Disorganization makes you feel out of control. And that is stressful. The solution is not a complete life overhaul. Instead, try these easy ADHD organization tips to regain control, reduce stress, and simplify your life.
When it comes to organization, adults with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) don't have the best rep. We're constantly running late, losing our keys, and working on several projects at once. All this disorganization can add unnecessary stress to our lives. While we shouldn't expect to get magically organized overnight, there are certain strategies that can help remove the chaos from our day-to-day routine. These tips will teach you how to simplify life and get your ADHD household and schedule back on track.
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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 25, or even just 15, minutes, and stay on task until it goes off. If you think you can keep going, reset the timer.
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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.
Keep the number of items on your to-do list 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.
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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 off track.
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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.
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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.
Pick a spot by the door — perhaps a counter, a shelf on a bookcase, or a table. Put anything you know you’ll need when you leave (outgoing mail, shopping list, etc.) on your launch pad, and get in the habit of placing items like car keys and your purse there as soon as you get home. Having a fixed spot for essentials means you're less likely to lose them.
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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.
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Label Storage Containers
Keep similar items, like kitchen supplies, together in the same containers. Tape an index card 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.
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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.
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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 color-coded files.
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Set Multiple Alarms
When being on time is crucial, set an alarm clock, an alarm on your phone, 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.
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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.