Too many ideas!

Too many ideas!

If you’re an adult with ADHD, then chances are that at some point in your life, you’ve felt that you’re not “living up to your potential.” What a lousy way to feel about yourself! This judgment often manifests itself when you take stock of all the great ideas you’ve had that have never gone anywhere, and all the unfinished projects that you’ve started but never completed.

The overwhelming number of things that you haven’t followed through on can lead you to believe that there is something wrong with you, that you’re not as good as the people around you, or that you’re not living up to your potential.

But I’d like you to consider an alternative viewpoint…

By nature, adults with ADHD are visionaries and idea generators. If only someone would pay us to think up great ideas all day long—we’d all be rich!  But we get so many great ideas, and they come so frequently, that it would be absolutely impossible to follow through on every one of them.

Think about it: If you tried to implement every good idea you ever had, if you set into motion every project you ever thought about taking on… would you have time to eat, sleep, or even breathe right now? Probably not! But this doesn’t mean that you’re lazy, broken, or not living up to your potential.

Successful adults with ADHD know that they are always going to have great ideas that never come to fruition. And that’s okay. It’s just our nature to be constantly thinking, creating, and innovating. Many of us can’t shut off this part of ourselves even when we try. But we simply don’t have the physical or mental capability to follow through on every great idea we get, or every fantastic project we think of.

The key to feeling better about this is to realize that some things are actually worth following through on, and some are not. Let go of the guilt. Refuse to listen to that little voice in your head that tells you you’re lazy, just because you have too many good ideas to keep up with!

Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it all because that will only lead to overwhelm and burnout. Instead, ask yourself what’s practical to follow through on in the present. Not every great idea is appropriate to take action on right away. Some projects are better left on the shelf until the time is right, and some projects aren’t worth taking on at all. Keep a notebook in which you write down these great ideas and projects so that you can come back to them when—and if—you want to.

It’s also a good idea to journal about a few of your past great ideas or projects that you actually did follow through on. Let these be your motivation for moving forward. After all, it’s not that you’re incapable of following through on things, it’s just that you can’t possibly follow through on everything!

And don’t forget to acknowledge this special quality that you have. The ability to generate so many great ideas makes you a visionary!

Does this article ring true for you? Does it help you to let go of some guilt about unfinished projects or un-acted upon ideas? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Jennifer Koretsky About Jennifer Koretsky

Jennifer Koretsky, SCAC is the Managing Partner of the ADD Management Group, LLC and Chief Executive Officer of She is a Senior Certified ADHD Coach, and the author of Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD.


  1. The daily reality of incomplete tasks hangs like a cloud, overshadowing the day’s activities that are being completed. The nagging sense of insufficiency actually interferes with the work of the day. Thank you for a different way of looking at the incomplete activities and the reminder to concentrate on what is being accomplished instead of what is being left out.

  2. What you wrote has been the way I have felt since my early twenties and I am near retirement age now.
    I often end up saying to myself and to my friends: “life is what happens when you are busy making plans”.
    Alone the day-to-day activities are such a challenge to complete, so that anything else (let alone any ‘absolutely fantastic’ ideas) hardly ever gets completed, or vice-versa; I have often wished I had a housekeeper/butler so that I cold have free unencumbered time to pursue all my ideas.

  3. Boy, did you hit the nail on the head today and at the exact time I really needed that encouragement. I think the journal will really help. I’ll let you know in the future.

  4. Jennifer Koretsky Jennifer Koretsky says:

    It’s so nice to hear from so many of you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I’m happy that the message resonated with you all! :)

  5. Omg! I cannot tell you how many times I beat myself up for not following through on an idea. I am a writer so naturally my imagination is constantly running rampant. Thanks for the suggestions to take inventory of ideas/projects we have taken on – really helpful!

  6. Well, this came at the right time, but I was too busy the day it actually came, trying to complete too many ideas!!! I never really considered that I had more ideas than time to complete them. duh. Thank you for actually putting that into words. Now the challenge of remembering this!!

  7. Adriana Toledo says:

    Hello Jennifer
    Can you give some ideas about journaling in a way that I could track my ideas, proyects, regrets etc.
    I am sorry about my mistakes in english is not my mother tongue is in spanish.
    Besides , do you know who writes about ADD in spanish.
    Thank you your wonderful ideas.

    • Jennifer Koretsky Jennifer Koretsky says:

      Adriana, I’m going to answer this question in the next podcast! Keep an eye out for it this week!

  8. Adriana Toledo says:

    Hello Jennifer
    Is wonderfull your ideas, Can you tell me about journaling in order to track ideas and projects., or recommend me a book.
    Sorry for my mistakes in english is not may mother tongue.
    Thank you

  9. If you’re not doing something that challenges you, something is wrong. Finding new challenges within projects is most of what makes programming rewarding (or at least it should be).

  10. Wow! What an amazing article! I have not been diagnosed, but I know I have all of the symptoms. This was such an empowering article. Thank you so much!

  11. This still leaves one in the lurch. Not having solid solutions. I agree, be kind to ones self, but you dont present solid solutions. One is still left failing and abandoning things continually.

  12. Im a teenager and this is helpful

  13. This is so needed! My psychiatrist just diagnosed me with ADD (in addition to major depression) and put me on Ritalin. I’m 34. And looking into my past, I see the symptoms beginning in kindergarten. It’s so weird.


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