Wish Lists Vs Realistic To Do Lists For ADHD Adults

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Topic: Delusional Wish Lists Vs. Realistic To Do Lists. Pain vs Productivity. See the other Adult ADHD Issues.

Facilitator: Pete Quily

Thanks to Amy for taking the notes.

May 17th 2016 Meeting Notes for the Pete Quily’s Talk At The CHADD Vancouver ADHD Support Group (now known as ADD Vancouver Support Group )

I use this concept of how you can make your wish list more realistic and doable with all my adult ADHD coaching clients. They find it practical and useful.

See also my blog post Delusional To Do Lists VS Realistic To Do Lists For ADHD Adults.


Disadvantages of Undoable to do lists


Thoughts get lost in transit

Forget your haha to do list

Not sure how much I can do


Important vs. Urgent

Breaking things down

Not clear on responsibilities

No Boundaries

Digital/Paper integration

Wishes vs. Actual Tasks

No actual time/deadline.


Benefits of Doable to do lists

Self Esteem

Time spent worrying & anxiety/stress



Less continual crisis and chaos

Focus on what is really important

Less overwhelmed

More likely to do them – helps with other habits

Be able to truly relax

Good role model for kids

Reigns you in from distractibility


Reality Filters. Know what you are really saying yes to.

Vs people please now, or be delusionally optimistic and/or impulsive now, and regret later. Without reality filters, your to do list is usually undoable.

Secondary Processing is next to Godliness whether your God is God God or the flying spaghetti monster or anything in between.

The first draft of your to do list is a wish list. Not a realistic to do list. Do this first and then do a second draft by asking some of these reality filters or your own reality filter questions to make your list more realistic and more doable so you are more productive and less stressed and frustrated.

David G Allen – G.T.D. suggests to create a Someday/Maybe list or Possibilities list.

Every new idea or thought goes on the Someday maybe list that isn’t absolutely important or dire.

Commit to reviewing Someday Maybe list at least 1-2 times a week, and picking one item and running some reality filters to it to see if it is worthy of your time and life energy and worth putting on your task list or to do list.

Not every reality filter will be applicable to each project or task, but the cost of you not asking them, might mean undone tasks, procrastination, stress, guilt, and frustration.

You can modify delete some of these or add your own to customize this for you.


10 Reality Filters.

You don’t always need to use all ten and can add your own, but always do number one.

1. Is this a task or a project? Break it down into doable tasks for you. If it involves multiple steps you are unclear on, it is a project.

2. Estimate time of the different tasks to be able to estimate the total project time. Add your ADHD delusional multiple. I.e., how long you think it will take vs how long it actually takes. Do you need to double your first guess, to be more accurate in reality vs fantasy? Or triple it? etc.

3. How much energy will it take? Mental or physical energy. Do the task when you have the best chance of actually doing it.

4. How much money will it take

5. Do I need to do something to prepare before doing it? Is there something that comes ahead of it?

6 a) What possible obstacles might be in the way to finishing it?

b) How can I deal with these obstacles?

7. Is there any support I can get?

8. Do I need to learn any skills?

9. Can someone else do this? Hire? Pay? Barter?

10. Is it in line with my strengths and values? Why am I doing this?

Related Adult ADHD Issues Posts

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