Uniquely Mi Vida

I Am a Planner…

…with ADHD and Surrounded by People

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

So this is me. I’ve been taking a break just because I have a lot to do and don’t want to do any of it, at least right now. I made plans for today, wrote my to do list, yet… after a while you will see me, dragging myself off this chair to continue with “my plans.” Eventually… Why do I feel this way?


Well, I began my day with my delicious cafe con leche and sat in front of the computer to work on my Mother’s Day Sermon. But that is not what I did. Nope, my ADHD insisted on checking out my accessories on my “wishlist” for my little sister’s wedding. First to see the dress I have already ordered (or dresses), make sure they are the right size… I had to pause here. My middle daughter needed my help to get to work. So off I went. Okay, back on the computer and returning to my “to-do-list.” I’m thinking, I really need to read the Bible… I’m just bad at listening to my ADHD brain, because it decided, after seeing the tabs I had open for the clothes, I had to look at shoes…. And into the tunnel of shoes my mind went. Eventually I told myself, “I may not need any shoes if the blush color dress fits.” With that, off I went to actually work on my sermon… or so I thought until I saw the papers in front of me.  I had not made important phone calls, so I got my phone. One of those calls I needed to make was to the university my daughter attends in order to check on her balance.  Picking up my phone I saw I had not checked my messages. My curiosity won out, and I checked to discover my youngest daughter had called me. Better call her back… but first, the phone calls.  That took a while, longer than I expected.  Eventually, I called my little college student. Still in front of the computer we spent time, a lot of time, helping her to get her financial aid taken care of for next fall. Making sure all is paid in full. I hung up and finally decided, “Get yourself together Raqui, get your mind focused.” After a silent prayer I began to read and think through the scriptures. Finally, I’m getting somewhere. Allowing my thoughts to brainstorm and my eyes search through information and praying, “Lord, lead me to the right Word.” I was getting hungry. Figures, it was past 1 pm. With my thoughts going,  and still in prayer, I gather my lunch. Sitting back on my computer I felt God clarifying which scripture for me to use this Sunday. On computerI get excited and continue to put my notes together… I’m moving forward some more! YAY! …and somewhere before I type in the first organized thought.. in comes my Dad… He needs help with his insurance for his “new” used car (long story, don’t ask).  **Sigh** Oh, well, At least I have the scriptures down and my theme taken care of. At least I know what I’m preaching on. While he filled in some information, I had to do something, so off I went to do the dishes until he called me back… As soon as he left I realized I still needed to register for this summer’s Pastor training sections…

Yes, I am a planner. Can’t blame my ADHD brain from getting in the way of my “to-do-list,”  especially when I have others around. (There are times though that I think life would be better if I give out numbers). Even If I don’t distract myself, others do it for me. My tendency to stop what I’m doing to help sometimes annoys… well, me… mostly when I realize that I have a lot to do. I think, however, what gets to me, and this is when my own self-discipline has to take over, is when in the process of one task something comes up. And something always has to come up. Leave it to others to be that something…or your interest in something you saw out of the corner of your eye… that is just in the wrong place…  Or when you are cleaning a room and while taking the laundry you realize the floor need to be swept. You stop to take care of that only to realize that the dishes need to be done…Wait. Let me take care of that before I forget… So what is WRONG with me? Maybe I do need to get this ADHD under control! I really just need to get my to-do-list done… so I know what I need to do.

Planning can be aggravating if you can’t learn to prioritize, well, plan. The problem is when others distract you because they need your help. Helping is not that bad. I suppose I don’t mind it because it is just who I am and who I want to be. It reminds me of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”  In the Gospel of Matthew 7:12 it says, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets”. (also in Luke 6:31) In a way I’m hoping that others return the favor when they see that I have too much on my plate… I don’t expect it but I would like it. Therefore, I have learned to be flexible with my “planning.” I have learned that I can set aside things for the sake of others when they are in need. Eventually, I get my to-do-list done as well (or most of it, okay, sometimes half of it). Some things can be put off for the next day without problems. Keeping in mind when they need to be done helps me. I do confess, sometimes, I just can’t help a person. For example: While I was cooking last night my brother comes in to ask for…well, help… “Sorry, I can’t help you. Ask Todd.” After all, it was getting late…

This is not the only reason why I don’t mind helping others when I have my own “plans”. I help because it is my way of showing that I love them. Helping others is a great way of showing kindness but is even a more wonderful way to show love. Setting things aside and making others our priority is a way of showing love for others as Paul writes in Romans 12:9-10 -“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Though we show love in different ways, setting aside our time for others is a one of those ways. Helping was my Mother’s special way of showing love to others. I guess I learned from her. She would plan ahead of time who she was going to help according to their needs.

My Mom, Raquel, & Me (Raqui)
Mom and Me after her remission from her first cancer, Spring 1990

Often, my Mom would set aside her own needs for the needs of others. Regardless of her “to-do-list” she always had a space for anyone who needed her, even my friends. Of course, she was not as scattered brain as I am… I tried to imitate her love of helping others, to put others first (Philippians 2:3-5). I learned that there is always flexibility in my “to-do-list”. I began by “planning” and helping her when she was very busy with others. I realized how happy and pleased she would be when I would help (And less stressed, AND that was always good for me), without being asked or “made” to. This, in turn, made me very happy. (Of course there where the days I got quarters out if too.) You can say that I learned to be a helpful planner.

Now, being a “Helpful planner,” is my very special unique way of getting my “to-do-list” done and still be kind and loving to others, even with my ADHD mind and all. My concept looks a little like this: Make a Plan A, B and C and always have room for Flexibility and be prepared to re-write and reorganize it when others need you as long as you accomplish it. Better yet, do it in pencil…now… to finish my notes before I have to cook. {Oh, I almost forgot: do my emails, finish cleaning the kitchen, mop my daughter’s room before she gets back from college, …oh, and…}  Wait… did I just hear my brother walk in???!