How to stay organized with add

How to Get Organized with Adult ADHD: Organization with ADD

Getting organized is a key step toward reaching your goals. No secret there. So why do we put up with chronic disorder at home, at work, and in our personal lives?

Judith Kolberg suggests it’s a matter of perfectionism: We’re unable to do what it takes to get even a bit more organized because we worry that we won’t become perfectly organized. And as Kolberg, author of Conquering Chronic Disorganization, points out, there is no such thing as perfect organization — particularly for those living with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). Life is capricious, and get-it-done strategies that work well today may prove useless tomorrow.

The good news, says Kolberg, president of FileHeads Professional Organizers, is that seemingly small changes and ADHD organization tools can bring big improvements in your life — less clutter, fewer hassles, and greater tranquility.

Getting Organized in 33 Easy Steps

1. Set time limits for decision-making.

Individuals with ADHD can spend days agonizing over decisions that others make in minutes. Speed the process by setting a time frame or a budget cap. If you’re choosing a summer camp for your child, for example, set a deadline, and make the best choice you can by that date. If you’re deciding which new cell phone to buy, pick a price cap and ignore more costly phones.

Always identify the most important factor to consider in making any decision, whether it’s price, convenience, aesthetics, practicality, or something else. Focus solely on that factor when considering your decision.

[Self-Test: Is Your Clutter and Disorganization Out of Control?]

2. Fight the tendency to over-commit.

For each new commitment you make, give up an old one. If you agree to join the school fund-raising committee, for instance, give up the neighborhood watch committee. Adults with ADHD tend to spread themselves too thin.

3. Keep your to-do lists brief.

Using big, bold letters, make a to-do list of no more than five tasks on an index card. (List any additional items on the back of the card.) Once you have done those five things, refer to the back of the card to create a new to-do list — and discard the old one. You’ll accomplish more, feel less frustrated, and manage your time better.

4. Fight hyperfocus.

Set an alarm clock, kitchen timer, or computer alert — or arrange for someone reliable to call you at a specified time or times. If you tend to lose yourself on eBay for hours at a time, you need this kind of help.

5. Use a “body double.”

This is a friend or family member who sits with you as you tackle mundane chores, like balancing a checkbook, filling out a job application, or reviewing financial statements. Your body double will create a productive atmosphere by sitting quietly and doing an unobtrusive task, like affixing stamps to envelopes or clipping recipes from a magazine.

[Free Download: 73 ADHD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life Now]

6. Keep extra medication on hand.

Each time you fill a prescription, write in your planner the date on which you’ll need to renew it (or set your computer to issue an alert or generate an e-mail reminder on that date). Ask your pharmacist if he can call to remind you when it’s time to refill. Your “renew date” should be at least one week before the date on which you’ll run out of medication.

7. Build socializing into your schedule.

That way, your desires to meet new people, have interesting conversations, and keep up with friends are taken care of automatically. Take a class, join a book club or a lecture series, or start a dinner club.

8. Join an ADHD support group.

Support groups provide more than emotional support. For example, the members can get together online when it’s time to tackle boring tasks, like filling out tax returns or filing: One at a time, each person leaves the computer, dedicates 15 minutes to the task at hand, then returns to instant messaging — to joke, commiserate, and congratulate one another.

9. Carry a colorful wallet.

It’s harder to misplace a red wallet than an ordinary black or brown one. The same goes for your checkbook.

10. Buy experiences, not objects.

There’s nothing wrong with a little “retail therapy” to reward yourself for your accomplishments. But think twice before buying some new object (which may become just another bit of clutter in your home). Instead, use your money to buy a pleasant experience, such as a massage or a night out with friends.

11. Stop agonizing over insignificant items.

What to do with greeting cards you’ve received, batteries of dubious power, unidentified cords, orphaned screws, and so on? Toss them into a “ripening drawer.” Once the drawer is full, quickly sort through it. Use what you can, and discard the rest. Then start the process anew.

12. Get a “clutter companion.”

This is a (nonjudgmental) friend or family member who will help you get rid of all the stuff that’s cluttering up your house. A few times a year, you and your companion should sort your clutter into four piles: “keep,” “toss,” “donate,” and “age.” Discard the “toss” items at once — before you have a chance to change your mind. Place “donate” items in heavy-duty garbage bags, and drive them to the nearest donation bin. Place “age” items in a cardboard box marked with a date three months hence. In your calendar, mark the same date as the time to “review age items.” When that date rolls around, give those items another look. If you feel comfortable discarding them, do so. If not, renew the date for another three months.

