What advice would you give?

I love my job.

I learn as much from my clients as they do from me.  Last night I was helping a young woman figure out a way to manage her phone addiction.  There is a new guy in her life.  And he is sometimes on her phone.  And sometimes he is not.  So she checks.  And she checks often.  And so her work doesn’t get done.  And then all of a sudden it’s almost midnight and her to do list is not complete, the work that has been done is of poor quality and she feels disappointed in herself, anxious about the next day, and just plain tired. Ah, the highs and lows of young love.  Ah, the power of Snapchat.

I let her know that I understood and empathized with her predicament.  Even under normal circumstances, Snapchat can be hard to manage.  With ADHD, it is even more challenging.  We reviewed her goals and priorities.  And then I asked her to imagine that I was in the same exact situation.  And I asked her to give me advice on what to do.  

She took a deep breath, paused, sat bolt upright and proceeded to shoot straight from the hip.  “Put that phone away!,” she exclaimed.  “Turn it off or put it on airplane mode and hide it and get to work.  Do the hardest stuff first, then give yourself a break.  You can check it during your break.”  I asked her how long my breaks could be, how often I could take breaks, and how long I had to work.  This is the plan she gave me: If I worked for one hour I could take a 10 minute break, but I had to make sure to mind the time and not go over.  To get all of my work done, I would probably have to to this three times.  When I finished all of my work, I could be on my phone for 30 minutes.  But I had to be in bed by 10:30 to get my sleep and be up on time tomorrow.  That meant that I had to finish all of my work by 10:00 at the latest.

It was a brilliant plan.  I had her summarize it for me just to make sure that I got it.  Work 60 minutes = 10 minute break.  Finish work by 10:00 = 30 minute break before bed. And with that, her problem was solved and she eagerly concluded our session so she could get to work.  Because her new beau might be posting something. And this time, she COULD wait to see.