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Organization And ADHD

my mess
My mess? … maybe.

I know some people with ADHD who have wicked mad skills at organizing. They are brilliant at it.

It occupies their minds and they cannot leave an organizing task incomplete.

Yes, that’s hyperfocus, or perseverance, if you will, but it’s amazingly effective perseverance.

But, I also know people with ADHD whose lives are not organized and whose skills are not great and who are not able to engage in the task of organizing.

Follow me here …

Some of us can be overwhelmed by a mess, and the minute a mess starts to exist, we find it easier to deny that existence and thereby perpetuate, and even encourage the growth of said mess.

We may have latent organizational skills, but we cannot bring them to bear if we cannot face being overwhelmed by the situation.

How do we do?

In a word, poorly.

We aren’t able to perceive the mess as nonexistent.

So while we deny its existence, or at least its extent, we still have to accept that it is our mess and we will eventually have to deal with it.

Seems stupid

Yes, it seems very counter intuitive, and frankly, very much the plan of an idiot.

And yet, I’m no idiot.

And I do have those latent organizational skills. I can apply them to any mess.

Any mess?

Well, almost any mess … shall we say, any mess but my own?

And that’s not entirely true either. I can apply them to my own mess, but there are two differences that must be acknowledged here.

One of those …

In order for me to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed, that sensation that some psychiatrists have recently actually referred to as being in a state of “overwhelm,” I have to make a super human effort to initiate the task.

I have to subjugate my aversion and refocus my denial on that “overwhelm.”

And I have to engage a focus that does not come naturally to me.

And the other one …

The other one is that that unnatural focus is not hyperfocus. Perseverance does not follow me into my own mess nor does it shore up the act of fixing that mess.

And no, I don’t know why that is. I can tell you that I’m uncomfortable just writing about this. Though in fairness some, if not much of that discomfort stems from the fact that I’m writing about a mess that exists in reality, one that I am about to go engage with, at least for a little while today …

But what I do know is,

Someone else’s mess is always more interesting and carries no potential to overwhelm me.

Because I can always walk away.

It is, after all, their mess … not mine.

Organization And ADHD

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2018). Organization And ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Apr 2018
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