For many people, getting ADHD organization strategies to work sometimes feels impossible. If you have ADHD, then you know what it means to struggle with organization. This includes every type of organization, too. From organizing schedules to finances to your wardrobe to your home, most any type of organization feels frustratingly elusive.
While organization might seem impossible, don’t worry, we have some tips and tricks to help make ADHD organization strategies more approachable. While we can’t ever say that we’ll make organization feel like second nature, we can provide small tips to make your organizational goals more achievable. Read on for some great insights for making your ADHD organization strategies a reality in your life.
1 – Learn To Set and Use Effective Goals
The first helpful of many ADHD organization strategies to keep in mind is that you need to learn how to set and follow through on effective goals. Goals might not seem at first like they connect to organization. In reality, though, understanding goals and how they fit into your life matters significantly for meeting your organization expectations.
When it comes down to the basics, anything you try to accomplish can rightly be considered a goal. How you organize and go about achieving your goals then deals with how you organize your resources and time. If you fail to organize effectively, you will fail to follow through on your goals. Additionally, the reverse is true, if you fail to set reasonable goals, you won’t ever be able to organize your time and resources efficiently to meet your needs. Ultimately then, understanding goals is vital to being more organized.
Successful goals should be made based on SMART principles. Goals which are SMART are clearly defined and set by boundaries. They must be specific and measurable. This means you have to clearly understand what you want and can measure your progress. Furthermore, they must also be achievable, reasonable, and time bound. This means that you can accomplish them, you have reasonable expectations, and there is an end in sight.
Ideally, you would arrange daily tasks around SMART goals. Each day, think of what you want to accomplish. Then consider if your objectives meet all of the SMART objectives. If they do not, readjust your expectations. If they do, plan out the order and process for accomplishing all your goals. Keep the number limited to only a handful at most. As you get more and more practice with using SMART goals, you will find your overall organization strategies improve.
2 – Cut Down on Your To Do Lists
A second of the necessary ADHD organization strategies to keep in mind is that you need to streamline your to do lists. When it comes to ADHD and organization, you should remember that people with ADHD get overwhelmed easily. Organization fails most of the time because you look at all you have to do and you feel overwhelmed by it all.
In order to get started, you need to simplify the whole process. You can’t look at the whole picture of all you have to do. You also can’t make and keep lists of all the tasks. All that does is remind you that you have a long way to go. To make starting easier, you need to focus as small as possible and keep your view limited.
As we just discussed, your best course of action is to make a short list of a handful of goals you want accomplished each day. You can also make a similar list for the week’s and month’s objectives. Make sure, though, you limit each list of goals to only four or five at the most. As you go along in accomplishing these items then, assess how well you may be doing. Depending on how you like to do things and how much you can handle, the exact number might go up or down based on your personality.
Once you have a number of goals that works well, keep your list limited to that number of things to do. Adding any more just complicates and adds stress into the process. This doesn’t mean that you completely forget about or ignore other issues. Rather this means you dedicate your resources and energy to the things that you can accomplish. In the end, you stay more organized overall.
3 – Set Deadlines and Reminders
Another one of the ADHD organization strategies that you need to remember is to set deadlines and have reminders. This simply follows along with setting goals and maintaining to do lists. You won’t ever accomplish your goals or tackle your to do lists if you never remind yourself of what you need to get done and when.
Many of us have little trouble coming up with a list of things that we want to get done. Where we struggle, though, is actually remembering and following through on our list. People with ADHD tend to have trouble remembering things. They forget dates, names, and even people. With this in mind, it just makes sense that even simple goals and tasks will easily be passed over or forgotten.
To fight back against memory issues, set reminders for yourself. Almost all of us carry our smart phones with us everywhere we go. At the minimum, we can use apps or the clock on our phone to set specific reminders throughout the day. Additionally, many of us can put events and meetings on our email calendars. Doing this allows for reminders to ping us when something is coming up.
In addition to general reminders of events and meetings, you also need to set deadlines for yourself. This follows along with the discussion on goals that we covered earlier. If you don’t put a time limit on goals and objectives, then you will default to putting things off. To get organized, you need to set limits and deadlines. For your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, assign a specific time when you want each one completed. Then set reminders to prompt you when you get close to your deadlines.
4 – Get Your Finances in Order
One of the largest areas of our lives that we avoid organizing happens to be our finances. For people with ADHD, finances can present particular challenges. Many people with ADHD struggle to maintain the focus for following through on money goals. In general, finances provide most people with ADHD just another reason to feel anxious.
The good news, though, is that you can implement ADHD organization strategies to help get your finances back in line. Most people fail with finances because they assume that it’s too complicated. At its root, though, getting finances in order can be as simple as figuring out what you pay out each month and comparing it to what you have coming in each month.