13. Fight financial-statement overload.

Do you really need to keep monthly account statements? Ask your accountant if you can get by with keeping only quarterly or annual statements—and toss the rest.

14. Don’t let unread magazines pile up.

If the next issue arrives before you’ve read the last one, place the last one in a small basket (measuring no more than six inches high and two magazine-widths across). Once the basket fills up, sift through the magazines. Read what you can, and discard or recycle the rest. (You might drop off the best magazines at a hospital or women’s shelter.)

If you are habitually unable to keep up with the issues of a particular magazine, cancel the subscription.

15. Make use of “wasted” minutes.

Don’t wait to find long blocks of uninterrupted time to tackle organizational chores. In one minute, you can sort mail, remove lint from the dryer, or water the plants. In five minutes, you can empty the dishwasher or write an email. While you wait for your laundry to dry, you can mate socks and gather clothes for dry cleaning.

16. Create a “launch pad” near the front door.

This is the place to stash things that family members need each time they leave the house — umbrellas, school backpacks, briefcases, pocketbooks, keys, scarves, and so on. The launch pad might have cubbies, pegs, hooks, containers — anything that makes it easy to find and grab things as you head out the door.

17. Ditch those receipts.

Each evening, empty your pockets, wallet, purse, and briefcase of all ATM slips and receipts. Put them in with your stack of bills to be paid and financial statements to review.

Too much loose change? If coins pile up on your dresser, get a jar to put them in. At the end of the month, you’ll have an extra $15 or so to spend — a reward for keeping your pockets free of clutter.

18. Simplify your wardrobe.

The more clothes you have, the harder it is to decide what to wear each morning. So continually winnow out extra clothing. If you get a new shirt, for instance, consider getting rid of an old one. In spring and summer, coordinate all your clothing around only two colors, plus white. In fall and winter, coordinate all your clothing around two other colors, plus black. You’ll feel liberated by having fewer outfits to choose from — and you’ll save money on clothes.

19. Pre-assemble your clothes into complete outfits.

Hang them on sturdy hangers in your closet. You’ll get dressed faster each morning, with less confusion and second-guessing. This strategy works for men and women alike, and is especially helpful for organizing business attire. Women can slip a baggie with matching jewelry onto the hanger. For items to help organize children’s clothes and toys, take a look at this days of the week closet organizer.

20. Take it one project at a time.

Having to tackle several big projects at once is stressful for people with ADHD. Set one priority, and get it done, tying up all loose ends before moving on to a new project. For instance, get new eyeglasses before cleaning your gutters. Or take your car in for maintenance before revising your résumé.

21. Use sticky notes to stay on track.

If you’re often sidetracked by interruptions — as many with ADD are — make it easy to return to the task at hand once the interruption is over. How? Keep a supply of sticky notes with you, and jot down where to pick up again. For instance, if you must take a phone call while reading, post a note on the text that says, “resume reading here.” When the call is over, you’ll know exactly what to do.

22. Double up on tasks.

If you can make it a habit to do two small things in concert, you’ll get more done. For example, you might reset your clocks and change the batteries in your smoke detectors upon the end of Daylight Saving Time each autumn. You could change your oil and balance your investments on the same day. Or reorganize your pocketbook each time you water the plants.

23. Organize your garage like a professional.

That means separating your stuff into “zones” of the sort you see at home-improvement stores: “tools,” “painting supplies,” “gardening supplies,” “sports equipment,” “automotive,” and so on. If this job is too big to tackle on your own, don’t be reluctant to ask for help.

24. Rethink your filing system.

Adults with ADHD often have trouble with filing because they create too many categories. Better to keep your categories broad, and use subfolders where necessary. For instance, you might label one folder “insurance,” and fill it with subcategory folders for life insurance, car insurance, and health insurance. Read this article for ideas on updating your filing system and keeping track of paperwork.

25. Create a document “hot spot.”

This is a red, see-through folder for important, time-sensitive documents. In this folder, which should be kept on your desk, you should place papers representing up to five different tasks that must be attended to within the next 24 hours — an overdue bill, a client file, a phone message to return, and so on.

Clear out your hot spot daily. Active papers that aren’t yet urgent should be kept in transparent file folders arranged vertically in a file holder. A hot spot is a great tool for dealing with the “out of sight is out of mind” problem.

