Summer, we’re told, is a season of relaxation and rejuvenation. But for those of us juggling work-from-home life, kids, and maybe even a side hustle, summer’s open schedule can become a double-edged sword. Days blur, projects pile up unfinished, and that relaxing vacation suddenly feels like a pipedream.

If this sounds familiar, you might be part of the neurodivergent crowd, like me. While we often have incredible strengths, unfinished projects can become a major source of anxiety and stress. The completion of a task, rather than bringing a sense of accomplishment, can feel like the looming shadow of…more work.

But fear not! The key lies in harnessing the power of routine, a concept often embraced by my ASD side. Here are some tips to help you conquer your summer to-do list:

1. The “GYST List” (Get Your Stuff Together): Ditch the mental clutter and grab a spreadsheet. Create a daily schedule with time blocks for everything from meetings and work calls to soccer practice and that dentist appointment you keep forgetting. Seeing your day visually helps you identify pockets of time to get things done.

2. Prioritize the Big Moves: While ticking off small tasks feels good, sometimes they become roadblocks to tackling the bigger, more impactful projects. Identify those looming giants and make a plan to chip away at them systematically. For the ones that have to be done in one session, grab a partner (maybe even enlist the younglings), and make it a day.

3. Make Small Jobs Routine: The constant drip-drip-drip of small tasks can be overwhelming. Turn them into routine habits. Washing dishes becomes part of making dinner. Putting away laundry happens after getting dressed. By integrating these tasks into your daily flow, they become less burdensome and free up mental space for bigger things.

4. Time Blocking and Prioritization Party! Dedicate an hour on the weekend to map out your upcoming week. Categorize tasks by difficulty, time commitment, and importance (think Easy-Medium-Difficult, Fast-Medium-Slow, Useful-Important-Critical). This system helps you create a “Kanban board” of sorts – easy and fast tasks have no excuse to linger, while longer, more complex ones can be broken down into manageable daily steps.

5. Rest is Not a Four-Letter Word: We can get caught up in the productivity vortex, but neglecting breaks, meals, and even a little fun is a recipe for burnout. Schedule time for these essentials – your brain and body will thank you!

Remember, progress, not perfection, is the goal. By incorporating these tips and celebrating small victories, you can transform your summer from a frantic scramble into a season of accomplishment (and maybe even some relaxation!).

    1 Response to "Taming the Summer To-Do List: Tips for the Neurodivergent Parent"

    • Jan Hannon

      Excellent advice for us all!!

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