ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects both women and men.
Life is not easy as a woman with problems focusing, organizing, decluttering, being hypersensitive, and working productively.
How do you convert those challenges into benefits?
The challenges and trends I see in women who have ADHD or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder, without the Hyperactivity aspect) have strengths and benefits.
If you are a woman who has ADHD or ADD, I’m glad you found this article. If you are a man then you’re probably reading this because there is a woman in your life who is struggling and you want to help her. (Hopefully)
Disclaimer: ADHD and ADD symptoms are different from person to person. Various options for treatment such as therapy, coaching, and coping strategies are all helpful to decrease the propensity of having problems focusing, organizing, decluttering, and working productively. In the following lines, I’m going to mention a challenging trait that you may have vs. a strength I found in it.
What is Hyper-focusing?
Hyper-focusing is the ability to focus on one activity or task for an extended amount of time, regardless of interruptions, responsibilities, and distractions.
The tasks that we hyper-focus, are usually tasks that we do extremely well, and/or tasks that we enjoy doing.
Getting distracted vs. Hyper-focusing
Life is hard when you think about a lot of things at the same time, and also when you are trying to focus on one activity but can’t stay doing it for longer than a few minutes. This is because other thoughts go through your mind and you end up doing something else.
Life is also hard when you spend more time doing your hobbies (and even working) and less time getting the more boring tasks done. And in the midst of enjoying your work, you forget about meeting with a friend, calling someone back, or doing your laundry, because you were so into “hyper-focusing” on that one thing you are so passionate about.
Believe me, this still happens to me today, but I’m managing it better. I really enjoy time with friends too, but because of my “hyper-focus” tendencies even in my times spent with friends, I have to leave some structured time between shifting from one thing to the next, and schedule events and deadlines in my calendar and planner.
The remedy for hyper focusing is asking yourself “what tasks do I easily hyper-focus on?” These types of tasks give us a “high” or a motivation to laser focus.
Once you become aware of what you hyper-focus on, the next step is to try your best to focus on a task that you don’t enjoy so much, right after the task or activity that you find yourself hyper-focusing.
If this doesn’t work, try your best to delegate tasks that you don’t enjoy doing so much, or better yet, set up an alarm clock or a reminder to help you shift from the task you “hyper-focus” to the next task that might seem not so interesting.
An Example: Writing a Post to publish on your Blog.
You have a hard time starting to write. And then, when you start writing it, you have a hard time finishing it.
Apply the remedy: Notice what you currently hyper-focus on.
If you hyper-focus while cooking, try your best to do an activity or task that was difficult to do right after cooking.
If writing a blog for your business once a week is still hard to do right after the kitchen, try to write for 5 minutes after each meal you cook, and make sure you use a timer or have someone hold you accountable.
Once you notice what are the tasks you hyper-focus on, schedule the not-so-interesting tasks after your predicted hyper-focusing end period.
Not Cleaning Up Between Tasks v. Cleaning Up Between Tasks
Cleaning up and organizing after finishing a task is one of the most difficult things women with ADHD struggle with because jumping from one task to another without finishing it often occurs.
Have you ever been tired of the mess, or tired of spending an enormous amount of time looking for an important item that got lost in the midst of the mess in your home or office?
Or have you ever regretted having to go to the store to buy something that you know you already bought not too long ago, because you don’t remember where you put it?
I do, and I don’t want to keep buying the same thing twice, nor have to spend a whole weekend deep cleaning. The worse thing that could happen is to hire a cleanup crew to clean my house because I can’t.
That’s a great strategy, though. But not everyone can afford a weekly or monthly cleaner. Asking your cleaner to take the time to show you how he or she organized everything will cost extra.
You are probably wondering, how can I possibly find something good out of the mess of my home? Well, I can’t find any direct benefit or strength from that. But the more regrets and money you spend trying to fix your inability to clean and organize, the more ready you will be to be sick and tired of it so that you will get hands-on training in the habit of becoming an organized superwoman!
If I can do it, you can do it too!
If you haven’t reached that place of being sick and tired of being sick and tired, wait a bit more. You’ll eventually get there.
Once you are sick and tired of being disorganized and having too much clutter, it’s time to organize.
Start organizing by decluttering either your kitchen (if it’s messy), or your bathroom (if you like to get ready and put on your makeup in your bathroom). When you spend a lot of time in one place in your home, you are more than likely be motivated to organize it. If that doesn’t work for you so quickly, ask a loved one or a friend to visit you at least once a week. That will motivate you to keep an organized home.
A Creative Mind that doesn’t plan vs. A Creative mind that plans
You probably hate planning because you have a creative mind, as this is the case with many women who have ADHD. I’m here to tell you that there is a way to still work productively.
You can do this by keeping either a job or one commitment (such as going to the gym daily, attending a class, volunteering, having a regular schedule as part of being a caretaker, or seeing your doctors weekly) to help you have a routine.
If you currently don’t have any commitment, you are welcome to comment below by letting me know what kind of activities you enjoy doing or plan to do, and we can figure it out together.
Most of the times, we all have commitments but are not aware of them. A commitment can start by noticing what you enjoy doing. Once you see that, try your best to stick to doing that at least once every week.
I understand that you might not like planning, but trust me on this. You are not an animal nor a robot, you have responsibilities if you are an adult, so I’m sure that you can come up with some commitments.
Once you figure out what your current responsibilities are, you will notice that it’s easier to arrange them in a way that they happen on the same day every week. This is the easiest way to plan when having a creative mind.
For example, if you enjoy meeting with friends for coffee often, try to notice at what times and days you usually meet them every week. Once you see some patterns, try to schedule meeting them around the same time and day of the week each week.
This will help you have a more balanced life, especially if you tend to hyperfocus when you are in work mode.
Being Hypersensitive vs. Being Compassionate
Many women who have ADHD are more hypersensitive than men.
Hypersensitivity means that the person is very sensible to physical things going on around you or emotional up and downs inside of you in addition to the people around you.
When it comes to noises around you, that’s something that you will either have to get used to. Use headphones to play your favorite music or podcast, or move somewhere where you can work with a closed door.
When it comes to being highly sensitive to people’s emotions and your own, it’s part of one of your strengths, which is that you are compassionate. It’s actually a good thing to be able to feel your own emotions. But you are to work through your feelings with someone you trust or with a professional.
It’s important to gain perspective regarding your different emotions, and it’s important to learn which ones you are to express. Learn which ones you are to let go of because some can affect you negatively.
Lastly, remember that sometimes, what you sense in people might be an emotion that they are not even noticing. So, be wise. There are some things you feel that you don’t have to talk about, while there are some things that you do need to talk about when you are at the right time and environment to do so.
ADHD in women is real and I’m a trained professional life coach who can help you cope better and manage the different aspects of your lfie. If you’re interested to get help, you can sign up for a free consultation with me
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