Are you busy morning till night, and don’t have much to show for it? If so, make “tie the bow” your mantra. You are not finished wrapping a package until you tie the bow, and you aren’t done with a task until you’ve completed it, down to the last step. Mail the bill you just paid, don’t leave it on the kitchen counter. Fold and put away the laundry, don’t leave it in the basket.
Take note of each task you work on during the day and note your excuses for not tying the bow. Believe me, I know all of them. Here is how I dealt with five common ones:
Don’t have time to finish my project. If you can’t “tie the bow” because you ran out of time, add 15 minutes to your morning routine before leaving for work. To stay organized and keep track of time on the job, add in the same 15 minutes to finish up last-minute assignments and to gather items you will need to take home.
Too tired to finish my project. You just want to sit down (or lie down). Figure out ways to get to bed on time -- or to get a better night’s sleep. Go over your schedule: You may be overbooked, so you need to cut back to save energy for more important tasks.
Don’t feel like finishing my project. If you are short on motivation, schedule a task to be done when you have more energy. For example, I left my paper filing to do at the end of the day. The result? A roomful of clutter. When I switched the task to the morning, I filed my papers consistently, and my house was less messy.
Distractions keep me from finishing my project. Ignore interruptions until a task is completed. When your partner makes a non-urgent request, say, “I’m in the middle of something right now, maybe later.”
Need a better system to finish my project. If a system doesn’t work, try a new one. If you are late in paying bills, or forget them, designate two nights each month -- the 1st and 15th -- to tie the bow. Keep everything you need in a basket: the unpaid bills, checkbook, pen, return-address stickers, and a roll of stamps. Walk the bills to the mailbox. And look, you've finished a project!
More Organizing Advice for ADHD Adults:
This article appears in the Spring 2010 issue of ADDitude.
To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.