Medication and counseling can help manage many of the life-disrupting symptoms that come with ADHD. But its hallmark traits – like distractibility and impulsivity– can still make it challenging to deal with common, everyday tasks. Managing ADHD is all about creating systems that work with your unique mind, not against it! If you find your brain, mind, and mouth going a mile a minute, try implementing these techniques to feel more productive, organized, and in control of your life.
● Use a notepad + planner to keep track of your notes and to-dos. Forgetfulness happens, Betties! Committing tasks + thoughts to paper is a way of repeating them back to yourself to retain better memory.
● Prevent the lost & found situation by creating a “home” for items. For example, place a tray by the door to hold your keys and wallet.
● Designate one day every week for organization. Send yourself a calendar reminder to sort through mail + email, or clean up cluttered spaces.
● Tell yourself what time you need to leave versus what time you need to arrive somewhere.
● Focus on one task per day to tackle. What is the most important task? What task will make you feel most accomplished?
● Utilize timers (like this one!) to help keep track of time spent on an activity.
● Interrupt often? It’s allllll good, Betties. Pace yourself by counting to 2 or 5 before responding in conversation.
● Get bored when people are talking? Focus on their mouth so that you do not get distracted.
● If follow-through is a constant hurdle, try this: when someone makes a request – like a friend needing a ride, boss asking for a report, or a parent requesting an errand run – ask them to send you a written request via text or email as a physical reminder.
● Mindful breathing is an ADHD Betty’s bestie. Try this: Breathe in at a count of 8, hold for 4, and then breathe out at a count of 8. Continue this until you feel calm. This exercise focuses your mind so you can slow your roll – which can aid with anxiety and falling asleep.
● If you feel an emotional breakdown coming on, take an adult time-out. Run cool water over your hands, get a drink of water, go for a walk, breathe, or do something you enjoy like doodling. These activities can help you gain control of your emotions.
● Say it with me, y’all: pre!pa!ra!tion! Lay out your outfit the night before, prep your meals for the week – how can you set your future self up for success now?
● Presort dirty laundry to save time.
● Go paperless: Stay on top of monthly payments + avoid late fees by setting your bills up for autopay.
● If you take medication, use a labeled pill box to keep you on track.
● Prepare for the next day. Lay out your outfit the night before, prep your meals, place your bag for work/class by the door.
● Practice habit-stacking: Stack two habits together at a time to remember tasks (like taking your morning medication when you brush your teeth).
● Treat yourself: After you complete a task, practice some self-care – Get a mani-pedi, bust a book out and read a few chapters, or snuggle up in your covers and take a nice little nap. Celebrate the small wins!
Betties, remember to be patient with yourself. It’s completely normal to feel frustrated and overwhelmed while finding out what systems + techniques will work for you and your ADHD. If you find yourself discouraged, reach out for support. Working with a counselor or therapist can help you learn new strategies, develop effective routines, and improve your self-esteem to learn to live with your ADHD and not in spite of it!