Mastering ADHD Analysis Paralysis: 7 Proven Tips
Updated: Jul 20
Have Trouble Making Decisions?
For people with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), decision-making can be a torturous process. We spend so much energy overthinking each option until we are so overwhelmed that it becomes impossible to act. This condition is known as "ADHD Analysis Paralysis."
Having ADHD myself, I get it. I know firsthand how exhausting it can be to spend time agonizing over decisions. Even the ones that really shouldn’t matter that much can slow us down — like what to order at a restaurant, which clothes to wear, where to go on vacation — and then we go ahead and poll people to ask them what they think we should do. Sometimes we wish our friends and family would choose for us and put us out of our misery!
Making decisions can feel like an impossible, paralyzing task for our ADHD brains. It interferes with our productivity, zaps our energy, and becomes a barrier to reaching our goals. Time management is so challenging for us, and it derails our efforts.
So What Can You do to Break Free of Uncertainty and Move Ahead with Confidence?
I’m excited to share my 7 Proven Tips to Break Through ADHD Analysis Paralysis because it gives you the actions to make decisions with more confidence and ease. These steps reduce anxiety and empower you to move forward. Think of all the time you’ll save!
Why is Decision-Making So Challenging with ADHD?
ADHDers struggle with:
We are convinced that there's a "correct answer," and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the right choice; this makes it so difficult for us to commit.
Poor outcomes from past decisions may result in feeling insecure about our ability to make good choices. To avoid beating ourselves up about making another mistake, we put off making the decision altogether.
Shiny Object Syndrome.
With ADHD, choices are often made impulsively by selecting something new and shiny without complete clarity. We have a habit of making decisions with spontaneous, irrational emotions, and sometimes from a desire to please others.
Executive Function Skills.
These are challenging for those with ADHD, and decision-making requires using a handful of these skills. (i.e., planning, prioritizing, organization, self-regulation, attention, memory, and time management).
Keeping it Simple.
Our high-speed ADHD brains seem incapable, at times, of keeping things simple. We dig up so much information that we become too overwhelmed and feel incapable of committing to a decision.
7 Proven Tips to Break Through ADHD Analysis Paralysis
Step #1. Identify the problem
What’s keeping you stuck? If it's not one of the reasons listed above, ask yourself these three questions to help you get clarity:
What is in my way?
What is the most difficult part?
What do I need in order to feel comfortable making this decision?
Step # 2. Get help
You don't have to do it alone! With ADHD, talking out loud to others makes it easier to organize our thoughts and gain clarity. When we get support from others, it fills us with positive thoughts, which increases our energy and motivation toward our goals. Think about who you can enlist as a listener – a family member? Close friend? Remember that people like being helpful; it makes them feel good.
Step # 3. Stop trying to be perfect
Putting pressure on ourselves to make the right choice can get in our way. How do we know it will be the right choice? What’s the worst that could happen when we make a choice we are not happy with? The benefit of making mistakes is that we create an opportunity for growth by learning from our mistakes. Shifting to a mindset of learning can help us let go of the fear of making a mistake. Often we realize that we're more resilient than we thought!
Step # 4. Narrow the scope
Having too many choices can be overwhelming. When we reduce the scope of our choices, we simplify decisions for our brains and it feels easier to move forward. Writing a list of pros and cons is a great way to help identify which choices to take off the table.
Step # 5. Plan ahead
Anytime we can plan ahead, we are giving ourselves more time, which creates more calm. It helps us avoid making impulsive decisions. For example, block off time on your calendar to plan the clothes you will wear in advance, look at menus, and make choices before you go out with friends. No matter the decision, planning ahead reduces pressure and puts us in an optimal mindset to problem solve.
Step # 6. Establish a deadline
Take control of your time by setting a time frame for the decision. When we are intentional about setting a boundary for ourselves, it leaves us feeling more empowered. Our ADHD brains find it hard to get started, but we gain momentum once we do. By taking this step, you have begun to develop a decision-making mindset.
Step # 7. Celebrate your decisions
Celebrating decisions no matter how small is so important for our ADHD brains. We have the propensity to pay more attention to our negative thoughts, like all the things we are not doing. By celebrating our steps forward, we are steering our brains to pay attention to positive thoughts, which are the thoughts that help us to move forward.
Keep a decision journal. When you read it, you will see the evidence that you are in action, moving forward, and building a new skill. Remember that our brains like steps that are quick and easy, so jot down a few words about your decision and end it! Having reminders of our wins are so beneficial for our ADHD brains, it helps us feel positive and encouraged and helps boost our confidence.
You got this!!
What are your thoughts about overcoming ADHD Analysis Paralysis? I'd love to know. Please shoot me an email at email@example.com.
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