This is basically a guide for myself that I wish someone would have just given me rather than having to go through trial and error, weekly therapy, and testing of medications to deal with anxiety and ADHD.
My career requires me to be on my “A game”. I build process flows, analyze systems, and make sure everything is running smoothly. It’s something I love because it requires problem-solving, data, and combining my engineering and sociology background.
However, it might not be as obvious at first since I seem to be a fairly productive human in my creative ventures but it’s extremely hard for me to stay focused. I’m easily distracted and easily bored. For me once I fall off the wagon of structures of my coping strategies I go off the deep end and accomplish NADA
I’ve learned to recognize my patterns and pick myself back up when I catch myself slipping. Not everyone’s brains are hardwired the same way, however, we can learn and train ourselves to rewire our habits to become more productive. As an adult I was diagnosed with ADHD and Anxiety, I have some old tools I used to cope growing up to just try to survive and new tools acquired from therapy to begin to thrive. So since therapy is expensive, I might as well share my tips with you all on how I hope (of course this does NOT replace a trained professional).
Now, these tips are useful for everyone but if you happen to always be late, spiral into constant worry, or have trouble finishing your tasks and instantly wanting to go to start another project.
I take aside at least a couple of minutes a day to just breathe. When I don’t and forget I notice the difference. My brain is constantly racing so taking time aside just to breathe has relaxing and calming effects. Starting and ending my day like this has the best effect. In the morning I like to do deep breathes. Deep breathing has similar effects on Xanax and can help you cope.
Take 10-15 minutes to go through and write out everything that needs to be done for the day is the best approach to getting all those thoughts out of your head. Even if you don’t get to it, it takes up less space.
3. Time management !!!!
Now start thinking realistically how long it’s gonna take to get things done. Set due dates and timelines. Managing your time also means being stingy with it. I work in tech and love social media so what I do is make sure to designate social media. From 9-5 I do not log on to ANY platforms on a desktop. Now, this requires lots of self-control, but it’s def a way to keep ourselves I track and not be absorbed by phones. This is tough because we have our phones but I make sure to limit how much time I am spending on my social media accounts to have more human interaction and NOT be sucked away.
4. Remove Distractions
I get distracted super easily …. like way easily. Like I will be super focused on my project and then hear one thing and bam there goes all my focus. One of the ways I deal with this is using my headphones and playing songs on a loop to keep me in the zone. I turn off all of my desktop notifications and I put my phone away in times that require me to stay on track. And during working hours, I never ever sign into social media. I also do this when I’m with friends or around other humans. I know I will be distracted by the millions of apps and messages. So I make sure when I’m with people, they have my full attention. I put my phone away and don’t look at it until I have moments alone like on my commute or finally at home.
5. Google Calendars & Planners
I’m extremely forgetful and I am perpetually late to things. I’ve def noticed the later I am and the flakier I get, forgetting an event or not planning enough time the less organized I’ve gotten. When this starts to happen I unravel. No one is perfect so if you forget; that’s okay. The best way for me to do this is by adding my events in a google calendar. People who send me calendar invites are my favorite type of people.
6. Add Buffer time!
I add in a buffer time and alarms to remind me so I can plan accordingly. Things that have helped me cope have been to set my clocks 10 minutes ahead. So when I’m rushing and starting to panic I realize wait I’m actually on time, let me breathe. This is a trick my mom taught me cause she was always late for things. When I’m late I automatically go into panic mode, and feel guilty so to avoid this I have changed my car and alarm clock to be 10 minutes ahead, I also commute so there is no “I’m sorry” cause the train has left the station.
7. Meal Prep!
I have a busy schedule and leave my house at 7am and come back around 8pm. I’m a semi-adult, meaning I’m responsible for feeding myself. So by the time I get home I’m exhausted. Sometimes I’m rushing out my house that I forget to eat and end up buying coffee and get home and pick up fast foods. All of these BAD options! Lots of sugar, caffeine, and not enough fuel is the worst combination. So setting aside and making dishes for the week on a Sunday and putting them into containers has been the best approach. Takes one less stress out.
So important, I struggle with this so so so much. My mind is always ON so when I’m in bed all the ideas and thoughts come rushing. I actually started this post while trying to sleep. It’s not easy, and part of my make up. But to make it easier I set alarms to let me know “get ready for bed”. The best way is to resist the urge to lol at screens! Avoid your phone/computer. And turn on some calming yoga nidra (link). I also take melatonin when needed, but def let your doctor know if this is a constant problem in your life.
These are just a couple of the ways I cope with modern life and try to keep my life on track. I’d love to hear more from you on how you manage your life, work, and goals in a busy hectic world. Got any tips or things you found useful?