Throughout the month of December, I am honored and grateful to share posts by ADHD experts. In this series of Meet the ADHD Expert, our experts are sharing their thoughts about ADHD. Let me introduce guest blogger Andrea Sharb.
Andrea Sharb, ACC®, CPO-CD®, COC®, and CPO® is owner of S.O.S.~Sharb Organizing Solutions, LLC and a trainer for the Coach Approach for Organizers. Since 2006, Andrea has specialized in Helping Others Overcome Overwhelm™. Her most rewarding work is with chronically disorganized clients, especially Adults with ADHD or those who wonder if they have ADHD. She also works with individuals who want to gain better control over their physical space, time or life. A certified coach, her approach, is grounded in helping clients raise their awareness around how their challenges are impacting them. With awareness raised she assists them in creating strategies for a more organized, productive and fulfilling life. She then supports her clients in the implementation of those strategies. Her goal is to not only teach her clients techniques for clearing the clutter from their lives, but to empower them to make changes leading to a more organized lifestyle. In addition to working with organizing clients, she provides mentor-coaching services to professional organizers.
What was your first experience with ADHD?
I first became aware of ADHD in my work as a professional organizer. What I noticed most was how I identified personally with many of the struggles of my ADHD clients. I had always been good at organizing physical spaces. But, was challenged when it came to managing my time and dealing with overwhelm that resulted from taking on too many shiny, new activities. As I learned more about ADHD, in order to better serve my ADHD clients, I began to suspect I was dealing with ADHD myself. I was formally diagnosed with combined type ADHD a few years ago.
What was is one thing you want everyone to know about ADHD?
What I most want people to know is that ADHD is not a sentence to a lesser life. Change is possible, but it takes building awareness about your ADHD and your strengths, designing actions and developing accountability around those actions, and creating supportive systems. An ADHD coach can serve as a guide in all of these areas.
What is your best tip for ADHD?
When you learn something that works for you, it’s important to find a way to remind yourself of it, so you can continue to use it to support you. Unfortunately ADHD often results in us forgetting what supports us most. Document what works best for you on a list of best practices, and review it regularly.
What is your morning like?
Great question Ellen! I’d love to be able to tell you my mornings are well ordered, but they tend to be a little inconsistent depending upon whether I have an early morning appointment. If I have an early morning appointment, the external accountability makes all the difference in motivating me through what needs to be accomplished before I leave. If my first appointment isn’t until later in the morning, things get a little more challenging. Early morning appointment or not, there are some constants: Before I even get out of bed I review my best practices on my iPad and check my calendar for the day. If my first appointment is a little later in the morning I also clear the email that filled my inbox over night.
The next step is dealing with what I call my linked activities: putting in contacts, brushing teeth and getting dressed for exercise. No matter what the day, these tasks almost always seem tough to tackle. Putting in the contacts is easiest, because being able to see has the biggest payoff. From there it is a matter of talking myself into doing just one more thing. “Ok, contacts are in, all you need to do now is brush your teeth.” “Alright, all you need to do now is get dressed and put your hair up.” There is a lot of self-talk going on in my house in the morning.
If I have an early morning appointment, I head straight to the treadmill. Exercise shifts my brain into gear and can make all the difference in how my day goes. I do a lot of my professional reading while I’m on the treadmill because reading becomes so much easier for me when I’m moving. (My husband will tell you that if I read while sitting in a chair I tend to fall asleep, which isn’t terribly conducive to learning.)
A later morning appointment can result in procrastination around exercise, so I’ll usually end up working backwards from the time I have to leave and calculating the latest time that I can get on the treadmill. Setting a timer for this time and placing it in another room makes all the difference when it comes to transitioning me to the treadmill.
After exercise, breakfast and a shower, it’s time to start the day.
Anything else you want to share?
Just to say thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers and to pass along the following: The way your brain works is not your choice. How you respond to the way your brain works is. What choices will you make with respect to your ADHD and overcoming your own overwhelm?
Stay connected to Andrea