It’s official — the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer are here.
Kids are out of school, schedules are relaxed, the sun is calling, and you’re having fun.
Or are you?
Summer is supposed to be a stress-free, fun time of year. But all that relaxing can confound an ADHD brain and drain any and all ADHD survival skills. It can cause us to let our guard down and ignore the important systems and structures that keep us on track the rest of the year.
When we start to ignore our ADHD management tools, things can get away from us.
And pretty soon, September will be here and we will find ourselves lamenting our disorganization. Frustrated that we didn’t complete our list of projects or dig out of the backlog that accumulated while we were reading a book in the hammock. (No judgment here! You’ll find me swinging in the hammock most evenings after work as well!)
Following are 3 tips to help you get through this crazy ADHD summer so you’re ready to tackle whatever the next season brings!
TIP #1: Set a Realistic Plan for Your ADHD Summer
Why do I say a ‘realistic plan’? Well, between vacations, a more relaxed work schedule, lovely summer activities, and the kids being out of school, you have to carefully consider what projects you’ll truly be able to…and want to…get done.
Yes, you may get the deck refinished or learn to waterski, but will you really want to be indoors finishing that website or reorganizing your office?
Will you be productive and creative when your ADHD brain is dreaming about getting outdoors or going on vacation?
Will you be able to manage a heavy workload with the shifting schedules and changing needs that dominate the summer season?
Probably not. So it’s important to do a reality check on your plans before you make them.
Here are some tips for making a summer plan:
- What tasks and chores are necessary for basic ADHD summer survival? What projects excite you and fit into your summer plans?
- Let go of those “should” and “could” thoughts. Instead, choose things that fit into thoughts of “I want to” and “this excites me”.
- Be choosy. Be selective. Make sure your ADHD summer survival includes selecting your ADHD priorities carefully.
A little careful planning now can not only help your ADHD summer survival, but help you create a fantastic summer.
TIP #2: Prioritize Essential Tasks
Want to know a secret I teach in my ADHD Success Club? You can still enjoy a more relaxed summer schedule without letting important things slide to the wayside if you prioritize your essential tasks.
During the summer, it’s easy to forget those ADHD time management techniques you’ve learned. And it’s even easier to allow a bit too much ADHD procrastination. Let’s face it, the beach, the pool, and the bbq are calling. It’s more fun to enjoy life than it is to deal with paperwork and projects.
I’ve run into this many times. I do great throughout the year. I use an effective mix of reminders and systems to keep me focused and moving forward. And then…
All of the reminders and systems that are in place in June easily fade away as the temperature heats up. Projects get neglected. Bills are paid late. The clutter begins to build both at work and home.
Unless you want your world to collapse around your ears in ADHD chaos, you’ve got to be extra, extra vigilant to make sure you’re prioritizing essential tasks you want done during the summer months.
I’ve found getting clear on my priorities and essential tasks is the key ADHD summer survival strategy to sustaining my business, meeting my goals AND enjoying my summer. All this needs the support of a strong reminder system and procrastination zapping to keep me on track.
How to Start Prioritizing Your Essential Tasks
The first step is to make a list of those tasks. What are your essential tasks? Working with your clients, paying the bills, refilling your prescriptions, doing the dishes each day? Figure out what must get done to keep your world from collapsing.
Once you have a list, create a schedule and a plan to make it happen. Lay out what will happen when so you are clear on what needs to be done each day.
Once you have a schedule, set up reminders to nudge you into action. Calendars, timers and apps are all great ways to nudge yourself into action.
The key here is to be strategic. Select only the very important tasks, the things that keep life and business moving. By prioritizing essential tasks, you’ll get to enjoy summer and keep your life together at the same time.
And, beware falling to the “I don’t wannas”. If procrastination slows you down, you might consider joining the ADHD Success Club.
TIP #3: Properly Plan for Transitions this Summer
Summer is chock full of transitions. In ADHD Lingo, transitions are the time it takes to adjust from one situation to another and they are a key time when people with ADHD can easily drift off and become unproductive. With the extra flexibility and lack of structure, you’ll be facing many more transitions than you’re used to.
But there is one great-granddaddy of all transitions — returning from vacation. There you’ll be, with your body right where it’s supposed to be, but your brain will still be gallivanting. That ADHD brain will usually take a few extra days to return from vacation.
How long does it take to come back? That depends. Everyone is different and you need to discover your own tendencies.
I’ve learned that it usually takes me four days after I come back from vacation to be fully up to speed. Yes, there are ways to speed up the process a bit, but if you expect to be truly productive your first day back from a trip, you’ll be disappointed.
So what’s the bottom-line? Plan for transitions and be patient with yourself. Accept you won’t be at full productivity when you return from vacation and plan around that.
Here’s a tip for helping you get back into the swing of things: Before you leave on vacation, create to-do lists for the first few days after you’re back. Keep them light since you’ll be in transition. But this lets you know exactly what you should be doing. It’s a way of easing that wandering ADHD brain back into focus.
Remember, even though you may relax a bit more during the summer, Adult ADHD never goes on vacation. Focusing on these three keys from your ADHD Survival Guide: Realistic Planning, Prioritizing and Prepping for Transitions, you will be able to stay on track and enjoy your summer.
Want to keep reading? Check out more info on how to put these tips into action:
TIP 1: SET UP A REALISTIC PLAN
- Magical ADHD Planning
- Hidden Cost of Procrastination
- How to Manage Adult ADHD – Deciding What to Do Next
TIP 2: PRIORITIZE ESSENTIAL TASKS
- Top Time Management Apps
- ADHD and Priorities – How to Decide What’s Important
- Got ADHD? Focusing on Priorities Isn’t Rocket Science
TIP 3: PLAN FOR TRANSITIONS