26. Stanch the flow of junk mail.

Add your name to the “do not send” list maintained by the Direct Mail Association.

27. Process the mail every day.

That will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Throw out junk mail immediately. The rest of the mail should be kept in one place, with a wastebasket nearby. Bills to be paid should be placed inside your checkbook or — if you use online banking — on the desktop beside the computer. Stick everyone else’s mail into nearby cubbyholes, slots, or shelves with their names on them.

28. Schedule a quarterly review of investments — with yourself.

Write the date and time to review these on your calendar or in your planner, and go over your bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement plans.

29. Switch to online banking.

How much time do you spend each month writing checks, addressing envelopes, and affixing postage (not to mention mailing the checks)? It’s faster to do your banking online — especially since you can set up recurring bills to be paid automatically — and you won’t have to pay for postage.

If you’re intimidated by the computer work required to open an online account, ask a computer-savvy friend or family member to help.

30. Use a single checking account.

Keep your checkbook in your purse or briefcase and return it there immediately after using it. Keep your check register and a few emergency checks (but not another checkbook!) in another location, in case you lose your checkbook.

31. Keep plastic to a minimum.

The more credit cards you have, the more statements and receipts you’ll have to contend with. Better to stick with one or two major cards and avoid the high-interest store and gas cards. Consider new card offers only if the terms of the card are clearly superior to the terms of your current cards.

32. Get a debit card.

Keep it in your wallet, and use it instead of a personal check whenever possible. Each time you use the card, make an entry in your check register as if you had written a check. That way, your checking account stays balanced.

33. Keep some extra cash on hand.

Put several hundred dollars in a waterproof plastic bag and place it someplace safe but easy to locate (maybe your freezer). That way, you won’t be caught empty-handed if a storm, power outage, or some other natural or man-made disaster makes it impossible to use ATMs. For more on preparing for a disaster, go to

[Free Download: 22 Clutter-Busting Strategies for Adults with ADHD]

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How to Organize Your Home When You Have ADHD

Home organization is a skill that can be learned by anyone at any time. I honestly believe that. It’s just easier for some than for others. I do not have ADHD, but I have successfully parented, taught, and professionally organized people who do. And along the way, I learned a lot about how the ADHD brain works.

ADHD is a spectrum disorder that manifests through the eight executive processes of the brain:

  1. flexible thinking
  2. working memory
  3. self-monitoring
  4. task initiation
  5. planning
  6. organization
  7. impulse control
  8. and emotional control.

Basically, the executive functions of the brain help you plan, organize, and complete tasks.

If you have ADHD, and are trying to organize your home, it’s likely that you are struggling with one (or more) of these executive functions, which makes getting organized especially challenging. Challenging, but not impossible. These tips will help you change your mindset about what an organized home should look like, and encourage you to get started.

[Get This Free Resource: Take Control of Your Life and Schedule]

1. Ditch perfectionism when organizing your home.

I have not researched the link between perfectionism and ADHD, but I have seen it many times. Perfectionism appears to exacerbate executive function deficits. If I have two clients with the same ADHD symptoms, and one is a perfectionist, it is harder for the perfectionist to get organized. Start a project with the understanding that perfection is not the goal, progress is.

2. Assemble a home-organization team.

A professional organizer is a great resource, but organizers are not accessible to everyone. Play a game with your kids to see who can declutter the most. Confess to your spouse the stress you feel, and about your desire to live a more organized life. Everyone in your family may not be on board, and that’s OK. Find those who are and enlist their help.

3. Create organizational structure.

Schedule your organizing task for the same time every day. Before long, your muscle memory will take over and your organizing will be on autopilot. We do this with our morning coffee and as part of our nighttime routine.

4. Take “before” photos of your mess.

Individuals with ADHD have a hard time seeing how much progress they have made and estimating how long tasks will take. Even if you’re embarrassed, take the photos! You don’t have to show them to anyone. Once you begin to make progress, you’ll be glad to have a visual reminder of how far you’ve come.

[Click to Download: Your Free Guide for Controlling Clutter]

5. Find one organizing mentor and stick with him or her.

Each organizer does things a little differently, which means not every program will work for you. But don’t bounce around trying to gather the best tips from all of them. Find a person you like, and a program you can afford (some are free), and stick to it until the end. Even if it isn’t the perfect program for you, you will make progress, and will be free to move on to the next project.

