“Progress not perfection”

I was reading an Instagram post by a woman with ADHD and she mentioned a saying she likes “progress not perfection”. This instantly jumped into my brain and began to dance so I have decided that going into 2019 this has to become my mantra.

I have a garage that is so full it is useless for anything other than storing things.  Some of this is legitimate, totally normal stuff to have in your garage.  The rest are boxes/bags/containers full of a random compilation of items that happened to be within the vicinity of each other, either when I was cleaning for an impending visitor, or packing to move house.

If you went looking right now you would find one box that has a humidifier, a bottle of bourbon, some coat hangers and a shisha pipe together, and I can’t even tell you how that eventuated.

For as long as I can remember I have surrounded myself with items and clutter, I have figured out that there are 3 categories that these fit into:

1) They relate to a specific memory: I am sure a lot of these would seem strange without explanation (I kept a tin box for probably 10 years that contained sand and some sticks from a really amazing bonfire night I had when I was a teenager). I do it because when I pick up these items the most vivid memories flood my mind like it was yesterday. I think that this is one amazing gift from my ADHD brain.

2) I believe I can re-use it or may be useful at some time: I keep bags and bags of old clothes that I like the fabric on in case I want to sew something from it (which I have done maybe twice). There is a 60 litre plastic container that has toiletries that I either started and did not finish or never opened yet. This box has just made its 3rd house move without being unpacked.

3) I had the intention of sorting/throwing out later: I have various bags and boxes filled with 90% trash 10% items I want to keep – these usually come from cleaning out the car or a bag when I am in a hurry or from cleaning up the house in a hurry. I have one of these bags in the lounge right now from when I cleared out the car 3 weeks ago. I always have every intention of finishing the job but almost never do.

My ADHD Brain cannot separate tasks. When I think “I need to sort/do that” my mind goes into overdrive running through the entire task from start to finish mentally putting objects away, adding items to a mental ‘To do’ list. This quickly becomes paralyzing, and 99% of the time means I never even start, let alone finish the task.

To me what “progress not perfect” tells me is that 2% done is better than 0% done.  No matter how small, it’s progress.

Now that I know about my ADHD diagnosis, and the actual reason I do these things, it makes me feel like it’s something I can potentially learn to manage. It has given me more motivation than ever to actually sort this stuff out but also the perspective to realise this will be a slow, hard, difficult task and that is OK.

I want to make 2019 the year I not only unpack my mind and deal with my emotional baggage, but also clear the physical clutter from my life so that I can truly live and breathe and be free from the limitations I have put on myself in the past.


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