The Right Tool, Not the Perfect Tool

Oct. 1st, 2018

I’ve talked in the past about how those of us with ADHD sometimes think “If only I had the perfect notebook or planner or house, then everything would run smoothly.” And that this is not now, nor will ever be, true. No object or system will cure us of our ADHD.

There is, however, a middle ground when it comes to interventions for mental health. There are no perfect tools, but there might be a pretty good tool and there are definitely very bad tools. It amuses many people to learn that my maiden name is Bagg. This fact becomes ironic when you know I’ve always had a fascination and passion for bags of all kinds. I have an enormous collection and always have had.

While there isn’t ever going to be the perfect bag for me, I’ve used and gotten rid of multiple bags that were completely incorrect. I’ve also purchased and made multiple bags in the search for one that would fit every occasion. This is also futile because like any tool, a bag must be the correct one for the specific job. If I’m attending the theatre I need a very different bag than if I’m taking work to the library. I'm not an advocate of allowing any collection to grow and take over the living space, but finding and using the correct tool for the specific job can make life a whole lot easier.

A client of mine recently overhauled her laundry system. She got rid of a bunch of shelving and whatnot that she had been making do with and put some serious thought into what wasn’t working. Then after some research and a trip to IKEA, she created a system, along with tools, that certainly isn’t perfect, but definitely is better than before. And she has found a dramatic improvement in her ability to do laundry as a result.

That is a great example of the right tool for the right job. And I am filled with such admiration and pride every time I think of it because this client definitely struggles with perfectionism. So the fact that she was able to find the right tools, and then stop searching for the perfect tools, is amazing.

And there are definitely times and areas where that probably isn’t possible. There are some jobs we hate so much that nothing will make them easier. Taxes spring to mind. A friend of mine showed me an episode of the English comedy series Black Books in which the main character is trying to file his taxes. He learns that if you are injured, you will get an extension on the time to file them. So he proceeds to try and convince someone to break his legs for him. My friend said to me “That’s exactly how I feel about filing taxes.” I can relate. I tried to do it once, and if I have any say in the matter, and I do, I will never try again. Someone far better with numbers can do them in my stead.

Google Drive is another good example. I have dabbled in writing for a long time, but it’s only with the advent of Google Drive that I finally do it consistently and easily. Cloud storage isn’t the right solution for everyone, but it definitely is for me. The fact that I can type this blog on my laptop, then access it from any other computer, if I need to, and also open and edit it from my phone and tablet is extremely helpful. It isn’t perfect (it would be wonderful if it included a free program to convert the chicken-scratch handwriting in my notebooks into documents) but it’s right for me.

What tools are you using that are right for you?