6. Set small organization goals.

Don’t try to organize a thousand books in one sitting. You don’t have to dump every article of clothing onto the floor. Break a big job into small pieces and take on one piece at a time. You’ll feel accomplished, and fight off discouragement.

7. Pick the right time of day.

Some of us are morning people. Many people with ADHD are not. There’s no commandment that says you have to work in the morning, so if it’s better for you to work at night, go for it! Be willing to try different times of day.

8. Make positive associations.

Drink your favorite tea or soda while you’re organizing. Allow yourself to listen to that page-turner audiobook while you’re working on your home. If you associate things you like with something that’s difficult, motivation comes easier.

9. Get a

physical roadmap.

If you join an organizing program, print it out and post it somewhere you will see it. If it lives only inside your phone or computer, it’s easy to forget about it. You won’t forget about the 10 sheets of paper on your bulletin board.

10. Trash your trash.

So much of what is “disorganized” in our home is garbage—actual garbage that can get thrown in a trash can, or things that can be recycled, like bottles and paper. Grab a big trash bag, go through your home, and pick up everything that belongs in the garbage. You’ll be shocked at how much clearer your space looks.

11. Declutter your home.

Once the trash is gone, decluttering should be easier. You don’t need to be a minimalist (I’m not!), but keep only the things you love and use. It doesn’t matter whether an item still works, or that you paid good money for it. If you don’t love it or use it regularly, let it go.

12. Focus on

practical solutions.

Pinterest is a great tool, but it can also be intimidating. If your snacks aren’t arranged according to the colors of the rainbow, don’t feel bad. The goal is to have only things that you use and love in your home, and to know where they all are. That’s it! Practicality is all.

13. Find one task to start and complete.

It will give you a feeling of success and motivate you to take the next step. You are building your task-initiation muscle.


Find others you can share your struggles with.

This can be your best friend across town, or a free Facebook group of strangers. When you’re going through the same experiences as someone else, it’s affirming. It’s not just you.

15. Don’t buy anything.

I know that sounds counterintuitive, because home organization sites are full of beautiful bins and baskets. Resist. Declutter first, figure out how your space can be best utilized, and then make only the purchases that will keep you on track.

16. Match your containers to your stuff.

Don’t take up a whole cabinet for spices if you never cook, and don’t jam 30 sweaters into a tiny drawer. Once you’ve decluttered, and you’re keeping only the essentials, you can find containers that function. That may mean making purchases, or it may mean switching dressers with your daughter (who’s at college) because hers is bigger.

17. Monotask.

In my 100-Day Home Organization Program, we focus on one task per day. We don’t organize the entire house in one day; we organize the spice drawer. Monotasking can be hard for a person with ADHD, but having a clear roadmap makes it easier.

18. Get audio clues.

Whether it’s a podcast or an audiobook, hearing your strategies triggers a different response in your brain than reading about them. You can find motivation and direction in the voice of someone who’s been there.

19. Write it down.

If you think it, put it on paper. If you write it down, it’s an object, not just a thought. Objects are much easier to organize than thoughts.

20. Time each task on your to-do list.

I used to hate emptying the dishwasher. I thought it took 20 minutes. So instead of emptying it, I turned on a TV show or did something else. I thought emptying it would take forever. One day, I said, “Let’s time it.” It took four minutes. Knowing that the chore takes four minutes allows me to squeeze it in here and there rather than avoiding it.


Don’t keep a to-do list.

What, am I crazy? I just told you to write everything down! You can keep a master list of tasks you want to achieve, but don’t stare at it every day and hope you get them all done (then feel bad when you don’t). When you plan your week, choose three and only three tasks from your list each day, and bring your focus to those tasks. Yes, you will get only three things done, not a million, but you weren’t going to get a million tasks done anyway.

21. Small progress is still progress.

Three tasks completed is not a hundred, but it’s better than zero. An organized shelf is not an organized pantry, but it’s better than a disorganized shelf. Small progress is still progress.

22. Give everything a home.

Most of us don’t put things away because we never defined what “away” was. The number one mistake I see people make is that they try different organization systems all the time. Change is your enemy. New is not better. Keeping your keys in the same boring spot for 20 years is perfect. Organizing your home is not where you need to show off your creative side.

23. Schedule a time to put items away.

This is a big barrier to organization — not putting things away. At the end of the day, set a timer for 10 minutes to “close down” your home and put things away. No one likes to do this, but if you can make it a habit, it becomes easier and less mentally taxing.

