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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:

If you want to get organized...get focused, engaged, and stimulated!

"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 round.

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 five!

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 with you.

More information on life planning and AD/HD-friendly organizing strategies can be found in ADD-friendly Ways to Organize Your Life.


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