post no. 126 -- ADHD and Organization

A few weeks ago my sister and I were on the phone long distance from Arizona to Hawaii. What a chat. She brought to my attention the fact that our whole family, thanks to my dad's genes, has ADHD. Literally. I was planning on waiting until I least started the medication process to break the news, but in the meantime this idea presented itself, so I decided to give it a go early.

I don't want to make this whole post about ADHD, as I intended this to be about organization and its importance, but I just want to pause for a second to touch on the subject. First off, I would honestly like to put it out there for the skeptics and critics, if you don't have the disorder please don't be derogatory and act like this is a "pharmaceutical scheme to make money by drugging up kids". Sure it might be aimed at kids, but for someone who is still trying to get by day to day as an adult, knowing they're doing everything in their power without medication and still having problems, it's hurtful. My parents did not medicate me for that very reason, and I wish they had addressed this issue before I hit high school, but I'm dealing with the issue now, and that's that.

I have had ADHD for a long time, it's pretty much been a denial thing up until this point. I started to notice that I had a hard time focusing and completing projects in my high school art classes, but I didn't want to admit it. It was not that I didn't want to finish, but that I got bored quickly and was constantly wanting to move to something new. Most people think this is where this disorder stops, it's not.

Most people picture some kid running around the playground like a baboon, but in the adult world, it's much more reserved than that. Symptoms like hyperfocus which, to put it simply, means obsessing, pop up in the adult world. When bored, I find something to distract myself with, shopping mainly, but growing up it involved researching things I wanted, making Powerpoint presentations for Christmas gifts, the works. (You think I'm kidding about the PPTs.. I'm not.) Hyperfocus, involves obsessing over something until someone or something physically causes you to stop. I can't tell you how many times I have gotten obsessive about buying something, moving somewhere, planning something, and on and on.

The next thing people don't realize about ADHD, is it makes you very impulsive. Not just like last minute snags off the shelf.. but saying things you don't mean, hurtful and rude things, being incredibly impatient over trivial things, and more. Certain things give me anxiety, like scribbled writing all over a page, because it reminds me of me. Having ADHD means feeling that despite everything you've accomplished, you're lacking. I have a short temper, am hypersensitive, and often get super irritable mood swings. It's like PMSing 24/7. For the longest time I thought it was just me, I was a bitch, but talking to my sister helped me realize there was light at the end of the tunnel.

It's actually somewhat scary realizing that you fit into every category listed on a symptoms page, but at the same time I find it kind of liberating. To learn more about ADHD and it's other symptoms, take a look here. My appointment to deal with this is April 4th, until then I'm trying to really work at correcting problems I recognize, such as organization. So I said all of that, to say this: Lets talk about schedules, organization, and such!

Blog schedules, work schedules, school schedules, life schedules, they're all important. We see them everywhere, from pre-school activities to NFL season playoffs. They're organized, clear cut, and to the point. Wouldn't it be great if life could be that way?

Most people have trouble getting organized and staying on top of things. I'm an example, obviously. But one of the main reasons why is because they can't get into a method of organization that suits them.

Monthly, weekly, daily, they can all start to blend together. So which one is right for you? Well, it depends. Typically, I buy daily and weekly planners only to realize that after about a month I no longer use them other than to document what happened last week. Why? Because I think big picture. Part of this is the ADHD, part of it is just personality, but I have a hard time focusing on 7am-8am this is what I am doing. Instead, I know that bills are due certain days and Kris leaves others. So, no matter how I try, a weekly planner isn't for me. Finding a little more about you and your likes and dislikes, can help in getting organized to the point you would like. 

From your home office to your laundry, another tip for staying organized is making sure everything has it's place. Knowing where an item belongs helps ensure that the item gets back to its proper place by the time you are finished. My mom used to always stress this to me growing up and I never really paid attention until I moved out on my own. Dealing with Kris and my chaos is a bit much sometimes, so having a certain place for certain things certainly helps in the long run. 

Labels are a great way as well to organize your closet, fridge, office supplies, etc. In your fridge it is also a great way to help know how long you've had those left overs, and exactly when that jug of juice is no longer good. 

Last but not least, a final tip to staying on top of things is color coding. Breaking down your to do list by color of importance, schedule by category, or closet by hue, can do loads of good. I break down my calendar with colors that make sense for the category, green for money and bills, red for monthly visits... , and on. It helps to look at your calendar and see exactly what you have going on for every group.

I hope this post has helped, whether you have ADHD, are slightly organizationally challenged, or are just looking for some new ideas to keep things clutter free. 

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