24. Organization is a skill, not a talent.

It’s not something you are born with. It’s a habit that is cultivated over time. It’s never too late to start. And when you do start, get an organizing buddy with similar goals. Encourage each other to make progress in organizing your homes. The best scenario would be for both of you to organize the same spaces in your homes at the same time so you can share ideas.

25. Hire it out.

If you can afford to hire help, do it. You’ll save so much more than money — in time, in lower anxiety — in someone else’s expertise. You can hire out an entire project, or just have someone come and clean after it’s done. You don’t have to do everything yourself.

26. Take “after” photos.

Compare them to the “before” photos. You did it! You made progress. Treat yourself to your favorite drink or a night of relaxation. You deserve it.

27. Give yourself grace.

Your worth as a person has nothing to do with how organized your house is. Refocus the energy you spend on worrying about your home’s condition, and you’ll be free to do what you are created to do.

[Get This Free Download: Clean Up and Get Organized in One Weekend]

Use a Sunday Basket

The Sunday Basket is the system I created to help me get on top of all the paper and daily to-dos I had as an adult. A Sunday Basket is a container — it can be a basket, a box, or a bag — in which you toss all of your paper each week. You will check this container on a regular basis. I check mine on Sunday. For you, it may be Friday or Tuesday. Here’s how to create and use a Sunday Basket:

Step 1. Grab a laundry basket and go on a scavenger hunt around the house. Pick up every piece of paper from every room and put it in the laundry basket. Finding your paper does two things: It gets all the paper out of your rooms, so wherever you go, you’re not going to see paper. That will bring down your stress level and give you some breathing space. Second, you’ll know where to look for things. It might take you 15 minutes to find something, but it won’t take an hour.

Step 2. Make yourself a cup of coffee or have a glass of wine, turn on mindless TV, and sort through the laundry basket, one piece of paper at a time, and divide the pieces into piles: trash, a “to file” pile (insurance statements, tax returns), and a shredding pile. The only thing left in the laundry basket will be actionable items—an invitation to a graduation party, permission slips that have to go back to school, and so on.

Step 3. Work on the actionable items in your basket, setting aside time in your calendar weekly to do this. Some weeks this takes me two hours; other weeks, I can get it done in 15 minutes.

If clutter overwhelms you before you can make any progress in organizing a room, walk into the room with a mission to do one thing—and only one thing.

Session 1: The first thing to do is find everything that is trash. Take a trash bag and talk to yourself, chanting, “Trash, trash, trash.” When you chant “trash,” even if your mind starts to wander, your mouth is saying “trash,” which snaps you out of it. The first time through you will see the obvious trash. The second time through, you’ll think, “Oh, I didn’t see that.”

Session 2: The next time you come into the room, you’re going to chant, “food and dishes.” Collect all the dishes and take them to the sink. Collect all the food and put it away.

Session 3: On the third time through the same space, focus on clothing items. Say, “Clothing, clothing, I’m picking up clothing,” and take it all right into the laundry room.

Now that you’ve gotten the obvious items out of the room, it’s time to do 15-minutes-a-day organizing tasks. Some examples: Go through all the DVDs or collect all the pens and pencils scattered around and put them away.

Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.

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How to stay productive with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

January 13, 2020Productivity

The personal experience of a woman who has built a successful career despite her tendency to procrastinate and forget everything in the world.



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that makes it very difficult for people to focus on anything for long periods of time. According to statistics, 4.4% of the total adult population suffers from this disorder. People with this syndrome experience problems with employment, education, more often abuse alcohol and get into traffic accidents.

However, ADHD is not a death sentence. Some manage to adapt to it. For example, Sasha Kollekat.

Sasha Collecutt

Blogger, training specialist at Fusion Sport.

The diagnosis of ADHD has had a profound effect on my career. I have lived my whole life in the sincere belief that meeting a deadline is like reaching for the clouds in the sky. That choosing clothes before going to work can take all morning. And that criticism must necessarily be discouraging and frustrating.

I understood that my career experience was not normal. And this understanding helped me: I was able to adapt.

I am now 33 years old and have a job that I love and excel at. Each new day brings me interesting tasks that I can foresee, evaluate and solve in a timely manner. Many of my colleagues believe that I am a very responsible and organized person (which surprises me myself).

