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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