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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Are You a Right-Brained or Left-Brained Thinker

This past weekend I devoured the book 4 Weeks to an Organized Life with AD/HD by Jeffrey Freed and Joan Shapiro. It hooked me in right away because it is the first book, of many, that I have read about AD/HD and organizing that explained AD/HD individuals are visual thinkers and that is a gift that left-brained thinkers do not have--or at least not as intense as right-brained thinkers and individuals with AD/HD.

The authors define right-brained thinkers and left-brained thinkers as follows:
"Right-brained thinkers are rapid-fire, nonsequential, visual thinkers. If you are right-brained thinker, you see things from many angles, often at the same time. You are a holistic, big-picture thinker, who needs to know why you are learning something before you can absorb it. You are a dreamer, and you tend to be distracted easily in your own endlessly changing internal world, as well as by the external world.

Left-brained thinkers are more sequential and linear in their thinking, learning in a step-by-step process. If you are left-brained, you think more in words than in pictures. You are logical and analytical. You keep track of time, and you tend to plan and prioritize. You are likely to finish one idea or task before starting on another.

Organization comes naturally to left-brained thinkers and very difficult if you are right-brained, visual thinker."

Previously, I understood that individuals with AD/HD are visual learners and that meant they needed visual reminders to learn and remember. However, the authors point out that if you are right-brained, then your visual mind holds its information in pictures. But these are not ordinary pictures. These are extremely vivid images and before they [right-brained] create anything they must create a picture of it in their mind. The authors state, "The term visual learner really refers to the way an individual stores information, not to how he or she takes in that information."

The authors also provide a quick assessment to help the reader determine if they fit the AD/HD profile. "If you answer six or more of these questions "yes," and you can see these patterns as present for your whole life, then it is likely that you do have AD/HD:
1. Do you procrastinate regularly patting off tasks that, for you, require a lot of mental energy?
2. Do you have difficulty completing tasks or projects?
3. Do you often forget or find yourself late for appointments?
4. Do you feel restless or full of nervous energy and compelled to do things?
6. Do you have trouble organizing yourself to do a complex task?
7. Do you find yourself lost in your own thoughts, even when someone is talking directly to you?
8. Do you have difficulty throwing things away, even if they have little value or specific usefulness to you?
9. Do you react quickly to conflicts?
10. Do you sometimes blurt things out and then wish that you hadn't spoken?
11. Do you take things to heart, finding yourself easily hurt and sensitive?
12. Do you find most of these problems disappear when you have something fun or interesting to do?"

What I find particularly useful about this book is it provides theory and background but also practical activities and powerful techniques to develop and harness the strengths of the visual right-brained thinker that can significantly help them to develop organizing skills that might otherwise be too difficult to master.

I highly recommend reading this book and following their 4 Week Plan if you are a right-brained thinker or have AD/HD.


Kristi said...

Thanks, Anne! I just saw this one on Amazon and wondered if it was any good. I'm also loving "ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life."

Anne said...

Hi Kristi,
If you follow their 4-week program let me know if it helped you--I would love feedback on it.

A bit about me...

I love to organize anything! I love to read anything on the subject of organizing. I especially love helping others learn the joy and simplification organizing habits and behaviors can bring to their lives.

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Anne Blumer

Anne Blumer
Certified Professional Organizer, Certified GO System Trainer and Consultant, and Certified FreedomFiler Consultant

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