Over the years, I’ve learned a couple of things about myself:
1. I’m really well organized in my head (but not my desk).
2. I tend to make things a lot more complicated than other folks.
My belief is that Complex equals Interesting, so I can keep my brain engaged in the process without flitting away out of boredom (this only works sometimes, I admit). My husband, on the other hand, is very well organized inside and out. And he’s pretty good at simplifying things (that’s why he is a terrific professor and a great expert witness – he can make complicated concepts understandable).
Organizing with ADHD
So how do I make my organized/complicated system work for my dear husband? Labels, my dear, labels. I have labeled the OUTSIDE of the file drawers so he knows where to look for medical info, his old school records, warranties (separated by size, type of appliance, where it’s used and color, of course) and even tax records.
The system is absolutely, positively not logical – to anyone but me. That means everyone learns to follow my system, which includes setting up the file drawers by topic instead of alphabetical order (color coding helps — all the income and revenue are in green folders, all the credit cards are in red, all the monthly bills go in orange).
It really works for me to have an elaborate filing system when I need to FIND things. But getting the proper papers, etc. into that elaborate file is less than effective. I hate to FILE. It’s so tedious, so boring, that I tend to let papers accumulate in gigantic “to file” folders. Which then becomes the default location for anything that I can’t find (think storing your clean clothes in the dryer so you don’t have to hang them up).
Thank goodness, one of my assistants is less allergic to filing than I am so some of it gets put away into my clearly-labeled folders. But some of that stuff needs my input, so it waits patiently for me until I have some fierce determination and some extra time (which is…never). Either the stuff expires or I get desperate and spend 10 minutes doing the hated filing. That’s about all I can take, to be honest. Unless I can make the filing complex, too. (sigh)
If you want more information about my labels, you can download my stellar presentation “Labels, Containers and Files, Oh My!” that was released in September 2013.
What’s YOUR experience of complex vs simple and your ADHD brain?
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OMG, that is so me!!
I love your system! It makes perfect sense to me to file by topic, and the colors work perfectly. I will incorporate that color coding system. Great idea.
OMG! That was me in the exact same teaching position! That is why I had to retire. With all of the new record keeping and data I just could not keep up. I had file folders for everything and then couldn’t find the folder. It was awful. I think the education system must have ADD because it has been overly complicated. I didn’t need a special, pre-made test to know what reading level my students were on or where their weaknesses were in math. Ahh, but I digress.
I love creating new organizing systems but using my new creation is much less fun. I do a lot of re-creating. Works for me but people I work with get upset with me for constantly “changing” things.
Uhhhh, yeah. I definitely complicate. I teach 5th grade and instead of just filling out a report card for each of my students, I recreated the whole entire template and digitized them…Needless to say they did not go home on time and I was therefore reprimanded. Test score reporting??? Same scenario. I created an excel page spread with ratios, percentages, grade level equivalencies and projected future gains. “Yeah, just give me the scores”‘ the principal said, ” like ON TIME, next time”….
That’s so me. Sadly, it’s also two of my children. My husband isn’t far behind. IT’s chaos here. Always. I don’t seem to finish things completely so there’s always bits of projects lying about. I know my kids need routines and schedules as scaffolding, but I didn’t realize how hard that would be to accomplish. They’re 22 and 16.The 16 year old is really struggling with anxiety and school. You should see me try to organize his school work – it IS organized, but in a way that I understand and hope my son understands! :/