Do You COMPARTMENTALIZE?

by Tina

The first time I recall hearing “compartmentalize” was in the movie, The Holiday by Nancy Meyers.  Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Graham (Jude Law) are in a scene in which Amanda finds out that Graham isn’t the “normal, single guy” that he portrays.  Graham explains his charade by saying, “I’m on some kind of constant overload, and it helps to compartmentalize my life – just ’til I figure this out.”

Can you identify with that statement at all?  I certainly can.  When it comes to trying to get things done, I definitely feel like I’m “on some kind of constant overload.”  Before anything can get done, I must understand what actually has to be done as well as the priority of these items.  For someone with ADD/ADHD, it can be quite challenging to determine the priority of things on his/her to-do list.  Many times just looking at all the things on their list(s) can cause overwhelm escalating to the point of not being able to accomplish anything. 

One step in beginning to prioritize items on your to-do list so that things can get accomplished in a productive manner is to compartmentalize.  What do I mean by that?  If your to-do list is quite lengthy or if you have several to-do lists that you really need to have in some sort of order, you can begin by assigning each task to a compartment.  These compartments can consist of different topics depending on your tasks. 

Some people may divide their to-do’s into compartments such as:  correspondence via phone calls/emails; errands to run; business-related items; and household-related items.  Others may need to have compartments for their business/job that are more specific such as:  phone calls; emails; research; written correspondence; and project progress.  There could also be household compartments such as: cleaning (by room if needed); paying bills; shopping for groceries; and meal planning.  It is also very important to schedule family time/fun time since there is the chance of this time taking a back seat when we are very busy.

Once the tasks are separated into compartments, it will be much easier to determine an order of importance of each item; i.e., their priority.  It will also be much easier to determine whether there are tasks that can be delegated or to discover tasks that may not even have to be done. 

In my next post, I will discuss how to begin developing a routine so that these tasks can be prioritized and accomplished.  In the meantime, let me know if you compartmentalize and what topics you use if you do.

 

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth

Putting each to-do item in a special area doesn’t make me necessarily want to get it done faster or better. It just makes the list seem easier to get through….

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Tina

Hi, Beth.

I understand where you are coming from. Compartmentalizing doesn’t really help me want to do things faster. It does make things easier to go through as you mentioned. Also, I use the separate lists when I am at certain times of the day for needing to do things differently than what I have been working on for a while. For example, if I’ve been on the computer for quite some time and need to get out, I can go to my list for “errands” and possibly get something done while I’m out. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

Take care of you.
Tina

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Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.

Thanks!
I compartmentalize and time slice all the time…
It helps me stay focused (really)!

Reply

Tina

BRAVO, Dr. Roy! I’m sure compartmentalizing does help you greatly. It is what I’ve learned to use to make it through the day…especially one packed with many things to be done. I love your term “time slice.” :)

You are very welcome for the post. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Take care of you!
Tina

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Roberta Budvietas

I think I want to see the movie – what a strange concept. I guess we sometimes do this unconsciously and other times we need to plan. Thanks for sharing

Reply

Tina

Hi, Roberta.

Thanks for reading and for your comment. The movie is awesome! I’ve watched it several times. And yes, the quote I took from that movie has much more to it than what I used for this post. I’m sure we do unconsciously compartmentalize in many ways in our lives. Thinking on this can lead to some pretty deep and revealing things, huh?! It does for me.

Take care of you.
Tina

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