ADHD APPROVED | Get Your Shit Together
Create a S.M.A.R.T. plan
When you’re as forgetful as I am, you need to have all your shit in one place. I don’t know about you, but I can’t have my mask in the car, my keys in my desk, and my umbrella in the closet and expect to know where they all are at the end of the day. I need constant reminders, and I need schedules and routines to be able to keep track of anything. I forget my passwords, my jackets and hats, my medicine, my meetings. It’s cliche, but if my head weren’t attached to my body I would probably forget that, too. Which is why I need to have my shit together, as much as possible, so I forget as few things as possible. What do you need to get together in your life? Did you make it to all your meetings this week? Did you finish all of your assignments, your homework, your artwork?
Pro tip: My reminders are all in the same calendar, because I can’t have some things in g cal and others in iCal. (I know… I just saved somebody’s life… you’re welcome!)
It’s easy to forget things, to make mistakes, to misplace things. I mean, when I was in high school, I lost my jacket 7 times in one year. I’m not kidding. Forgetting things is human nature, and it’s unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be mitigated, at least a little. What I’m saying is, you need to get your shit together. What kind of shit do you have that’s lying around? Get it together. A bunch of important papers all over the place? Get them together. An out of order portfolio? Get it together. A fucked up sock drawer? Get that shit together. I don’t care what it is—if it’s important that you remember it, you need to get it together.
ON TIPS AND TRICKS
When we talk about getting your shit together, it’s not just about the physical things or the actual shit that’s out of order in your life. If you’re a memory-loss expert like me, then you need to organize your methods. Post-it notes are a great way to get your shit together. Put them on the door, on the fridge, on your laptop, anywhere that’s highly visible. Any method that can make the things that need to get done more visible is something you should be doing. Write a to-do list on your phone and check it every morning. When are your meetings and appointments? When’s that assignment due? Are you sure? Double check that, right now.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about visibility. You might notice a post-it note or a reminder the first time, and the second time, but how about after a month? I lost that jacket seven separate times, after all. Once your brain gets acclimated to the presence of a reminder, it can start filtering it out. You might stop noticing it as time passes. If this is a problem you have, you should try changing which reminders you use, and how you use them. I, for example, only wear one coat these days. A heavy leather jacket, which is much harder to leave behind than a little fleece jacket. If you’re using post-its to help you get your shit together, then try changing their locations or colors. If you’re using your calendar’s alerts or reminders, try changing the alert times, sounds, or frequency… get that shit together.
Sometimes, after you’ve done everything you can (to get your shit together), the best thing you can do is ask for help. Do you have coworkers that you can trust, or people you live with who are good at remembering things? Ask them to help you keep track of your shit. Not all of your shit, obviously, because that’s an unfair burden to place on another person. You can’t expect other people to be your manager, but you can ask for help when you need it. Asking for help is hard, and scary, but it’s necessary. You’re not an octopus, living in total isolation until it’s time to mate. You’re a human being. Humans are a social species, not independent beings. We’re meant to be able to lean on each other.
BRINGING IT ALL HOME
Whatever you need to remember, there are hundreds of tools and tips to help you do it. Whatever works for you is what works, whether it’s a high-tech solution like an app or a home assistant, or a low-tech one, like a day-planner or asking someone for help. The shame is not in forgetting things, but in refusing to try. Remember, in the words of our beloved brother Morty Smith: Get Your Shit Together.