When I got pregnant, an ex-coworker invited me to join a new mom’s group on Facebook she created when she moved and had trouble connecting with other mommas. I invited a few more friends, who invited a few more and now it’s a busy group with a huge variety of women and parenting styles. But one thing has always been a constant. When one of us posts a ‘venting’ message, everyone responds with encouragement.
Today, someone brought up the fact that she doesn’t multitask well and having two kiddos doesn’t help matters. She reached out today for tips on getting organized and being productive without totally going bat crap crazy. When I started thinking about some things that work for me to share with her, I realized I had a ton of tip and it made me sound like I had my life together and I was Super Momma when in reality I am always one task away from bat crap crazy. The reason I have to be so organized is because of my ADHD, which lately has been a curse.
I know a lot of people say they are ADHD, but according to my doctor, I am off the chart ADHD. I was diagnosed at the age of 21 when I started my first ‘big girl’ job that required sitting and deadlines and multitasking and I would end my day in tears because I wanted to do all those things SO BADLY but something was holding me back. My mom brought up some things she noticed when I was growing up and after a trip to the doctor and multiple medication tests, I found that a high dose of Concerta and behavior modification work well for me. It’s been a struggle to stay on top of my ADHD since Mike has arrived, but S. and I have worked out a few strategies to keep us all sane (and me married!).
The main idea in keeping my ADHD under control (aside from medication) is to simplify. Here’s a few things we’ve done:
Amazon Prime: For less than $100 a year, we get free two day shipping on just about everything. This keeps me from having multiple shopping lists and I since we aren’t paying shipping, I can order one or ten things at a time when it is top of mind. Since Mike is out of the carrier car-seat, getting him in and out of the car is a PITA, so the less stops I have to make the better. Sure, we might pay a few bucks more for 120 rolls of toilet paper, but it comes to our door! I don’t have to carry it up stairs while juggling a baby or stop at Target during peak hours. Here are a few things we’ve gotten from Amazon: flea and tick medicine, bottle nipples, Clorox wipes, two fire extinguishers, infant ibuprofen, bath towels and baby wipes.
A daily family to-do list: We use a small dry erase board on our fridge. Every day we add to it what needs to be done. Some things stay on there day after day (put out S’s clothes, pack lunch, put out trash) and some are weekly (pack day care bag, empty trashcans) and some are more random (cut Mike’s nails, change light bulb, thaw chicken). During the day if I find free time I am not wandering aimlessly through the house looking for something productive to do and when S. comes home he isn’t asking me what needs to be done. I feel like this keeps our evenings and mornings less stressful.
Work task planner: I searched high and low for the exact planner I needed for work. I finally found something that I am hoping works for the new year. It’s a full size, spiral bound, dated, lined notebook from Franklin Covey. So each morning I jot down my daily to dos and if something comes up that needs to be done in the future, like a follow up call, I make a note on that day’s page. I have tried multiple apps and organizers, but there is something about writing things down with a pen that just works for me.
Google Calendars: S. is the keeper of our calendar because I can never ever remember to put stuff on there. And when I do, it is the wrong date or time. I tell him as soon as I know something and he puts it on the calendar and we review it either nightly or weekly. Which leads me to ….
Family meeting: It sounds way more official than it really is. Typically it’s S. and I in bed on Sunday evening with our laptops looking at the calendar. This way we can make changes on who is doing what and also plan our meals and money for the week. It is a blessing that I fell in love and married someone so organized who is so understanding and forgiving of my scatterbrain. I know it’s hard on him sometimes when I keep saying I will do something when it is clearly never going to happen.
I have said many times to many people that my ADHD is sometimes a blessing and some times a curse. It’s something I have to keep on top of and be flexible enough to make adjustments to our lifestyle to make it all flow. What tips and tools do you have to stay organized?