If you have ADHD I am willing to bet that you have read dozens of articles about how to keep organised so that you finish your tasks in an orderly way.
You have probably bought all sorts of gadgets, alarms, timers, fancy notebooks, computer programmes (because yes we love gadgets and things) that promise you lifelong organisational skills. After you have spent hours studying how these fancy gadgets work and played with them for a day or two they disappear, like everything else, in to the pile of stuff on your desk.
"Oh well that doesn't work, what a waste of money," is no doubt what you think as you move on to the next idea. It is a bit like dieting. Seeing pictures of impossibly perfect bodies extolling the virtue of the latest diet fad has the ADDer, researching like crazy if they are OCD, or rushing off to the pharmacy or grocery store to stock up on special foods, pills, lotions or potions.
We need the fix now! It is one of the most frustrating things about having ADHD. In our hearts we know that all this stuff is a lot of garbage and there is no quick fix to anything in life but our random brains and instant gratification cravings rule our lives.
1. Accept that your brain is random
When we learn to accept that our brains operate differently from non-ADHD brains (watch this video clip about why this is) we can start to find different ways of remembering to do tasks and to actually complete them. Don't try and do what everyone else does.
2. Decide to make a choice
Once you have accepted that you do things differently you have the choice to make a decision to find ways that work for you. For ADDers this is often very difficult. For so long we have acted impulsively doing whatever pops up in front of us. We are easily distracted and the grass is perpetually greener 5 metres away from what we are doing.
If you want to succeed at school, in your personal relationship or at work you need to make the decision to do whatever is necessary to reach your goals. This means that you have to complete tasks within a given timeframe. As you start to do this more regularly it does become a little easier. Yes, you will fail - everyone whether you have ADHD or not fails - pick yourself up and try again.
It is all about attitude.
3. Visualise yourself being organised and successful
ADDers are very visual people. Harness the positive aspects of this wonderful talent. Each morning when you wake up take a few moments to visualise the day ahead of you. Having made the choice to be organised, visualise what goals you want to achieve today. Have big goals and little goals. We need to be able to tick off the little things to keep our spirits up.
4. Eat the elephant one bite at a time
Curb your enthusiasm for trying to achieve the impossible. It sets you up for failure. Use some of the tools below to record your master plan and big ideas. Never let go of your dreams. Break the big plan down into little bites and tackle the bites in the way you find easiest. DON'T GIVE UP!
5. Some of my methods you might like to try
Like you, I have many projects on the go all the time and the list keeps growing. Here is what I have found works for me and I use all of them at different times as you can see.
A small Whiteboard behind my desk where I note my compulsory tasks for the day. This is after I have visualised what I need to do today and got some idea of what is essential. Being able to erase these tasks as I complete them is very satisfying
A small Whiteboard on the fridge to make a note when I finish the last tin of baked beans, soap powder etc. I find this easier than a pencil and notepad on the fridge because I have poor fine motor skills. I need something a little bigger so I can actually sort of make out what I have written.
An A5 notebook (not scraps of paper) next to my computer where I can instantly jot down notes while I am working or take down information when someone phones me ..... while I am at my desk. I have learned to say to callers "please hold on, I need to grab a pen and notebook".
A spiral bound A6 notebook in my handbag. This has 2 purposes. One, I transfer my shopping list to here and the 2nd purpose is to make notes while I am out. Paper diaries do not work for me. Once I have shopped or transferred the notes I can rip out the pages.
The Memo function on my Smartphone for when I wake at 3am with my latest wild and whacky business ideas, plots for new books or articles etc. If I create a quick memo of the ideas I am more likely to go back to sleep.
My Google Calendar sends me free SMS reminders about appointments and birthdays
A bright pink A5 Moleskin Notebook that I use to do rough mindmaps of ideas of stories etc. This always goes with me if I go away or if I am going to be sitting somewhere waiting for an appointment etc.
Scapple - This is a super simple mind mapping computer software that costs under R200.00. It helps me to plan my websites, stories, holidays, finances ... in fact anything. You can link ideas together and move them around.
Trello - This is proving to be a wonderful online computer programme for Dave and I as we work together. We create a Board for each website we are building, each design project, each training course etc. We both have access to the Boards and we can add as many lists as we want to each board. As you complete a task, you can archive it. Dead simple to use and it is FREE!
Learn to work with your ADHD and stop fighting it. There is no magic bullet. You are unique and you can succeed.
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