Various productivity tips and techniques that are good for other people are usually not effective for me. And so, in order to keep my job and achieve career growth, I set myself the task of finding a system that would help me. ADHD usually has a specific effect on executive functions. In my case, the following abilities were affected:

  • Working memory - that is, the ability to retain information in the head for a short period of time. Problems with this characteristic at work make it very difficult to return to your assignment after you have been interrupted or distracted. For the same reason, people with ADHD find it difficult to follow complex instructions.
  • Emotional self-regulation — the ability to correctly build one's behavior depending on the current situation. If you do not have well-developed emotional regulation skills, you will react painfully to criticism and miss out on career opportunities.
  • Self-motivation - the ability to act in accordance with one's desires. Even if you want to improve your life, keeping promises to yourself can be very difficult. And if you do not cope, it will entail sad career and financial consequences.
  • Planning - the ability to foresee the future, reasonably estimate time and predict the results of events. Meeting deadlines, being punctual in meetings, and determining the resources needed for a given task are important in any job. But people with ADHD have a hard time even just thinking about time - this strange, often unrecognized symptom has been studied by specialists from Umeå University in Sweden.

Procrastination and forgetfulness, the eternal companions of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, constantly haunted me at work. They just ruined my career, causing a lot of stress and frustration. And I set myself the goal of dealing with them.

How to deal with procrastination

Constant painful procrastination is one of the main signs of ADHD in adults. This is a real spiritual torture - depressing, exhausting and ... voluntary. And to defeat her, you must make your own choice. I am want to be in the office on time, complete projects on time, be successful and be a great training manager. I don't want to be a bad or at least an average worker.

I believe that procrastination is just a symptom of my disease.

It's like realizing that you're just not prepared for climbing. Yes, it's a problem (let's not pretend ADHD is all about rainbows and unicorns). But this is a problem that can be dealt with.

Don't think about other people's expectations

I am very careful about the things I've been assigned. Instead of thinking that I should do this or that because it is a colleague or client needs , I pull myself together and say to myself: I want to do this because I believe that my tasks are important for I'm . I try to fit my tasks into my own plan for the future and not perceive them as being imposed on me.

When I think I must do something because others expect me to do it, I run the risk of becoming indifferent to it. And it allows the procrastination monster to take over my mind. Therefore, I think of the company's projects as my own initiatives, work schedules as my personal schedule, and so on. I am always looking for ways to motivate myself personally.

Look at the problem differently

If you can't bring yourself to do something, try a more interesting problem. Do not quit what you started and switch to something completely different, no. Just look at the problem from a different angle.

For example, if you are tired of writing the same e-mails with answers to the same questions of colleagues, write a detailed guide and send them a link to it. Instead of tediously entering data manually using the same template, learn the basics of programming and automate the routine.

Delegate low priority projects to subordinates or interns. Ask for help from colleagues. Most importantly, avoid procrastination.

Do something you haven't done before

Procrastination is a merciless beast, but it doesn't adapt well to sudden changes. Take advantage of this. Not working in the office - try doing it in the library, cafe or park with a laptop. Do you usually work in silence? Turn on the music this time.

Buy a new perfume. Eat something unusual for lunch. Rearrange your table. Write with a non-dominant hand. Install another text editor. Change the hours you work. In general, introduce some novelty into the routine, and procrastination will recede. At least for a while.

Fool your procrastination

Sounds silly, but it works. For example, if I can’t get ready for work in the morning, I say to myself: “I’m not going anywhere yet, I’m just packing my things.” Then: “I don’t get into the car yet, but just enjoy the weather outside.” And then, having come to work: “I haven’t sat down at the table yet, I just drink coffee.

And finally, starting the tasks: "I'm not working yet, I'm just sketching out a plan." And by the time the procrastination monster realizes what's going on, I'm already fully immersed in the work process and redoing a bunch of things.

Praise yourself for accomplishments

Finishing important work at 3 am because you have been putting it off for a long time is very unpleasant. You would probably be glad that the deed is done, but, most likely, you will still be angry with yourself that you have been pulling the cat by the tail for so long.

Anger is a bad weapon against procrastination, while contentment and self-pride, on the contrary, help a lot.

Therefore, do not forget to praise yourself for the seemingly smallest victories.

I enjoy going through my to-do list and having fun checking off completed items. Opening the inbox of your email and finding that all emails have been answered - what could be more beautiful? And watching the company thrive because of my efforts is very motivating. And for self-esteem.

