You Can’t Get it All Done


ADHD & Marriage - Weekly Marriage Tip - May 30, 2012

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“Instead of fretting about getting everything done, why not simply accept that being alive means having things to do?  Then drop into full engagement with whatever you are doing, and let the worry go.”

- Martha Beck

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You Can’t Get it All Done

Here’s the truth of it – we couldn’t possibly get everything done that we have hanging over our heads, no matter how organized we were.  And this comes from me, a very organized person (though admittedly less so as I age…!) 

So you will ALWAYS have more to do than you can possibly handle.  Which means the goal should be to get only what we REALLY care about done.  And let everything else go.  One way to do this is to let things just “fall off the list” as we never actually get to them.  Many people with ADHD actually use this method by default and it can create real problems in a relationship because this method doesn't insure that the most important things get done (for example - easy things or immediate things that happen to be "in the now" might get done before important things that are not top of mind.)

Another way to sort through too many things to do this is to discuss priorities with our partners and focus in on only the top items.  I find that this latter is particularly helpful for the couples I work with.  It makes sure that you have buy in from each partner about what the top priorities really are.  And, by circling back weekly (or daily) to coordinate around what’s most important – and then putting those items at the top of the “to do” structure (whatever that looks like for you) – you can make sure that what is left behind in those many projects really is something you don’t care about.

However you choose to approach it, though, understanding that you can’t do everything, as Beck suggests, can help lift some of the oppressive obligation you may feel around having too much to do.

For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
If you or your spouse has ADHD, please join our forum at to ask your questions and learn from others who share your issues.  In addition, you'll find in-depth essays to help you learn how to thrive in a marriage affected by ADHD.
Hope to hear from you there!
Melissa Orlov

© 2011 Melissa Orlov