Navigating Executive Dysfunction: Managing Busy Minds
Managing appointments, schedules and life can be challenging when you’ve got ADHD, AuDHD, or simply challenges with executive functioning. Jen and I talk about our struggles and the things that work for us. We talk about what may be more neuroaffirming. We also talk about the challenges of getting advice, or working with someone who doesn’t understand neurodiversity. For example: being told to try silent meditation, but that may not work when you’ve got a busy brain. Moving meditation may be a better fit.
Jen Perry, MSEd, MA, LPC
- Challenges with executive functioning, including difficulty focusing on one thing and keeping track of appointments.
- Using timers and reminders on your phone to help manage your schedule.
- Valuing giving and receiving grace in personal and professional relationships
- Learning to be more flexible and go with the flow in your work and personal life.
- Recognizing the importance of understanding one’s own needs and working styles.
- Experimenting with different approaches to managing emotions and challenges,
- The importance of self-compassion and being patient with oneself.
- Normalizing challenges and struggles, helping individuals feel less alone.
- Providing practical tips for managing appointments and reminders.
- Modeling empathy and understanding, promoting connection and reducing isolation.
- The conversation offers hope and inspiration to individuals who may be struggling.
- The conversation raises awareness about executive functioning challenges and neurodivergence.
- The speaker encourages individuals to prioritize their mental health and find strategies that work for them.
- The speaker emphasizes the importance of communication and asking for support when needed.
- The conversation touches on the importance of authenticity and mutual care in friendships.
- The speaker encourages individuals to be honest about what they can and can’t handle.
- The conversation models self-reflection and encourages individuals to reflect on their own needs and challenges.
- The speaker recognizes that different strategies work for different people and encourages individuals to find what works best for them.
- The conversation emphasizes the importance of being realistic and not overcommitting oneself.
- The speaker encourages individuals to use visual aids and get support when needed.
Here are some strategies that individuals can use to manage their emotions and challenges:
- Identify and name your needs: Recognize what you need to work best and feel supported. This includes understanding your own learning styles, communication preferences, and executive functioning challenges.
- Use different tools and approaches: Consider using a combination of tools and approaches to manage your schedule and tasks. For example, you might use a paper calendar in addition to online tools because you need to visually see your schedule.
- Communicate with others: Talk openly with others about your needs and challenges. Be honest about what you can and can’t handle, and ask for support when needed.
- Practice self-compassion: Show empathy and understanding for yourself. Acknowledge that it’s okay to struggle with certain things, and be kind to yourself when facing challenges.
- Find strategies that work for you: Experiment with different approaches to find what works best for you. Don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach, and be open to trying new things.
- Consider your mental health: Recognize that different strategies work for different people, and that some mental health advice may not be applicable to everyone. For example, if you have a very busy mind, a moving meditation might be more helpful than a silent meditation.
- Be patient with yourself: Remember that managing emotions and challenges is a process, and it’s okay to make mistakes or have setbacks. Be patient with yourself and keep working towards your goals.
Here are some ways that this conversation might be helpful for others who experience similar feelings or difficulties:
- Normalizes challenges: Hearing others talk about their struggles can help individuals feel less alone and more normal in their experiences.
- Provides validation: When individuals hear others talk about similar challenges, it can help them feel validated and understood.
- Offers practical tips: The conversation includes specific strategies for managing emotions and challenges, which can be helpful for individuals looking for new approaches to try.
- Encourages self-reflection: Listening to others talk about their experiences can encourage individuals to reflect on their own needs and challenges, and consider new ways of approaching them.
- Promotes empathy: The conversation models empathy and understanding, which can help individuals feel more connected to others and less isolated in their experiences.
- Offers hope: Hearing about others’ successes and positive experiences can offer hope and inspiration to individuals who may be struggling.
- Raises awareness: The conversation touches on topics like executive functioning challenges and neurodivergence, which can help raise awareness and reduce stigma around these issues.
Here are some practical tips for managing appointments and reminders:
Use a calendar:
- Whether it’s a paper calendar or an online tool, having a calendar can help you keep track of your appointments and deadlines.
- Set reminders: Use reminders on your phone or computer to alert you when an appointment is coming up or a deadline is approaching.
- Set multiple reminders: If you tend to forget things easily, consider setting multiple reminders for each appointment or deadline.
- Use a timer: Set a timer for yourself to help you stay on track during appointments or when working on a task.
- Prioritize your schedule: If you have a lot of appointments or tasks to manage, prioritize them based on their importance and urgency.
- Schedule buffer time: Leave some extra time between appointments or tasks to give yourself a break and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Be realistic: Don’t overcommit yourself by scheduling too many appointments or tasks in one day. Be realistic about what you can handle.
- Use visual aids: If you’re a visual learner, consider using color-coding or other visual aids to help you keep track of your schedule.
- Get support: If you’re struggling to manage your appointments and reminders, consider reaching out to a friend, family member, or mental health professional for support.
Patricia was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, but is now exclusively providing coaching. She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truthteller. Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), then learning she is AuDHD helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion. She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other neurodivergent folks know that they aren’t alone, and that having a brain that is wired differently comes with amazing gifts, and some challenges. Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication, and creating a lifestyle that honors you
Jen Perry, MSEd, MA, LPC has been a psychotherapist for 20 years. She specializes in helping Highly Sensitive People thrive in love, work, and parenting Highly Sensitive Children. Jen is passionate about using mindfulness and compassion-based approaches to ameliorate human suffering.
Jen’s website: https://heartfulnessconsulting.com/
HSP Online Course–https://unapologeticallysensitive.com/hsp-online-groups/
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