To get started with a money management plan start with a budget. First, write out your monthly income. Next, create a list of your average monthly expenses starting with your most necessary to your least necessary. After you have your expenses and income listed out, next compare the two. Make sure your income covers all your expenses. If it does not, start cutting out expenses and reducing where you can until it does. At the end of this exercise, you should then have a nice budget to start with.
After you have a budget outlined, you need to refer to it on a regular basis. Keep yourself on track by limiting unexpected or impulse purchases. If you want to make a large purchase outside of your budget, wait 24 hours before finalizing the purchase. Also, have someone hold you accountable to your budget. Let them know what your limits are and ask them to help keep you in line. Have them follow up with you regularly until you really feel as though you have your monthly spending in check.
5 – Simplify your Wardrobe
Not only do you need to get your finances in order, you also need to get your closet put right. When we think of ADHD organization strategies, we really need to consider every inch and crevice of your lifestyle. Most of us like to think of our lives in segments. As long as we have one segment or area organized and in control, we might feel like we’re doing pretty good. Really though, we need to get organized in every aspect to conquer our organization. This brings our wardrobe specifically into focus and our personal affects into view in general.
More than likely, no matter who you may be, you have far too many clothes and outfits. That’s not to mention everything that goes with what you wear such as shoes and jewelry and coats just to name a few. You can’t try to organize the front of your house and forget your closet and dresser and everything that spells out on the floor in your room.
To start organizing your room and wardrobe, you need to start with what you actually wear. You need to set out the items and accessories that you wear at least once a month. After you have those items set aside, you need to start ridding yourself of everything else except for maybe one set of really nice special occasion items.
Wardrobe organization involves wardrobe simplification. Start selling or giving away excess clothing and accessories. As you start to eliminate things, you can find you can easily fit what remains into a smaller space in your closet or dresser. In the end, you can help eliminate stress and anxiety by making your wardrobe as small as possible.
6 – Regularly Practice Purging
While we’re talking about getting rid of excess, let’s focus more on purging everywhere you can. Most of the time we struggle to get organized because we just have too much. Whether that means we have too many clothes or too many pots in the kitchen or too much mail in the living room, we find ourselves out of sorts because what we possess controls us more than the other way around.
To help with your organization, you need to regularly practice getting rid of the clutter. For home organization, decluttering is absolutely a must on a regular basis. The best way to do this is to set clear limits and boundaries in your life. For instance, you should limit your sets of shoes to a specific number. You can then regularly check in on that number perhaps once a month and give away or sell any number of sets over your limit.
Take this concept and apply it to almost any area of your life. Limit the number of cups you have in your cupboard or the number of pillows in your bedroom. Once a month then go through and cut back on any areas that you exceed your limits.
For general items that you don’t have a set number for such as general clutter, you can organize these things into specific bins once a month. Go through each room of your house with two organizational bins. Once you fill up the first bin with general clutter, everything that goes into the second bin you can get rid of or sell. This way you routinely cut back on all the little things that complicate your life.
7 – Get a Mentor or Life Coach
As a final helpful one of our ADHD organization strategies, we want to tell you to get a mentor. We don’t just mean a friend or accountability partner to help you out with your goals. While we would always encourage accountability, you also need something more beyond that. You need a guide to lead and teach you overall life management.
To help with your organization, identify someone in your life, possibly older, who you respect and who seems to be organized in their life. If you can find someone with ADHD that might work best, but it’s not necessary. Ask that person if they can act as a mentor for you in applying organization strategies in your life. Tell them the specific areas that you most want to see improvement whether that might be with your relationships, at home, at work, or in another area.
After you have identified the specific areas that you want your mentor to help you with, next set up specific times to meet with your mentor. These can be weekly, every other week, or once a month. Tell your mentor specific things that you plan on working on between each meeting. Then at the meetings, share with your mentor your progress and ask your mentor for suggestions and encouragements on meeting your objectives better.
Mentors can provide needed insight into some blind spots that you might not see in your life. They can also provide guidance and suggestions based on knowledge and experience. Finally, they can give you an example to look up to and follow in your effort to be more organized. To bring all of your ADHD organization strategies together, make sure you get a mentor who can help follow up with and encourage you.
Putting ADHD Organization Strategies into Practice
Having a list of ADHD organization strategies to refer to is a good place to start. Reading and studying how to get organized only gets you so far, though. You next need to make the hard next step and actually start putting tips and strategies into regular practice.
Most people with ADHD never get started with organizing their life because good intentions end with no action. They want to do something, but they don’t know how or where to begin. With no starting place, they simply stick with the status quo and nothing gets better or more organized.
The great news with organization is that you really can start most anywhere. Organization affects every area of your life, so no matter what small thing you start with, you can take a step in the right direction. We hope that this post has given you plenty of ideas of small areas in your life that you can start applying ADHD organization strategies to. Keep in mind that you won’t go from disorganization to perfectly organized in everything overnight. As long as you keep reasonable expectations, though, you will start to see meaningful progress towards tackling organization in different areas in your life.