Sally’s head was spinning.
Every day was full, she always felt behind and a bit out of control.
She never seemed to finish anything. Just today she was replying to an email when the phone rang. Sally stopped typing and answered it.
It was her boss asking for some stats that Sally had promised her but had forgotten all about. Now it was urgent. Her boss was heading to a meeting and needed the stats right now. Sally found the information (it only took a few minutes) and emailed her boss.
The original email Sally had been writing was forgotten now because her co-worker was in her office talking about the office party on Saturday.
Oh man! That’s this weekend?
Sally stopped listening to the co-worker and started figuring out babysitting arrangements in her mind. When she was alone in her office again, Sally went online to shop for a new outfit for Saturday, before her next meeting in 10 minutes.
As frantic as life was, on some days Sally got to her desk, knew there were a million things to do, but her mind was blank and she literally didn’t know what she should be doing.
Sally thought, ‘If I could just organize my head, my life would be different, I wouldn’t feel stressed and I would be able to see the woods and the trees.
When I meet new clients for the first time, they often tell me they would feel better if they could ‘organize their head.’
Organizing your head isn’t just about being more organized, it’s also about how your organized head makes you feel.
You feel confident and calm, less anxious and more sure of yourself. Plus, you have created space and time in your day too.
6 ways to organize your head when you have ADHD.
1. Write it down.
People ask you to do things throughout the day. You might have gotten into the habit of jumping up and doing them right away before you forget. This habit leads to mental disorganization. Don’t rely on your memory! You won’t remember everything.
Instead, write things down, either in a notebook or app.
It takes seconds, but is invaluable in creating an organized headspace.
2. Don’t answer the phone if you are driving.
Don’t answer the phone if you are driving, even if you have a hands free device. Whenever you are on the phone, you want to be in a position where you can write down actions or to-do’s.
This applies to other activities too, like running, gardening or walking the dog. Only take a phone call when you have a pen in your hand to write down actions.
This might require a lifestyle shift, but it allows you to focus on one thing at a time and not have your head buzzing with items that you can’t do anything with.
3. Stop checking your phone.
Checking your phone for messages and emails all the time is stressful (there is research to back this up) and unproductive.
Seeing all the incoming requests takes you away from your current activity and intensifies being distracted because so many things are whirling around in your head. Instead, disconnect from that cyber hustle and have two or three set times of the day where you look at your inbox and process (not just check) your emails.
4. Use a calendar.
Use a calendar and write all your appointments that you have with other people.
As well as being a practical memory prompt, a calendar gives you a visual of what your day looks like and allows you to see what time you have left for yourself and your to-do’s.
There are many great calendar options. If you have one you love, keep using it. Otherwise, I recommend Google calendar. It has everything you need, including being able to colour code the different types of appointments you have.
5. Create systems.
‘Systems’ sounds grand, but a system is just a plan that is carried out in an orderly way on a regular basis. Systems for ADHDers are like the comfort blanket you had when you were 3 years old.
Knowing when you are going to do something, and how you are going to do it, without having to think about it, lifts a big weight from your mind and helps you feel organized.
Let’s say, for example, you designate every Tuesday at 10 a.m. for your bookkeeping.
The first time, take a few minutes and write a checklist for yourself with the actions you need to make in order to do the task.
Then every Tuesday simply go through the list and check the items off as you go.
6. Clear your environment
Gretchen Rubin’s book, ‘Outer Order Inner Calm’ couldn’t say it better. When your environment is ordered, you feel calm and organized on the inside.
Take a look around you now. Are you surrounded by clutter? Or are you in a neat and tidy place? Don’t worry if you answered ‘clutter.’ It’s good to know that by decluttering your space you are helping to organize your head. A good way to tackle clutter is ‘the daily method’ – decluttering 15 minutes a day. This technique builds momentum and allows you to make great progress with your clutter without it ever being a big deal.
Need more help with organizing your head?
‘Heads up! How to organize your head and feel in control of your life the ADHD friendly way.’ is a 90 minute workshop and is a bonus in the ‘It’s a Wrap!’ program! This program is part of The Untapped Brilliance Club membership. Join at http://www.untappedbrilliance.com/yes