Commitment to the 
Three R's

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

Treatment and management of ADD involves more than taking medication; it requires commitment to the three R's.  The three R's are Redefining oneself, Restructuring one's world (home, work, school, etc.), and Renegotiating one's relationship.  Suggestions offered in this article apply to people with ADD problems and to anyone who has problems in focusing attention and organizing oneself.   

People with ADD are often highly creative, spontaneous, enthusiastic, and relentless brainstormers.  Creative people are distracted by a lot of possibilities that do not occur to people with conventional thinking.  Recognize your strengths.  When you evaluate both your assets and liabilities, you need not feel the need to hide your problem or to be ashamed of yourself    Ask for help.  Request others to accommodate you for your special needs.  You may be surprised to discover how helpful and accommodative others are when you tell them in a pleasing and humorous way about your difficulty.         

It is easier to work with our difficulties when we accept them   On the other hand, berating oneself for those difficulties causes depression and makes one unduly anxious.  Depression and anxiety make the problem of inattentiion and disorganization worse.  One must particularly watch the negative "self-talk," that constant chatter inside the head, putting oneself down, obsessing over ADD problems, and commiserating over the negative consequences.  

Find a group of people who have similar problems as yours.  As we become more open and start talking about our difficulties we discover we are not alone.  We attract people with similar problems and they have an uncanny way of finding us.  Some may still be under cover and some out of the closet.  Relate to them.  We no longer have to be isolated and lonely.  We need to form our own little "support group," where we tell our "story" and hear other people's stories    Use this group to collectively learn more about ADD, enhance communication skills, and to confront relationship issues that are special to people with ADD.  

In restructuring your environment, consider the use of sound and sight blockers to reduce the level of distraction.   If you are one of those who dread incoming phone calls because they disturb your concentration and it takes you a long time to get back to what you were trying to concentrate on, use voice mail.  Schedule a "phone hour" in the day when you return all your calls.  If your job requires calling people on phone, make all your calls in one block of time.    

Use a calendar which has a place for recording your "mini notes" and for "To Be Done Today" list.  Pocket daytimers which have two pages for each day can be easily carried everywhere and have enough space for recording important items.  Post-it notes are handy for items that require a follow-up by certain time.  Use a multiple-alarm watch to remind you about things that have to be done at specific hours.  You can get pagers on which your family or your office staff can beep you with short messages.  There are also pager services which can remind you about specific events at appropriate hours.  To learn how you can use your time most efficiently, complete a one day baseline of activities.  To do this, take notes at every twenty-minutes interval for the entire day, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed.  Then complete a course in time management.  I assure you it will be "worth your time."                    

Know the limits of what you can accomplish in a day's time.  Do not promise more than what you can deliver.  When you explain what you are doing and why you can't do what others want or expect of you, they usually understand and accept it without much ado.  To lighten your work load, "outsource" in the way many successful corporations have done   These corporations realize that if they try to produce everything or perform every operation for their company, it can be very expensive business as well as inefficient.  As a result, they hire outside agencies or individuals for specific services, called outsourcing.  This way they can get better results at a cheaper cost.   What tasks would you like to outsource to others?  Is house cleaning and organizing your household stuff a big hassle for you?  If so, hire someone for housekeeping so you can do something more productive with your time.    

Focusing attention is a matter of habit.  Strengthen the habit of focusing.  One of the ways to do this is to learn to "anchor" your attention to a specific part of your body.  Whenever you become aware of your attention wandering, anchor it to the 'in" and "out" breathing movements in the lower tummy.  If that doesn't appeal to you, close and open your hand repeatedly and focus your attention to the movements of your hand.  After you have anchored your attention, direct it to the desired object of your attention.       

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Copyright 1996, Mind Publications 



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