How To Prioritize For ADHD Adults

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Topic: How to prioritize your to do list, the costs of not prioritizing, the benefits of prioritizing, the different ways to prioritize. See the other Adult ADHD Issues.

Facilitator: Pete Quily.

Thanks for Christopher Stanbury for taking the notes.

July 2013 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group

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.


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?

Affect other people so their lives are screwed up

Anxiety and stress ADDers are more stressed than most.

Create crisis as result of tasks undone

Eating properly and diet problems, forget to eat

Emotional volatility

Harms long term success

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

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

Important tasks remain undone

Increase in obesity (and possibility diabetes as well)

Life planning should be taught in school

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

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

Lots of half done tasks

Lower self esteem

Miss deadlines, opportunities

More abuse, etc

Poor life-style choices

Problems with relationships

Risk of injury i.e., forget safety equipment

Sleep problems

What works for one person may not work for another person.


4. Benefits of prioritizing effectively

Better self care

Better self confidence

Clarity improved

Group Exercise

Improved relationships Adders need to be better than most.

Increased success – reduced failure

Less confusion

Less stress

Longer life, better health

More free time as more productive

More happiness

More productivity

Personal satisfaction

Reach your full potential

Reduce list so it is doable, apply reality filters.

Set alarms

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 different ways of prioritizing?

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

Ask your spouse / somebody else

Break large projects down into steps

Do what is on your own list first

Do what works for you that day


Fear – What are you afraid of most?


Limit priorities / tasks

Most time efficient way to do task

People pleasing

Selective priorities

Simple / pleasant


Stress / reduced stress

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

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

Time long/short


6. What helps you to prioritize?

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

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

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

Have a someday / maybe list as David Allen suggests

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

Learn to say No.

Learn to set boundaries on others

Learn to set boundaries on yourself

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

Look ahead

Number in order of importance

Otherwise you set yourself up for constant failure.

Pick most important and ensure it is done

Schedule routine items that are important to you

Schedule time to re-prioritize list

Time cost the tasks on your list

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