Some things that are obvious to most people are not so obvious to folks with ADHD but then again some things that are obvious to people with ADHD are not so obvious to the average person. A person with ADHD might have fabulous creative and innovative ideas but constantly get caught up in the day to day responsibilities of life. They get the big picture but not the minutia of daily living.
There are two major categories that seem to give folks with ADHD the most trouble, time and space.
Here’s a simple truth about time. You only have the time you have. It doesn’t slow down or expand to fit in all you have to get done in a day. Time is finite is and once time has passed it’s gone.
ADHD people typically have no concept of time and they don’t experience the passage of time in the same way as the rest of the world. Therefore they are very often late to work or school, they miss appointments, have trouble handing things in on time, and pay their bills long after they are due.
There are strategies to improve your relationship with time. Here are a few:
- Wear a watch.
- Use a planner.
- Use calendars.
- Keep a clock in every room.
- Time yourself to see how long regularly occurring things take. How long do you take in the shower? How long does it take to get to work?
- Aim for being early rather than on time. Pad your time.
- Reward yourself when you get places on time.
Just as time is finite, space is finite too. If you live in a small apartment you have to limit your possessions because you only have the space you have. If you keep adding or bringing in more and more stuff without tossing some stuff you will be living in a big disorganized mess. It’s easier to keep less things organized than to try to organize a lot of stuff.
You need to stop the inflow and increase the outflow. Or as my grandma would say,”You gotta throw out the schmattes.”
Here are some tips to help you improve your relationship to space:
- Everything you own needs a home. If you want something but don’t know where you are going to put it don’t bring it into your space.
- Limit the number of the same kind of thing you possess. Figure out how much or how many is enough. If you have a thousand pencils you could probably weed out 900 of them and still have enough pencils to last a lifetime.
- Subtract before you add. Go through your closet and donate or toss the clothes you don’t wear before you shop for new ones.
- Avoid stores where you are tempted to make impulsive purchases.
- Leave your credit cards at home. When you go shopping take as much cash as you are comfortable spending.
- Keep recreational shopping to a minimum.
Taking control of your time and space isn’t easy. Don’t look for perfection instead aim for steady progress.
Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach in Brooklyn, NY. She helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD with time management, planning and prioritizing, getting started with and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and improving social skills. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in downtown Brooklyn. For more information visit her website: www.bravolifecoaching.com or email Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org