Archives for August 2009

ADHD Organizing

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When you have ADHD organizing is usually a constant battle, and clutter is the biggest problem

When I moved homes in February, my home office set-up changed. While I have a great office to see my clients in, I also do a reasonable amount of work on my computer in my home office.

While there was more physical space in my new office, there also seemed to be lots of belongings that didn’t have a designated home. The office was used as a “dumping ground” and the result wasn’t pretty, as you can see from my before picture!

It took a couple of months before I had the time and mental motivation to address this clutter. Part of the problem was that whenever I looked at the pile of “stuff” my energy disappeared.

I eliminate clutter in the same way I advise my ADHD Coaching clients, 15 minutes at a time. Some days I could do more than 15 minutes, but only if I was very motivated. Once I had made a big dent and there was less “stuff,” it was much easier to spend more time on the project.

The first plan of attack was to throw out “stuff” that I no longer needed, used or made me happy. That was a good psychological boost because it was easy to see the progress I made.

Belongings either went to the charity store, in the garbage, through the shredder or to the recycling box. Paper clutter was the hardest. Each piece needed reading and a decision to be made: keep or shred. This was time-consuming and not very satisfying because the visual process was slow.

The hardest items were ones that had sentimental value but were not nice enough to donate. For example, a “Winnie the Pooh” pencil case that I had had since I was 15 years old. I no longer used it and it had an ink stain, but I couldn’t throw it out.

Once I had gotten down to the bare bones of the belongings, I realized that I needed some new storage supplies. I bought new hanging files for my filing cabinet to store important paperwork and I also found a lovely six drawer cabinet (in the After picture) to put my “to keep” items in.

When I started putting these items in their new home, something very pleasant occurred. As the new storage unit was so new and shiny, I only wanted to put “good stuff” in it. So I had another phase of decluttering. This was when the “Winnie the Pooh” pencil case got sent to the trash.

Finally, I went on a search for some containers to make the insides of the drawers tidy. By this point, my heart lifted when I walked into the office and I felt energized rather than depleted.

Take the ADHD Organizing Challenge!

  1. Pick an area you want to address / attack.
  2. Take a “before” photo.
  3. Spend 15 minutes a day on your area. Sometimes you might be inspired to do more.
  4. Begin by removing everything that you no longer want, need or use.
  5. When you know what your “bare bones” belongings look like, think if you need any new equipment or furniture to house it neatly.
  6. Give yourself permission to buy what you need. You will be able to find your new supplies, whatever your budget.
  7. Through the process, acknowledge any resistance or uncomfortable emotions you have.
  8. Take an “after” photo.
  9. Enjoy your new tidy and organized space!!!

Housework and ADHD

When you have ADHD, one of the worst tasks imaginable is… housework. Not only is it boring and mundane, it provides lots of opportunity for procrastination and distraction. What could be done in two-hours ends up taking all day. However, even though housework. is not pleasant, it does need to be done. Both for your health and safety, and your mental and emotional well-being. So how can you make it more interesting and even fun? Below is a winning formula!!!

  1. Get a piece of paper and a pen and write down every room that needs attention. For example:
    • Bedroom
    • Bathroom
    • Kitchen
    • Living Room

    You don’t need to write down what you need to do in each room as that will be obvious once you are there.

    By each room on your list, write down the number 10. (This stands for ten minutes.)

  2. Now go to the first room on the list, set your timer for 10 minutes and blitz. Do what needs to be done. It could be changing the linens on the bed, putting clothes away, vacuuming, etc. Start and then keep moving until the timer rings and the 10 minutes is up. The golden rule is don’t leave the room you are working in (even for a second) during those 10 minutes. If you find an item that belongs in another room, put it by the door to be moved when the 10 minutes is up. This keeps your mind focused on the tasks in hand and minimizes the risk of distraction.

  3. When the timer goes off, stop what you are doing, even if you are in the middle of a task. This might be hard because our mind craves completion. However, it’s because you DO stop and move from room to room that you remain motivated and energized. This is why this technique works so well. When the timer goes off, put a line through the 10 for the room you have just finished and then move to the second room.

  4. Do the same for each room on the list. This technique is so powerful that it keeps you on your toes. 10 minutes does not allow you to get bored. It creates a sort of race between you and the timer and keeps you motivated to keep going and not procrastinate.

  5. When you have finished all the rooms on your list (maximum 5 rooms), have a mini break. Drink some water and then start again at the beginning of your list and spend another 10 minutes in each room. By then you should have 5 clean and shiny rooms.

When you have finished, sit down for a rest and a cup of tea and flip through a magazine as a treat… you earned it!!!