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40 Little Life Hacks from ADHD Gurus

Run-of-the-mill organization strategies don't work for adults with ADD. Our ADHD brains — and attention spans — need more creative, clever "organization hacks" to the problems of losing our keys, forgetting our bills, and missing appointments. Here they are.

9 Comments: 40 Little Life Hacks from ADHD Gurus

  1. Re The suggestion to carry a small notebook on your person —

    Ladies, please consider the source.

    Short of wearing a spiral notebook on a leash around one’s neck, I don’t see how it’s possible for a woman to benefit from this suggestion.

    If you are a man who wears the same jacket every day – and you also happen to live somewhere like San Francisco where the weather never changes – then it’s possible that this idea could be helpful to you.

    Be very wary of any “routine” that needs you to change it every day because of some unrelated factor like the weather.

  2. The common thread here seems to be commitment and a willingness to follow through/ stick with whatever “rule,” “trick,” or routine you’ve decided on. The actual rule seems less important than whether you commit to follow it.

  3. These contributors must have been highly motivated, they sure did a lot of work creating all these places for things, labeling everything, etc! They can’t be ADHD

    1. I am ADHD and can be very organized about certain things. I can make incredible plans that neurotypical brains find very useful. It’s following the plans I have a problem with. So I don’t agree that if someone is organized but they cannot be ADHD. Just food for thought: All three of my children, teenagers, have been diagnosed with ADHD. But they have only some of the symptoms and do not share all of the same symptoms. So it’s easy for them to look at each other and say “you can’t be ADHD because we don’t have the same problems”. I also believe that being motivated and being organized are very different things to an ADHD brain.

  4. At 45, I have finally managed some tricks that I find work well too. There is a basket on a stand by the backdoor… Keys MUST go in there (I spent my entire younger years just looking for keys).

    IF I take my card out of my purse, it is ONLY because my purse is in my lap… where the card goes immediately back. Even if I get distracted making an online purchase, I can’t get up with the purse in my lap without putting the card away. Yes, for years after starting to buy stuff online I would get all the way up to the cashier with a basket full of groceries and find my card no longer in my purse.

    I bought a belt clip for my phone… it is too uncomfortable to wear on my belt, so I clip my phone to the shoulder of my top and I have stopped losing my phone. Yes, that one tends to make people give me that “WHAT?” look, BUT I KNOW WHERE MY PHONE IS! Trust me, that is a miracle.

    To find my “everyday” useful stuff… I have two storage things by my desk, the rule is that they get emptied out when I can’t stuff anything else into them.

    Meds… I never ever remembered to take or refill my meds. I bought the weekly containers, and I fill them from the bag of meds (it includes vitamin C and stuff) that I keep in my top draw, whenever they are empty. One for the morning, and one for night (because apparently that is a thing to have to take them in the morning and the night. Even if I get an antibiotic, straight into the weekly schedule containers and into the bag. When I refill the weekly ones, I take out all the meds, after each is in the container, it goes back in the bag or it goes on my desk for refill. Because the empty one is in front of my monitor, I always order refills before going back to other things.

    I had to make a rule that I couldn’t take out more projects than fit on the kitchen table…. if I got sick of those projects I had to put them away before getting out more.

    I haven’t solved the stay-on-track for work one, because I am writing this instead of taking the grandbaby to daycare and finishing my work. 🙂

    The work one is harder, I have deadlines, I usually meet them, but one day I would like to not be finishing them with only a few minutes left to the deadline. 🙂

  5. Before I retired I developed a trick for organizing my work fest Every Friday afternoon I went through all the paper on my desk. Once I put a piece of paper in my hand I would not put it down until I had found a place for it. A file or the shredder It worked like a charm.

  6. After a 70 year lifetime Of undiscovered ADHD i have survived and at least career wise thrived by using many of these tips. It was after career retirement that i was knocked for a loop. No longer did I have an assistant to monitor time, appointments, scheduling, phone numbers, junk mail, exta keys, filing, condolences, congratulations, and seasons greetings, travel arrangements, vacations, Addresses, banking, and a host of other nitty gritty of everyones life.
    Retirement at age 60 and a new spouse (3rd and last and we are recently divorced) created a totally new set of circumstances that required me to mange not only my own but a few of these for my new spouse. Through another 12 years I have made use of almost all of these tips save one or two and they will be incorporated immediately.
    The first is an organizer. I have moved . After maintaining a pristine household for the 6 months prior to moving,I cant get my home back to that condition . Clutter at best moves from one surface to another as I slowly work out a new “parking system for it. Despite my very limited financial resource (3divorces left me with a minimal retirement income) an expert organizer is a must. I definitely do not want to waste another minute living in this.
    Thank you for reminding me once again how important it is. And to those of you who are still wondering when that peace of mind comes It has recently made its appearance for me thanks in part to age, venlafaxine and singing in choirs and choruses 5 times a week (dopamine) The 10 to 20 cups of coffee/day it replaced is no longer missed.

    1. Even before I was diagnosed with ADD I had come up with a number of solutions to keep my life in order. I keep my keys in a certain pocket on my purse so if I buy a new purse a criteria has to be that it will have certain pockets for my phone and my keys. I like to pick up the purse and be ready to go. I also lay my clothes out at night to avoid that morning hassle. I have a place in my house for every item that is where it belongs. I don’t let my kids get into master places. I have a strict definition of clutter. When I am done using the item I put it away immediately. It so much easier than letting clutter pile up. I also use bright colors for certain items. My phone cover is Orange and my work phone cover is white, That way they don’t get lost if I leave them somewhere. I also buy bouse pants that have pockets so I can carry the phone or items that need to go from Room to Room.
      I use timers too. I use the one on my phone to cut down on surfing time.
      Now if I could train my brain to stay on task!

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