Finding Your Focus
Simple organizing principles for adults with ADHD.
by Judith Greenbaum, Ph.D., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D.
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As an ADHD coach, I work with many newly diagnosed adults and teenagers. These clients want to learn about their disorder, but often feel helpless because they have trouble reading entire non-fiction books. Judith Greenbaum, Ph.D., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D., have found the secret to a great ADHD book: Keeping it short and simple. “Our book outlines specific strategies, checklists, and routines for daily living,” write the authors in the introduction.
Each chapter is divided into sections that are rarely more than a few paragraphs long. Chapter 5, “My House Is a Pigsty!,” includes the sections “Attacking a Pile of Papers” and “Organizing Your Kitchen.” This approach makes it easy for the reader to find exactly what he needs and to understand the strategy without wading through dozens of pages.
The checklists and exercises are specific, and they relate to real situations at home and at work. For example, here are steps the authors recommend to help you find a car that’s been parked in an unfamiliar mega-parking lot:
- Always park near a landmark, such as a lamppost or tree.
- When you get out of your car, look around. Note the landmarks, and tell yourself where you parked.
- Visualize your parking place.
- Just before entering the mall or store, turn around and spot your car.
- Tell yourself which direction you’ll have to turn when you exit the mall or store.
This routine certainly rang true to me. When I go to my local mall, I have to park near J.C. Penney’s luggage entrance, so that I’ll be able to find my car when it’s time to leave. Next time I’m on a shopping expedition out of town, I’ll use their strategy.
Greenbaum and Markel remind readers that it is OK to be proud simply of making progress toward a goal, and that “a certain amount of clutter or mess is inevitable… .” Such reassurances kept me grinning as I read. The succinct sections and practical checklists make it a great book for adult ADDers who are just starting out on the journey to getting organized.
Updated on October 6, 2006