Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Managing Adult ADHD through Professional Organizing and Coaching

Maybe you know someone who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; either diagnosed or not. For children, there tends to be a plethora or tools and services at their disposal, but for many adults who have it (and may not know it) simply managing daily life can present a trying set of circumstances.

How does ADHD interfere with optimal functioning, from an organizing perspective?

Adults with ADHD tend to be highly energetic and creative people who love to start projects and involve themselves in several different causes/arenas at once. They thrive on the excitement of chaos and the fast pace of life. Unfortunately, they can't always keep up with the details of the pace that they set for themselves and find that they have misplaced important items or missed important deadlines. Despite really wanting to be successful, they often cope by engaging in more distracting/avoidant behavior, which fuels the cycle of feeling overwhelmed. Often people like this try inventing "systems" but the systems only work for a short time and they then implement a "new" system, on top of the old and so on and so on. Sometimes people are three or four layers deep before they realize there is a problem and by then, they have no idea what is wrong.

Although ADHD is called an Attention Deficit problem, it seems to me to be more of a combination of overfocus on certain things (and tuning out other things) and an inability to perceive essential from unessential detail. This combination creates a situation where someone might spend hours organizing their calendar but forget to stop and make dinner for the family. Often times people like this fail to percieve the passage of time and are shocked when they find that many hours have gone by. These people are sometimes unfairly judged as scattered or lazy (because they don't follow through) but they are usually trying their hardest with their systems, but they just aren't working.

This type of person is an ideal candidate for coaching sessions with a NAPO Professional Organizer. Organizers can very quickly identify personal learning styles and strengths and tailor a system that can work. Often clients know what they need and an organizer will help them discover how to get it; through assessment of  the environment (home or office) and the client's strengths and challenges, with the goal to maximize productivity and work flow. The organizer will also discuss personal priorities and commitments and assist clients to make sound and realistic choices about how to spend their time.

Organizers will save their clients time, money and effort by helping them choose products that will complement their needs, rather than pile up in the closet because they looked good but didn't work. Many clients will benefit most from an ongoing regular weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with their organizer to handle daily personal tasks, especially scheduling, paperwork and financial record keeping. Training goes on during the sessions so that over time the person learns to self-monitor and become more independent with their organizing. This is a good approach because systems may need to be tweaked over time as the client tries things out to see how they work. Open feedback is very important so that the organizer is aware of pros and cons of any intervention. As with any change, new habits are hard to form so the coaching model is an ideal way for the habits to become firm over time. As new habits and skills are developed, coaching sessions are slowly stretched out so that success is maintained.

For help with managing ADHD, Coaching or any organizing project, simply contact Linda! 716-631-5619

3 comments:

  1. Boy does this fit me to a "T". Thanks

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  2. Fits me to a "T"! Thanks!

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  3. So True! My husband had ADHD and life can be quite challenging. Any comments on the best systems for strengthening focus, and memory?

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