Many patients come into my office and swear that they forget things, cannot multitask, and have difficulty focusing at home, work or school. These are usually adults that may range anywhere between 18-65 years old. I'll try to give some guidance on what ADD means versus normal stressful multitasking.
By definition, ADD is an illness of children that starts before age 7. Most children may outgrow it, or at least learn ways to cope with the external stimuli, so it won't be as distracting. However, the older they grow and school gets more difficult, like in Middle or High school, they may need some medication to help them focus. In my experience, unless they are extremely ADHD, with hyperactivity, or failing in school, I usually don't like children to be treated since stimulants can stunt their growth, make them feel zombie or give them a numb affect, between other things. However, many of these children when they grow up and go to higher education, they will request medicine to focus. This may be a good time to use stimulants while they go to College and help them succeed. There're misconceptions about the stimulants thou. Some people believe that a stimulant will just make them smarter or get better grades. This is not so. Don't expect to take a magic pill and get an "A"!
Now, I'll see adults that are much older, say 40's or even 50's who claim they suddenly have ADD. Now remember, ADD is a childhood disorder that some may carry out into adulthood. Now it's a little more difficult to differentiate between the adult that had ADD as a child but went untreated, or the adult who has so much stress at work, home, family etc, that has to be multitasking constantly and forgets things.
Think about yourself as working full time, being a full time parent, having to do the cookie bake for the PTA meeting next week, taking your younger kids to softball practice and trying to make all the football games for your senior child in high school. Also don't forget that you have to make sure that senior applies for his or hers SATS, ACTS, go to College night and apply to all the Colleges they may want to attend, or not! (Trust me, I've been this mom several times since I have three kids)! So do we have ADD or are we just overwhelmed with multitasking and just honestly forget sometimes?
At this point, it doesn't matter what you want to call it, just give me some solutions please!!! And so I will.....
1. Get a calendar (or planner) please. The prettier the better. Also get some Crayola magic markers so you have fun while doing this. Colors are important because you can use a color for each designated activity. Or a color for each kid, it's your choice, but keep it consistent.
2. Keep the planner somewhere where you will see it every day. I keep mine at my desk at work. I write all my activities in the dates they need to be done in color coordinated codes that make sense to me.
3. Get some cute small color post notes. I use these to write things I have to do that I may not get to do them immediately. This way, I can take the post note and move it to another day in my planner so I won't forget to get them done. This works very well when I have to return a phone call and cannot get to it that same day. So I move my post note to the following day. If you're a fan of "Sex and the City", you may recall the episode when Berger dumps Carrie on a "post it" note posted on her laptop screen. Samantha tries to cheer her up so she invites her to a Club opening in Manhattan that night. Samantha opens up her planner which is filled up to the max with colorful post notes!
4. That reminds me that when I get an invite, I'll staple the invite to the planner on the date of the activity.
5. If I have a doctors appointment, I'll staple the doctors business card on the date of the appointment, therefore, if I need to cancel or reschedule the appointment , the doctors phone is in the card and I don't have to search my contacts to find the phone number. The same is true if I have a hair dresser appointment or any other appointments. I just love business cards! They are so handy.
6. And lastly, I love my Siri ! She reminds me every day of things I have to do, that never get done!
Go ahead and be happy! If you don't get things done today, maybe do them tomorrow, and if not, who cares, there will always be another day!