We all try to be organized, to create to-do lists, find a filing system that works for us, but in the end, organization is elusive. We categorize people as "organized" or "disorganized" and accept that our name will probably be on the "disorganized" list every time. The good news is that organization skills, while innate in some people, can be learned and, with practice, improve. There are, however, some common beliefs that hold us back from getting our lives in order.
There's too much to do, it is all so overwhelming, I will never get this done.
It could be an immense amount of clutter in your house and it's time to clean up, stacks of paper on your desk or an email account with hundreds of emails you haven't yet gone through. Whatever it is, in the beginning, it is overwhelming and you often have no idea where to start. The best way to begin is to break the project down into mini-tasks. For example, when looking at stacks of papers that you must go through, push all but one stack away from you. You might even want to take them off your desk so you aren't tempted to jump around from one stack to another. Place the one stack you are going to tackle in front of you and place each item into one of four categories:
- Do it now
- Give it to someone else to do
- It can be done later
When you reach the end of your stack, throw away anything in the trash pile before you have a chance to change your mind, complete the tasks you put into your "Do it now" pile, delegate tasks in the "Give it to someone else" pile and place the rest aside to be done later. Now you are ready to work on your second stack of papers.
No matter what task you are approaching, breaking it down and focusing on one small part at a time helps. You may suddenly look around and realize you have completed the whole project, piece by piece.
I have plenty of time to do this later.
Procrastination. Who among us hasn't been guilty of procrastinating at some time or another? Procrastination is the art of making everything else seem much more important than what you should be doing. I find procrastination is a great way to get my house cleaned, I procrastinate on other tasks and all the sudden cleaning the house sounds good. ADHDCentral expert, Deborah, explains in her post, Five Tips for Beating Procrastination, "... for people with Attention Deficit Disorder, getting something done can be really tough. Not only do we have the same tendency as other people to put off doing something that's not thoroughly entertaining, but we have an extra hurdle - our distractability."
More information on procrastination:
It's not a big deal...or is it?
What is important? What is not? What should be done right now? What should be done later? Adults with ADHD have a hard time prioritizing tasks. Prioritizing is the process of deciding what needs to be done now and what can be done later. When you don't list tasks in the order of importance, you end up being overwhelmed, feeling as if we are being hit on all sides. ADHD Coach Laura Rolands suggests asking yourself the following questions when deciding whether tasks should be listed as "high priority" or left for later:
- Do any of your goals have external deadlines?
- What are the deadlines and are they negotiable?
- How do the deadlines impact the priority of your goals?
To make it more difficult, priorities constantly change. What seemed important yesterday doesn't seem urgent today, or new projects have popped up, taking priority, sending other tasks to the bottom of the list. Looking over your "to-do" lists each morning or evening and reprioritizing tasks helps you keep perspective.
Some additional resources:
Published On: September 27, 2011