If you have organizing and clutter problems, time management problems, and problems with productivity, you could have ADHD (I use ADHD to include both inattentive ADD and hyperactive ADHD). How do I know? Most of my clients come to me with those problems, and many have been diagnosed with ADHD.
I wrote this blog to give those of you who wonder if you have ADHD information about some of the more common symptoms of ADHD. I am constantly amazed at how many people I work with who have ADHD and don’t know it. They’ve just assumed that their clutter challenges are the result of not being disciplined or just being lazy.
In fact, ADHD is a neurobiological problem. Translated, that means that there are mechanical problems with the functioning of areas of the brain. ADHD is not a matter of will or choice. It is a wiring problem in the brain that causes many challenges in the lives of people with ADHD and their families.
The ADHD brain doesn’t work optimally, particularly the pre-frontal cortex, the area associated with executive functions associated with memory, organizing, prioritizing, time management, emotion regulation, effort, focus and getting things done. Below is a list of the way I have experienced ADHD showing up in the lives of clients and loved ones:
- you have difficulty prioritizing tasks to be done, everything seems equally important,
- you have difficulty starting tasks, particularly tasks that are not interesting,
- urgency is a primary motivator for action,
- you constantly seek pleasure, fun, new and interesting,
- you have difficulty focusing when not interested in a task or conversation,
- you can focus for long periods of time on tasks about which you are interested (hyperfocus), but have difficulty disengaging from those tasks,
- you have difficulty sustaining action or interest when doing tasks, particularly those that are not stimulating, new, interesting or fun,
- you get distracted by anything that is more fun, interesting, stimulating than what you are currently doing,
- you get distracted by all the conversations going on in your head,
- you have difficulty completing tasks,
- you have difficulty transitioning from one activity or task to another,
- you overcommit yourself because you underestimate the time and effort involved in tasks and you lose sight of all you’ve already committed to,
- you procrastinate, particularly tasks with no deadline, urgency or that are not interesting, stimulating or fun,
- you have difficulty with consistent follow through, doing what you say you’ll do,
- you have difficulty managing time: lose track of time, waste time, underestimate the time it will take to get tasks done,
- you struggle with getting and staying organized, particularly paper,
- you have difficulty getting to sleep because you can’t shut off the activity in your brain,
- you have difficulty regulating your emotions (become easily frustrated, get swept away by strong feelings, get angry easily),
- you have difficulty pausing, especially when feeling emotional.
This list is by no means all inclusive, nor is it meant to be. It’s meant to give you some basic information about the way ADHD can affect the lives of people who have this challenging disorder. If you recognized yourself as you read the above list, I urge you consider getting a formal assessment to determine if you have ADHD. It will open up access to many resources that can make living with ADHD much easier.
ADHD is a neurobiological challenge that cannot be cured. However, its symptoms can be managed. If you think you may have ADHD and want to explore your options for next steps to take to improve your life experience, call me at 804-730-4991 or email me to schedule a free 30 minute consultation. Life can be different!