Living with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can be tough, and choosing between drugs or ADHD alternative treatments can be even tougher. But organizing for ADHD is a low-risk step that can minimize distractions, aid focus and ultimately boost school or workplace productivity for you or your children. And if organizing isn’t enough for your particular situation, the only side effect is a less chaotic life. Here are a few tips that can make organizing for ADHD easy and effective:
- Clean Up, but Start Small
The less stuff you have, the easier it will be to keep it tidy. If you’re feeling spread too thin, cutting down on your possessions is the obvious place to start. Take a look at one item at a time, deciding if it makes your life simpler or more complex. (Some items have sentimental value that transcends function; there’s no reason you can’t keep these, as long as you find a good place to store or enjoy them.)
Don’t try to tackle your entire house in a day, since getting overwhelmed makes you more likely to quit and never come back to the project. Instead, make a schedule and go through one small space per week, cleaning out what you don’t need and organizing the rest.
- Model Good Behavior
If your kids are struggling to keep organized, find routines that you can mirror. For example, have everybody in the family lay out clothes the night before in order to keep mornings less hectic, or keep both family and individual calendars.
If you’re helping your child create binder or folder systems for her backpack, do the same for your briefcase; if your child is required to go down a checklist by the door to ensure he’s not forgetting any school supplies, make a checklist for work and put it right beside your son’s list. This way, the steps you choose will simply feel like good family habits to your child, instead of an infantilizing punishment for a perceived shortcoming.
- Work With an Organization Coach
Deciding to add life coaching to your routine may feel hokey or even pretentious, but behavioral coaching is a well-documented way to build skills and achieve goals more quickly. A coach can help you with everything from a one-time project (like a garage cleanout) to building an ongoing routine, and you’ll increase your organizational skills along the way.
Have you seen staying organized help people with ADHD? Share your perspective in the comments.