Blog > Real Life Struggle and Beauty in Doing It Yourself: Written by a Millennial with ADHD

Real Life Struggle and Beauty in Doing It Yourself: Written by a Millennial with ADHD

October 28, 2022 /
Nicky Pham
diy and adhd

“If you want something done your way, you might as well do it yourself.” This is a phrase I struggle with on my day to day basis. Whether it is work, extracurricular activities, or home improvement projects, I struggle daily with taking everything on and trying to do it all by myself. Whether it is an LED sign for my non-profit organization or fixing the mirror my partner broke at home, I find great pleasure in piling things on top of my to-do list for dramatic effect and great joy in making it to the finish line, sitting back and watching the product of my hard work come to life.

Even though my life is filled with comical chaos, surprisingly, I’m pretty successful at everything I do. So, here is my real-life process for DIY projects:

Phase 1: The Struggle

Ah, the birth of an idea, or maybe the breaking point of something you once cherished. Perhaps you want an LED sign for your business, but the cost is $3,000, that you don’t have.

get inspired

Or your partner broke a gigantic mirror you were so excited to hang up in your new home, and this thing is going up, broken or not. The worrying will happen, and it’ll eventually turn into pure creativity; why? Because YOU’RE HERE! You’ve got this! But first, you have to move through these steps to get anything done.

Step 1. Get excited about your idea, and tell everyone you know! Talk about it for a week until your mouth is tired of talking, you’re exhausted when someone asks you about it!
Step 2. Leave it on the back burner for a few more weeks, then forget about it. Because life happens, and if your DIY project is NOT your full-time job, it’s most likely going to get lost in the midst of life, and that’s okay because eventually, you’ll…
Step 3. Come back to it a month or two later, and beat yourself up about it for a few days until you…

dont get overwhelmed
Step 4. Obsess over all your ideas at bedtime. Let them keep you up at night, think of all the possible ways that you can approach this project, roll over and grab your phone, and scroll through the endless sea of Instagram for inspiration until it’s 3am.
Step 5. Procrastinate and get distracted by other people’s ideas until you’re exhausted, sleep on your idea for another week! One could say that procrastination could be a great thing because once you’re ready to get to it, you’ll get to it in the most efficient way!

Phase 2: The Beauty

This is when the magic happens. All the pieces of your ideas, on paper— visually depicted and laid out. This is where the real work gets done. This is the part where you’re done with BSing, slam a Celsius or a coffee, tie your hair up to get down and dirty.

the beauty

Step 1. Create a vision board. Put all your inspirations in one place. I like to use Bublup for this because it allows me to visually organize my DIY inspo into various folders, allowing me to sit back and let the creative juices flow. The best thing about using a mobile app for all your DIY project details is that when you’re out and about and creativity strikes or you find yourself at the supply store, your note-pad, ideas and lists are always only a few clicks away.

Step 2. Gather your resources – and leave it all in one place! Whether it is the glue gun you want on Amazon or paint materials, create a list, and paste links of your items in a Bublup folder. Or work smarter and use the Bublup chrome extension as you browse. The extension makes it seamless to save items into your folders! I create subfolders for everything from my supply list, to color options to budget tracking, making it super easy to drop in the links, pictures, etc., right into the appropriate place.

Create a vision board

Step 3. Check off your list as you get it all done!

Check off your list as you get it all done

Don’t forget to feel like a badass. There’s a science behind the pleasure of productivity, and one of the most rewarding things is checking the next thing off the list. With Bublup’s new and improved upgrades, not only am I able to keep everything in one place, I can now have my to-do checklist live on my homepage,add calendar reminders, and invite others to my events!

Step 4. Prepare your workspace. Make sure you have more than enough space and little clutter. There needs to be a place for everything. Also, make sure your workspace is clean enough so that you don’t lose the screwdriver as soon as you put it down!

beauty and adhd

Step 5. Remember to have fun! Blast your speaker with your favorite tunes, get up, get motivated and get that booty shaking, then pick up the glue gun or the paintbrush and get at it!  Also, everything is more fun with friends! Have some friends over for an art/craft/projects night! You’ll be surprised how much will get done when you invite friends who actually have art projects they want to finish! 

Step 6. Take your time, yet stay focused.

focusing with adhd

I’m not saying that you have to get it all done at once. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and good things take time! Make sure you take care of yourself, get some rest in between, go on a walk, go to the gym, do yoga, eat something, then come back to it and focus on finishing the project before picking up another one! 

Step 7. Refine, then detach. As you come close to the end of your project, you’ll start seeing yourself making tiny adjustments here and there. And sometimes, the perfectionist in you is your biggest enemy. One tiny adjustment can turn into 10, so when you’re done, be done. Put down the glue gun or the paintbrush, walk away, and let your work settle. Practice non-attachment and…

Step 8. Celebrate and share the joy! It’s the little celebrations we keep having in life that keeps us young. Go grab yourself a drink or dessert, hell treat yourself out to dinner! Bring a few friends—and share your creation with them, you could even invite them to your Bublup folder. Bublup is a great media sharing app that allows you to store any content, collaborate in Group Folders and even build mini websites, making sharing your accomplishments and collaborating with friends fun! You did it! Yay! go you!

So if you’re anything like me, full of creativity, endless ideas, and limitless ambition with at least 3 ongoing projects at all times, you’ll find yourself doing it all most of the time. And while your biggest strength could also be your biggest weakness, you’ll still be able to accomplish whatever you want to achieve.

Celebrate and share the joy

Remember, that doing it yourself doesn’t have to mean doing it ALONE–get it done alongside your crafty friends. And, most definitely, have a ton of fun doing whatever it is that you’re doing! If it’s not fun… then what’s the point?


Nicky is the director of Irresistible Revolution, a social justice activist group and artist collective in DC. They are an organizer, yoga teacher and creative based in the DMV area. Their extracurricular activities include planning events, making videos, dancing, and lighting things on fire.

DIY projects

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