Staying on top of your “to do” list. Being on time. Having clean clothes. Being able to find what you need when you need it. Staying on a task until it its complete. ADD/ADHD makes each of these tasks seem impossible at times. I often feel like Sisyphus, rolling that dang bolder up the hill just to watch it roll away again.
The truth is, no one ever has it all together. Everyone struggles to keep up with their lives. For those of us with distraction issues it feels like we carry extra weight on our journey.
I have a great brain for remembering every little bit of information that comes my way, but I still have to put the car keys away in the same place every time, or I can not remember where I put them. I label the shelves in the refrigerator so I can remember to put food back where it goes, and my toothbrush has colored tape on it because I can’t remember which color toothbrush is mine. Silly? Maybe, but it keeps my from brushing my teeth with other peoples toothbrushes!
When I get frustrated with myself have to remember that most people do not contend with a brain that will drop everything to watch, and perhaps follow a stray ant that happens along. Most people can filter out the unimportant from the important. Most people would comprehend that starting that wallpaper stripping project at midnight, just because you notice that part of it is already starting to peel anyway, might not be a good course of action.
After years of being angry and frustrated with myself, I finally decided to make friends with my brain, and to find ways to work with what I have. If you are struggling with organization, and keeping up with events in your life try these organization tips.
- Automate everything possible. Sign up for E-Bills, schedule up automatic bill payments, schedule routine deliveries of household items (toilet paper, etc.), subscribe to mail order/ automatic prescriptions refills. Take advantage of services available.
- Use labels on the outside, and on the inside containers, drawers, and cupboards to help you remember what goes where and where things are. For young kids pictures work well. The inside label system works well for chests of drawers and helps to keep clothing organized.
- Use a checklist for groceries. There are many free downloads on line. Find one and use it, or create your own. Train everyone to check things off as you use them.
- Create a landing zone and have a routine for entering the house. This works for kids and adults. Create a routine, such as: hang keys up, shoes off, coats hung, bags/ backpacks/ purses/ etc hung up, hands washed. Cubbies, hooks, key racks and shoe racks work well to keep things off the floor and where you need them when you leave.
- Create a household task schedule. It can be a simple as knowing that every Wednesday and Sunday you are doing laundry, and cleaning the bathroom every Saturday.
- Clean the kitchen after each time you cook. This will 1) save you money as you will not be as tempted to go out to eat, or order a pizza, and 2) provide a sense of accomplishment because at least the kitchen is clean!
- Lay out out your clothes for the next day, have your kids do the same. This will save time in the morning, and prevent last minute scurrying around trying to find clothes that fit, and that are clean.
- Have a place to open mail and pay bills. Do not open mail anyplace else. Train everyone to place mail in the same place. This system will prevent lost misplaced bills, etc.
- Have a main calendar for the family. Place it where everyone can see it. Use different colors for each person’s schedule. REVIEW the calendar nightly! If you don’t look at it you might as well not have one.
- Maintain a sense of humor. Everyone misses appointments, forgets things, has to find the cleanest dirty shirt to wear, or scrambles at the last minute to get things together. Give yourself a break and go back to your system.