Getting My Life Organized.
Q: My life feels out of control. Are there distinct steps that I can take to get more organized?
A: Organizing yourself is a very tough task – especially if it something that you struggle with across the spectrum. Organization requires discipline, time – and something else that you might not be aware of – executive function skills. Executive skills allow us to organize our behavior over time and override immediate demands in favor of longer-term goals. Through these skills, we learn to sustain attention, plan and organize activities, and follow through on a task.
Sometimes, people might think that they are simply disorganized, but in reality, they could be impaired by Executive Function Disorder. Those with Executive Function Disorder lack many skills such as planning, time management, and working memory. This in turn can lead to persistent lateness, impulsive behavior, and the inability to finish any task completely.
Here are some ways to improve your life and overall organization for people with or without Executive Function Disorder:
• Use tools like time organizers, computers, and watches with alarms in order to give yourself reminders to help you get things done on time.
• Create checklists and to do lists. On these lists, estimate how long each activity will take you to accomplish. Then, break the longer tasks into small changes and assign time frames for completing each section.
• Remove clutter from your workspace (or kitchen). If this feels too scary to handle on your own, ask a friend, or family member, to set aside a few hours to help you clear your space.
• Use visual calendars in central locations to keep track of long term projects, appointments, and bill invoices.
Just remember, nobody’s perfect – even with checklists and calendars – life might get a bit disorganized every now and then.