This is hitting your inbox on Christmas Eve. Any other year I’d send you a sweet Peace On Earth Good Will Towards All kind of message. I do wish you all that. Yet, I’ve got something different on my mind right now.
Lately I’ve been thinking about an important ADHD Life Skill: the difference between CAN’T vs I DON’T WANT TO. Living with ADHD is easier when you know which of these is keeping you from getting stuff done.
(If you were a member of my ADHD Success Club, you’d know this already. And other tricks for making ADHD easier.)
Let me explain. We’ll start with CAN’T.
Think of CAN’T like hitting a momentary brick wall. CAN’T means CAN’T to someone with ADHD. Trying to do something when your face is smashed against the wall only leads to guilt and frustration. And, those bad boys don’t solve anything.
For example, on Friday afternoon I needed to review some information from my CPA. Nothing serious but I couldn’t muster the focused brain power I needed to do it after a long work week.
[SIDE NOTE: I know better. By Friday afternoon my brain is done. It can’t handle much thinking and attempting this project at this time was not setting myself up for success.]
And as expected, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make sense of the documents. I quickly realized, as I literally hit my head on the desk, “I just CAN’T do this now.”
The lesson? When you’re dealing with a CAN’T, pushing doesn’t help. Respect the CAN’Ts. You need a work around.
The moment I realized I was dealing with a CAN’T, I decided to do my CPA tasks on Monday when my brain would be fresher. Reviewing the documents would still be hard. Yet I’d be able to push through in small steps to get it done.
For me, a CAN’T feels impossible. There is no way I can do what I’m setting out to do.
Next, let’s look at the I DON’T WANT TO. Actually, I call it I DON’T WANNA, because it resembles a whiny toddler.
An I DON’T WANNA is NOT an insurmountable brick wall. It’s more like a fence you can climb over. When you’re up against an I DON’T WANNA getting started is hard to do. Yet, once you do, you can push through and get stuff done.
For example, last Saturday morning, Favorite Husband and I needed to clean the house. He was vacuuming and doing his part. I was writhing on the sofa whining I DON’T WANNA. Thankfully he has learned to ignore me and my toddler type antics.
Cleaning the house seemed hard. I didn’t want to do it. I felt a resistance. Yet deep down I knew I could do it. I just didn’t want to. When you’re up against an I DON’T WANNA the trick is to get started. And, once I used my favorite get started trick I was a house cleaning fiend.
Understanding how your ADHD gets in your way of getting things done is an important ADHD Life Skill. CAN’Ts mean CAN’T. I DON’T WANNA means use your ADHD Success Tool Kit to get started and you’ll get it done.
What’s the ADHD Success Tool Kit? You create this in the ADHD Success Club! (It’s where I also share my favorite get started trick.) Click to learn more so you set yourself up for success in 2021.
I hope this helps.
Peace On Earth and Goodwill to you and yours this holiday season.