Maya, our ADHD Success Club guest blogger, had an epiphany this week. She’s realizing that living easier with ADHD takes more than just systems and skills. It takes a certain mindset. Plus, patience and perseverance. Thanks, Maya! You’ve made my day! – DR
I feel like I’m at a pivotal moment in my ADHD world–nowhere near where I’d like to be one day–but closer. For the first time ever, I accept and embrace my brain’s learning curve and understand that implementing anything new is going to take patience, practice, and perseverance.
For years I’ve tried to “fix what’s broken” taking advice from the masters of organization (Covey, Tracy, Allen) and the masters of tidy classrooms (naturally organized teacher friends). I’ve tried systems of the masters of organization in education by joining online programs. I’ve even decorated bookshelves and scoured the Internet for the solution to my GTD nightmare. I’ve always walked away from these attempts feeling like an organizational failure.
Initially, each system I tried seemed workable; however, once immersed in the system, I became confused and overwhelmed and eventually I abandoned or replaced the system. When 2016 ended, I knew it was time to make a change to figure out how to better manage organization and balance because I realized that in spite of my efforts to better myself, I was treading water.
With the advice of a friend/former boss who knows of my struggle with prioritization, I took on a new word for 2017. When I told him my problem with prioritization was I didn’t know what to prioritize, he suggested that I try the word clarity. I tried on the new word. I researched it and learned more about what clarity meant in business and work-life balance. The word seemed to be a good fit.
Eventually, I listened to a few of Dana’s free ADHD trainings. From the moment I heard her describe clarity, I knew she could help me move forward. As I embraced my new word and joined the ADHD Success Club, I gained clarity in seeing how my mindset was obstructing my clarity. Abandoning systems in frustration before giving them a chance, choosing complex systems with too many steps, adding layers upon layers of complexity in all areas of life, expecting perfection immediately, and going full throttle instead of one step at a time–those have been ways I have fed the negative aspects of ADHD.
And now I find myself moving towards clarity in how I plan, how I teach, how I organize, and how I live. Old habits die hard. My jewelry doesn’t always make it to the jewelry box, sometimes I leave things lying around, but I find myself unable to set a jacket down on a chair or railing, and I find myself taking my shoes back to my closet more often than not. I look around my house and my classroom and wonder how I can simplify my systems. I’ve tweaked my lesson planning format to simplify.
This past week, when I began working the system we learned in the ADHD Success Club for taming my tasks, for the first time in my life, I was able to understand how I could use this system to prioritize. The steps were clear. The organization made sense. The pieces of the puzzle fit well together. For four days, I’ve looked at a daily to do list as well as a list for the week, and I’ve been able to figure out how to get things done.
The shift I’m experiencing right now is a mental shift–my perspective is changing because I have clarity in the details and the big picture.
Dana’s system makes sense on a conceptual level and in the day to day tasks and details. Taming my task list involves looking at the horizon/big picture of where I want to go, looking at this week at what needs to get done, and zooming in on what I need to do today. And finally, this abstract word prioritization makes sense to me and I’m training my brain to approach tasks strategically instead of randomly.
With Dana’s help, I can see and understand the big picture and the nuts and bolts. For those people who walk this world without ADHD, this fluid mental motion of going from conceptual to concrete may seem unimportant, but for me this is everything yet often the missing link.
For me, the devil has always been in the details, but right now the details are giving me mental clarity as I try to take steps to achieve the big picture vision I have for living successfully with ADHD. While I’ve got a long way to go, at this point in my life, I do not feel like an organizational failure. Instead, I can clearly see how I’m an organizational work in progress working on taking small steps building habits and routines.