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ADHD Adults

Are you sick of all the "get organized" advice?

I don’t want to organize myself and I don’t want my life to progress like clockwork. I think it’s because I see the process as benefiting others who put me down. I don’t see the relevance of it for me. Maybe that’s selfish. But I don’t see putting all this work into changing so that I can now be approved of by others. I don’t see it as doing it to benefit myself. I mean, why do this when the rest of the world will condemn me no matter what I do? I hate all these brochures and articles and webinars on how people with ADHD can organize their lives successfully. I just plain don’t want to do it. BECAUSE of my ADHD, I can’t REMEMBER how getting things accomplished by being more organized makes me feel better. We live in the now, we don’t learn from our mistakes, and we’re blissfully unaware of how our actions today will generate either success or failure in the future. It’s like my brain is just wandering around outer space all the time.


I think I hear you. I hate unasked for advice, generic prescriptions for success, untailored diet and med plans, so called experts willing to advise and prescribe without ALL the necessary info to do so for me or anyone as an individual.

I also hate the assumption that I will be a happier, more productive and acceptable human if I could only fit in to flawed institutions, plans for success, etc.
For me, this is not only an impossibility, it is a disservice to who I am.

Yesterday, I saw a PBS special by Dr. Amen, called Healing ADD With the Amens. It was very interesting and highlighted the myths about ADD that are prevalent in society and even among doctors. ADD is not one thing. I will try out a couple of the ideas I heard to help myself move closer to the life I would like to live.

If you are being condemned no matter what you do, remember, it is more about them than you.

When I feel upset and misunderstood I like to read inspirational type words. It helps me to let it go. Here are some I enjoy.

The Final Analysis

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
...Forgive them anyway!
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
...Be kind anyway!
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
...Succeed anyway!
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
...Be honest and frank anyway!
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
...Build anyway!
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
...Be happy anyway!
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
...Do good anyway!
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
...Give the world the best you’ve got anyway!
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Author Unknown – attributed to Mother Teresa

Good luck

Posted by Barbwired on Mar 08, 2014 at 6:36am

In a word, Yes!

However I think I would like to spend less time looking through my rollaround for a specific tool I happen to need at the time.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on Mar 08, 2014 at 7:23am

A common theme around here is that everyone is different; what works for one person may not work as well (or not at all) for another. However, I do think getting organized is generally good advice for everyone.

Being organized has helped me to recognize my priorities and manage my time better. BUT IT IS NOT A CURE and I get VERY frustrated with comments like: “all you have to do is get organize and everything will be fine”. Like that is the magic pill.

Although I still struggle with procrastination and staying focus when I do actually start a task, being organized has help me to deal with the sense of being overwhelmed, not knowing where to start, and not knowing what direction to go in.

My advice would be: do not discount other’s advice or comments because of who they are or the type of person they are. You will read and hear a lot about how people have or should deal with ADD/ADHD. The trick is to find the nuggets in all that information that help YOU to build a life that works for YOU ... regardless of the source of those nuggets.

Posted by Michael75 on Mar 08, 2014 at 6:22pm

I too have a wandering mind. I enjoy it. I love ideas. I consider it an asset. For example, when dealing with a problem I can often times solve it when my mind is wandering around with other unrelated thoughts. When I get back to the problem I have the solution.
I also come up with some creative ideas for my art that work well, or work process for my office life, etc.

My wandering mind is only good for me when the wandering thoughts are positive. If I find I am thinking in negative thoughts and feelings I push it away immediately. No exceptions. This was hard for me at first but is now easy. It is of no value to waste time with what you believe others are thinking, that you will fail no matter what, etc.

When I must stay focused on tasks I do not enjoy I keep a notebook handy and jot down those wandering thoughts I want to spend some time with. In this way I can feel satisfied that I have not lost ideas I enjoy and complete the tasks I do not enjoy.

If I decide to organize an area of my life I must write down what I did, what I thought, and list where items are. Since I am typically unorganized I assume I do not know where anything is. I have forgotten what I did organize. The listing then jogs my memory.

