In the beginning of this last week my kids returned to school after two weeks of spring break. It was a very well-needed break that was filled with activities and travel. Monday morning when we were getting ready for school, I realized my son’s backpack was still full with travel-related items and was not ready for school. I felt ashamed and frustrated as I had just written a blog a few weeks ago about how to prepare kiddos for returning to school after a break and emphasized getting ready the night before. I wrote a whole paragraph about preparing your backpack and your clothes the day before in order to ensure an easy transition back to school. I did my best to help my son quickly switch his backpack and kept my irritation to myself: he did a great job and we were in school on time! But I could not let go of feeling frustrated with myself. You may think that backpack incident was minor and had a positive ending so why was she so frustrated but the truth is that these little incidents add up and require emotional and cognitive capacity.
I’m a professional ADHD coach and my job provides the opportunity to help people achieve their goals, manage their time better, improve their executive functions and increase their quality of life. I have ADHD and learning disabilities. I love doing my job and I especially find pleasure in helping others. However, sometimes I worry that my clients may think that it is easy for me, that I do not need to work hard to achieve these everyday successes. Planning, organizing managing one’s money and time require extra work if you have ADHD and that is true even if you are an ADHD coach. I have to hack my own brain in order to make sure I stay on task.
I went to dinner with friends and they parked their cars far from the restaurant while my car was parked right by the restaurant so I offered them a ride to their cars. I apologized several times that my car would be dirty and messy. When my friend entered the car, she remarked that it was in great condition and that she does not understand what I was concerned about. Another friend said “Daniella likes keeping her stuff extra organized so she can compensate for her ADHD”. I was amazed when she said that I am organized and truly surprised that my strategy was so obvious while also honored that I had a friend who knew me that well. I use a variety of strategies to manage my ADHD symptoms and to reduce their effects on everyday life. It doesn’t always work but I continue to put in the effort. As Susan Pinsky wrote in her book ADHD-friendly organization methods can help create “organization for the disorganized”. Sharing with others the strategies and techniques that I have researched, explored and implemented is one of the benefits of being an ADHD coach.
While trying to organize a pile of documents that had followed me from room to room, I kept on asking myself how did it get so bad, why were there documents from several years ago and why did I keep this stupid receipt. Every time I picked up a piece of paper from the pile, I got madder at myself for creating this monster of papers. I kept on asking myself how did I get here and why? As this continued, I realized that I needed to shift my questions to focusing on the now and the how to get out of this pile. This shift created one of my favorite sayings that I repeat again and again to myself and to my clients. “Let the how and why go and focus on the now and how”. I am not saying that it isn’t important to understand the reasons for our actions or their consequences but I’m emphasizing that we need to forgive ourselves and let go of the frustration guilt and focus our energy on the now and how in order to overcome the pile in front of us. Choosing the how and now allows me to dedicate my energy to the task and possibly complete it.
Here’s to hoping you find your now and how,
ADHD coach and founder of ADHDtime