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ADHD & Paperwork: The Adulting Nightmare
Have you experienced being in a deep pile of paperwork? 📚 📅 📩 Whether you work in an office or in a work-from-home setup, paperwork can quickly accumulate. And for someone with ADHD, this can certainly be a problem if not addressed properly.
There are times when an ADHD brain feels overwhelmed with tasks that involve executive functioning, like planning and organization. These activities can be a struggle for us because we tend to be more impulsive and have trouble with focus and attention. Problems like being uninterested in these tasks, having a forgetful ADHD brain, and being easily distracted can make us dread paperwork even more. 😅
Sadly, I am not safe from having this struggle. Let me help you picture it better. Neurotypical college students may quickly organize their things, documents, receipts, and other important papers they have with them. But, someone with ADHD (like me) might not even remember where I put my completed forms and where my most important documents are. Sometimes, I worry so much about looking for them that I forget to do what I had to before searching for them. 😅
As an adult who just had her ADHD diagnosis, my understanding of things like this is relatively new. I didn't know back then that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can affect the process of how we organize and tidy our things up. This can pose problems on how we handle a form we just answered or an entire file of documents. 📝
Luckily, being diagnosed and fully informed about everything that can affect our actions and mindset helps us be more mindful and take control of the situation.
Simple Tasks, Complicated ADHD Brain
Let's start with the simple task of gathering unopened mail. ✉️ Sometimes, we like to skip these tedious yet very straightforward tasks. Doing these chores can be a struggle, especially since our minds tend to daydream and travel to different times and places, making it hard to focus on simple and repetitive tasks. We tend to not complete opening mail and disregard every one of them.
There are a few times that I overlooked my letters from the mailbox. When I put them on my to-do list, the time intended for sorting everything out is spent some other way. There are times that I used this time to contact my friends, browse different websites about almost anything, or watch the videos on TikTok.
It'll be late before I notice that I haven't achieved anything connected to opening the mail and organizing them. The worst part of these instances is when the utility bills are included inside the mailbox. Hence, I tend to forget to pay them on time. 😔
Struggling to Pay Bills on Time
Due to my “negligence” in the task of opening the mail, I couldn't pay my bills on time. This has been an ongoing struggle for me. Adulting, especially for someone with ADHD, is not easy at all. Though I may have the resources to pay off these utilities, I still struggle to find time to pay them because I already forgot their due dates (yes, I am horrible with deadlines), or the bill sent to me is already deep in my pile of letters.
As a child with no responsibilities in mind, we didn’t need to worry about the process of living peacefully on our own because somebody else made our lives easier. However, everything changes when we are already adults that need to take care of our things.
One of the things that I need to put more effort into is trying to be more organized with my bills and other papers. 📚 📅 📩 After all, these are essential documents that we need to take care of. Though it is not easy for me, I am slowly adapting different methods to declutter my space and manage everything accordingly so that I won't face the consequences of my actions.
Online Administrative Tasks are Hard
Paperwork is complicated as it is. But organizing the files on your computer, remembering passwords, and managing your emails 💻 can be even more challenging for someone with ADHD. It may seem easy for some, but it probably took them a lot of time and patience to perfect these skills and remember the details or instructions they made for themselves.
There are millions of websites you can search online and plenty of accounts you have to make your life more convenient. It can be pretty hard to remember everything when you have so many of them. 👩💻
For example, I have my school email, my personal Gmail, a different email address for work, and many other social media accounts. It's challenging to manage all these when you can't remember them all at once. Many websites require one unique character, one numeric character, and one letter in uppercase. I know it is for the security of our accounts, so even though remembering these email addresses, usernames, and passwords is quite annoying, I still try my best.
Although I live in a digital generation, I am probably the least tech-savvy. My ADHD brain has been doing everything possible to prevent me from utilizing technology effectively. 😭 I struggle mostly with file management, passwords and where to keep them, and sometimes getting directions or tutorials on something to do online. The thought of posting passwords in some place easily seen defeats the purpose of security. So, I always tell myself that I need to write them down and keep them in a place only I know. But hear this: there are times when, even before I can write them down, I have forgotten them already because I have been looking for the pencil and paper!
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The Administrative Avoidance Spiral
We have to admit to ourselves that doing paperwork is part of our lives. And we have to decide at one point that we need to accomplish this task.
But many people with an ADHD brain may try to convince themselves that they can push this task back later and avoid doing it. This is called the Administrative Avoidance Spiral. It is when we procrastinate on a task and convince ourselves that it's unimportant or we can do it later. This can create a never-ending cycle of procrastination, which can lead to more anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.
Somehow, procrastination can make us feel that we have enough time to perform these administrative jobs. We tend to assess our schedule differently because we struggle to manage our time. Thus, resulting in another cycle of pushing back tasks and then worrying that we can't do them on time.This practice can create a lot of unnecessary stress in our lives.
Some people with ADHD tend to have a messy room or work area because they feel like they don't have the time to organize everything. We tend to overlook these tasks and give a wrong assessment when it comes to how long it would take us to do everything at once.
Automate and Ask for Help
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can make it difficult to focus and stay on task. This can make it challenging to get things done at work and home.
But there are ways to use technology to your advantage and help you manage your symptoms better. Many apps and tools can help you stay organized, be more productive, and avoid reaching that loop of administrative avoidance.
Here are some tips and techniques you can do to make doing paperwork manageable:
- Have a separate folder or location to keep all completed forms and important documents. Have them separated in order of importance or depending on your preference.
- Try having digital copies of these important forms and save them on your cell phone or computer. Having them easily accessible can help you save time. You can review them quickly; there's no need to visit many places because they are saved online.
- If you struggle with remembering passwords, try using a password manager. This can help you store all your passwords in one secure place. Many websites offer free trials for these applications, so you can explore and find the one that works best for you.
- Subscribe to your utilities' paperless billing, wherein they'll alert you with the complete details of your account and the deadline for payment. Having them around can help you remember to pay bills on time.
- Utilize the power of your smartphone and set reminders for everything you need to do. From integrating the payment schedule for anything, keeping notifications for office or home-related stuff, taking out the trash to calling your parents, setting the alarm or reminder helps you remember what needs to be done. You can also try using a task management tool or app to help you keep track of everything you need to do. This can help you break down big projects into smaller, more actionable tasks.
- Ask your doctor for possible medical advice that can help you get motivated. There are many available options for treatment, but you must consult with a professional first to see what would work best for your condition.
Paperwork can be complicated. But it doesn't have to be, with the help of technology and some tips. 👌 Automate and ask for help when needed. They can save you a lot of stress and anxiety in dealing with this repetitive work. Try to be more innovative and use the power of technology to your advantage. Don't let ADHD control you, instead, be in control of it.
ADHD and Paperwork: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Do people with ADHD struggle with keeping, accomplishing, and compiling papers, forms, and documents?
It is quite common for people with ADHD to experience difficulties in compiling all the important documents and forms. Their symptoms around inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, can make it difficult for them to keep up with the papers.
What ADHD-related traits affect the ability to accomplish forms and documents?
There are many traits that can affect an ADHD brain’s ability to keep up with numerous documents. Case in point, being forgetful is already a disadvantage. Being easily distracted when organizing documents can also be an issue. Of course, many people with ADHD have concerns regarding their executive functions, which help them plan and organize.
How can you stay on top of all your forms, documents, and other piles of paper?
The best way is to get to know your symptoms. You can do this by talking to a healthcare professional. Also, you can use apps and tools to your advantage.