I have ADHD and it’s a pain. Because of it, I have to use a lot of strategies to stay out of trouble. Here are 10 of them.
- Don’t sign up for trials. There are a lot of tempting opportunities to try things out using a 30-day trial. Unfortunately, in order to do that, you have to sign up AND provide payment information AND remember to cancel before the trial period is up. I don’t do trials because I’m scared I’ll forget and end up paying for something I don’t need. The only time I’ll consider a trial is if it’s something I’ll probably sign up for anyway.
- Leave lights on as a reminder. I get sidetracked easily so sometimes I leave lights on in a room to remind me that something needs done in that room.
- Gather stuff as you go. What I mean is this – the grandkids are here quite a bit and they bring lots of stuff with them. If I wait to gather their stuff until they’re getting ready to go home, I always forget things – sometimes important things like my grandson’s blanket. Then somebody (usually my son or daughter-in-law) has to make a special trip to get the blanket. Oops. But if I gather stuff as I go, it’s ready to go when they are.
My daughter does this, too. She was here today with her baby, Everly. Everly took a nap on my bed and had a few things with her on the bed. When Rachel brought Everly down, she brought all her stuff, too. She said that if she waited until later she’d forget. Yes, she has ADHD, too.
- Use bags or purses with lots of pockets. This may not be necessary for everyone, but it works really well for me. I always buy structured bags with lots of pockets so I have a designated place for everything. If I have a designated place, I’m much more likely to put things where they go. If I have an unstructured bag and everything’s thrown in there, I can’t find anything and there’s no guarantee the thing I’m looking for is even in there.
- Include friends and family on to-do lists. This sounds really bad, but hear me out. Because those of us with ADD/ADHD have a slippery grasp on time, it’s easy for a lot of time to pass before we realize it. And if we’re not careful, we can easily neglect our friends and family. The solution to that problem is including friends and family on to-do lists. I know that when I include family and friends on my to-do lists, I’m a much better and more attentive friend or family member.
- Do something to help yourself remember people’s names. I am TERRIBLE at remembering people’s names. I can remember lots of details about them, but not their names. I got tired of having to ask again and again and again so I came up with a way to remember. It works really well as long as I do it.
- Listen to them when they say their names (sometimes I zone out – not sure why).
- Repeat their names over and over in my head.
- As soon as possible, write their names down. Also write a brief description of what they look like.
- Come up with some cutesy phrase to help me remember. Sometimes I can do this and sometimes I can’t. If I can, it helps.
- Every time I see them, I say their names in my head. “That’s Joe and Mary Smith.”
- Have set days for certain tasks. I used to be better about this but my schedule is so crazy now that I’m having a harder time. But the one task I still have scheduled is paying bills. If it wasn’t for Saturday being bill paying day, I may or may not remember to pay them. But always doing the bills every Saturday keeps me on track. Having a set day works for lots of other things, too.
- Keep the house clean and de-cluttered. This may not be an issue for everyone, but it is for me. I get overwhelmed easily so I need my environment to be orderly. When my environment is messy, so is my mind. When my environment is in order, my mind has a better chance of being in order, too – notice I said better chance. It’s not a guarantee but it helps a lot.
- Read directions carefully. I am so bad about skimming over directions and missing important parts. It’s especially bad when I’m reading recipes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed a recipe for the blog and realized I missed a bunch of steps when I made it. My recipes and projects all turn out better when I slow down and read carefully.
- Read aloud and talk out loud. Again, these two tricks may not work for everyone, but they sure work for me. Reading out loud helps me focus. Talking to myself helps me work things out and stay on track. Have I ever been caught talking to myself? Oh, yeah. And I’m usually really embarrassed. Most of the time the people who catch me say they do it, too.
Those are 10 more ADD/ADHD organizing strategies that work well for me and might work for you, too – even if you don’t have ADD/ADHD.
Do you do any of these?