Monday, September 08, 2008

Staying Organized with ADD

There are a few folks blessed with a gift for staying organized. It comes naturally for them to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Then there is most of the rest of us. Organizing does not come naturally to us, but with effort and concentration and a little work we can keep things organized. A subset of that population is the adults who have Attention Deficit Disorder. While these folks have an abundance of creativity and energy, their brain activity makes it difficult to prioritize and stay on task. It is important for people with ADD to work with their strengths when developing organizing systems. Some things that work are:

  • Keep a day planner that lists everyday tasks, appointments and scheduled events. Check it at least twice a day.
  • Create visual cues to get tasks done. Set up a mail center close to the entryway that allows the sorting of mail including tossing junk mail and shredding identifying information. Have a landing strip for coats, shoes, and briefcase in the entryway. Post a grocery list on the refrigerator that can be updated as needed.
  • Keep work surfaces uncluttered and only current activity in view.
  • Store items in one layer if possible and keep items visible in plastic containers.
  • Develop task lists with time frame and revise the time as you better learn how long tasks take. This allows better estimation of time available and avoids stress.
  • Use reminder systems to keep on time for appointments. Alarm watches and cell phone alarms are a couple of devices that can serve the purpose.
  • When undertaking a multifaceted project enlist a buddy to keep you on task.
  • Use your natural energy and enthusiasm to ride a wave of excitement to task completion.

    We know many folks with ADD who have order in their lives. It is a matter of finding systems that work with your strengths.

Beverly & Kristen

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