Organizing can be a challenge for anyone, but for those with attention and distraction problems, the mere thought of trying to get it all together can be quite daunting. You will need to push past this, because when you have symptoms of ADHD, one of the best ways to manage your symptoms is to become organized.
Here’s eight strategies you can implement to become more organized. These can make coping with ADHD much easier for you as well as your loved ones! From decision-making to clearing out the clutter, these steps can lead to a more organized life and let you accomplish more, even with ADHD.
Parents can adapt and incorporate these ideas into their children’s routine, helping to build helpful habits that can be useful for any of us.
Set time limits for decision-making
People who have symptoms of ADHD can spend days and even weeks agonizing over making a decision that would take some people a few minutes. In order to speed up the process, set a budget cap or time frame for the decision. If you are deciding on a new mobile phone, choose a price cap and ignore options that are above this range. If you are planning a vacation, choose the destination by a set date. When making a decision you should identify what the most important factor is and move on from there. This could be convenience, price, practicality, aesthetics, or something else. Try focusing primarily
on this factor when making the decision.
Use a planner and personal journal
A simple planner can be an extremely powerful tool. Using an effective planning system is the top strategy to becoming more organized and better at prioritizing and managing your time. Your planner should include appointments, phone calls that need to be made, bills that need to be paid, as well as errands that you need to complete and other such daily tasks.
The journal can be used to write down your thoughts and ideas as well as plans and appointments. The idea behind the journal is to help you with organizing your thoughts. If your thoughts are not organized it will be difficult to organize any other area of your life. If you feel you don’t have time to write things down or don’t like writing, use a digital recorder to record your thoughts. The more you do this the more you will free your mind, which can help you focus on the tasks you need to complete.
Sort and get rid of clutter
If you have ADHD it’s likely that a large part of your disorder may involve clutter. To get organized choose a time each month to go through your clutter. Set aside about 3 hours a month to start wedding through (and getting rid of!) some of these items. Break it into small time chunks, or work as long as you can in one stretch. As soon as you find yourself getting distracted or spending too much time on any one item, take a break. Create a schedule that will work for you. You build in a reward after completing a set goal if that works for you!
Labeling and color coding
Once you have gone through your clutter, the next step is to get organized–visually. All of your important items should have a home. This includes your mail, keys, wallet, etc. Be consistent on where you place them to avoid wasted time and frustration in searching. When you have a good organization system you will be able to get the thing that you need, when you need it. You can use also color coded labels for different items so that you can get to what you are looking for much easier, or color code your notes and journal with markers to help you find things easily.
Rely on to-do lists
Creating brief to-do lists for each day of the week will help. On an index card, list no more than 5 items for the day on the front of the card. If you have additional items that you need to complete that day write them on the back. Go through each item and cross it off as it is completed. Once you have completed one to-do-list, start on the next one. Move important uncompleted tasks to a fresh card for the next day. Reassess the lists from time to time to re-prioritize.
Turn to timers
Timers can be a great friend to anyone who is trying to get organized! If you find yourself getting lost on Facebook for hours, doing online searches, or even shopping online, set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on the task that you are trying to complete just for that amount of time. Then stop. You can take a break and go back to the task as needed. But timers and alerts can be extremely beneficial to avoid losing track of time.
Utilize your down time
Don’t wait for a long block of uninterrupted time to complete day to day chores. In just a few minutes you can remove the lint from the dryer, sort your mail, or water your plants. In just five minutes you can get the dishwasher emptied or write that email. When waiting for the laundry to dry, match socks or gather clothing that needs to be dry cleaned. Ideally, you want to find small tasks to do in those minutes of the day that otherwise would be wasted.
Simplify and streamline your wardrobe
When a variety of types of clothes are mixed up in a closet it can be harder to decide what to wear. Getting rid of extra clothing can help save time when you’re looking for what to wear. During the spring and summer months, women may want to choose 2 colors to coordinate their wardrobe around, plus some white. In the winter choose 2 other colors plus black. Clothing can be preassembled into outfits in your closet. This will help you get dressed faster in the morning as there will be less time to second guess yourself. Or they can be sorted by category (dress blouses, T-shirts, etc.) This strategy will work for both men and women and is very helpful for organizing business attire. At the least, have all your clothes sorted by type so you don’t have to search for what you are looking for!
Cassandra is author of the eBook “How to Conquer ADD”. Check out her blog for more great tips and information at http://conqueradd.com/blog