I get asked all the time what the secret system for people with ADHD is to get organized, manage their time, keep to a schedule, stay motivated- like there’s some blanket system that will work for everyone. I’m sorry to say that that is not the case. Everyone is different. Not a very groundbreaking statement, I know, but it’s true and sometimes we need to remember this.

The closest thing to the secret system that I can say is this: the “best” system is the one that is sustainable for you to use. One you have the stamina to keep doing. One that you want to do, have the means to do, can do- repeatedly. One that you can forgive yourself if you mess up with and get back into again. This is going to look different, feel different, sound different- generally be different- for everyone.

It’s going to be a trial-and-error process to figure out what is sustainable or realistic for you to do every day. Another secret to this system is fostering patients and kindness for yourself during this trial-and-error period of experimentation. It’s like that old saying, what do you do when you fall of the horse? You get back on.

When experimenting with new systems, check in with yourself. What works about this system? What doesn’t? What do you think it’s missing, or wish it had? How can that gap be filled? How will you know it’s working?

Another thing to consider is how long this system needs to be sustainable. Is it something you have to have the stamina for just for a short period of time? Long period? What does the time duration of the system mean? Does it limit options, or open up some possibilities?

One more thing to consider is how adaptable does the system need to be? Do you have a current system that works really well, but things in your life are about to change in a way that the current system will no longer work? What are some ways to tweak the system to adapt to the changes?

How important is a flexible system? At what point does flexibility keep the system from working? On the flip side of this, how important is structure? How disciplined does it need to be in order to work?

I can’t tell you how to get organized, stick to a schedule, manage time- or whatever your goals are. I really wish I had all the answers, that would make life so much easier. I can, however, collaborate with you to figure out what a sustainable system would be for you, and help you along as you experiment with these systems. Sometimes it’s much easier to go on this journey with someone instead of going it alone. 

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