My basement office of two years ago ...

My basement office of two years ago ...

An ADHDer walks into another ADHDer’s office … and helps de-clutter … hey, it’s possible!

If I’m looking at your mess, I can see exactly where you need to start and exactly what you need to get rid of. I can give you brilliant suggestions and even help you sort and file, help you slash, burn and organize.

I just can’t do that in my own office.

Last weekend someone was in my office. She doesn’t have ADHD. But she doesn’t laugh at the disorganization that ADHD causes in my world. She is respectful of the trials my symptoms cause. And she helped me for a while.

I’m running out of space

A year and a half ago my office was in a sixteen by sixteen foot room in the basement. I was suffering from what I thought was depression at the time. One of the proactive changes I made in my life was to move my office onto the main floor and into a room that actually had a window.

My old office never got cleared out, I took only what I needed at the time. I figured I would move those left behind things into the new office when I needed them. Ninety-nine percent of them are still down there. There’s two whole blog posts there, one about hoarding and one about procrastination, don’t you think?

Being treated with respect made dealing with the job a lot easier. I could concentrate on the task, I didn’t have to be defensive.

But my upstairs office still filled up with things, and as of June I was often working on the couch or the kitchen table and avoiding my cluttered work space. My friend wholeheartedly agreed with my statement that I should try to reclaim my office space. She gently pushed me to do this sooner rather than later. And she offered to help.

Thus we ended up in my office last weekend putting into practice a plan I’d outlined to her. She would choose a pile, hold up each item in that pile and ask me to make a decision as to its future.

We went into the office, stood in the centre and subdivided the landscape into twelve hours. We started at twelve o’clock and decided we would work our way through one and two to three o’clock.

A great success

What I'd like my office to look like, again

What I'd like my office to look like, again

The plan worked. Nearly a quarter of my office has been reclaimed. Plans have been made to deal with problems that were revealed. And I’m feeling positively positive about the future.

It’s not over yet

My desk is at nine o’clock so it’s still a sorry sight, but I hope to get to it in the next month. There won’t be any progress this weekend, though. My friend and I are going to a folk festival in Owen Sound, Ontario. Call it a reward for our hard labor.

Back to last weekend

Having someone in my office helping me, worked for several reasons. First, if I touch something before I decide what to do with it, something in my brain goes offline. Somehow I lose the ability to throw anything out, I worry that I’ll need these things in the future. Once I’ve decided to keep them I struggle with what to do with it.

I can’t just sort into sensible piles. I start creating piles with limited definitions. Then I realize I’ve simply resorted the mess, but it’s still a mess. My friend wasn’t having any of that.

She didn’t make fun of the mess, she left that for me to do. Being treated with respect made dealing with the job a lot easier. I could concentrate on the task, I didn’t have to be defensive.

Focus is a valuable tool

And her presence helped focus me on the job. I wasn’t free to wander off to another room with something and lose track of my job. I had someone waiting in my office that was expecting me back.

And then there’s the value of a good friend

It’s a great benefit to have the assistance of someone who is respectful, who wants to help. It doesn’t hurt if they’re patient and kind, either. The person who fits this description is going to be a friend. No one else could last for hours sorting my office.