Miss Management

Dear Darcy:

I’m 26 years old and I have the life skills of a ten year old.  I’m chronically late (at least 20 minutes…sometimes an hour), I pay all of my bill late (at least one thing a month is turned off b/c I forgot to pay it), my work and personal schedules are so mismanaged.  I miss appointments, I forget to meet people places.  My friends and family think of me as unreliable.  And the thing is, I’m not happy being this way because as forgetful as I am, I feel overscheduled, I have almost no down time and I have a wish list a mile long of things I want to do that I never get around to doing because I’m so busy running around, missing appointments and disappointing the people who love me.  Is there any hope for this immature NYC girl?

ANSWER

Miss Management, have you ever been evaluated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?  No need to run to an M.D. for confirmation.  I’d rather see you behave as though you don’t have A.D.H.D. and just treat the symptoms.  Here’s why:  When people get diagnosed with something like ADHD, they often pop some stimulants which helps them to focus, but they do nothing to overcompensate for the absence of life skills that you so eloquently describe above.  The diagnosis becomes something of a crutch because (the people in my imaginary example believe that) it excuses their behaviors, however socially and professionally inappropriate.

So let’s do things backwards – we’ll address your behaviors and maybe you won’t need stimulants.  Let’s start with being chronically late.  Beginning today, I want you to HopStop.com every destination that you’re scheduled for this week.  Then I want you to add another 10 minutes to your trip.  Bring a book because now you’re going to have that down time that you so desperately need.  Next:  Take all of your recurring bills (bills that don’t change in the amount) and enter them into your online banking automatic bill pay.  Schedule them to arrive 5 days before each due date.  Finally, every night before you go to bed, open your calendar and print out your appointments for the following day.  Set your alarm with a half hour cushion.

This is a good place to start Miss Management, but you’re going to need a shitload of coaching to help you create the other 50 habits you need to become a functional adult. There is hope for you, and I know this because I was you.  But there’s no shortcut.  Commit to putting your big girl pants on and give me a call so we can schedule an appointment.

Writer's Stats: Female, bisexual.