If you have ADHD, everything from paying the bills on time to keeping up with work, family, and social demands can seem overwhelming. But it’s possible to cope with ADHD symptoms, get focused, and turn chaos into calm. By taking advantage of self-help techniques, you can become more productive, organized, and in control of your life—and improve your sense of self-worth.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously known as ADD, can present challenges for adultsacross all areas of life, from getting organized at home to reaching your potential at work. It can be tough on your health and both your personal and on-the-job relationships. Your symptoms may lead to extreme procrastination, trouble meeting deadlines, and impulsive behavior. In addition, you may feel that friends and family don’t understand what you’re up against.
Fortunately, there are skills you can learn to help control your symptoms of ADHD. You can improve your daily habits, learn to recognize and use your strengths, and develop techniques that help you work more efficiently, maintain organization, and interact better with others. Part of helping yourself may also include educating others to help them understand what you’re going through.
Change won’t happen overnight, though. These ADHD self-help strategies require practice, patience, and, perhaps most importantly, a positive attitude.
Myth Vs Fact
|Myth: Medication is the only way to solve my ADHD.Fact: While medication can help some people manage the symptoms of ADHD, it is not a cure, nor is it the only solution. If taken at all, it should be used in conjunction with other treatments or self-help strategies.|
|Myth: Having ADHD means I’m lazy or unintelligent, so I won’t be able to help myself.Fact: The effects of ADHD may have caused you and others to label you this way, but the truth is that you are not unmotivated or unintelligent—you have a disorder that gets in the way of certain normal functions. In fact, adults with ADHD often have to find very smart ways to compensate for their disorder.|
|Myth: A health professional can solve all my ADHD problems.Fact: Health professionals can help you manage symptoms of ADHD, but they can only do so much. You’re the one living with the problems, so you’re the one who can make the most difference in overcoming them.|
|Myth: ADHD is a life sentence—I’ll always suffer from its symptoms.Fact: While it’s true that there is no cure for ADHD, there is a lot you can do to reduce the problems it can cause. Once you become accustomed to using strategies to help yourself, you may find that managing your symptoms becomes second nature.|
Tips for getting organized and controlling clutter
The hallmark traits of ADHD are inattention and distractibility—making organization perhaps the biggest challenge adults with the disorder face. If you have ADHD, the prospect of getting organized, whether it be at work or home, may leave you feeling overwhelmed.
However, you can learn to break tasks down into smaller steps and follow a systematic approach to organization. By implementing various structures and routines, and taking advantage of tools such as daily planners and reminders, you can set yourself up to maintain organization and control clutter.
Develop structure and neat habits—and keep them up
To organize a room, home, or office, start by categorizing your objects, deciding which are necessary and which can be stored or discarded. To organize yourself, get in the habit of taking notes and writing lists. Maintain your newly organized structure with regular, daily routines.
Create space. Ask yourself what you need on a daily basis, and find storage bins or closets for things you don’t. Designate specific areas for things like keys, bills, and other items that can be easily misplaced. Throw away things you don’t need.
Use a calendar app or day planner. Effective use of a day planner or a calendar on your smartphone or computer can help you remember appointments and deadlines. With electronic calendars, you can also set up automatic reminders so scheduled events don’t slip your mind.
Use lists. Make use of lists and notes to keep track of regularly scheduled tasks, projects, deadlines, and appointments. If you decide to use a daily planner, keep all lists and notes inside it. You also have many options for use on your smartphone or computer. Search for “to do” apps or task managers.
Deal with it now. You can avoid forgetfulness, clutter, and procrastination by filing papers, cleaning up messes, or returning phone calls immediately, not sometime in the future. If a task can be done in two minutes or less, do it on the spot, rather than putting it off for later.
Tame your paper trail
If you have ADHD, paperwork might make up a major part of your disorganization. But you can put a stop to the endless piles of mail and papers strewn across your kitchen, desk, or office. All it takes is some time to set up a paperwork system that works for you.
Deal with mail on a daily basis. Set aside a few minutes each day to deal with the mail, preferably as soon as you bring it inside. It helps to have a designated spot where you can sort the mail and either trash it, file it, or act on it.
Go paperless. Minimize the amount of paper you have to deal with. Request electronic statements and bills instead of paper copies. In the U.S., you can reduce junk mail by opting out of the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service.
Set up a filing system. Use dividers or separate file folders for different types of documents (such as medical records, receipts, and income statements). Label and color-code your files so that you can find what you need quickly.