Organizing Your ADD Life
IF YOU HAVE ADD, you might find organizing difficult, if not impossible. I do, too. Or I did, until I discovered some strategies that have helped me organize my life despite—or in tandem with—my ADD.
Symptoms of adult ADD are varied. They include trouble concentrating and staying focused—including zoning out, even in the midst of conversation, wandering attention, difficulty focusing, struggling to complete even simple tasks, overlooking details, and poor listening skills; the paradoxical symptom of hyperfocusing; disorganization and forgetfulness; emotional difficulties; hyperactivity; and impulsivity. All of these problems lead to difficulty in organizing your life.
But take heart! Here are some simple strategies that work with your ADD to get you and keep you organized. I did it, and you can, too.
This series will comprise posts over the next six weeks, by which time you will have developed skills and strategies that will help you organize not just your things and your surroundings, but your life itself. So be sure you check back every Wednesday to read the latest installment.
Make It Fun
If you want to get organized, make it fun. Organizing can be fun, if you put a little thought into it. For instance, play the Five Minute Decluttering Game. Give each person a bag and set the timer for five minutes. Each one stuffs the bag with things to throw away or give away and at the end of five minutes, you see who has the most in their bag. (Careful with young children, who often throw inappropriate things into the bag, like perfectly good clothing and so on.)
Everyone (even people with ADD) can manage five minutes, and done often enough, you have a room or area decluttered in no time. A special dessert or small prize to the best declutterer is an added incentive to participate.
Organize When The Mood Strikes
Even people with ADD have moods strike them that may take them by surprise and enable some organizing. Suppose you are looking for a pair of gloves, tucked away in a messy drawer. Grab a give away bag and a throw away bag and organize that drawer while you’re in the mood, rather than trying to schedule the task. Small steps often give big rewards.
Do It Because You Want To
Don’t try to adopt someone else’s reasons for organizing. They are not you, and you are unique. Perhaps being “tidy” evokes feelings of restrictions placed on you by overbearing parents or bosses. Maybe your own values include giving to the needy. Go through your closet with the idea of organizing outfits to give to charity, and you’ll not only have an organized closet, you’ll have done something worthwhile that you value.
Perhaps music motivates you. Listening to music or singing along with your favorite songs can make things that seem tedious more fun, and the movement of keeping in step with the beat creates stimulation that may well help you get things done. What motivates you to move?
Break a dreaded task down into small, manageable time chunks to get things accomplished. For instance, grab only the top ten pages of that stack that needs to be dealt with and deal with those. Later on, grab the next ten and deal with them. Do small steps and soon the whole stack will be taken care of. Limit yourself to doing just a little bit more frequently instead of attempting a large task all at once.
If you look for them, you’ll find organizational opportunities at some unexpected times. For instance, organize your glove compartment while you’re waiting in line to pick up your kids from school. Or clean out your purse while you talk to a friend on the phone.
Clear Clutter Immediately
Waiting until later to clear clutter away leads to chaos in the ADD life. Get into the habit of clearing clutter as soon as you make it. Put things away as soon as you’re done using them and you’ll soon find that your environment is less distracting. Often, clutter gets out of hand because we think of cleaning up as a separate, distinct chore instead of just an extension of what we’re doing.