Check Lists or Bust: Visual aides to help organize

Check listsIf I don’t have check lists of things I need to get done, I am lost!

I have often described to people what it feels like to have ADHD by telling them this:

Imagine you are standing in the middle of a dome-shaped room that is completely wall-papered with hundreds of televisions all tuned to different stations. You are so overwhelmed with trying to figure out which screen to focus on that you have to just walk out of the room.

Feeling Overwhelmed

This is what it feel like to me to walk into a kitchen with dirty dishes and clutter on the counters. I have to intentionally force myself to walk to the sink and just focus on one section of the task at a time.

As an adult, this is a tedious, frustrating thing to deal with. For kids, a lot of times it causes some serious attitude. The best thing I can do for a child in this situation is to give them a checklist.

    • Stack all of the dishes close to the sink or dishwasher
    • Take care of everything else that is on the counters
    • Wash off the counters
    • Load the dishwasher
    • Clean dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher
    • Dry and put away the dishes  you just washed
    • Sweep the floor
    • Steam or mop the floor

For those of you reading this that do not suffer from ADHD, this may seem utterly ridiculous. But the fact remains that doing this for your child that does suffer with it will relieve more stress and chaos in your home that you can ever imagine. Exacting their focus on one task at a time will make a world of difference.

Check lists also offer encouragement in the form of accomplishment. Just being able to check something off the list and having a visual representation of progress can go a long way. Even if it sounds silly to you, give it a try. You may be surprised at the difference it can make.

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Scheduling: Its all in the timing

If It Isn’t in the Schedule, It Doesn’t Get Done

clock-594178_960_720Ok. So I told you I wouldn’t post every day. So I will number these posts instead of day. Living with an ADD requires extremely regimented scheduling. This is something I have down pat on school and work days, for my morning routine anyway. Beyond that I am still working on it.

However, a day like today, when I am going out-of-town with a friend and don’t have to work it is extremely hard just stay focused. I need a specific time planned that everything needs to be done. A personal assistant would be great because doing that on my own is not a very successful angle.

My friend (Hi Carol!) is coming to pick me up at 10:45ish. As I sit here writing this post, it is 10:30. I have managed to take my youngest son to school, clean off my dresser and a storage chest in my room, do a load of laundry, pack my things, and write this post. Since we are only going away for one night, the packing didn’t take long, and it is a miracle that I got that much done. And I have been up since 5am.

I have tried everything from a million different apps, a paper and pen check list, and a million other tactics with little success. I know it is getting better, but not fast enough for me.

The absolute biggest problem for me is overcoming the enormity of a task. When a task is too big, I just cannot seem to see it in small steps. I become overwhelmed, just shut down and nothing gets done.

This has been the story of my life. So for those of you with little guys and gals that struggle in this area, I recommend giving projects in small tasks one at a time, perhaps in the form of a checklist . Seeing things on a checklist give me a sense of accomplishment and encourages me to do more.

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