Organization can be difficult for anyone, but for those who have ADHD 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 ADHD one of the best ways to manage your symptoms is to become organized. There are several strategies that you can implement in order to become more organized, which will make coping with ADHD much easier for you as well as your loved ones. From decision making to clearing out the clutter, there are several steps that can be taken in order to lead a more organized life even if you have ADHD.
1. Set Time Limits for Making Decisions
People who have ADHD can spend days and even weeks agonizing over making a decision that would take most 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, this could be convenience, price, practicality, aesthetics, or something else. Focus on this factor alone when making the decision.
2. 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, plans, appointments, whatever you want. 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 do not have time to write things down or do not 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.
3. Get Rid of the Clutter
If you have ADHD it is likely that a large part of your disorder involves clutter. Each item that you own has some type of emotional value and you want to keep it. To get organized choose a time each month to go through your clutter. Set aside about 3 hours once a month to start getting rid of some of these items. If 3 hours is overwhelming, break it down into smaller chunks of time. Work for an hour and then take a break. If an hour is too much, work for 30 minutes and then take a break. Create a schedule that will work for you and get it done.
Once you have gone through your clutter the next step is to get organized. All of your important items should have a home. This includes your mail, keys, wallet, etc. 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 color coded labels for different items so that you can get to what you are looking for much easier.
5. Create to do Lists
You should create brief to do lists for each day of the week. On an index card list no more than 5 items 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.
6. Use Timers
One of the hardest things for people with ADHD is the ability to focus. Timers can be a great friend to those who are trying to get organized. If you find yourself getting lost on facebook for hours or distracted by shopping online, set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on the task that you are trying to complete for that amount of time. You can take breaks in between and then go back to the task until you have it completed. Timers and alerts can be extremely beneficial when you are trying to become more organized.
7. Utilize your Time
There is no reason to try to find a long block of uninterrupted time to complete organizational chores. In just a minute you can remove the lint from the dryer, sort through 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.
8. Simplify your Wardrobe
When you have a ton of clothes it can be difficult to decide what to wear. Getting rid of extra clothing can help you save time when you are getting ready. Try getting rid of two shirts each time you buy a new one. During the spring and summer months choose 2 colors to coordinate your 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. This strategy will work for both men and women and is very helpful for organizing business attire. A baggie with matching jewelry can be added to the hanger to make it even easier.