Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prioritizing, ADHD-style (said with David Caruso intonations...)

It is said, and it is true, that we ADHDers have difficulty prioritizing. That's a broad statement, but since ADHD affects us all differently, I can only assume that it affects our ability to prioritize differently as well.

I'm learning a lot about prioritizing since diagnosis though. Does this mean that I am becoming a shining beacon, clarifying once and for all the way to prioritize your path to happiness...oh hells no.

But here's what I'm learning: some shit really just doesn't matter. It really doesn't. And not just because I just had a glass of really delicious wine.

I am learning to go through my world with a more realistic respect for my own inability...yes inability...to just make magic "normal" organizing happen. Let's run through some real-life examples shall we....

Laundry: It is important to have clean clothes, so I wash them. It is NOT important to fold them, therefore, I don't. It is important to be clean, and not smelly for dozens of reasons...wrinkles...wrinkles just aren't deadly, therefore, I do not give a flying crap.

Cooking: It is important to eat meals. It is NOT important to cook a different meal every friggin' day. I might cook a meat on day that will last three. Or a casserole that will last three. And to fill in, I have snacks that keep me busy thinking I'm having an exciting culinary life.

Sleeping: Okay, no way around that one. I just have to remember to go to bed on time.

Bathroom organizing: It is important to not let your clutter take over your whole life. It is NOT important to have everything in your life divided into little categories, especially if you're going to use them again in 24 hours. And so...I have a basket that all of my bathroom accessories get dumped in when I'm not using them. Look, clean countertops! Oh look, I know where to find my everythings when I need them! Hot shit!

Dishes: It IS important to wash dishes so that plague and pestilence doesn't take over your kitchen. Is it NOT important to wash every dish, every single time you use one. I have a half-sink sized tub that lives in my kitchen sink. I put dishes in it until it fills, them I wash them all. The tub acts as a visual cue. When it's full, there's nowhere else to put more dishes.

Fabric: Not everyone has the fabric problem that I do...but this is pretty clever so I'm sharing it. One time, I was watching Project Runway...back in season one...and Jay McCarrol showed us all his work area, where he organized all of his fabrics by color. OH YES. OHHH YES. Talk about ADHDer-friendly fabric organizing. Not only do I LOVE IT, but my clients can browse my fabrics by color. I could obsess over textures and fiber types and blahblahblah...but who gives a shit! It's prettier by color, trust me.

Do you have ANY idea how liberating this is? The weight of stress that has lifted my self-esteem and my soul is HUGE. I am starting to think of myself no longer as a failure at having a perfectly organized life...I am starting to think of myself as GOOD at PRIORITIZING. My fellow ADHDers, try this for yourselves...I'm telling you, it's fucking magic. I definitely need to share this with my therapist, she's going to be like "what the hell happened to the perfectionist that walked into my office back in May, what did you do with her, nothing terrible I hope" and I'll say "I stashed her in a cubby with some yellow fabric somewhere with a Beegees Greatest Hits CD so she could loosen the hell up"....

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