In today’s multitasking world, it’s all too easy to start a task only to be sidetracked by something else and start working on that, neglecting the first thing you were working on. This situation can go on and on as a person keeps finding something new to work on. Nothing ever gets done, at least not efficiently.
This happens when a person says yes to too many things or takes on too much. All of it leads to the same result: overwhelmed. This feeling multiplies for people with ADHD. They need organization and systems to stay on track, complete projects and be effective or else the chaos harms their mental and physical well-being.
The problem: Getting things done the hard way
This was what happened to Susan. “With ADHD, if you’re disorganized in one thing, you’re disorganized in everything,” she said. A little thing like being asked for paperwork may be no big deal for many folks, but not for Susan. Simple paperwork requests led to high anxiety.
She was struggling to get on top of personal and professional projects. Susan always felt behind, that she would never catch up. She really wanted to do things, but it took too long between backtracking and doing things more than once. This led to frustration. This situation had reached the point of being disheartening.
Susan always pulled it off and did an excellent job. Everyone who met Susan would’ve never thought she was disorganized or struggling to get things done because she always exceeded the demands placed on her. But, the wear and tear took a significant toll on her.
Taking the first step toward organization
It was time to find a way to get better at locating things quickly and make changes in her life before she lost complete control. Susan took advantage of Jordana Turcotte’s complimentary initial session to see what she could do and how they’d work together.
In meeting Jordana for the first time, Susan sensed she was very pleasant, bright, helpful, and most of all, powerfully calming. She assured Susan that it will all come together in a short time. After the first session, Susan already felt relieved. The two carved out a goal for the 10-hour package. She was amazed at how much they accomplished in those 10 hours.
Susan admitted that she had a few personal quirks, such as being a very visual person. So, for her, when she put something in a drawer, it no longer existed. Jordana listened deeply to personalize processes and systems that fit Susan’s needs and personality
“What I really liked about Jordana was that she would organize my stuff in a way that fit for me, not for her or anyone else. “
Creating personalized processes and systems
Together, they came up with a system in which Susan always writes down to-dos on a master list rather than having several incomplete to-do lists all over the house. She also learned to break tasks down into components for more manageability. For example, when working on a report, she broke the task down into a bulleted to-do list such as go to library, check files, talk to X and so on.
As she became more organized, her anxiety levels dropped dramatically. Life became more centered and relaxed. Another happy side effect of the reduced anxiety was the ability to be more creative in her problem solving, which spurred more ideas. To top it off, all the projects she took on were now things she WANTED to do. Her calendar now contained a lot of self-care engagements to ensure she took care of herself and didn’t feel badly about taking time for herself because the other tasks were taken care of.
The biggest benefit of all? Susan could retrieve things and respond to people’s request so much better. Instead of seizing when someone asked for a copy of something, she thought of the categories she made with Jordana’s help and knew where to find it. Her ability to find things has significantly improved.
Ensuring changes last for years to come
Being organized requires understanding the cause of clutter and implementing systems to prevent its return.
To make change last for Susan, the two started working together monthly. Eventually, they met every other week and reached a point of having weekly appointments. The meetings ensured Susan stayed on track with tasks like moving spring clothes down, winter clothes up and getting rid of email that had been hanging around for three months.
They’ve worked on a wide variety of projects, which included addressing cluttered areas in the home such as the pantry, public areas, mud room and closets. They also established processes for organizing travel which included a designated folder with slots for directions, tickets, and even customized packing lists. Since Susan was on several philanthropic boards, Jordana helped her establish filing systems and folders to take with her to meetings. Many great aha moments easily justified the cost and more frequent visits.
Meeting on a weekly basis allowed Susan to set things aside for Jordana’s next visit. In the beginning, they focused on the professional things. When the visits moved to weekly, they looked at what was on Susan’s plate for the week and triaged it based on priority.
By the time they met weekly, it was reassuring for Susan knowing that Jordana would be coming back. “She has become a friend. She’s a pleasure to work with,” Susan said. “Once she walks out the door after our visit, I am happy about what we’ve accomplished but also sad that she’s leaving me alone with my stuff.”
Advice to people struggling with organization
Susan recommends beginning with the complimentary consultation to get a sense of what Jordana can do for you. It helps set expectations to ensure they’re in line with yours.
She also advises going for the 10-hour package. Fewer hours felt unproductive and anxiety provoking since Susan was always checking the watch and dismayed the time flew too quickly. Working toward 10 hours says Susan, “gives you a huge sense of accomplishment, yet you still have time left for another day.”