Removing the Shame: Understanding and Exploring Executive Dysfunction

A person with long hair wearing a white dress and red tights is curled in a seated fetal position with their arms over their head.
Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash

Finding My System

As I started thawing out (supported by DK, my therapist, plus the increase of my ADHD meds), I found myself wanting to plan things better. I realised I had been trying to continue working the way I always had, but I’d never had this many things to do, thoughts to process, and feelings to understand all at the same time before.

A brown notepad with the words “My brain has too many tabs open”. To the left is a mug of a drink with cream on the top. They are sitting on a cream chunky knit surface.
Photo by That’s Her Business on Unsplash

If One Doesn’t Work, Don’t Take It Away — Just Add More Options!

Here are some of my systems. Sometimes I use any number of them in tandem, and sometimes I drop some of them for months, with the knowledge that I can, and will, come back to them when they are the right system for that moment.

  • Various sticky note timelines and lists — here’s a few I cycle through using:
    - the layout of an average day
    - main date goals for the next few months
    - monthly overviews
    - Tasks for different areas of my work and life, with different colour/shape sticky notes
  • A ‘task list’ spreadsheet with conditional formatting to categorise tasks with columns for: priority, date it’s due for, % complete, and more
  • A document entitled “organise my life” which has headers with subheaders and more subheaders where needed to break my “to-do” list into categories
  • Various documents similar to “organise my life” for specific projects that are big enough to warrant their own document
  • A weekly spreadsheet with my regular work in a day to view calendar layout and a “this week to do” task list
  • A weekly grid spreadsheet with limited spaces for tasks that I fill out each week and adjust as I go, which also has spaces for meal ideas
  • A “task breakdown” spreadsheet, adapted from a Google sheets Gantt chart template
  • Alarms on my phone
  • An online system that keeps track of students lesson times, notes and payments
  • A spreadsheet and a word doc for tracking things like times I sleep/take meds, and what I eat, do, and feel each day
  • An app for tracking what I did each day, what I ate, and how I felt. This also has goal-setting options, so I’ve set up my meds as goals!
  • Accountability reminders from friends



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Ren Short

Ren Short


Queer. Neurodivergent. Voice Teacher. Alternative Educator. Passionate about intersectionality and helping make the world a better place.