Organization Tips for ADD

Hey everyone, Emily here.

An overarching goal of your ADHD treatment plan should be to function better in your daily life—at home, at work, and at school.  Getting (and staying) organized is a big piece of this puzzle, though it’s also a piece that adults with ADHD tend to struggle with.  But while the typical ADHD brain may not be hard-wired towards neatness and organization, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get organized.  You may just need to work a little harder at it.  Here are a few tips for getting it all together, geared specifically to people with ADHD.

Focus on Efficiency

One of the reasons that people with ADHD have trouble staying organized is that many organizing systems involve implementing a number of repetitive, tedious tasks, which fail to hold the attention of the ADD brain.  Instead of struggling to implement a complicated system that you may not have the patience for, focus on efficiency above all else. For example, when filing paperwork, label file folders with just a few broad categories, instead of attempting to create an elaborate filing system.

Be Careful What You Buy (And What You Bring into Your Home)

Remember, clutter creates mess.  It’s easier to keep your home tidy when it contains less stuff.  Consider sorting through your drawers, shelves, and closets, and either donating or throwing out the things you don’t need.  This type of task can sometimes be challenging for people with ADHD, so ask a friend or family member to help, if needed. And once you’ve pared down your belongings, try to be selective when shopping or choosing to bring new items into your home.  Some people with ADHD find that they benefit from the “one in, one out” rule—for instance, when adding a new piece of clothing to your closet, choose an old piece to donate.

Use a “Launching Pad”

A launching pad is a specific area where you can keep the things you need to leave the house—think essential items like your keys, cell phone, wallet, and coat.  This technique can save you valuable time in the morning and make it less likely that you’ll forget important items. Your home’s entryway or an area by the front door would be ideal locations for your launching pad.

Learn the Art of Prioritization

Many people with ADD struggle to cope with competing priorities.  So instead of attempting to tackle several big projects at once, which can be stressful, focus on one priority at a time.  Choose the most important project and finish it completely (that means tying up all loose ends) before moving on to the project.

Get Support

There are resources available to help people with ADHD get organized.  One option would be working with an ADHD coach to develop your organizational skills.  Additionally, Susan Pinsky, a professional organizer, has written about organization specifically for people with ADHD called Organizing Solution for People with ADHD.  And if you have any questions about ADHD or your treatment plan, you can contact my office at 310-360-6807.