Ask the Experts

Dear Organizing Coach: How Can I Learn to Live on My Own?

Losing a partner is a challenging time in anyone’s life. For those with ADHD, the loss may be compounded by the resurgence of symptoms that your spouse helped manage. Here, our organizing coach explains how an ADHD coach can help widows and widowers re-structure their life after the death of a loved one.

Woman painting

Q: “I am a young widow realizing now how much I relied on my husband to help me manage my every day life. We were high-school sweethearts and I was with him for almost 35 years. Now that he is not here, I am learning how to live on my own and I seem to stumbling more often than I would like. I need practical strategies to help me cope with everyday organization and time management: managing full time employment, navigating social settings while at work, balancing work-related events and church events and volunteering, handling my finances, and taking care of my health (eating, sleeping, exercising, resting).” —DebbieC


Dear DebbieC:

First, let me offer my condolences on the loss of your husband. It’s never easy to recognize when you can’t do it all on your own.

I do need to ask: Have you ever thought of working with an adult ADHD coach? It sounds like you have so many things going on in your life, and you could use a guiding hand. An ADHD coach can help you set goals, set up systems and structures for everyday tasks, help you stay motivated, and keep you on track. He or she can also provide that necessary accountability that keeps us motivated and moving forward.

[Coach or Therapist?]

Some coaches prefer weekly meetings with mini check-ins between appointments. Also, coaching can be done virtually — either by phone or computer — if you can’t find a professional nearby to meet face-to-face. Do what works best for your schedule. Most importantly, please remember that finding a coach is a very personal decision. Don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions to find the right fit.

I am linking two wonderful articles that have appeared in ADDitude Magazine that explain the coaching process in more detail. Good luck!

ADHD Coaches: The Basics
The ADHD Coach: A Personal Trainer for Your Brain


Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions here!

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  1. Also my condolences. Personally transitioned to this at a similar time of life without a coach. Lets just say its been mostly a 20 year disaster and a very slow learning curve. Tried new spouse (2)but that was definitely not the answer. Filled my ife with
    Overcommitting, depression, Withdrew from most social activities including church as there was just not enough time in a day. Made all the mistakes and many more. Retiring at 60 made it worse. Have I convinced you yet.
    An organizing coach would have made a “huge” difference as that suspected ADHDer in the oval office might say.
    Seriously the advice above sounds golden to me.
    Kudos to you for asking.

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