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Topic: How to Prioritize

July 2013 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group

Return to Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group Previous Notes Page




Facilitator: Pete Quily.

Prioritization is a huge problem for adults with ADHD. Here are some of the costs of not prioritizing effectively, the benefits of doing it effectively, ways of prioritizing, and what helps you to prioritize.

Thanks for Christopher Stanbury for taking the notes

1. What are your most and least favorite ways to prioritize?


I.e., Time, easy, hard, stress level, sort & simple (clear the deck), the fun stuff.


2. Why?


3. What is the cost of not prioritizing effectively?


Loss of time, money, health care (taxes undone)

Miss deadlines, opportunities

Affect other people so their lives are screwed up

Lower self esteem

Problems with relationships

Anxiety and stress ADDers are more stressed than most.

Harms long term success

If you know the cost, and benefit, of prioritizing, it will make it easier to achieve [your goal].

Life planning should be taught in school

Important tasks remain undone

Create crisis as result of tasks undone

Lots of half done tasks

Risk of injury i.e., forget safety equipment

Long term effect on health i.e. from high stress

Higher risk of addiction long term stress can increase risk of addiction which leads to even more problems

Sleep problems

Eating properly and diet problems forget to eat

Emotional volatility

More abuse, etc

Poor life-style choices

Increase in obesity (and possibility diabetes as well)

What works for one person may not work for another person

4. Benefits of prioritizing effectively


Less stress

More happiness

More productivity

Less confusion

Improved relationships Adders need to be better than most.

Longer life, better health

Better self care

More free time as more productive

Clarity improved

Reduce list so it is doable, apply reality filter.

Reach your full potential

Personal satisfaction

Better self confidence

Increased success - reduced failure

Set alarms


Group Exercise

Take five minutes to create a to-do list for tomorrow.

Then arrange yourselves into groups of three to compare priority choices.


5. What are ways of prioritizing?


Choose some that work for you - that you can do easily

Time long/short

Stress / reduced stress


Swallow the frog first (what you do not want to do)


Most time efficient way to do task

Ask your spouse / somebody else

Do what works for you that day


Selective priorities

Limit priorities / tasks

Fear - What are you afraid of most?

Do what is on your own list first

Simple / pleasant

People pleasing

There may be ideas here you have not considered. Which options work for you?

Break large projects down into steps


6 What helps you to prioritize?


Limit the things on your list. Having no limit is stress amplification.

If every day you manage to do ___ things only, then only put ___ things on your tomorrow list.

Otherwise you set yourself up for constant failure.

Boundaries - if you do not set boundaries on others, your plate is always overflowing, which will lead to overload and overwhelm.

Check out book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud.

Look ahead

Number in order of importance

Pick most important and ensure it is done

Schedule routine items that are important to you

Schedule time to re-prioritize list

Learn to set boundaries on others

Learn to set boundaries on yourself

Learn to say No.

Have a someday / maybe list

Time cost the tasks on your list

Do it at a time when you feel good, have the energy, when your brain is "on line".


    © 2003-2018 Pete Quily