List But Not Least with ADHD

‘Tis the Season, ho-ho-ho, and Merry Christmas means there are 2 lists being made without your knowledge. Well, you do know one is for Nice people and the other is for the Naughty ones. You also know, when you’re a kid, that you’ll be put on one or the other. But list making doesn’t stop there. There’s also the list you have to make FOR Santa. This begs the question, he knows if you’ve been good or bad, so how is it he has no idea what you want from him?

Growing up doesn’t signal the end of the list making mania. Au contraire! As an adult it exponentially multiplies. You need a list of all the people to send holiday cards to, another list that maps out a budget of all of your holiday expenses and cross reference with your gift lists. Lists of friends, lists of family, and what present you want for each person, yes, cross referenced with that budget list. You also make shopping lists for gifts by store, grocery lists for dinners and parties and, oh yes, a list of who to send invitations to. You also will need to make a list of all the people you will give holiday bonuses to like garbage collectors and hairstylists, and last, but not least, just when you think it’s over, a list to track who gave who what so you can write thank you cards after the festivities.

I was thinking about all of these lists and am mindful of how that’s always the go-to advice for people with ADHD by people without ADHD, “Make a list!” It’s just sheer brilliance. NOT. If making a list was the premiere solution for ADHD challenges then I’d be out of a job. How to organize information so that it’s easily accessible and useful while externalizing your memory are why lists work for folks without ADHD. But because they are also easily lost or forgotten is why they don’t always work when you do have ADHD. (Not to mention how long these lists get to be) Don’t misunderstand, there are many individuals with ADHD who love lists but there are certainly as many if not more who have figured out they aren’t as helpful as they’re made out to be.

Here’s my listicle of the lists that matter most for folks with ADHD during the holidays:

  • List of tasks

What all needs to get done? Can you break it down into smaller baby steps? What must be done first? What comes next? And by when must it get done? Lastly, is there anyone you can “en-list” to help you?

(See what I did there?)

The answers to these questions will let you know if your “To-Do” list will soon be a “To-Done” list or just a long wish list of stuff that you wish would just magically get done.

  • Shopping List

This one is tricky because going into stores is rough when you’re impulsive. Slap on a lovely layer of justification and you’re on your way to huge debt if you don’t create some strategy to contain yourself. What do you want your leash to look like? Freezing credit cards and swearing only to buy what’s on your list can work but it takes practice. Perhaps start with shopping online, fill your cart…then take a break, come back in an hour, and compare what’s in your cart with what’s on your list.

  • List of Gifts

Yes, I actually believe that browsing and window-shopping are fun but going out to purchase with intention is empowering. There’s nothing like getting exactly what you need with no regrets. By making a list of who gets what you are bracing yourself for calm, cool, and collected. How would that do as a festive  feeling during the chaos of the season?


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