This is one of those things that may not be unique to ADHD but is exacerbated by ADHD thinking patterns.
I have an event to go to this afternoon.
I want to go to the event. It’s important to me that I go. It will probably even be fun and it is only 3-4 hours out of my weekend.
But know I have to go has affected my whole weekend.
It feels like I don’t have enough time, like I can’t get anything else done because I have that event to go to.
It’s not a fact.
I have plenty of time to do everything I want and need to do this weekend.
And, like I said, I want to go to the event.
It’s just that having this one fixed point in my day, in my weekend, is putting me into waiting mode.
Waiting mode, as I experience it, is when time gets distorted (in my mind) around an event, appointment, or activity. That time distortion not only makes the event seem bigger (and like it is going to take longer) than it actually will but it also makes it hard for me to do things beforehand.
I guess I have trouble doing the things beforehand because I am afraid that if I hyperfocus I will end up missing the event?
Or perhaps I am afraid I have underestimated the time needed to get ready for the fixed event?
Or that I won’t actually have time to do the other things I want to do beforehand? Or that I will have scheduled too much before the event?
Since the event looms large on my mental to do list, I have this urge to get this clearly-most-important-thing done so I don’t forget about it but I can’t actually do it until a specific time.
So my brain tells me that there is nothing as important as that thing and I should just wait until it is time to do it.
Even if that thing is hours from now.
My brain doesn’t want to settle on doing anything else because it is not the Important Thing That Must Be Done.
It wants to just wait until it is time to do the Important Thing That Must Be Done.
So, I end up needing to consciously pour energy into the following things all at once:
- Remembering the Important Thing That Must Be Done and the details surrounding that – including when to leave and what to bring
- Remembering the other things I want to do beforehand
- Reminding my brain that it is ok to step out of waiting mode and do those other things
- Reminding my brain that the Important Thing That Must Be Done is later so it can wait
- Keeping track of where my focus is and bringing it back to where it needs to be
- The usual, routine monitoring-my-thinking-and-talking-and-doing that runs as an internal management system for me (Yes, I spend a lot of time thinking about my thinking. Yes, it’s tiring.)
- Assessing new information that occurs/presents itself to me to see if I need to alter any of the other things that I have planned/have going on
- Trying not to talk myself out of the Thing That Must Be Done because even though I want/need to do it, it is causing a lot of extra mental work so maybe it’s not worth it?
Having to do all of those things is the very opposite of letting my brain off its leash.
It’s no wonder that the thought of making plans just wears me out sometimes.
Even when I actually really want to do them.