to keep the dust off. This is a low-priority project, so I think I’ll put them back in the box and put it in the basement so I can use my desk.
A few doors in the house need one more coat of paint. My changing-baseboard project in a bedroom is unfinished. I’m out of the house Monday and Weds mornings, so am missing QOD activities.
I so relate. My suitcase had been sitting on the floor 2 days when I read this. Thanks for the human-ness. Today I put 25 minutes into a boring chore. Feel better
BOY can I relate. It *used* to take me months to unpack, following a conference. Boggle bait!
I FINALLY learned that I, personally, NEED to unpack the minute I walk in the door, no matter what else seems to be demanding my attention in the moment.
Since I also FINALLY organized my closet and drawers (and squeezed in a bedroom hamper, it’s “relatively” easy to put things away (but don’t ask me how many years it took to put THAT in place.)
NOW I’m working on getting the suitcase back in place (trickier, since I’m currently in a apt. that is too small for me and there’s more involved).
Check out my new Habit series for help (and a sort of explanation for why it’s so darned hard for us to do!)
Good job on your site, Terry. At either ACO or ADDA I want to talk to you about how you got to this point.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to educate a world!”