Time & Productivity

Everyday ADHD: Quirky Productivity Hacks for Easily Bored Brains

From folding laundry to grocery shopping, daily household chores annoy and aggravate ADHD brains. Boredom and low executive function combine to make everyday tasks an everyday battle. Here are the creative productivity hacks that ADDitude readers use to win those fights.

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Household chores are both mundane and onerous for ADHD brains. Low executive function, boredom, and lack of novelty complicate tasks that, to others, seem trivial, leading to shame and feelings of failure in people with ADHD.

Often, however, simple changes make all the difference: Many people with ADHD have found that tailoring tasks to their symptoms (and strengths) makes it easier to complete them faster and with less stress. When it seems like your to-do list is overwhelming, borrow these innovative productivity hacks from other adults with ADHD, then add your solutions in the Comments section below.

“When everything is a mess or I feel paralyzed, it often works to decide on doing 10 defined things. Anything counts: putting a pencil away or throwing a receipt in the paper basket. Once I have started, I often continue way past the 10 things, but it does not feel like a criteria.” — Emma, Denmark

“I move around the house, completing chores in increments. If there are unfinished tasks in a room, I leave the light on — when the light is off, I know I’m done. Moving between tasks means I don’t get as bored doing housework, and the lights are an important visual reminder when I get side-tracked.” — An ADDitude Reader

“I listen to audiobooks when I have to do mindless tasks, like washing dishes or folding laundry. It occupies enough of my mind to satisfy it and keep me from distractions, while leaving my eyes and body free to work. Bonus, I went from never reading to going through maybe 60 books a year!” — Julie, Minnesota

[Read: “Beat the Clock” with Personal Productivity Tips]

“I set alarms only for time-sensitive appointments. For everything else, I use quiet hourglasses. When they’re ready to be flipped again, I know it’s time to do the next thing. I stay on track without wanting to hide from the noise.” — Linda, Washington

“I always had trouble being on time because I focused primarily on when I had to arrive. I started focusing on the time I had to leave instead, factoring in getting ready, loading the car, and then driving there, instead of just the drive time. Then I started watching the time to head out, instead of when I needed to be there.” — Cecil, Minnesota 

“I have learned to put things where I use them, not where they’re traditionally ‘supposed to go.’ My vitamins are on my desk, not in the medicine cabinet and my deodorant is in the car, etc. If I have my things within easy reach, I’m more likely to use them.” — Marcela, California

“When I was studying for my Master’s degree in counseling, I would put my assignment due dates in my phone 24 hours earlier than the real due date. It gave me the time I needed to edit before submission.” — Shaunna, Australia

[Download: Secrets of the ADHD Brain]

“I created a grocery checklist structured like my grocery store. When we ran out of anything, the person who knew about it would check the box. That way when I went shopping, I didn’t have to sit down to do a list, figure out what we were out of or try to remember what we needed. The list kept me focused aisle by aisle so that I wasn’t making circles in the store.” — An ADDitude Reader

“I mounted a wire shelf in my laundry room over the door. That makes it invisible when standing outside the laundry room looking in, so it does not look cluttered. Now I know exactly where all the household paper items are located, and I can also tell when I am running low on any of these items.”— Rudie, South Carolina

“I have a lot of clothes that I never wear because I forget they exist when they are buried under my go-to choices. I came up with a rotating system where the clothes that I wore last I put underneath the pile, and only wear what’s on the top. Now I get to discover ‘new’ clothes all the time.”  — An ADDitude Reader

Productivity Hacks for ADHD Brains: Next Steps

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