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ADHD & Decision Making

Posted by Jenna Ahern on

Bernhard Langer said, “A wrong decision is generally less disastrous than indecision”. Yikes.  

 

My guess is that if you have ADHD then you’ve found yourself struggling to make decisions.  

Yep, another one of those- “wait is that an ADHD thing too?” moments. 

Once you understand what parts of the brain are impacted by ADHD, though, it makes perfect sense that decision making might be hard for a person who lives with it. Here are a few reasons: 

1. Decisions require you to remember things like the outcome you hope to achieve, the options available, and the differences between those options. These are things that involve the working memory which is often a challenge for folks with ADHD. 
2. You must then prioritize those options and choose which is “better”- yet another challenge caused by executive dysfunction.  
3. If you have Hyperactive or Combined type and tend to be impulsive, you might have made some not great decisions throughout your life making it difficult to trust yourself. 
4. Finally, decision fatigue. While this can impact anyone, decision making can be especially exhausting for those with ADHD (see numbers 1-3) 

 

If you’re thinking, “this is all great information but what can we do about it?” Don’t worry, I got you! 

 

First things first. 

I’d encourage you to assess areas in your life where you can reduce or eliminate decisions.  

Don’t shoot the messenger but this is where routines can really make a difference.  

Routines (or rhythms as I like to call them) are just decisions that you only make once but benefit from again and again. 

Another way that you can reduce or eliminate decisions is by identifying things in which you don’t really have an opinion.  

I know that this might sound obvious, but I’ve found that oftentimes, I agonize over decisions that don’t really matter to me. (I.E. Where to have lunch with friends, what you’re going to watch on Netflix tonight, or which topic to address first in the meeting.)  

If you find yourself in a situation where this is true, try flipping a coin or rolling a die to decide. OR you may even be able to delegate the choice by saying something like “I sincerely do not have a preference, you choose”.  

 

If the decision falls on you after all, a great first step is reducing the things you must hold in your working memory. 

 A simple but helpful way to do this is writing down each of the steps, The outcome, the options, and the differentiating factors. 

This will free up some mental space for you to process the choices and for some people, this is enough. 

 If you need a bit more help, though, try asking yourself these questions:  

  1. Which of these options can be eliminated?  
  2. How will I know if I’ve made the right choice? 
  3. How would I know if I made the wrong choice? 
  4. What would I choose right now if I trusted myself completely? 

        (Want a pre-made template of these steps & questions, grab mine for $5 here) 

         

        Finally, if you tend to get caught up in the analysis paralysis of a decision, set boundaries for yourself BEFORE you begin the process.  

        This might look like agreeing to only read 5 reviews for each option, limiting yourself to 3 options, or allowing 30 minutes for research. (Need a good timer? I know a guy- This is my favorite setup.) 

        As with any strategy, this is not magic but experimenting with some or all of these tools can go a long way in reducing the stress you feel around making the thousands of decisions that you’re faced with every day. For more tips and tools, follow me on Instagram or stay in touch at currentadhd.com 

        Keep on Keepin’ on, Friend! The journey continues.  

         

         

        About the Author

        Bri Plyler is an ICF certified life coach serving women and men with ADHD who are ready to shift from a life of constant panic to living on purpose. Bri is the founder of Current ADHD and creator of the Instagram community, @currentadhdcoaching (100k strong & growing!). As an entrepreneur with ADHD and a relentless optimist, her passion is sharing the message that struggles and success go hand in hand. You can learn more about Bri and her coaching at currentadhd.com or on Instagram. 

         

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