Chronic disorganization is often found with those who have ADHD. This doesn’t mean that people with ADHD can’t get organized. This just means that there are certain challenges people face with ADHD when trying to get and stay organized. The symptoms of menopause and ADHD can overlap and make each one more intense. Understanding both menopause and ADHD and how they interact with one another is helpful in learning how to manage and work with menopause and ADHD. Here are some informational and practical tips for organizing with menopause and ADHD:
Understanding the relationship between menopause and ADHD:
Watch this TED talk by Lisa Mosconi, a neuroscientist, on How Menopause Affects the Brain. The symptoms of menopause can be moodiness, sadness, irritability, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and memory lapses. As a woman ages, her estrogen levels decrease by more than half. The decrease in estrogen levels directly affects the brain, causing a decrease in cognitive abilities.
The role of Estrogen:
Estrogen regulates and balances neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine, and serotonin. These important neurotransmitters play key roles in memory, mood regulation, and the ability to make decisions. This decrease can bring out and/or exacerbate ADHD symptoms. In fact, the hormonal effects of less estrogen can have even more of an effect on women with ADHD because of the difficulty already to concentrate and make decisions.
Solutions for organizing with menopause and ADHD:
The Solutions for ADHD Challenges work well when going through menopause. At Abundance Organizing, those of us who have ADHD have personally learned how to be extremely productive with our ADHD, and also help others to thrive – especially including those going through menopause. Here are 10 tips for organizing with ADHD, more on challenges you may face with organizing and ADHD, and even some ADHD-friendly laundry tips. Check out our blog for more. You can learn to channel and focus that energy – or lack thereof – to the task at hand.
Being productive while organizing with menopause and ADHD:
Make a list of tasks in order of importance. This can help you prioritize what’s most important and avoid getting sidetracked by less important tasks. Distractions, loss of focus, getting tired, becoming discouraged – and so many more emotions, feelings, and interruptions can stall you from completing a project. Prioritizing tasks will help you work towards completing the goals you set and staying motived to complete those goals.
Do you have a hard time being productive because you constantly can’t find items or remember where you put them? We highly recommend that you establish a launch pad. Organizing your launch pad helps all your comings and goings. It should be the first place you see when you enter your home and the last place you see when you leave your home. A launch pad is the in-between place meant to house anything you will be reaching for constantly like keys, purse, mail, doggie bags, etc. If you have kids, it’s where their backpacks go and even their sports equipment. Launch pads will help you to get and stay organized.
-Breaking Down Tasks-
Large tasks can be overwhelming, so try to break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Then make sure you acknowledge small progress benchmarks. This will help you with staying motivated, having fun, and with feeling a sense of accomplishment as you complete each step. This sense of accomplishment is what helps to propel you into the next task needed in order to complete the project.
Staying focused while organizing with menopause and ADHD:
In organizing, we have a technique called body doubling that we encourage clients to use to help stay grounded and focused on tasks they might otherwise avoid. This involves having someone sit nearby with you engaging in quiet activity like reading, paperwork, or email while you are trying to get work done as well. No one likes to feel like they are all alone doing a dull task while everyone else is having fun. This can be a real game changer!
It’s important to give yourself regular breaks throughout the day. This can help you stay focused and avoid burnout. Think outside the box and use your breaks to continue to fuel your progress. If you have children that you are helping complete spring cleaning projects or homework, be creative with how you take breaks. In this blogpost on tips to establish a homework station, snacks are a great way – with any age – to structure breaks .
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, TV, a podcast, audible, 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.
Managing time while organizing with menopause and ADHD:
During the day everything takes longer than you actually think it will. Allow for extra time.This will help to keep the atmosphere calm when you have time limitations, scheduled events, or to do’s that must be completed. Factoring in extra buffer time will help you to get where you need to go on time and finish what you need to do. For example, factor in extra time into your morning routine so that you are able to put the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher or help your kids complete their morning routine. Extra time will allow buffer time if you get distracted instead of finding yourself in a panic – and then finding the kitchen a disaster zone by the end of the day!
-The 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!
Do you find yourself often procrastinating? Maybe you have a hard time getting started on projects, tasks, or making phone calls? With ADHD and the hormonal changes that menopause bring, it can be extremely overwhelming to start a daunting task. When you find yourself hesitating, instead of procrastinating, set your timer for 30 minutes and just take a go at your task. You will be surprised at how much of the task you accomplish. Maybe you find your groove and keep going, maybe you do not. However, you have jumped over a big hurdle by jumping into your task and actively working on it for 30 minutes. This is an empowering step towards completing your goal.
What has been your experience organizing with menopause and ADHD? Let us know in our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook.