Do you suffer inordinately due to your inability to stay organized? Is chaos surrounding you and impacting your family and home life? This affects many people, is painfully common, and commonly painful. Here are some items that may be helpful as cited on ADHDActionGuide.com. I would challenge anyone to peruse this list and not find something useful. Enjoy.
1) There is nothing wrong with asking a person to repeat what was said if you catch yourself drifting during a conversation.
2) To think about what someone is saying to you, visualize the story in your mind. Pretend that you’ll be quizzed, and that you’ll have to summarize the conversation.
3) As someone is talking to you, check in periodically to what’s being said. Paraphrasing is a good way to make sure you understand.
4) Don’t let yourself be interrupted. Even at home, commit to time blocks when you’ll let the phone go unanswered while you focus on the task at hand – especially if the task requires sustained concentration.
5) When working, especially when doing challenging work, find quiet times when others are not around; close your door for added privacy, come in early, work when others take lunch, etc.
6) Have an office? Arrange furniture so your desk faces away from the doorway. It discourages people from walking in and interrupting you.
7) When someone makes a request, repeat it aloud so you hear yourself saying it. This also helps ensure that you both heard the request accurately.
8) Use a color code system of file folders at your desk to keep track of deadlines, due dates, birthdays, school or child information, and tasks to be completed.
9) Divide tasks according to your strengths. Doing things you are best at first will help increase your chances of sticking to them through completion. This may help you finish unwanted chores as well.
10) Divide and conquer. Break bigger projects into smaller, manageable parts. For example, divide the garage into areas and then clean one area at a time over the course of successive weekends or days. Create a schedule you can stick to.
11) Transform big projects into fun events. Invite others to be part of large projects, from “clean out files day” at work to cleaning out the basement at home. Play music, serve food, and make it fun.
12) Use a printed or electronic day planner. Write in daily appointments, important dates to remember, and time allotted for important tasks to be completed. Be sure to include personal things you want to get done as well, like working out, kids’ activities, etc.
13) Don’t critique what you’re doing until you’ve completed it. That way, you can avoid getting distracted by perfectionism or frustrated at how much you have left to do.
14) Set a timer to go off in 15 minutes and stay with the task for those 15 minutes. Don’t drift off and do something else. And reward yourself after it is over.
15) Build in extra time. Allow more time than you think you’ll need for a project. Plan for the unexpected.
16) Realize you can’t say yes to every request that requires a time commitment. Before you make a new commitment, think of all your current commitments. Say no by emphasizing that you wouldn’t want to be unfair to a new project by not being able to give it your full attention.
17) Build extra time into your schedule for the unpredictable – things like traffic jams, unexpected phone calls or visitors, or activities that take longer than expected.
18) Remember SDOS (Sort, Discard, Organize, Store):
Sort. Identify an area to start with and then ask yourself the following: Have I used it in the last three months? Do I need it? Can I donate it to a charity? Then put it into one of three boxes you’ll label accordingly.
Discard. Place items in here that will be discarded – permanently either in the trash or given to a charitable organization, family, or friends.
Organize. Here is where you’ll place items to keep. But you’ll be keeping them in a new organized manner – that is, papers will be kept in file folders, pictures in photo albums, and the like.
Store. Now it’s time to store your newly organized materials where you know you can always find them.
19) Keep a notepad in your car, by your bed, and in your pocketbook or jacket. You never know when a good idea will hit you, or when you’ll want to remember something else.
20) Begin with the activity you are dreading the most. Once done, you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment and will more likely have the energy and confidence to tackle the rest that are on your list.
21) If you find your attention wandering, especially from a boring or repetitive task, switch to something else for a few minutes. Or work with frequent built-in breaks, such as 30 minutes on, 5 minutes off.
22) Have a little bet with yourself about how long you think it will take to pick up the dry cleaning, or call your mother, for example. Then make a note of how long the activity really took, and plan for that amount of time in your schedule the next time you have to perform that task.
23) Exercise routinely! Most individuals who don’t exercise routinely say they don’t because they don’t have time. Those who exercise routinely find that they have more time. If you want to exercise, plan it into your calendar.
24) Couples and families should prioritize and communicate what areas they agree need to be neat. Start by creating one area that is neat and build from there.
25) Be realistic. If you know you can’t wipe down every cabinet in your kitchen, choose the ones that need the most attention and focus only on those.
26) Ask yourself if it’s really worth worrying and obsessing over. Perhaps you don’t even need to do a spring cleaning! Keep plugging away at your regular chores and think of it as a work in progress.
27) Keep a basket in the same place and put your mail in it every day, including bills. Store only mail in this basket.
28) Stand in the middle of your kitchen and scan the room. Note the location of the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. For example, since the greens are in the refrigerator, your salad-making station should be on an adjacent counter. Your salad bowls, cutting board, knives, and peelers should be stored within easy reach of this spot.
29) Set up a daily timeline. Take your calendar or whatever type of planner you use and set aside a chunk of time, daily or weekly, and write down which chore you’ll be able to work on. Be realistic about how much time you have and then deduct roughly half an hour from that. That way, you are giving yourself permission to stop at the given hour, but allowing yourself to continue if you have the time and energy.
30) Delegate! If you can afford to hire people to help you out, do it!
31) Do your banking online. It lets you transfer funds, pay bills, and check balances anytime, day or night.
32) Schedule “official” relationship time or “date nights” with your spouse, as you would other appointments.
33) Get up 15 minutes before the rest of the family.
34) Announce the time that everyone has to be in the car.
35) Have the kids get dressed immediately. The longer their pajamas stay on, the harder it is to pry them off.
36) Reward yourself. Make a weekly dinner or movie date if you’ve finished all the chores on your chart or weekly to-do list.
37) Use automatic bill payment methods where possible. Contact your bank and utility companies about this (or check on their Web sites). It cuts down on bookkeeping, it’s fast, and it reduces the amount of time you have to write and mail actual checks each month.
38) Rearrange your schedule so the things you enjoy the most – which are usually the things you do best – are the first things you do when you start your day. Rather than feeling drained before 10:00 AM, you’ll be more productive and you’ll have more energy to face the rest of your day.
39) When you have a big project looming, break it down into manageable bites. List every part of the job, no matter how small, so you can get a feeling of accomplishment at crossing things off and seeing that you’re really getting somewhere!
40) Do a “good enough” job of it. Don’t compare yourself with others; make it work for you. If you’re satisfied with how your pantry looks with a light dusting or quick rearranging, then leave it at that and don’t worry about it.
41) Be playful. Write down the chores on pieces of paper, toss them in a bowl, and pick your chore for the day or week. Or draw straws. Think of creative ways to get things done.
42)Hire a professional accountant on a quarterly basis. This makes things easier at tax time, and a professional can save you money by making sure errors don’t occur.
43) Sign up for direct deposit. You don’t have to wait in line at the bank anymore, search for deposit slips, or wait for checks to clear.
44) Get the kids involved and make it a family affair. Give each family member a room or task to be in charge of. To prevent boredom, rotate chores.
45) Losing an item isn’t like losing your eyesight. Maintain perspective. Realize that it can happen to anyone.
46) Be prepared. Realize which items you lose the most. Have backup plans already thought out and ready to go. Make extra house keys, keep spare car keys in a specific place, and save copies of your credit cards.
47) Store things in the same place. Designate a special place for important items and then always keep them there.
48) Create an “entrance” center near the front door of your home. Place things here when you enter the house: keys, umbrella, briefcase, sunglasses, etc. It can also be your “exit” center where you’ll place special items you’ll need to take when you leave home. This can also be important for your children – follow this rule for school essentials like backpacks and supplies as well.
49) To keep track of your keys, put them on a key rack or in a basket by the entrance to your home. Place your keys there as soon as you walk in the door.
50) Always keep your phone in the same zippered pocket in your purse.
51) Photocopy both sides of your credit cards and make sure that you can see the customer service number on them.
52) Use a printed or electronic day planner. Write in daily appointments, important dates to remember, and the time you’ve allotted for important tasks.
53) Make use of your kitchen calendar or a day planner and check it each day to make sure you are not forgetting something important to you, your partner, or your children.
54) Use a chalkboard or a whiteboard to communicate on days when you seem to just be passing your partner and/or children. Some days are filled with so many activities that it can be hard to connect for more than a moment or two.
55) Create a customized checklist of things to do (on paper or on your computer). Use it to help you remember everything from paying bills to doing laundry. You can even create one to help you pack for a trip.
56) Try meditation so you don’t burn out.
57) Try an activity such as karate or another martial art that teaches discipline and concentration and allows for movement.
58) Before tackling a boring task, enjoy some physical exercise or a favorite activity. Walking up and down a few flights of stairs, doing a crossword puzzle, or listening to music for 15 minutes enhances your executive functioning, priming you for the work ahead. Listening to music as you work helps block out other sounds that might prove distracting.
59) Don’t force yourself to sit still at the dinner table when you feel the need to move around. Take a quick break, during which you can stand or walk around, then rejoin the family when you’re able.
60) Slow down. A breath between sentences will help you control the rush of words bursting out of your mouth and give others a chance to take in what you have to say.
61) Pause after expressing each point in a conversation, and wait for a response before continuing to talk.
62) When someone’s speaking, concentrate on waiting until he/she ends his/her sentence before you jump in. If you have a question, ask permission before asking it: “Excuse me, may I ask a question?”
63) Listening silently to someone’s long story bonds them socially to you. And all you have to do is be silent!
64) Face people and make eye contact when speaking with them. It lets them know you’re paying attention and helps you do exactly that.
65) If you impulsively blurt out comments that you later regret, learn to take notes, and write down what you’re thinking of saying. This will give you time to consider: Is this a good thing to say? What is the best way to say it?
66) Got an urge to say something negative? Say nothing.
67) Defuse by delaying. In an argument with your spouse, child, or friend? Say you have to stop the argument now, but that you want to reschedule it for later when you’re calmer.