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Bad at Planning Ahead? Sometimes That's OK

PsychCentral 2020-08-14 20:43:34

But today I’m here to say: it’s not all bad.

How’s that for an optimistic message? What I mean is that sometimes not planning ahead is OK.

That’s because in some situations you simply can’t plan ahead. In fact, on a large scale, we find ourselves in one of those situations right now… *glances nervously at COVID-19*

The pandemic is something that, on a personal level, we couldn’t have planned for in our lives. And now that it’s here, planning remains just as difficult because the future is so uncertain.

Even if we did create careful, sensible plans in our lives during the halcyon pre-pandemic days, many of those have been laid to waste by the massive unknown we didn’t anticipate. We’re in a situation where planning can only be of so much use.

Of course, a global pandemic is only one example of an uncertain situation – for some reason, it’s the example that came to mind. But this principle applies in many other situations: when the future is unknown, good planning skills aren’t going to get you very far.

For example, jobs that are fast-moving with unpredictable demands require skills like adaptability and an ability to work under pressure. Planning is further down the list because, from one day to the next, you simply won’t know what to plan for. Perhaps not coincidentally, some of these might be jobs where people with ADHD thrive.

All of which is to say that, yes, people with ADHD can have trouble planning ahead, and yes, that is an indisputable disadvantage in some contexts. But there are situations where not planning ahead is OK and where staying focused on the present isn’t such a bad thing.

Image: Flickr/Patrick aka Herjolf