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An ADD Case Study: When the Pace Picks Up, Learn to Slow Down
By ADD Management Coach Jennifer Koretsky
© Copyright 2004
The fall season signals a shift in most people's minds. The summer
is coming to a close, and it's back to school, work, and the other
things that we haven't put as much effort into since Memorial Day.
Many ADDers welcome this shift, as boredom sets in around August and
we long for something bigger to keep us occupied. But while the
opportunity to dive into new projects and situations is exciting, it
can also become quickly overwhelming.
One way to avoid becoming overwhelmed by all the extra activities
that September brings is by remembering to schedule in personal "down
time." This means taking a chunk of time for yourself each and every
day to relax, unwind, and plan.
"Anna" is a client of mine who has given me permission to share her
story. I've been coaching Anna for a while, and we just resumed our
work together after a month off. Anna owns a business selling her
own artwork. She also has a husband, two kids, a dog, a cat, and a
parrot. Her business, like many, is slow in the summer months, which
works out well for her because she can spend extra time with her
kids. Just two weeks ago, though, she started to see more orders
coming in from her website for custom-made designs, and she panicked.
"All of a sudden, I realized that I had just one week to take my kids
school clothes shopping AND school supply shopping, get Butter [the
dog] to the vet because he can't seem to stop scratching his ear,
meet with the new web designer and get him the materials he's going
to need, and find the time to make and ship two products which I
wasn't expecting orders for. This is in addition to all the OTHER
stuff I have to do, like grocery shop, cook, clean up, and spend time
with my family.
So what did I do? I freaked out. Instead of getting to work, I sat
on the couch and watched talk shows."
Although the details and tasks will be different for everyone, this
is a familiar tale for ADDers. Life seems to be rolling along fine
and then, out of nowhere, the to-do list seems too big to handle.
Overwhelm sets in, and it's easy to shut down under the weight of the
Anna and I discussed this challenge, and the fact that she's dealt
with it before. In fact, every year at this time, she finds herself
even more overwhelmed than usual. When I reminded her of this, she
responded with amazement. "You know, you're right! And when this
happened last year, what helped was taking time out for myself."
It did help. I remember talking with Anna and encouraging her to
slow down and take care of herself. She protested, like many ADDers
do, "How can I possibly slow down when I have so much to do?"
But the truth of the matter is that slowing down helps an ADDer get
centered, de-stress, and gain control. So Anna and I worked out some
ways that she could slow down, and make life about more than her to-
do list, even though there was a lot to be done. We decided she
Go to the gym in the morning, because she likes to work out and she
finds it helps keep her stress levels down
Find a babysitter and go on a "date" with her husband one night a
week, because she likes to spend quality time with her husband
Take 15 minutes every evening before bed to plan out the tasks that
she can reasonably accomplish the next day, because she likes to feel
in control of her time
"It really helped," Anna said as she remembered her life at this time
last year. "I was having fun so I wasn't so stressed all the time,
and so all the things I had to do seemed more manageable. And once I
established a planning routine, I didn't feel frustrated or surprised
by new things when they came up."
Anna decided that she needed to implement this "slow-down" time once
again. It's only been a day, but she went back to the gym, scheduled
lunch and a movie with her husband for Sunday, the kids have their
school supplies, and Butter's itchy ear has been treated!
When I asked permission to share her story, Anna offered this
tip: "Tell your readers that planning is the thing that really makes
all the difference! Sometimes I need to slow down in order to speed
About the Author:
Jennifer Koretsky is a Professional ADD Management Coach who helps
adults manage their ADD and move forward in life. She encourages
clients to increase self-awareness, focus on strengths and talents,
and create realistic action plans. She offers a 90-day intensive
skill-building program, workshops, and private coaching. Her work has
been featured in numerous media, including The New York Times
Magazine and The Times (UK). To subscribe to Jennifer's free email
newsletter, The ADD Management Guide, please visit
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