I have trouble categorizing items in the same way every time. This then becomes frustrating when I need something quickly. For example, is my car insurance documentation filed with other car docs or is it with all the other insurance docs. I solved this for myself by listing it in everyplace I might think it belongs. So my car insurance lives in one file but is listed 3 or 4 times. Somedays my car is an automobile. So under Automobiles on my list I have insurance - see car file and so on.

So I guess I am trying to say your wandering mind is valuable. Embrace it.

You have gotten some great thinking from this posting. This benefits all of us. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Barbwired on Mar 09, 2014 at 12:17am

I think you have confused “independence” with “rebellion”.  However, if your life is going well using the “rebellion” method, then go for it.

Many of us have found that being, at least, somewhat organized has had far more benefits than detriments.

No one is going to fire you over not being organized, or, are they?  Facing work-related discipline for not getting things done on time is a problem for many people.  Not being able to find the paperwork for a big project is a huge factor.when you get to the board meeting without it.. “Ooops” just does not cut it. Yes, being a bit more organized would have helped in such an instance, I think.

Missing an appointment and having to pay for the missed appointment can be a big problem.

I guess it depends on how well your life works without some form of organization…

Many of us ADDers resisted the idea of getting ourselves organized because the task seemed overwhelming.  I mean, who knows how well or how badly things are going with us other them us?

Nobody is saying that everyone has to be organized.  I mean, really?  Who makes these rules?  On the other hand, if your life is going well without organization, then I give you a huge “Bravo!” and hope that your good fortune continues.  If it does not continue, you know where to look for what could help.

It’s okay!  We get it.  I don’t think any of the people who have not gotten organized will have a problem with your statement, at all.  I don’t have a problem with it either, but I do attempt to keep things somewhat organized so that I can achieve the things that I want to get done or keep doing well.

The ball is in your court; either serve or volley…

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Mar 09, 2014 at 7:03pm

Wow! Thank you all very much for your replies. I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t get the replies to my post in my email until I saw the “Subscribe to Thread” button.

As AndyH said, I am indeed a newbie here, thank you for the welcome, Andy. I am a 51 year old woman who was diagnosed only a year and a half ago. What I posted above is just me trying to sort out all the new information I’ve been learning about ADHD. It’s still very new to me and very difficult to get my head around. It’s very overwhelming. At the same time, I’m profoundly relieved to know that there is a biological basis for the way I go about my life. I feel vindicated. I even called my thesis advisor in graduate school to tell him about my diagnosis. But while I’m feeling vindicated, I also have to ask why I feel vindicated - that’s where the “not fitting in” and not living up to expectations all my life comes in. And I’m resentful of that - why should I have to feel like I have to apologize? As I think about it now, though, I realize that it is not an apology but simply an explanation. As all of you pointed out, we all need to find our own way to move forward and define success on our own terms, not those of anyone else.

Each one of you who was kind enough to reply to my post made some very good and helpful points. I think a common theme that came out is that each of us needs to be selective about the advice we take in. We are all individuals and what will work for some may not work for others.

I really like what Michael75 said about getting organized being a good thing, but that it is by no means a magical cure all. Often, people who are marketing advice to those with ADHD imply this to get people to sign up and pay for their services, when in fact they may not be right for the individual at all.

I am experimenting with different ways of organizing myself, and am in the process of working out an ideal dose or combination of medications that will work for me. For the past 3 months or so I’ve been taking Concerta 54mg in the morning. I can definitely see a pronounced effect about 15 minute to half an hour after I’ve taken it - I can actually focus much better. But I think it wears off fairly quickly.

Again, thank you all very much for your support, I greatly appreciate it and hope, as Barbwired pointed out, that you and everyone who reads your replies will gain something helpful from them.


Posted by cactusflower on Mar 11, 2014 at 7:25pm

Your initial post sounded as though you had not had the success in life you apparently have had.

Thank you for your last post.

We all struggle with the expectations of others. For those of us who have to work hard to maintain the organization we may need to succeed, it is overwhelming at times. More so sometimes than others.

You have already developed strategies that help you. If you want to develop more you will.

Thank you again.

