20 Tips: How to Get Organized when you have ADHD

Do you have ADHD? Even if you haven’t actually been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, these 20 helpful organizing tips can help you get and stay organized in your crazy, busy life.

  1. Downsize your belongings. Eliminate anything that you don’t use on a regular basis. Forget about “what if…” The more things you have, the more time you have to spend maintaining them. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that would happen if I didn’t have this?”

  2. Schedule time. Those who suffer with ADHD are often impulsive. They tend to take on a project before they have time to figure out the logistics. For example, you’re tired of opening your closet doors and having an avalanche of clothes topple down on you. You decide that this is it! You are going to deal with this once and for all! So, you start pulling everything out of the closet. Then you remember that you need to leave in ten minutes to pick up the kids, feed them, do homework then drop them off at their various activities. Guess what? Everything gets shoved back into the closet or left out all over your bedroom. Think before you act. If you only have ten minutes, just do one shelf.

  3. Start small. When you open the door to the spare bedroom which has become the “catch all” since your son moved out, you become so overwhelmed at everything that has to be done… So you close the door and decide to tackle it tomorrow. Instead of thinking of the whole project, break it down into more manageable chunks. Cover up everything in the room except a small section, and only work on that section until it is complete.

    One drawer at a time

    One drawer at a time

  4. A place for everything, and everything in its place. I know what you’re thinking — “I can’t be that perfect.” This isn’t about perfection! Everything you own needs to have a place to “live” in your space. It may not be the prettiest container or the neatest spot. The key is to know where the item is when you’re looking for it.

  5. Organize regularly. Make it a habit to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day tidying up.

  6. Keep it simple. The fewer steps it takes to compete a project, the more likely it will get done. Leave lids off garbage cans. Use open baskets. Instead of having a folder for each bill you pay, label the folder by the month.

  7. Limit distractions. When you schedule the time to get organized, eliminate as many distractions as you can. Turn off your cell phone or put it on vibrate. Shut down the computer. Let others know that you will be unavailable for an allotted amount of time. Also, eliminate as many distractions as you can within your workspace.

    Put your phone on vibrate.

    Put your phone on vibrate

  8. Enlist an accountability buddy or “body double.” One of the biggest things that I’ve noticed with my clients is that when they are held accountable for a task (or if I’m sitting with them!) more often than not, things get done. So reach out to a trusted, nonjudgemental friend or family member and tell them that you need them to call or text you on such and such date and time to ask if you completed a task.

  9. F.A.T. — File, Action, Trash. Use this technique when working with papers. Literally file the paper immediately in proper file, take action on it or throw the paper right in the trash.


    Use a planner

  10. Use a planner. There isn’t one magical planner that works for everyone. Test different ones to find the one that works for your needs. Once you find it, record everything in this one planner. Resist the urge to have multiple planners; Home, work, kids, etc. For someone who suffers from ADHD, this can make you crazy.

  11. Use a separate spiral notebook. Have a separate notebook to record ideas, books you want to read, websites you want to check out, and resources or business contact information that you may need someday.

  12. Use visual reminders. Post-It notes are great to jot down quick reminders and stick to an area that you will see to be reminded of the task. Caution: Dont overuse! If you have too many notes posted, you start to ignore them and they become just a part of the décor.


  13. Use your phone. Set alarms on your phone to complete tasks. When recording an appointment on your calendar, use the reminder setting to go off at a certain time.

  14. Eliminate paper. Set up online banking to pay your bills. Get on the Do Not Mail List to eliminate as much mail as you can.

  15. Add time. Are you constantly late to appointments? Don’t forget to allow time to get out the door, travel time in case of delays, and time to get out of the car and into the office.

    Allow for travel time

    Allow for travel time

  16. Use the four box method. Keep, Give Away, Donate, Trash.

  17. Sort Mail Daily. Set up an incoming mail system. Avoid piles. Use an upright holder to seperate items like this letter tray organizer from Staples, or this magazine holder from Organize-It. Corral magazines in a basket by your living room chair to read at a more convenient time.

  18. Set time limits. Set a limit for how long you will keep an item that you need to make a decision about.

    And then get rid of it!

    And then get rid of it!

  19. Set space limits. We get busy and sometimes we just don’t feel like dealing with things. Set a space limit by dealing with the items when the container gets full or the junk drawer won’t open.

  20. Get help. Reach out to an expert for help. When you are sick you seek medical advice from a trusted expert; a doctor. If you can’t figure out how to get organized and stay organized even after reading all the How-To books, why wouldn’t you reach out to an expert to help you get organized? The expense will pay off in no time. Give me a call for your free consultation: (518) 791-5560.

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Organized By Sharon