Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Detangling dyspaxic chaos
A lot of my blogs focus on the social and emotional side of dyspraxia but I thought I would write a blog about something I know many dyspraxics/dyslexics find very difficult in day to day life-organisation.
Organisation has never been something I've found easy and often found myself living in complete chaos with things everywhere, losing and forgetting where I've put items, organising where I need to be and when and with what items. Basically in short organising my life and everything in it. Luckily I have a boyfriend who's very logical and more methodological in thinking can be a great asset with organisation especially forward planning, but as we hope to move into our own home/flat at some point this year I know I need to develop some coping strategies to help myself.
When I feel disorganised everything feels chaotic and overwhelming, so hopefully decluttering will help calm my mind and help manage my anxiety better. As I will be dyspraxic all my life it will probably be something I will constantly find difficult and have to work 10x harder at but I hope some strategies will help a little. One thing I've realised over the years living with dyspraxia/dyslexia is that although shoving things into cupboards, drawers or on the floor may seem the easy option, in the long run trying to find them again is a completely different story.
1. Breaking tasks down and have a routine
The thought of doing a lot at once can be overwhelming, exhausting and as a result very little gets done and more chaos often accumulates. Break down areas or tasks in a small chunks as small chunks as you need and what works best for you. Don't compare yourself to others, just because someone else can blitz the house in a few hours with everything spotless, doesn't mean you're any less of a person. Make sure you take some time out to do something relaxing and something you enjoy afterwards or have something to look forward to. Breathe!
2. Don't feel embarrassed to ask for help
Needing some help with organisation is nothing to embarrassed about or to feel guilty for. Whether it be a family member a friend or a professional cleaning company. I've heard of quite a few adult dyspraxics who have asked for help to come into their home and help them. I know people can feel others might judge them, but surrounding yourself with empathetic people can be a blessing and do what is best for you and your day to day life.
3. Making lists and prioritising tasks
The amount of paper based lists I've made over the years which just simply have vanished into thin air. Or the amount of times I've forgotten to write any kind of list and completely forgotten I have to do something. It could be as simple as putting the right shoe on each foot. Last Friday I ended up with one black shoe on and one brown, luckily I realised before leaving the house. I've had a few embarrassing moments turning up to work with clothes inside out and the labels showing. I find it easier to use an App (Google Keep for me but there's loads out there) on my phone where I can tick off when I've completed a task, I can also share the list with my boyfriend so he knows what's on the list too.
Don't feel embarrassed of what lists you make, if making a list with a routine of what order you need to carry out simple tasks helps then do it, doesn't make you less of an adult or a person. Then comes to prioritising the tasks on the lists and working out what is most important, something I find really tricky. Some dyspraxics find a traffic light system works for them, colour coding tasks red for needs immediate attention, amber in the next week and green in the next month. Then moving them up the priorities list.
4. Finding places for important items
Many times over the years I've gone downstairs or gone into a room with good intention of finding something and I've completely forgotten what I need or where I've put something. One of my most most common phrases has been to my boyfriend or mum, "have you seen where x is?" or "I can't remember where my y is" normally 5 minutes before I'm due out of the door. Cue a mad state of panic and running around like a headless chicken with accompanying dyspraxic un-coordinated flapping and throwing clothing, duvets, and various objects around the room which resorted in more chaos.
At the moment I'm trying to get into a routine of putting important items in the same place, and having another list made on my phone of essential items I need to get out of the door. Another strategy I've seen people use is to type up on coloured card what they need for the day, print off and laminate and keep a few copies blue tacked up around the house and have one on you in person. When I buy things like phone cables, phone cases, purses etc I try and buy them not just because I like them but also because they stand out amongst other things, my iphone cable is bright purple, my phone is bright pink with a bright purple case.
I seem to own and attract a lot of clutter either on me in person or around me. Often my bag is like a Mary Poppins bag and has everything apart from the kitchen sink in it, often with many duplicate items in it, rubbish I've forgotten to throw away or have a lot of just incase items. I never seem to travel light and often pack way more than I need.
The same can be applied to my personal space, things just end up accumulating. I find I often get into routines of buying very similar items and have a lot of something, and can't resist a bargain. But is it really a bargain when you already have 5 of a similar item unopened probably stuffed in a drawer somewhere.
Often my living space can simply be overwhelming and I just never know when or how to start tidying it up, then I procrastinate and it ends up being left for even longer. As in the near future I will have my own home the thought of having many rooms all in a mess makes me feel quite sick. Something I'm planning on starting to do is tackle a little bit or a section at a time, taking regular breaks and knowing once things look a lot tidier it will make me feel a lot calmer, a calm surrounding leading to a calmer and happier mind.
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