Published on ADDitudeMag.com
13 Secrets to Stress-Free ADHD Living
Tried-and-true tips for organizing your home, time, and personal life.
Use a Timer
If it’s hard to concentrate on one task, such as folding
laundry or washing dishes, all the way to completion, try doing it in
increments. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and stay on task until it goes off. If
you think you can keep going, reset the timer.
Find a Chore Buddy
This is a friend or family member who works alongside you
while you tackle mundane chores, like balancing a checkbook, filling out a job
application, or reviewing financial statements. Your chore buddy will help you create
a productive atmosphere by sitting quietly and doing an unobtrusive task, like
clipping recipes from a magazine.
Prioritize Your To-Do Lists
Keep the number of action items limited. Pick three
action items to be done right away, and have a “parking lot” list of less
urgent demands. When you finish one action item, pull a task off the parking
lot list. This helps manage your priorities.
Write It Down -- and Forget It for Now
Use your smartphone or a notebook as an external hard
drive for your brain. When ideas pop into your head while you’re in the middle
of doing something else, write them down and move on. This way you won’t get
Sort Mail Daily
Collect and sort mail daily. Keep a recycling bin by your
desk or close to the door, so you can get rid of junk mail before it makes it
to your desk. Sort mail into categories based on the action required. Keep the
most urgent documents in a visible place.
Two words: online banking. It cuts down on paper to file, and eliminates
the need to write everything you’ve debited or charged to your account.
Create a Launch Pad
Have a spot for essentials and likely-to-be-lost items
like sunglasses and keys. Pick a spot by the door, perhaps the top of the
fridge or counter, or a bookcase or table. Put anything you know you’ll need
when you leave (outgoing mail, shopping list, etc.) there, and place items like
car keys and your purse there as soon as you get in.
Keep Related Items Together
Keep items that are used together near each other. That way,
you don’t have to keep running around to get the things you need to do a job.
For example, keep wrapping paper, tape, scissors and bows in the same closet so
you have everything you need to wrap presents in one spot.
Label Storage Containers
Keep similar items, like kitchen supplies, together in
the same containers. Tape index cards listing all the contents on the side, and
update it as needed. Make sure the card is facing outward when the container is
stored, so you can easily tell what’s inside.
Downsize Your Desk
Empty space attracts clutter, so limit the available
space. If your desk is always buried in paper, get a smaller desk. If you
always lose things in your backpack, get a briefcase or messenger bag.
Buy Bright and Shiny Objects
Colorful or shiny objects are easier to see and remember
than black or neutral colors. Colorful personal items, such as wallets,
notebooks, and cell phones, are harder to misplace and easier to find. Post
colorful notes to remind yourself of tasks or deadlines, and keep papers in
Set Multiple Alarms
When being on time is crucial, set an alarm clock, cell
phone alarm, and ask a friend to call you. You can ignore one alarm. It’s
harder to ignore three or four.
For important deadlines, post notes where you’re likely to see them, write down
reminders in your planner, and schedule reminder texts or emails.
Focus on the Departure Time
If you have trouble being on time, focus on the time you
need to leave, rather than the time you need to arrive. If you have a 2:00
appointment that’s 20 minutes away, focus on a 1:30 departure time.
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