I have an organizing client with ADD who teaches at a local college and has an extremely busy schedule with classes and teacher meetings throughout the winter, spring and summer terms.
Last August, the two of us set up an easy and effective, well labeled and color coded filing system so she could keep her course material, handouts and articles, as well as her testing and student files organized. Feeling good about our accomplishment with the filing system, we parted. My client excited to put the system to use, and me glad that she was set up to have a great and organized year.
This August I got a telephone call from her asking me for help. In a panic, she said to me, “I have piles of paper on my desk and the table next to it, and I don’t know where to begin filing everything. And, classes begin in two weeks!” I asked her if she’d used the new filing system that we’d set up last August, and sadly, she hadn’t. September classes had begun; she became overwhelmed, and didn’t file anything all year.
It’s not unusual for someone with ADD to have really good intensions, but not be able to carry through with them. About one out of 20 people in the US have ADD/ADHD and only 15% have been diagnosed. Some signs of ADD/ADHD include; clutter, lots of piles, procrastination, overwhelm, incomplete projects, not paying attention, unfinished paper work, and jumping from one project to another. Creativity, resourcefulness, hyper-focus or persistence and new ways of solving problems are some other signs.
So, I met with my client and we organized the piles for her to file before classes began. She came up with a brilliant idea to help her do her filing. She wanted to try the 21 day habit plan. According to behavioral psychologists, it takes 21 days of consistently repeating an activity before your mind accepts it as a habit. Whatever you do for 21 days makes or breaks a habit. Then I suggested that she email me when classes began, every day for 21 days to let me know she’d done her filing every day. And, I’d email back each day to acknowledge her progress. So far, day # 4 and she’s on a roll. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and hope she’s successful with this endeavor.