Posted by Barbwired on Mar 12, 2014 at 10:40pm

I’ve noticed on most career and job postings they all say “must have good organizational skills’ or “must be well organized”.  I guess none of us are qualified to work anywhere.  My boss is well organized with clean work area, polished shoes, always dressed neat.  My desk is always a wreck, Sometimes i’m running late and forget to shave.  But I get my work done and that’s what they pay me for.  I know my sloppy work area is keeping me from getting any kind of a promotion.

Posted by spage_hasADD on Mar 14, 2014 at 11:04am

To spage_hasADD
There is a big difference between the appearance of organization and actually being organized – for the tasks at hand.

If my desk is clean, it means I am not doing anything.

You are correct about appearances being important in business however. I find that if I take care of my personal appearance, I appear organized. I go to work dressed professionally, current, and groomed. I look organized. I look like a company representative (which we all are at our workplaces). I also find my co-workers and bosses want to work with me more. My faults are more likely to be overlooked as well.

My workspace may not appear neat to some but if I know where everything is and get my work done it is not a problem. With my ADD, I feel I must put in extra time to accomplish this. I do best if; when I am done for the day I take the time to plan the next day’s priorities.

Of the things you have said, my advice to you would be to avoid going to work un-groomed. Be pressed and polished. This may be superficial to the work you do, but an organized appearance shows respect for your position.

You say you are getting your work done, so a messy desk should not hold you back as long as it is not a problem to others.

Look at why your desk is messy. Perhaps you do not have the space you need. Perhaps to appear organized, half the day must be spent putting away and taking out again. Maybe you could come with solutions that would benefit everyone.

This thing about appearance has worked for me. Management thinks I am highly organized. They praise me for it. LOL

Posted by Barbwired on Mar 14, 2014 at 11:03pm

Im tired of the porganised advice for a different reason.  Because it always comes from a well meaning person who ‘understands that I have adhd’ but is sure that I would be perfectly organised if I just followed these same simple things they do.

As if I haven’t already tried their ‘simple steps’ and a hundred thousand other tips, techniques, and tricks to organise myself.

What frustrates me the most is that non add people so often will say they accept that I have adhd, or they understand it, then follow that comment with some advice or a complaint that makes it abundantly clear they haven’t a clue.  Basically to me its like:

“I understand you have adhd, and that’s ok.But that’s no reason you cant be on time, organised, and remember what I said to you…

Imagine if you said to someone who is paraplegic that you understand they are in a wheelchair and are paraplegic, but that is no reason they cant get up and walk, they just need to stop being so lazy, get up and do it.  You never would, and most people would agree if you or anyone you know said something like that either it would be a joke, or the paraplegic and anyone else who heard would be shocked by such a cruel statement

but yet, isn’t it funny how something very similar, is constantly being said to people with adhd. 

I’ve tried all sorts of ways of putting it, to try and get the message across to friends and family (who I think are genuinely trying to understand and help, but haven’t a clue) the fact that the simple little things they expect me to ‘have the consideration to do’/‘just get sorted out’/organise…. are the exact things that are as much of a disability to me as walking is to a paraplegic.

that to me is the most frustrating thing about adhd (that and the constant losing things, then losing other things while trying to find the first thing lost….. and constant stubbing of toes, cutting of fingers, banging bumping, and tripping over into things)

and it is why I HATE being told to get organised, or offered advice.  I don’t object to being orgniased, I would love to be able to be organised, to be able to follow the ‘simple’ tips Ive been given by many a person and suddenly become organised, but it simply isn’t going to happen, short of a brain transplant

Posted by whereisit on Mar 16, 2014 at 7:18pm


Posted by cactusflower on Mar 17, 2014 at 4:10am

The worst experience of someone trying to “fix” my disorganization was with a Spanish teacher I had in high school. She felt the need to dump out the contents of my Spanish folder and all the papers stuffed into my text book onto my desk and go through each piece of paper individually in front of the entire class. I wanted to die I was so embarrassed. I still relive it sometimes and to this day I resent her for it.

Posted by StatsGuy on Mar 19, 2014 at 8:30am

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