How often do you pause to think?
ADHD minds are usually running at full speed. From one thought and task to the next, we rarely stop to breathe, let alone think about whether we're focusing our efforts in the right places.
People who have ADHD don't have built-in downtime, which is why giving yourself permission to pause is one of the most powerful tools you can use to effectively manage ADHD.
What do I mean by "giving yourself permission to pause?" Quite often, people are afraid to pause because they're afraid of being judged. Some people may be afraid they'll look anti-social or unenthusiastic if they say "no" to a party, for example. Others may fear being perceived as unintelligent or incapable if they ask for clarification on an assignment at work.
But let me give you a scenario: imagine you are giving someone at work a task that is new to them. When you're finished with your explanation, you ask if they have any questions. Their response is, "I don't have any questions right now but I'd like to think about it and get back to you." Does that reflect poorly on them? Or would you think it's a thoughtful, conscientious response?
This is what I mean by giving yourself permission to pause: recognizing that taking that moment to breathe and think is not a negative thing. In fact, it can be a very positive and powerful habit to cultivate.
Pausing is powerful for a number of reasons.
- It allows you to stop and think about what you're doing, whether you should be doing it and whether there are other options.
- It helps with time management because it forces you to consider how much time is required and whether you are able commit to it.
- It helps manage our emotions as it forces us to stop, think and evaluate our responses. It also gives us time to clear our minds and come down from the emotional highs that lead to impulsive actions.
When you practice pausing, you are giving yourself a choice. It helps you create intent, which allows you to evaluate options and consider what to do next.
I suggest that you work on making pausing your default reaction. Even if you don't have questions, give yourself the opportunity to walk away, think about it, talk it over with someone you trust and evaluate your knowledge, capacity, resources and options. It will take some practice but creating a habit of pausing is a useful tool to use in tackling your daily and longer term challenges.