People with ADHD often face challenges such as procrastination and problems with time management. But several strategies can help.
For example, a wall calendar can address forgetfulness and time blindness, while color-coding files and lists can help organize tasks. Taking notes during meetings and lectures can assist with listening skills, while saving big ideas for later helps with remembering.
Clutter, misplaced items and towering to-be-filed piles can cause stress. The good news is that some messiness can be considered normal for people with ADHD. The goal is to create organizational systems that help you stay on top. Creating a plan for ADHD organization is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix. Set realistic goals, and commit to making small changes in your life.
Organizing requires a wide range of executive functions (EFs), including paying attention, managing space and time, analyzing social situations, learning from past mistakes and planning and organizing. Adults with ADD or ADHD often have weakened EFs, leading to poor working memory and trouble starting or stopping tasks. Getting organized also requires keeping track of multiple assignments and information at once.
Consider implementing a planner, notebook and calendar to help you manage your day and appointments. Tools that help you organize and prioritize tasks include color coding, a visual schedule, and more. A smartphone or tablet can also be used to provide reminder alerts and a way to save notes. Make lists of things to do, important dates and more, so you will remember them. Write down big ideas and thoughts on paper or in a journal to review later, and pin up charts or whiteboards with reminders.
Take a Break
Achieving a healthy balance between work and personal life is challenging for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for people with ADHD. Their inability to manage time, organize tasks or control impulses can lead to problems at home and in the workplace. These challenges can strain even the most patient partners.
A good solution is to take a break. Taking short breaks throughout the day, scheduling activity-related reminders and using environmental cues are all strategies that can help people with ADHD manage their time and increase productivity. Finding a healthy outlet, such as physical activity or socializing with friends, is also important.
Keeping a journal or recording daily events can boost emotions and encourage self-control in adults with ADHD. In addition, practicing relaxation and grounding techniques can soothe restlessness and support self-control. In some cases, medication may be an option. However, it’s always recommended to talk to a medical professional before using medication to treat ADHD.
It’s also a good idea to seek relationship counseling, whether in a long-term relationship or just starting with someone new. A therapist specializing in relationships can teach you and your partner how to navigate the unique challenges of having ADHD. They can help you understand your partner’s symptoms and triggers so that you can work together to overcome them.
Taking notes is essential for everyone, but it’s particularly important to people with ADHD because their ADHD symptoms often compromise their working memory. When someone takes the time to write down an idea or a summary of a conversation, they can use their written materials later to reinforce the concepts and help them remember them better.
In addition, adults with ADHD may be bad at estimating how long it will take to complete tasks and make appointments. Giving yourself more time than you think you need is good practice. For example, add ten for every thirty minutes you think it will take to get somewhere. This will ensure you have plenty of time to arrive and leave on time.
Another way to improve self-management skills is to develop healthy lifestyle habits and create routines that reduce ADHD symptoms. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help minimize mood swings, fight extra stress and make life more manageable. Many people with ADHD also benefit from establishing clear and consistent rules and limits in their daily lives and developing a supportive social network of peers who understand their struggles. The above strategies can make living more independently and enjoying a fulfilling life easier.
The best way to help manage inattentive ADHD symptoms is to create a daily schedule and set visual reminders. This may be a difficult task for many adults with ADHD, but it can be made easier by using a planner and calendar. A smartphone app can also be helpful, especially with a wind-down alarm that alerts you to shut down devices and start your pre-bed routine an hour before bedtime.
When a task requires more than one step, consider scheduling each part of the process separately with an upcoming deadline for completion. This helps people with ADHD stay on track, meet deadlines, and avoid procrastinating or forgetting to start a task. If you overestimate how long a task will take, give yourself an extra thirty minutes for every item on your to-do list. This will prevent rushing or frantic searches for keys, wallets, or other necessary items at the last minute.
For some adults with ADHD, psychostimulants (such as Adderall and Ritalin) can boost energy levels and improve attention and impulsivity. Non-stimulant medications, which work on different neurotransmitters than stimulants and have a more gradual effect, may also be used, particularly in children who do not respond to stimulants. Examples of these medications include Wellbutrin (bupropion) and Effexor (venlafaxine). Some people with ADHD find that adding a non-stimulant to their medication regimen can improve its effectiveness.