With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to discuss some important topics pertaining to mental health and organizing. Let’s begin with ADHD, previously referred to as ADD, until the word “hyperactivity”was added to the name in 1987. Those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active. Cathy Lewhew, Account Manager, Founder, and CPO at Abundance Organizing, has been helping clients with ADHD and organizing for many years now. She has some advice on how to work with your ADHD – and not against it – to organize your life.
THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ADHD
It is important to first understand some of the symptoms and how they can interrupt the ability to organize. There are three different types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, all depending on which symptoms are most present in the individual with ADHD. Knowing the symptoms of ADHD can be eye opening and help you to realize why getting organized and staying organized seems to be so difficult. It is helpful to be able to differentiate your symptoms so that you can be more aware of how to work with your ADHD and not against it. The three types are:
Predominantly inattentive ADHD
- Trouble focusing
- Difficulty finishing a task
- Hard time paying attention
- Easily distracted
- Often forgetful
- Mind often wandering instead of on the person or task at the present moment
Predominantly hyperactive-impulse ADHD
- Trouble staying still
- Excessive talking
- Fidgets a lot
- Trouble with impulsivity: habit of interrupting, using others’ belongings without permission, intruding on others’ conversations or activities
- Difficulty waiting or listening to directions
- Accident or injury prone
Combined presentation of the two
Symptoms from both the inattentive and hyperactive-impulse categories are present in individuals with the combined type of ADHD
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH YOUR ADHD
If you find yourself in one of these categories, you are not alone and you can learn to channel and focus that energy to the task at hand to stay organized. ADHD and organizing can actually work well together! Cathy has not only personally learned how to be extremely productive with her ADHD, but has also helped others to thrive as well. She has been teaching her longtime clients tricks for staying focused and staying on task. Instead of fighting your ADHD, work with it!
Add in some background noise…
Do you hear every sound and is everything a distraction? Channel that brain power to focus your energy by putting on some background noise. It may be music, something on TV, a podcast, or just a fan. Try this the next time you need to get a task completed. Background noise will help you to focus and concentrate on the present task.
Say yes to the the need to move…
Why fight it? If you need to move, work with it! Have you tried a fidget toy? There are some really fun ones out there. Try playing with one the next time you need to sit, stay focused, and pay attention. They are the best thing ever!
Choose your time of day…
Find the time of day when you are able to focus best and then schedule the tasks that need your most concentration at the times of the day when you are able to focus best. If you are able to focus best before 3:00pm, then aim to schedule all meetings in the morning or at least before early afternoon hours when you are able to focus best. If you know that you struggle with staying focused in the morning, then don’t try to work on a task that needs your focus in the morning. No sense in fighting the time you work best…instead embrace it.
Let’s take a moment to chat about laundry…and a routine…
Laundry…is…in…a category all by itself! When working with clients, the laundry room is very telling and often out of control if the client has ADHD. This is because laundry is a task, with many steps, which makes it difficult to stay on track and complete. Cathy can usually tell if someone has ADHD just by looking at their laundry room. But it does not have to stay that way! This is where ADHD and organizing can work together. You can definitely get in control of your laundry. It is important to set up a routine that gets you to the finish line of completing a task. Here is a routine with steps for doing laundry:
- Don’t give yourself the leniency to get distracted.
- Set an alarm for when the laundry is done in the washer to remind you to put into the dryer.
- Then, set an alarm to take the laundry out of the dryer.
- Fold it right then and there in your laundry room.
- Then, immediately take it and put it away.
Following up succinctly with each step will not allow you the opportunity to become distracted from your task! Setting alarms will help you remember and keep you from forgetting about the laundry. Knowing the steps to follow and complete will keep your mind on the task at hand and help you to complete the task. You might even decide to organize the laundry room! Setting up this routine can be very helpful and transferable to other tasks in your life. The steps followed in completing the task of laundry can be applied to your other tasks and will help you to get and stay organized.
Do you experience any symptoms or have been diagnosed yourself with ADHD? Check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook for more and to share any tips you have on working with your ADHD to organize your life.