Tag Archives: executive functions

ADHD, Facebook, The Internet, and Sleep Problems

sleeping womanSleep is an essential component of self-care for people with ADHD. However, many people with ADHD have sleep challenges. They have great difficulty shutting off their busy minds so they can rest.

Almost every ADHD client I’ve coached has described having difficulty getting enough sleep. They stay up late despite having to get up early the next day to go to work or some other activity. They run on a sleep deficit which makes managing the symptoms of their ADHD much more difficult.

Many ADHD challenges (problems with executive functions that result in planning difficulties, difficulties getting and staying organized, difficulties managing impulsivity, a short attention span, and difficulties making decisions, etc.) can be attributed to having frontal lobes that are less active than people who don’t have ADHD. People with ADHD, therefore, have great difficulty getting their brains to cooperate when they need to concentrate and engage in and accomplish tasks. To jumpstart their frontal lobes they unconsciously seek stimulation in many ways. Checking Facebook, posting to Facebook, and surfing the web are stimulating activities. 

When I’ve explored what clients are doing prior to attempting to sleep, every one of them cited being on the computer or their phone engaged with the internet and/or Facebook. In effect they were stimulating their brains up until they shut their eyes, sometimes even after they had gotten into bed. Is it any wonder they were having difficulty getting to sleep? Their normally active ADHD brain’s sleep challenge was compounded by the mental stimulation of being on the internet or Facebook.

Facebook and other social media activities are seductive to the stimulation-seeking ADHD brain. Could refraining from that stimulation for an hour before bedtime make getting to sleep easier? Give it a try!

Be sure to notice how your brain reacts when you remove it’s pleasurable evening stimulation. The brain typically objects to change, and the ADHD brain, which tends to seek pleasure, may really object to the removal of pleasurable stimulation.  If that happens, notice it, acknowledge it as a normal response, but also notice what happens regarding your ability to get to sleep and the quality of your sleep. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to add getting adequate quality sleep to your ADHD self-care plan!

ADD: A Neurobiological Disorder of Remarkable Individuals

I’ve come to know and understand ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) by chance. My Scanned Image 102240007education about the disorder began when my husband, Bob, figured out that he has ADD. What a relief it was both to him and me to have a way to understand behaviors that did not serve him and caused challenges in our relationship! 

Then, when I began my organizing business I found that many of my clients had either been diagnosed with ADD or were showing symptoms of ADD. ADD challenges include having great difficulty creating structure, getting and staying organized, getting things done and managing time, all areas of support and service provided by professional organizers. Deficits in executive functions in the brains of people with ADD produce life management problems that can be so serious that seeking help from a professional is not a luxury, but a necessity. So, it seems I’m an ADD magnet. I’m so grateful for having had the opportunity to know be in the company of so many remarkable people. Let me tell you why.

Much writing and conversation about ADD tends to focus on the challenges of this disorder. Over the years I’ve been knee deep in the challenges, from digging through chaos reigning in their environments, to helping them repair mistakes made and complete tasks undone. But, seldom is there enough said about the laudable attributes of people with ADD. So, to balance the scales a bit, I’m going to share with you some of what I love about my husband, friends and clients who have ADD.

  •  I love being in the presence of their intelligent minds. Their minds work at warp speed. It’s very stimulating to be in their company.
  • They are often quite creative, whether it be in music, the arts, communication, writing, how they dress or how they operate out in the world. Many are great idea generators.
  • I’ve enjoyed many laughs with my ADD clients and friends. Many have a great sense of humor and can see the fun in things that other people would miss.
  • Because their ADD has led them down many bumpy roads, they tend to be more laid back and accepting of the humanness of others. They have a such a challenge keeping track of the details of their own lives that it’s probably easier to let others live their own lives without comment!
  • As fervent stimulation seekers they are great sources of interesting information in many arenas. A person with ADD is rarely boring!
  • With adequate support a person with ADD can soar to great heights in whatever arena captures their passion. Many have become dynamic thought leaders, motivational speakers, entertainers, and CEOs because of their gifts of sharp intelligence, creativity, and sense of humor.

Yes, a person with ADD has very real challenges caused by the wiring in their brain. But, there is so much more to that person that can be hidden by the wreckage resulting from their cognitive deficits. With education, support from professional organizers and coaches, and medication, it is possible to manage ADD challenges and allow the genius in these remarkable people to emerge and touch our world.

What’s Your Clutter Clearing Style?

Imagine this. You have decided to move to a new home, one that is considerably smaller than the one you now live in. How would you approach that task?

I have moved house and home many times. Each time, in anticipation of an impending move, even before I’d found a new home, I would immediately begin clutter clearing, doing something every day to lighten my load on moving day. I would slowly make my way through the house, trashing or donating everything that would not fit with the life I wanted to have in my new home. I describe myself as a plodder, someone who when faced with a task does a little bit of work every day until the task is done. I appreciate a deadline, but don’t need a deadline to take action.

As you know, not everyone is a plodder. I was recently working with a client who was planning a move. She had a large home and would be downsizing. Instead of beginning to clear clutter, she was out looking at houses. The work she wanted us to do together focused on digging out her backlog of paper that had been accumulating for months, but I was chomping at the bit to help her begin clearing out those things that would not be going with her to her new home. I sensed no such urgency from her. If anything, she seemed reluctant to start clearing out her house to prepare for the move. When she talked about looking at houses I asked, “ Do you want to find the home you’ll buy so you’ll have a deadline to motivate you to start clearing out this house and packing to move? Are you needing that deadline to get you moving?” She said, “ Yes, I guess I do.” My client is what I call a “burster”, someone who works in bursts of activity, mostly motivated by firm deadlines, especially when tasks that need to be done are difficult, overwhelming or boring.

I first became aware that there were differences in the way people approach getting tasks done when I was in high school. In my diligent, plodding manner I’d always finish my assignments well in advance of their due dates. I had several friends, however, who would coast along enjoying life while I worked, and then work frantically the day before an assignment was due. I plodded. They worked in last minute bursts! I have one such friend who says, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done!”

I have since learned that the explanation behind plodder and burster behavior is differences in brain wiring. Some people are wired such that they need the pressure of a deadline to activate their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with executive functions like organizing and getting things done. Others, like me, can activate the prefrontal cortex without the pressure of a deadline. In fact, my brain works less efficiently if rushing to finish a task at the last minute.

What are you, a burster or a plodder? Which ever type you are, it’s probably due to your wiring, and therefore a way of being that is difficult and possibly impossible to change. Being conscious of the way you work is helpful. Plodders can become more tolerant and less judgmental of bursters who seem to thrive on stress, understanding that there is more going on than just an addiction to excitement, and that there is more than one way to get things done. Bursters, knowing that they need deadlines to create the motivation to take action, can create deadlines for themselves to make sure that important tasks get done.

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in your life. If you’re ready to finally clear the clutter from your life and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at http://www.clutterclearingcommunity.com.