Figen Genco

E-mail Figen


ADD and Disorganization

Dear Figen,

I am an adult who has been fighting with disorganization many years. My mother and my daughter are very organized. I have always felt guilty and embarrassed around them. I choose to visit with them outside or at their places instead of them visiting me in my house. I think I can never be the person they think I could be. I try to be organized mostly for them more than for my own sake.

Several years ago I was diagnosed with ADD. That day, even though I knew I had to live with this condition all my life, in a way I felt happy, because now I could explain why I am the way I am, why I do things the way I do and why I do not do the things the way it is expected to be done. However, knowing where it originates doesn’t solve my problem. I still don’t know if I can get organized and how I can get organized. Can you tell me if there is hope for me? My problems, besides ADD and the personality that accompanies it are:

1. Paper hoarding, being afraid to throw anything away
2. Moving things around, never finding one place for them
3. Many, many supplies related to my hobbies
4. Being indecisive
5. Half-finished projects
6. Never paying bills on time and
7. Not being able to be consistent with one method of taking notes
8. Several spots for my schedules

Eileen- New Hope

Dear Eileen,

According to ADDA, Attention Deficit Disorder Association, about 1 in every 20 people have ADD, so you are not alone. One third of my clients have ADD, and more than half of that is adults. ADDA website is if you would like to get more binformation on ADD, this website also features a resent video “Outside In: A Look At Adults With Attention Deficit Disorder". You might find the book ADD on the Job, Making ADD Work for You by Ph.D. Lynn Weiss helpful.

There is not one type of ADD and there is not one type of ADD personality; severity of the problem may be different from person to person as well. Also, every person who is suffering from some of the similar situations you describe above should not think that they have ADD. There are many different reasons for disorganization and procrastination. Sometimes, the only reason one cannot get organized is only because he was never taught how to do it.

You state that you were diagnosed with ADD but you don’t mention if you are getting any treatment-medicinal and non-medicinal- for your condition. Some people with ADD have been successfully treated, some haven’t; some may be misdiagnosed, some stay undiagnosed. I would suggest first making sure you are correctly diagnosed. Seeking and starting a kind of treatment which will minimize your symptoms might be a good idea before trying to get organized. Once you can keep your focus, it will be easier to understand how you will respond to different systems and what systems would best mesh with your personality.

Creating a system that you will feel comfortable with and maintain is not simple. I would recommend that you hire a professional organizer who you are comfortable with. (Yellow Pages- under Organizing Services) You should have an initial consultation for 2-3 hours, depending on the area and items involved. This person should be able to ask you the correct questions to understand how your mind works and what makes you motivated and happy so that you respond to the systems created for you. The success of the system is dependent upon understanding your mind. The consultation should also include overall suggestions on how things can be improved, including a list of organizing tools and recommendations on the layout of the furniture. Then you can decide if you want to do it by yourself according to the action plan your professional organizer gives to you, or if you want to work along with your organizer. I offer phone and email help after the initial consultation, ask your organizer if there is such an option if you think you will need support consistently during the project. Once an easy-to-follow and practical system is established, you can be taught how to maintain it.
Being organized will enable you to have the energy and time for the activities you enjoy and excel.

Figen Genco, BA.
Organizing/Feng Shui/EFT
215 354 0275

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