30 Tips for Being Organized with ADHD ...REALLY?

On one popular web page for those with ADHD there is an article called 30 Tips for Organizing Your ADHD Life. 30 tips! That seems, well, excessive. It reminds me of the many ADHD books people come in to my office with that have 3-4-5 hundred pages. And they are just lost. Now while some of these tips are interesting and sound simple (like getting a wallet that's red or another bright colour so it's harder to lose). But tip after tip after tip.... This leaves someone with ADHD even more confused and in the end feeling even more like a failure.

Here is an important work: Salient. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/salient)

If you have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sometimes called ADD) you most likely already have 30 tips ...if not more. The problem is implementing the right ones. No one, with or without ADHD can implement 30 plus changes, no matter how small, into their daily life successfully. An ADHD coach - usually a psychologist or other licensed or registered mental health professional with experience working with children, adolescents and adults with ADHD- can help you by figuring out where to start and what to start with.  (There are a number of individuals in Vancouver and the greater Vancouver area calling themselves ADHD coaches, but few are actually licensed or registered professionals. Find a good ADHD coach by calling the British Columbia Psychological Association and asking for someone in your area who has expertise in ADHD and they will provide you with a list of three or more registered -that means regulated by the government - professionals.

A good place to start is with an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Some individuals with ADHD have weaknesses in visual memory, some auditory memory (what they hear versus what they see). Some, both. some have weaknesses that only show up when things become complicated or they become anxious (many individuals with ADHD have co-morbid disorders of anxiety, depression and specific learning disabilities, and only a registered or licensed professional can help you determine if this is the case with you).

Other may have difficult switching mental sets, moving from one topic to another - sometimes people call this "transitioning." This may very well be the case with some individuals who suffer from procrastination. Procrastination, for instance, may be caused by this issue of difficulty with switching sets- moving from one activity to another, or it may be cause by anxiety, or depression or due to thoughts and scripts running in your head about what is going on. These individuals often benefit from cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Working memory issues can also be a real issue for someone with ADHD. Working memory is the process of storing something in your head for a short time, like a phone number, while you do something with it...like dial a phone. And some of us are much more susceptible to visual or auditory distractions.

ADHD is complicated, it can manifest itself in many different ways, and understanding your neurological strengths and weaknesses are critical to making good choices in picking out which "tips" to use. Reading several Vancouver ADHD coaching webpages I see links to these "Tip" articles. Most of my patients tell me how they have tried these, and tried them again, and "nothing works." A well trained professional coach or therapist can help you figure out which 1, 2 or 3 tipis might actually work for you. He or she can keep you on track, modify the procedure based upon your neurological strengths and weaknesses, and help you to understand why this particular skill or tool works when others don't. After a while you will learn to recognize common factors in the tools you use, and instead or trying to memorize 30 tips to do you will learn how to approach situations that have given you difficulty in the past in a new way.

A good place to start for almost everyone is to try and figure out what is salient -important. Picking out the critical issues from the many many issues you are confronted with every day. Rather than a complex schedule and planner having a simple list of 3 things I need to do. Because most important is know what IS important.

I'd avoid the 16 tips, 30 tips and the "book of tips." Find a professional by calling the British Columbia Psychological Association, they can provide the name of a professional in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam ....anywhere in BC. Then get a reasonable evaluation completed by that person. Know exactly where your strengths and weaknesses are because all ADHD is not the same. And then start to find out what would be salient for you to do. 1-2-3. That's it.

Forn information about my practice serving clients with ADHD in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and the surrounding areas please go to my web page at www.relatedminds.com or www.adhdhelp.ca


KEY WORDS: ADHD, ADD, Vancouver, Burnaby, East Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple ridge, Assessment, Testing, ADHD Coaching