First of all, let’s get something straight. ADHD is very real and very complex. That complexity leads to ADHD showing up for each individual differently. Add that to the fact that is an “invisible” brain based disorder it is understandable that there is confusion about ADHD in general society.
ADHD most often includes difficulty getting and staying focused, modulating attention, controlling impulsivity and self-managing behavior. While these symptoms are directly related to the ways the brain works (brain cells & neurotransmitters), there are specific groups of mental (thought process) skills that coordinate the way the brain works. These are commonly called “executive functions,” and they involve things like organizing and planning, shifting attention, regulating emotions, self-monitoring and holding information in mind for easy recall. Executive functions are essential in every aspect of our lives.
If you are impacted with ADHD, you experience a breakdown in some executive function areas chronically and at a higher level than other people. However, your level of difficulty in an executive function area will vary from how it shows up for someone else with ADHD. This contributes to the confusion about “what ADHD is” in society that we talked about earlier.
My work as a coach is to support those with ADHD in taking the Actions that meet their Intentions. We build structure, processes and find tools that support lapses in executive functions. This enables you to take actions consistently and show up as your best self. When you are willing to actively manage your ADHD and build a structure that works for you, your stress will decrease and your productivity and relationships will improve. Coaching is fantastic for college students as well as adults that have decided that coping and accepting “good enough” is no longer working for them.
Time management is no one’s favorite topic but essential to success so we often spend a lot of time in that area. Here are 3 tips that work for many of my clients that will get you started:
Keep it Visual– Many people try schedule using their phones for calendaring so they can always access it. This is fantastic but often not the complete solution, since if you have memory challenges you often forget to check your phone when it is tucked away. Try adding a very visual calendar into the mix. A wall or desktop calendar kept right in your face where you will see it several times a day can be a big help. Keep the MUST’s on the visual calendar. When you review your schedule; double check that the MUST’s are in your phone along with your other smaller priorities so they all go with you.
Schedule It– Often new clients are trying to use a calendar system of some sort but they are only scheduling big tasks and commitments on the schedule. Our goal is to get all those smaller details onto the calendar so you aren’t trying to keep everything in your head. When you have a memory lapse, it is okay! Your calendar is now a useful support to keep you on track.
Color Coding– Color coding not only helps priorities catch your attention, it is fun! Use your creativity and give each type of task a color or assign colors by family member. Colored markers, sticky notes, stickers, it doesn’t matter- use whatever works for you to get things popping and keep priorities top of mind.
I would love for you to drop me a note and tell me how these tips worked for you.