Expose your Ruts, Get Better Results
If you live with ADHD then you know all about ruts. Global Creatives can get stuck in a certain way of thinking or a certain way of doing. The certainty of our existence (black and white thinking) can be so extreme that we can think this is the only way (see Expand the Mind). Exposing ruts can be a first step to stepping out of them. Exposure is a beautiful practice in ADHD management. Like pulling back the drapes in a long darkened room, exposure elevates our level of awareness - key to taking steps to lasting change.
Exposure is a key component of my productivity tool, REBEL and is an active counter to the practice of covering our tracks or hiding our ADHD behaviors. When we hide or cover up our behaviors from others we can inadvertently hide them from ourselves. As you practice exposure be sure to do so in a nurturing and supportive environment.
“Rut talk sounds like OCD, Cam. I am anything but OCD!”
Good argument. How can you be in a rut if you are ‘all over the place’. Lets define rut as it pertains to ADHD - If you are consistently doing something over and over that isn’t helpful and yet you don’t stop.
This behavior is often accompanied and reinforced by persistent rationalizing:
- Rationalizing not getting into action (starting something). - Rationalizing not getting out of action (stopping something)
And persistent limiting thoughts that suck all motivation out of our sails.
- Checking email too often - Consistent procrastination - Getting lost online for hours - Only taking action on the latest and loudest items on your To Do list - Always responding the same way to a certain person - Thinking a lot about something beyond your control like how others may perceive you.
ADHD actually disrupts our ability to see where change needs to happen and then disrupts the efforts to create change. Insidious isn't it?
Yet when we bring a curious and open mind to rut habits we can find out ways to leave them behind.
A great way to expose rut behavior is to start exposing time and how you use time. I make this distinction about time because often time is a mystery to the global creative. How come you can have tons of time and then none? The concept of time can be similar to a volatile commodity or stock. It’s value can fluctuate madly in a given day or week.
Do you notice that your value of time is ever changing?
Now look at your use of time. How often do you find yourself stuck on a project or stuck on a thought?
Is your unpredictable behavior amazingly predicable?
Do you consistently approach a project with hope and opportunity and then delay starting till the last minute ending in frustration and despair?
Do you consistently push hard until you run out of gas and collapse from exhaustion and need days to recover?
This is classic ADHD rut behavior.
Here’s the good news.
Habits and behavior can change with intention and effort. Just like ruts can disrupt your day, you can disrupt rut behavior.
Here are a few ways:
Create ‘rut awareness’ - You can’t get out of something if you don’t know you are in it. When we notice how we fall into a structure like a rut we can then build more useful structures (ladders and ramps) to get out.
Big Dreams - Ruts can stand in the way of our big dreams. Reveal the dream and you will likely reveal a limiting belief or some other obstacle. So ask the big Brian Tracy question - "What change will make the biggest impact in my life?"
Plan B - Instead of brainstorming 47 different paths out of a rut make a solid back up plan to engage ‘in case of emergency’.
Ten Minute Rule - Most rut behavior focuses around not doing something we don’t want to do (taxes, expense report, a phone call). Commit just to starting the task and giving yourself the option to stop after ten minutes. How often is it just a matter of starting?
Let go of “Use it or Lose it” approach to energy/time consumption. Work hard then look for a good place to ‘land the plane’.