Archived ADDvice Newsletters
Each month, ADDvice provides tips,
tools, and strategies to help you live well despite your ADD.
This month, we focus on organizing your workspace at home
or at the office. These ideas come from Joyce Hedgepath of
- Think of Your Desk as Prime Real Estate
Try to think of your desk area (and anything within
arm's reach) as "very expensive real estate"
that commands $500 a square inch. Conversely, anything
that is a step or more away from their desk rents for
only 5 cents a square inch. The area closest to you should
have the most frequently used files and tools that you
need. What you keep on hand will vary from person to person,
but usually you will need a few pens, pencils, markers,
envelopes and stamps, tape, a stapler, staple remover,
perhaps some stationery or writing pads, often-used files,
etc. This means that you do not want to pay "Prime
Real Estate" prices for things that should be thrown
out (e.g., gum wrappers, old napkins, paperwork that you
no longer need). Files that are important but looked at
infrequently can be placed further away from your desk
in the "5 cents a square inch area." Although
this is a very simple concept, it can give you a new focus
about what you want to keep on or near your desk.
- Analyze Your Drawer Space
Are you using drawers for papers? Are you mixing papers
with office supplies? If this is the case, I recommend only
using drawers for a single layer of office supplies. This
way, you'll be able to see everything in the drawer, at
a glance. This will help you find things easily. It will
also make it a breeze to put things away. Containerize small
items so that they will stay in place. Here are a few products
that can help:
- The low-sided, plastic trays available from dollar
stores, the Container Store, hardware stores, etc.
- The modular interlocking drawer dividers from Rubbermaid®
- A partitioned tray available from most office supply
If you have a lot of supplies and limited desk space,
just keep what you need in your desk drawers and store
the excess in the "5 cents a square inch area."
- Put Away Paperwork and Files
what to do with papers and files? Again, the often-used
files should be at your fingertips. I usually recommend
going "vertical" with paperwork. If it's piled
on your desk, you can only see what's on top. However, if
it's in a labeled vertical file, it is much easier to locate.
Some people will use file folders combined with hanging
files; others only use hanging files or only file folders.
The choice is yours. Also, if you have a lot of brochures
or different kinds of paper, a literature sorter may be
useful. Just be sure you LABEL EVERYTHING. Every hanging
file and file folder needs a label. If you are going to
label your files by hand, use a black marker (such as a
Sharpie marker) so the letters will be easy to see.
you place your files can vary. Think about your habits
and preferences. Do you want your files in a rolling cart
so it can be moved from location to location (e.g., from
your desk to in front of the television or next to the
kitchen table)? Or,
do you like files tucked away in a closed, drawer system.
Perhaps you want to store files by projects. You can use
several small, hanging file containers (such as an Oxford®
Decoflex®) that can be kept on a bookcase. When working
on a project you can simply put the container on your
workspace and return it to the bookcase, when finished.
maybe you want to have your "hot files" in an
inclined sorter on your desk, and everything else filed
away. WARNING: If you know a closed system means "out
of sight, out of mind," choose another system that
will work for you.
So let's review...
- The area closest to you at your workspace should have
the most frequently used files and tools. It's your Prime
- Use drawers for things (one layer only)
- Go vertical with paper
- Label everything
- Store files according to your habits and preferences
Joyce Hedgepath - Back to Order for your home, your office,
and your life - http://www.BackToOrder.com
For more ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize your Life order Dr
Nadeau's book by the same title
The ADD Audio Coach can help you do this
once you get rid of unnecessary build-up in your environment.
The ADD Audio Coach and Manual will help
you in this process by using their step-by-step, easily understandable
and supportive system for organizing your time, home, and
here to learn more about the ADD Audio Coach System.
I was constantly getting overwhelmed by my big desk. A friend
pointed out that I might not be so overwhelmed if I had a
smaller desk. I traded desks with a friend who had a small
children's study desk and I love it. My desk is just the right
size for my computer and to write short notes but too small
for piles of papers. Since there is no space, I find myself
using my filing cabinet or just throwing things away, plus
there is less on the desk to distract me while I work.
Joan Tattum, Philadelphia PA
Tips for Women with AD/HD by Terry Matlen, Page 94
Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD Now!
ADD and the College Student by
Patricia Quinn, MD
College Bound for Success - The
ultimate organizer for College Life by Susan Orenstein, Ph.D.
$39.95 Now only $29.95
Coaching College Students with AD/HD
by Theresa Maitland, Nancy Ratey and Patricia Quinn
Eating Well on Campus by Ann Litt
here for more information on these and other titles.
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