Organised & Systemised NOT Neat & Tidy

My Top 3 ADHD Organizing Secrets Part 2

As a Professional Organiser with ADHD, I have struggled mightily to find those elusive life tools that will help me turn my ADHD from a deficit to a strength. As a Professional Organiser, many of your clients will be ADHD mums. This two-part series will help you understand your ADHD clients and how to help them successfully manage one of the most debilitating ADHD deficits.

Read my ADHD story here.

I am going to share with you a little-known fact about ADHD:

Many if not all of your clients will have a working memory deficit. What is the working memory? Working memory is an executive function skill. It is a vital part of one’s thinking process.  Think of it like a notepad where you write down and keep track of information that enters your consciousness. If your notepad is larger, then you will have more room to make notes and keep track of information. If your notepad is smaller, then you will have less room to keep track of information. 

Most people can keep track of about 7 chunks of information on their mental notepad at a time. If you have trouble with working memory, you will find it difficult to keep track of so many pieces of information in your mind at once. 

My working memory capacity only functions at 2 items. Sometimes, when I am exhausted or overwhelmed my working memory depletes to zero…This is a normal part of ADHD. 

If your clients have a working memory deficit, this will make their life much more difficult. They will be  putting in far more effort to achieve the same results as other people. You will forget information more easily. You will forget information that you are expected to remember. Your clients will likely embarrass themselves far more often. They will be living from one self-made crisis to another.

Sigh, such is the ADHD life…

If your clients are mums with ADHD, this executive function will not be working up to par. This directly impact your clients’ lives in many ways. Read more about the working memory and the brain’s executive functions in my book here.

If you have a poor working memory, you will have many more challenges with organisation and time management. More about that in my groundbreaking book on ADHD.

The working memory deficit is real. Clients have told me that when they are interrupted mid-task, they often lose track of what they were doing and find it almost impossible to get back to their original task. They feel dizzy, and feel like they are spinning around in one place. Some clients have told me that they suffer from headaches that are brought on/made worse through feeling dizzy. These are all side effects of the working memory deficit.

I never talk about ADHD as a disability. I do talk about working memory deficit as a disability. When unchecked, its effects are debilitating and humiliating.

I have some good news and some bad news.

Here is the bad news You can’t change the level of the working memory, an sorry to inform you, it worsens with age. The good news is that with the right ADHD focused tools you can teach your clients to compensate for their working memory deficit. People don’t believe me when I tell them about my terrible working memory. They think I am so efficient… I hold on to those tools for dear life…It has been an uphill struggle, yet I have succeeded in making  them an integral part of my life…

As a Professional Organiser, the bulk of your client declutter and organising tools will need to compensate for the working memory deficit.

Please share these top 3 tools with your clients. They work, whether your clients have ADHD or not.

Before you go away on holiday, write a short list of what you need to get done the week immediately after you come home.

How this success secret supports your working memory deficit

Your working memory deficit works against you by making you forget short-term goals. You may be so clear on the tasks that you need to do when you come back from your holidays. Realistically, the reality is that by the time you have come back, you may have totally forgotten where you were holding at work and with your personal goals.

The antidote to this is to write down your short-term goals for the week or two after you get back from your holidays. When you get back, you will feel more grounded since you know where you are heading.

I do this every year, and it really helps me to feel calmer when I am away. When I am away and I think of work, I can never remember what I am supposed to do that week when I get back home. I don’t mind, I feel calm and grounded because I know that I have those tasks hanging on my kitchen wall. 

I use this tool with my older children, and it helps to ground them. When they get back, they have a far easier time transitioning back to being home because they have their goals clearly visible. They don’t waste precious energy second guessing themselves. They know what they would like to achieve that first week that they are home.

Get rid of your clutter from your home, and find a home for every item. This must be an ongoing life task.

How this success secret supports your working memory deficit

Your working memory deficit trips you up many times in a day. One of the most common ways that your working memory deficit shows itself is in forgetting where you have put your belongings… So keeping an uncluttered home, and only having what you really need will help you to find your stuff…thus minimising stress…This really works…

Find out more about how to declutter your home here.

Unpack ASAP! Write notes for upcoming holidays as soon as you can.

How this success secret supports your working memory deficit

You may be absolutely convinced that you are going to remember stuff, but in reality, you may likely totally forget…Your working memory deficit makes it far easier for you to forget the processes that you have used to reach a certain goal. The only way to counteract this is to take clear and detailed notes…just remember to do so… (I have been home for nearly two weeks and I still haven’t written my holiday notes. My word document is still open on my laptop, so there is hope…)

Within the first week that you are back from your holidays, it is a good idea to buy the items that you were missing on holidays, or that you will need for next holidays. You may be convinced that next Summer you will remember it all. Trust me, your working memory deficit is working against you here. If you don’t write it down, and keep your notes in a safe place (more about that in another blog) you will totally forget how you managed last holidays and what those elusive items are that you know that you need…

You will add more stress and tension to your life that you really don’t need. Been there, done (and still doing) that…

Life is challenging enough, why should your life be more difficult just because you are a mum with ADHD?

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