Understand the very nature of procrastination

This will help you be a little more tolerant of yourself as you try to curb it. Procrastination is a kind of attempt to restore your mood. This monster is trying to convince you that the pleasure of doing nothing in the short term outweighs all the problems that you will face later as a result of your inactivity.

How to deal with forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is extremely common among people with ADHD. In fact, this is the most common symptom of this disorder. I was very embarrassed because of my bad memory and was constantly criticized and even scorned by others.

I keep forgetting little things. For example, I can suddenly forget what I did yesterday. Or who are my favorite writers. I forget to make regular backups, perform scheduled tasks, and come to appointments and meetings, even if they repeat weekly at the same time.

Dealing with ADHD is hard work, and dealing with forgetfulness requires a lot of effort. Don't waste your resources trying to deal with your weak memory. Focus on acquiring permanent knowledge.


Saying "focus your attention" in an article about ADHD is silly, so I won't tell you that. Observation is much more than just attention.

It requires openness, curiosity, interest and focus on your feelings.

Curiosity is good for people with ADHD. The main thing is that when you observe, do it with the firm intention of understanding and repeating the actions you see yourself.


I read a lot. This is the most efficient way to learn. The more I read, the better I learn. I am not picky in this matter. I read news in the RSS manager, newsletters, media, open access magazines and new books. I borrow, buy and even restore many titles.

Take the time to reread books and absorb, summarize, test, and apply the knowledge you gain through reading. Knowledge is of no use if you do not put it into practice.

Write to

Even the process of writing this article is helping me fight forgetfulness from ADHD. Just like reading an article helps you.

Packing what you know into logical and understandable text is difficult, but doing so reinforces your knowledge.

No wonder students take notes. If you can write by hand instead of typing, even better. As with reading, take the time to reread and rethink what you write down—days, weeks, months, or even years later.

Teach others

Can you explain something of which you are competent to an inexperienced beginner? The ability to share your knowledge is a true sign of professionalism. I teach others to test how deep my knowledge is. This is for me something like a test of my own abilities - how quickly can I pull up a beginner to my personal level.

Enjoy your own learning

Like most people with ADHD, I have an inexorable drive for novelty and surprise. And it's good for learning. The topics that I master are remembered better if they are relevant to my work.

Therefore, I try to gain knowledge about everything that is even remotely related to my field of activity.

Do your best to constantly learn something new in your field. Strive to master all aspects of your work.

Recognize ephemeral knowledge and get rid of it in time

Ephemeral knowledge is information that is useful only for a short time. You need to remember that your flight is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday so you know when to pack and go to the airport. But as soon as you find yourself on a plane, this information can be thrown out of your head without any consequences - as no longer necessary.

Ephemeral knowledge can be easily forgotten and restored later. Therefore, do not waste energy on memorizing such information. Research shows that it's better to remember as Access ephemeral knowledge rather than trying to keep it in your head.

Here are a few examples of such information (I don't even try to remember this information because I know where to get it if needed):

  • The day my colleague left for work (this is written in my calendar).
  • Inverse Vincenty equation (there is a Wikipedia for such things).
  • What Nothofagus pollen looks like (see reference book).
  • Do I need a visa to travel to a particular country (Google will help here).

I have this information stored in many places at the same time. For example, I enter something in my notebook and at the same time make a note on the calendar with a detailed description. I email a note to myself and then forward it to my messenger so it's available on all my devices. I even use sketches on scraps of paper.

But if it's possible to save yourself the trouble of remembering things and deal with them right away, do it. For example, if you think you'll forget to send an email to a client, send it now, without delay. At the same time, save time for more pressing things.

What is the result

I have adapted to my ADHD and it helps me in my life and career. You can do it too. I won't pretend it's easy, but progress is progress.

My goal was to deal with the two main symptoms of ADHD: procrastination and forgetfulness. And I had two strategies:

  • Against procrastination: avoid direct interaction with the procrastination monster.
  • Against forgetfulness: learn what is really important and weed out ephemeral knowledge.

I hope that my experience will be useful for you.

Read also 🧐

  • How to manage attention and concentrate
  • What really goes on in a procrastinator's head
  • How to Recognize and Help Your Child with ADHD

How to Get Organized: Simple Ways to Keep the Important Things Alive


it is difficult to prioritize and not forget about the most important thing. Pink figured out how to organize everyday life so that he can remember important events, get things done, and still not feel endlessly busy.

