HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2012! Possibly end of days! Possibly just another year!
Now, if you are like me (and you might not be— one of the themes that will hopefully emerge from this blog is that if you’ve met one person with ADHD then you’ve met one person), you approach the new year with a burst of enthusiasm to do everything better. Historically, this has included the big scary “O” word: organize ALL OF THE THINGS.
It is no secret or surprise that adults with ADHD struggle with organization. We are known for having piles of paper and constantly losing our keys. We’ve been called “messy,” “careless,” and “lazy” since we were small children. And, more likely than not, we are ashamed.
In subsequent Organization posts, I’ll be posting tips and tricks to help keep life from overflowing and crushing you beneath its weight. However, this post is about the cornerstone of a successful organizational scheme: acceptance.
Everyone, ADHD or not, has their own unique and special style of doing basically anything, including organizing. I spent far too many years trying to fit into what I thought an organized person looked like. I bought file systems and notebooks and planners and mail sorters. I read book after book telling me what I should do and how I should do it. And, every time it didn’t work I considered it a big, fat, failure. Not the system or the planner, mind you, but myself. I was a failure. I was hopeless and worthless and doomed to be a slob.
And, it turned out it was all of that brainchatter that kept me from figuring out how my own unique and special style of organization actually worked. It was all of the self-shaming talk that kept me from realizing why I tended to leave everything in piles and why I always lost my keys. It wasn’t until I stopped blaming myself every time an organizational technique did not work for me that I managed to work out a system that makes me a functional Real Grown Up Person.
So, before you delve into my brilliant and awesome organization tips, take a moment to look at the words you use when you try to organize yourself. Watch out for the “shoulds” and the “oughts.” Especially pay attention to any language that makes you morally responsible for the outcome of an organizational endeavor. Take caution any time you hear one of your parents or your third grade teacher or your bitchy co-worker berating you in your head. You, like everyone else, are unique and special and different and that is okay.
And, accept that you probably won’t have a perfectly clean desk (unless that works for you). You might very well need your piles (I do!). It might even be that these piles make you more of a functional Real Grown Up Person than a well-organized file cabinet ever would.