We are entering a busy time of year which, for many, involves increased activity and demands. I’m hoping that ideas in today’s post might help you accomplish family, work, and community tasks with less stress and more joy.
In recent posts, I’ve been discussing what Dr. William Dodson has called our ADHD interest-based nervous system. (You can read previous newsletters here in my blog.)
Today we’re looking at the interest-creating power of CHALLENGE.
Challenge (like the other three interest-related factors that I address in this series of newsletters) often shows up as distractions that draw us away from important but uninteresting tasks, because challenge can offer us hard-to-resist stimulation for our unbalanced ADHD dopamine levels. It’s important to notice how sparkly challenges can feel to our brains.
Can you feel your energy level ramp up if someone challenges you to a friendly competition? Maybe the challenge is getting to the kitchen first for the last piece of cake. Or perhaps someone at work sets up a friendly rivalry to see who can complete part of a project first.
We can learn to harness the power of challenges to enhance rather than distract from our ability to accomplish an uninteresting task. We can learn how to sparklize an important but uninteresting task by tweaking parts of that task into a more fascinatingly challenging experience. There’s no limit to the way your creative brain can sparklize or gamify something you need to do. Why not give it a try?
For example, if you have a task that needs to be done but is stressful or boring and therefore likely to be difficult to stick with, you can make a game out of it. You might set up a friendly competition with a friend, family member, co-worker, or you might even create a competition with yourself – challenging yourself to complete a portion of the task in a certain amount of time or with some interesting, self-imposed handicap.
I’ll share some more examples of sparklizing strategies in upcoming posts.
If you have any examples you’d like to share of how you have used challenge to maintain interest in a task, I’d love to hear from you!