I'm a professional Organiser and I have ADHD... there, I said it. Now, you know I'm not perfect. Infact, the thing that makes me such a great organiser is that I literally cannot thrive without being as organised as possible. I'm always on the lookout for ways I can improve mine and my clients lives. My life would literally fall apart without all the systems I've put in place to help me organise my personal life, my home life and my business life.
"If I don't write it down, it doesn't exist"...
..is a common phrase my team and my clients will hear me say. We laugh it off together, but what they don't realise is, it's actually true. If I lost my diary tomorrow, I would remember some things from memory, but the majority I would forget. Despite my organisation skills, my daughter is constantly reminding me: "don't get distracted mum" and I find staying on top of multiple relationships extremely difficult, so have spent the majority of my adult life single and with a small circle of friends that I often see one-one (big groups really overwhelm me. But that's not just the ADHD flavour in me, it's also down the the fact that I am HSP (A Highly Sensitive Person) infact- many people with ADHD are HSP's. You can read more about The Highly Sensitive Person and take a test yourself here.
The following are some organisational tips I learned the hard way, before I realised I even had ADHD...
I was always just convinced that I had to work harder than everybody else to stay on track...
I just thought I was a grafter because I love to be on the go and I work hard...
I just thought my addiction struggles in my teen years were all down to grieving my dad and the trauma of his death...
I didn't know that it was a manifestation of a coping mechanism I had learned as a young baby...
I didn't know that I naturally have lower levels of dopamine...
Since discovering I have ADHD, I have been able to reflect on some of the lower periods of my life and view it with a deeper understanding and compassion. I now know that my addiction in my teens was triggered by trauma, but that my response to the trauma was driven by a coping mechanism I've had since being a baby... something completely out of my control. I now know that my dabbling with and overdoing it with substances and alcohol in my younger years were driven by a need to escape trauma, yes, but it was also my survival instinct trying to regulate my low levels of dopamine.
There are so many things that make sense to me now, but I'll spare you with the essay today.
Let's get to it. Here are my 12 top tips & absolute life-saving systems for thriving with adhd...
1. Invest in one diary for work & one diary for personal life
When I started my business, I became so overwhelmed with my diary. It was just filling up so fast and the amount of writing stuffed into each day made my mind feel even more cluttered. By investing in a diary for work and a diary for my personal life, my mind feels more organised and I don't have the distraction of things I don't need to focus on in-front of me. During work hours, I simply use my work diary only and vice-versa for my personal diary. This really helps my mind feel more calm and organised.
2. Schedule monthly wellbeing check-ins with yourself
I have created a monthly exercise that allows me to be able to see where I may be neglecting some needs of mine, where I can improve, where I'm feeling drained & work out what is inspiring & motivating me. It's important for me to also recognise anything I need to let go of to. Having balance is really essential for all of us, but especially if you have adhd.
This practise is vitally important for me to be able to schedule my weeks, months and days with self-care, kindness and most importantly- to balance my tasks and time so that I get enough time for myself. Having time for yourself is extremely important with ADHD. Though, it may be uncomfortable, our minds can just get so cluttered, that being able to just let go completely is really good for our mental wellbeing and reduces our levels of anxiety.
Meditation has been proven to help people with ADHD focus better. It also helps to relieve any symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can be pretty common as a side effect to living with ADHD from time, to time. Check out this interesting study in more depth right here.
Exercise is absolutely essential for anybody to look after their bodies condition, tone and to release feel-good endorphins to the brain. this becomes even more important in middle-age, but even-more-so for individuals with ADHD... why? We naturally have lower levels of Dopamine, which is why you'll often recognise some questionable behaviours during your life, where you may have innocently just been seeking some more feel-good out. Once you're aware of this, you can find new ways to incorporate practises into your day that release Dopamine and feel-good Endorphins into the brain.
Did you know that people with ADHD are naturally high in creativity? It's true *dusts collar* There are actually some great upsides to having ADHD, but not everyone is in touch with their creativity, which is detrimental to anyone's mental wellbeing... especially those of us that live with ADHD. What creative hobbies did you enjoy as a child that you don't make time for anymore? It's time to carve some time out for you to explore your creativity.
6. Goal Plan
Goal planning is my not-so-secret superpower. Every month, I do my Energy Inventory, where I take time to reflect on what has worked for me the last month, what hasn't, what I need more of and what I can let go of... it's really simple and I created it especially for a client of mine with ADHD, But it's so good that I use it on clients all the time. And I use it myself every month too as a personal barometre on which I measure my state of wellbeing. It's bloody amazing!
Anyway, I use this method as a basis for setting my goals, then I break them down from monthly, into weekly and then week by week I loosely plan out my day-to-day. I've found my own personal flavour of ADHD (bc let's face it, we're all different still) will allow me to plan, but I can't get too heavy on the details because the impulsive creative in me wants to be spontaneous with those. And that's fine, for me...
..It probably looks like a weird Pollock painting for goals to somebody with a different brain to mine, but my goal setting routine really fans the flames of my chaos while supporting me to achieve as much as I can every day, week and month.
Schedule your free consultation with me to learn more.. I can't wait to teach you this method. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I say- this completely changed my life for the better. I'm a busy single mum and business owner, with a team, who writes books in her (little) spare time. Without this method, I would have failed so many times already, but I'm flying and I want you to too.
7. Time Block
Us ADHD babes are a little prone to procrastination so this is a great preventative measure... used with the following...
8. Use hourly timers
This will help you to stay on track and bring you back to the present when you get lost in distraction or hyper focus mode. It happens and that's okay, but it's all about how we deal with it that counts.
9. Practise Mindfulness daily
This has really improved my overall wellbeing and completely trailblazed my productivity. I'm almost a superhuman version of me. Not kidding.
10. Create a morning practise
Mindful practises in the morning can really set us up for a calmer mind & more productive day where we can start out feeling on top of our day, rather then being dragged by it. Bc who the F wants the latter? Not me....
11. Create an evening practise
This one is so important, because with ADHD, our minds get so cluttered that it is only in the evening, when we find a bit of time alone that we feel we are able to relax into an activity that feels like rest to us. We find it hard to rest otherwise, so reading a book, engaging in a meditative practise, or some gentle yoga is a great way to unwind and declutter the mind ready for bed. It's so normal to feel overwhelmed living with ADHD and to almost dread that going to sleep part, where we are alone with the many thoughts of the day to filter through. But with mindful practises, we can become more clear and rest much better. Sleep is such an important part of our wellbeing and there has been extensive scientific research to support this.
12. Take regular digital detoxes
I carried out a study for my dissertation at university which followed a group of people from different age groups as they unplugged from social media for a week... the results were astounding. As a result I have taken regular digital detoxes, one week out of a month ever since. I notice that my focus improves. I feel more calm and I feel more connected because the lack of digital connection drives me to seek out more in-person connection which I actually find more satisfying. Read more about digital detoxing and how to do it here.
I hope you found this article helpful and I'd love to know which tip's will you try? And what have you found that helps you improve your focus and manage your forgetfulness day-today?
If you'd like to do some further reading on improving your mental wellbeing and increasing productivity, try out this post here.
For Coaching, please get in touch with me for your free consultation. I can't wait to serve you and help you to reach your potential. I know how hard it is... I'm walking the walk too. But I'm living proof that it is possible... to thrive as a highly sensitive human with ADHD.
Ooh & before you go- want a freebie? Of course you do! Click here for my free downloadable to get started on your Decluttering journey right now!
L O V E,