I don’t know how ADHD gets tangled in with this feeling, but I definitely get it, too.
Some good advice here, already. 🙂
My approach is to map out the full path in more detail, and keep re-synching with what’s real for me… for the hard steps (there are *always* hard steps), I break them down as small as I possibly can, push them to the front, and involve other people to help me.
E.g. for any project there are unknowns, technical problems that may have hidden dragons, and steps that …should be fine, but I personally don’t know how to do them, yet.
I chase those first, and there should always be a next step that’s 100% do-able in a short amount of time. A job like “add Prometheus metrics to this service” might take someone who’s done it a dozen times on similar services a couple of hours, including needed collab with others…
Knowing that feels bad if I’m still learning the codebase, haven’t used Prometheus in this language before (or at all), don’t know who can identify the important metrics, am intimidated by the statistics jargon in the docs I found…
But step 1 can be “outline a rough plan with questions & concerns” – okay, I can do that. Step 2 can be “ask on slack who’s free to help with questions, and tour me through any relevant code we have”.
Wait, I’m still worried about the schedule – step 2 can be showing the team lead my initial plan and that it’s all unknowns for now, so I can make zero promises about timeline, but after my first goal (several steps away…. just get *the simplest possible* metric collected) I will know more.
If I have mental resistance to the next step, I either break it down still further (“open a browser and collect 3 URLs that look useful for step 4”), and/or I get help.
Actually… what I do most often now: I have an open slack channel that’s just my notes on what I’m thinking, what I’m working on next, and problems I’ve run into. Sometimes actual people read it (probably while taking a break from their own tasks!) but much of the time it’s just rubber ducking.
It works really well for me, and it feels valuable for the team (I can share breakthroughs when they happen — it’s all already written out) and I can expose detours I went down and keep open the chance for someone to notice early on.
I find it much easier to help other people problem-solve, rather than solve my own 😀 … and somehow it also sort of leverages that.
I.e. I write out where I’m stuck.
And now other people are (in theory) watching, and wondering how to solve this problem: can I propose something to try? A good next step? Usually, I can, even if 10 minutes before I was feeling overwhelmed, and my brain was “saving” me by throwing distractions & escapes in my path as fast as it could.