I know you’ve seen the memes…
“Just scheduled my own doctor appointment… #Adulting”
“Did the dishes before going to bed! #Adulting”
And let’s not get into how #Adulting has some seriously ableist connotations… That’s another post for another day.
Today, instead, I want to chat about the real reason that you might struggle with #adulting as an autistic adult.
See, for a long time, I thought there was just something terribly wrong with me.
Why did scheduling appointments feel like an annoying inconvenience for everyone else, but feel like running a marathon for me?
Clearly I’m just an irresponsible person, right?
The fact is, most autistic adults (myself included) struggle with #adulting activities for a very specific reason, and that’s what I’m going to dive into today.
The Real Reason You Struggle With Adulting as an Autistic Adult
Okay, I know I said that I was going to leave this for another blog post… But I just can’t dive in without addressing this.
The whole term #adulting bothers me.
See, so many of these things that we as a society have termed ‘adulting’ are things that disabled people struggle to do independently.
So if you struggle with things like scheduling appointments, meeting deadlines, organizing things, remembering lunch…
That doesn’t make you any less adult than any other person.
You just struggle with executive functioning.
Struggling with executive functioning does not mean you are irresponsible, lazy, or childish.
Okay. Glad that’s off my chest. Now let’s dive in!
What is Executive Functioning?
Many of us have never heard of executive functioning until we’re adults, so here’s my super quick fly by.
Executive functioning is your brain’s ability to get stuff done.
- Recognizing that the thing needs to be done.
- Remembering that the thing needs to be done.
- Having the motivation to get the thing done.
- Figuring out the steps needed to get the thing done.
- Actually starting the thing.
- Staying on task and doing the thing.
- Seeing the thing through all the way to finishing.
Seriously. All the things involved with getting things done falls under executive functioning.
So it’s pretty clear how executive functioning struggles can quickly impact so many areas of your life.
How It Keeps You From #Adulting
So let’s take a look at the tasks typically involved in “adulting”…
- Taking care of basic needs
And really, each of those things deals with executive functioning.
And while you may not struggle with all of it, most autistic adults struggle with at least some executive functioning skills.
If you struggle with recognizing when things need to be done, you’re likely going to have a messy or disorganized desk or house.
If you struggle with planning you may double book appointments (when you ever get around to setting appointments in the first place).
So if you relate to this post at all, I have something exciting for you…
10 Super Practical Executive Functioning Hacks for Autistic Adults
Here’s the deal: I spent a LONG time thinking that I needed to just ‘fix’ my lack of executive functioning.
If I just tried harder, I’d be able to adult like everyone else, right?
But here’s what I learned…
My executive functioning struggles suck sometimes, but they are also a part of why I am who I am.
I can hyperfocus on the things I’m passionate about and complete huge complex projects that other people find overwhelming.
I forget to feed myself in the middle of those projects… But it’s just two sides of the same coin.
So the fact is, I don’t want to get rid of my executive functioning struggles… I just want to figure out how to manage them so that I can still get stuff done.
That’s where these executive functioning hacks come in!
I’ve put together 10 Super Practical Executive Functioning Hacks for Autistic Adults!
These are tried and tested hacks that I use personally to manage my struggles with executive functioning and get things done each and every day!
You can download the executive functioning cheat sheet by clicking here or on the image below!
If you loved this post, you should also check out…
3 Actually Doable Executive Functioning Tips for Autistic Adults
5 Practical Strategies to Avoid Autistic Burnout