^"Just Do it", Freeze and Forget:^

^"Just Do it", Freeze and Forget: Time, Tasks and Attention Deficit Disorder. -Kenneth Udut

"Just Do It!" can sometimes be terrible advice, especially to someone with ADD/ADHD (the disorder is often undiagnosed, especially in adults, and hiding behind mostly successful coping skills).

It can set up a "fight or flight or freeze" response. The amygdala kicks in, because your body's systems perceive a saber tooth tiger coming at you and you have a split second to decide what to do. If you can't fight or run, you freeze.

And freezing is the most common response in civilized society.

Freezing looks like procrastination. But really, it's a coping mechanism.

It's not a rational response. You can't think your way out of it. Brain chemicals are spilling all over the brain and making a huge mess of being able to think clearly.

Because you can't think clearly, you go back to what you were doing at the moment of interruption until everything clears up.

It takes a good 20-30 minutes for it go away and by that time, you've forgotten what it is that you were supposed to "Just Do".

This pattern repeats itself over and over, with the person who is trying to be helping (using THEIR coping skill of "Just do it" – which works for them – and giving it to the person who has a fast responding amygdala.

The work is delayed, often not getting done, the person is perceived as lazy, needing a kick in the butt, and the task giver says, "Just do it!" again, repeating the cycle.

The answer?

If possible, assign tasks where what needs to be done is made clear, and be clear about when you expect it to be done. Writing it down helps, as writing is less likely to set up the response than tone-of-voice.

Of course this isn't always possible, as life is often an aggressive, hurried world, but a good technique for people/skills management.

Even if the amygdala response kicks in, there should be plenty of tme to recover – it only takes about 20-30 minutes.

And once the person with ADD/ADHD has recovered, they have, written down clearly, what's expected of them, and when the task is expected by.

it's so simple but amazing how rarely it is applied.

Is it a cure-all? No. The person with ADD/ADHD might *also* be lazy and a procrastinator, or get caught up in things that are more interesting – or something else comes along to distract them…

..but at least it's a step in the right direction, bypassing the freeze/forget response by being clear of your expectations.

Kenneth Udut^

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