Focus on Neatness: Quick Tricks

Paralyzed by piles? Confused by clutter? These get-organized games will help you stay on track when the job at hand overwhelms you.

Increase your awareness of your clutter. And have fun doing it.

— Dana Rayburn, author

I hate being overwhelmed.

When I am, I feel panicky and confused, and I procrastinate, especially when it comes to getting things done and keeping a lid on clutter. Fortunately, I have learned a few quick tricks that help me stay on task. Here are three favorites:

Name the Game

When you get distracted, Name the Game will move you forward:

> First, name the task at hand by saying it aloud. Let’s say the name is “I’m opening the mail.”

> Decide how you’ll know when the task is complete. For me, I’ve won the game when I've conquered all the mail-related paper clutter: all the envelopes have been opened, the junk mail is in the recycling bin, and the items that need action are in the inbox.

> Talk your way through the task. Every time you find you’re off task — you get a phone call or someone walks in the room — say, "No, that's not what I'm doing now," and repeat the name of the game aloud: "I'm opening the mail."

> When you finish your task, dance a jig and yell, "I've won the game!"

Under the Sheets

This trick works well when you’re faced with a major area of clutter, such as your desk, a table, the floor, or a counter — any place with so much stuff on it that you don’t know where to start.

> Drape a sheet or a blanket over most of the area you want to organize, allowing only a small area of the clutter to show at a time.

> Deal with that bit of visible clutter.

> Once you’ve organized the first bit, slide the sheet over to expose another chunk of the clutter, and tackle it.

> Keep moving the sheet, clearing and organizing as you go.

I Spy

This works well when an entire room is a total mess.

> With your hands or the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper, make a spyglass in front of one eye.

> Pick a room you’d like to organize and stand in the middle of it.

> Close your eyes and turn around. Now open your eyes and look through your spyglass.

> Do you spot a small area to organize? When you focus your spyglass on one area, you can actually see the clutter!

> Dash over to the spot you spied and tidy it up. Don’t wait. Do it now!

Use the spyglass technique a few times a day to increase your awareness of your clutter. And have fun doing it.


Dana Rayburn is a Senior ADHD coach and author of the ADD Success newsletter.

Are the piles of paper in your house so high you rearrange them to make furniture? If so, claim your free digital copy of 10 Ways to Get Organized with Adult ADD. Plus, get more email tips for ADHD adults.

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