You have a full life – combining work and family. You’re smart and dynamic, and sometimes very intense and determined. But you don’t always do things “evenly.” You don’t always have the same amount of energy for your commitments, and your planning and structure aren’t really your strong points.
You find yourself thinking if only you had the right time management system, if only you were organized, you could have all those T’s crossed and I’s dotted in life. If you could simply master time management and organization, you could be so much further ahead and your life would be so much easier (and not so hectic.)
You Are Not Alone
Most of my clients don’t process time in a typical way, yet they expect themselves to be good planners, to be able to estimate time, to always know what’s coming up, and to live by a calendar. And they assume that it should be a super easy thing to do. They are ashamed that something so trivial would be such a stumbling block, and feel stupid despite their successes and contributions. They are professors who lose track of exam dates; software engineers who are trying to remember both important project meetings and kids’ karate classes or their own social life; graduate students trying to keep up with school while making sure their grocery shopping is planned; parents who feel organized at work but unable to keep up at home.
The truth is that these things are really very difficult for many of us. They don’t come naturally. While we are good at a lot of other things, we struggle with time, task, and life management.
We grew up in a world that told us these skills are both EASY and IMPORTANT. But this simply isn’t true for us.
I Can Relate
I used to think it was my fault that I didn’t work like other people. The fact that time seemed to fly by (or go by super slow) depending on what I was doing seemed weird. It seemed like I was doing something wrong.
I thought things could be different if I just pushed and tried harder. If I willed myself into working on things more steadily, and planned it out like other people seemed to, I’d get things done easily. I figured I needed to be more like those people to be more productive. I thought I was just getting in my own way.
When I learned about ADHD and neurobiological differences, I came to understand that I just work differently. It isn’t “bad,” just different.
When I stopped fighting myself, my life started to fall into a much better place.
So please know that I understand your struggle. And I understand how hard you might be on yourself sometimes. Even though planning skills are really useful, they don’t make you a better person. Having planning and time management difficulties doesn’t mean you’re weak or lazy.
It Can Be Different
Imagine that you’re intensely busy with a work project and a holiday comes along as well and instead of feeling panicked, you feel ready. Maybe you run out and do lots of last minute preparation, but you enjoy doing it because you know that’s how you work best. Or maybe you plan things out in advance, you decide on the steps to take, and you work through them a bit at a time. Maybe it feels a little new and a bit awkward. But you do it! And you know with practice it will feel more and more comfortable.
The bottom line is that you don’t wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat realizing the holiday is TOMORROW!
Now imagine being prepared for the business meeting, the project deadline, the moving date, your child’s school project, your ______. (You fill in the blank.)
You CAN be ready for all of these things! It doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to turn into an even-keeled, “regular-seeming” person. You’ll still be dynamic and you’ll still do best when you’re fully interested and engaged. It doesn’t mean you’ll have mastered the “perfect” time management system. It means you’ll have found the tools that work for you, customized your approach to work with your natural tendencies, and practiced your new skills so they’ve become more and more comfortable.
But You’ve Already Tried
I know what you’re probably thinking: “You don’t understand. I’ve already tried to get organized. Nothing works for me.” You’ve bought countless new shiny calendars. But then you stopped using them when the NOVELTY wore off. You were excited at first, but then you forgot to check it, to bring it with you places, and you had a really hard time making yourself use it.
Novelty is not sustainable. If you need novelty to get yourself interested, that’s a valuable piece of information that we’ll use when we’re finding the right solution for you. It means that we’ll learn to look past that when we’re finding the right solution for you. One that you can stick with. It means we’ll be extra careful not to fall prey to the “shiny-new object syndrome.”
And maybe you’ve tried your best to plan things out before, but you struggled to stick to the plan. Things took much longer (or shorter) than you thought. Or maybe you couldn’t even get started. Again, that simply means we’re missing some critical information about how you work best, what motivates you to get into action, and what your natural tendencies are. No problem. That’s why I’m here to help!