Our life is filled with interesting events, new experiences, loved ones and exciting tasks. It could be if we remembered everything and managed to do everything. You must have forgotten your friend's birthday at least once in your life. Perhaps for six months you have not been able to activate a certificate for flying in an air tube. The second month you are trying to get to the gym. Sometimes you plan too many things and at the end of the week you feel squeezed out like a lemon, and sometimes you don’t know what to do with the evening. Moreover, somewhere on the phone there is a huge list of films that you want to watch and books that you should read. You haven’t had a manicure for a long time and you haven’t seen a close friend for a thousand years.

You are not to blame. We really live in an era of almost limitless possibilities and a very limited amount of time. In order to correctly distribute it and live a cherished full life, you can try to organize everything correctly. The good news is that even the most spontaneous of us can do it.

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Chances are you do keep lists of movies and books, household and work activities, interesting events and places somewhere. To make these lists come to life, you need to integrate them a little bit into your plans. Try at the beginning of each week (or Sunday evening) to open all these lists and choose from them a few items for implementation: one or two films, a new cafe, a couple of household chores that you have been putting off for a long time. Study your schedule for the next seven days - it is quite possible that a meeting with a friend can be combined with a trip to the museum, and a business lunch can be held in the same cafe where you have not been able to reach for several months. Free up one evening for an important task or try to combine it with something pleasant (and also useful): for example, after a preventive trip to the doctor, go to a salsa lesson at the nearest dance studio. Turn planning into a game where you need to optimally arrange all the things, places and people. The beauty is that you don’t have to come up with anything from scratch: just run through all the notes in a notebook or phone, there are sure to be a lot of ideas.

There are two big approaches to planning: when you focus on current tasks or start from long-term projects (for example, set goals for the year, break them down into quarterly tasks, and so on). No matter which approach you prefer, any effective planning requires a calendar to help you keep track of time and to-do lists. They can be organized on paper or electronically, put together or kept separate—any method that works for you will be effective.

If you prefer to write everything down on paper, try the Bullet Journal, a special kind of diary that has become incredibly popular in the West. Especially it will appeal to those who love long-term planning. Its feature is flexibility: anyone can customize the magazine to fit their specific tasks and schedules. An exhaustive description of the method can be found on the website of its founder, graphic designer Ryder Carroll. You can also buy ready-made "bullet journals" there, but this is not necessary.

Take an empty notebook of a format convenient for you (it is better to choose a square) and number all the pages yourself. The first page will be occupied by the content, and all the rest will be divided into two types in the filling process. Some will become a place for planning months, weeks and days (in the classic method, tasks need to be marked with dots, reminders with a dash, and events with a circle). Others will become the basis for your goals and desires: plans for the year, travel ideas, gift wish lists, educational courses, drafts, shopping lists, and in general everything that is important not to forget. You can create a separate page "People I want to see more often" or "Silhouettes and colors in clothes that definitely suit me." Add page numbers to the content - then you can easily find them at the right time. The beauty of the magazine is that the "thematic" page can be crammed in between the "weekly", but the structure of the diary will not suffer from this.

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A kind of "bullet journal" can be created electronically. To get started, try the simplest tools that are in any phone and computer: save ideas in Notes, write down tasks in Reminders, mark events and meetings in Calendar. The main thing is to use all three tools in any planning, then you definitely won’t miss anything.

The easiest way to combine all the elements is to create an Excel spreadsheet with different tabs. Build the first one according to the principle of a weekly calendar, devote the second to business, the third to places, and so on. You can use personal task managers in which everything is already built and sorted (for example, Todoist), or limit yourself to Google Calendar, which allows you to set tasks and write down reminders.

When organizing time, try to take into account individual characteristics. If life weighs you down by the minute, leave as many free windows in your schedule as possible. Remember or track when you have bursts of productivity: perhaps the main heap of things is better planned in the morning, because by noon you run out of steam; if you have a “sleepy” afternoon when you don’t feel like doing anything, you can insert a walk, reading or light household chores there. Keep the space clean - the less chaos surrounds you, the easier it is to keep organized in business.

If you need extra motivation, try the kanban method. It has become popular in the IT field, but is ideal for solving any problem. In the simplest version, you will need a board or a free wall. Divide the space into three columns: To Do, Doing, Done. First, stick stickers with tasks for a certain period of time (day, week or month, if we are talking about big things). When you are ready to start implementing the item, move the sticker with it to the “Doing” column. At the end of the period, all or most of the stickers should be in the far right "Done" column.

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