Work with your ADHD, not against it!
Many people do battle with their ADHD, trying to beat
it. The fact is, this approach is exhausting and often defeating.
It doesn't work very well or feel very good to spend your
life trying to not be yourself.
Instead of working against your ADHD, here
are some strategies to get better control over your life by
working with your ADHD! Instead of trying to
"just do it" they way everyone says you should,
look for ways to use your natural tendencies to get the job
done. Here are some examples:
"Shoulds" and "oughts" rarely motivate
adults with ADHD in the long run. To stay motivated,
you need something that will focus your attention, engage
your interest, and stimulate you.
To get it done, make it fun!
Think it's impossible to have fun while decluttering? Think
again! Get the whole family involved. If you live alone, get
a clutter-buddy involved. (She helps you, you help her.) Competition
often makes things more interesting. For example, have a "five-minute
challenge." Set a timer for five minutes. The game is
for each player to spend five minutes in a defined decluttering
activity: clearing clutter off a surface into three containers
: 1) transport to another room, 2) trash, 3) give away. Whoever
clears away the most items before the timer rings wins that
Catch the Mood
Adults with ADHD can catch a mood and ride it as effortlessly
as some surfers catch a wave. Working with your mood
often works better for adults with ADHD than trying
to schedule a task. Being in the mood to organize may catch
you by surprise. You may be looking in the back of the closet
for your snow boots, and, before you know it, you're madly
tossing galoshes, mismatched gloves, and old winter jackets
out into the hallway.
Divide the Dreadful into Micro-moments
If the activity is something you truly dread, divide the
activity into micro-moments. For example, if you detest filing
or processing papers, set a low limit for each filing exercise.
Decide that each time you enter your office (at home or at
work) you will process the first ten paper items that you
happen to pick up. Some you may toss out, others you may file,
and still others may require action. You'll be amazed at how
quickly your paper mountains will melt if you use this micro-moment
approach to drudgery. Is ten too many? Then set a limit of
Think like a restaurant server.
Many restaurant servers have ADHD tendencies and are
attracted to the work because it is active, social, and allows
them to maintain their long-established night-owl tendencies.
A busy restaurant can never allow the tables to remain cluttered.
Dishes are quickly removed as soon as a menu item has been
eaten. A server is constantly in the process of de-cluttering
and reorganizing. A server learns that creating clutter (by
serving diners) and removing clutter (by clearing plates away)
is one integrated process. So, think like a restaurant server.
Whenever you move across a room, or from one room to another,
grab any out of place or no-longer-needed item and take it
with you. If the item "lives" nearby, put it where
it belongs. Just like a restaurant server, you don't want
to make inefficient trips, so you need to have a "bussing
station" where you gather items that need to be carried
from one floor to another. Then, just like a server, the next
trip up or down the stairs, grab those items and take them
More information on life planning and AD/HD-friendly organizing
strategies can be found in ADD-friendly
Ways to Organize Your Life.