Curbing Impulsivity: The 24 Hour Rule
Posted on February 08, 2013 by Beth Main, One of Thousands of ADD ADHD Coaches on Noomii.
How building incubation time into your schedule will help you be less impulsive overall.
How much stuff do you have that you really don’t need because it seemed irresistible in the store? Given that impulsivity is one of the three primary ADHD symptoms, I’ll bet you have a lot. The 24 hour rule can help.
When you see something you just have to have, but it’s not on your shopping list, wait 24 hours. Do not buy it. If you still want it 24 hours later, then go back and get it. Make this the rule for each and every shopping trip. Ask your shopping partners to help you enforce it. A 24 hour cooling off period will prevent impulse buying, save you money, and help you minimize clutter.
The 24 hour rule has other applications as well.
- Writing: Set your writing deadline a day earlier than you would normally. Let the work “incubate” for a day. Then go back and revise it. You’ll notice things you couldn’t see earlier.
- Addressing sensitive topics: Waiting 24 hours gives you time to cool down. Emotions will subside and you can focus on the message instead of the intense feelings around them.
- Grief: When something bad happens, allow yourself to be upset for 24. Then move on. I’m talking about minor upsets here, like a failed test. If it’s something serious, like the death of a loved one, you’ll need much more than 24 hours. But for minor things, we often tell ourselves to get over it immediately. Denying our natural human emotions is unhealthy, causes stress, and makes things worse in the long run.
- Decision making: You’ve heard the expression “sleep on it”? It’s good advice. Let yourself sit with important decisions for a while before diving in.
Getting into the habit of building incubation time into your schedule will help you to be less impulsive overall.