Getting Organized When You Have ADHD
How to Organize Home Systems for ADD
For those with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), the ability to focus, plan ahead, and stay organized can prove challenging. But learning how to organize home systems for ADD individuals will provide ways for them to get things done in a way more natural to them. Everyone has their own organizational system, so it is important to find a system that works for your family as you learn to manage ADD's impact on your lives.
Create to-do lists.Individuals with ADD like to see things visually. Write down tasks that need to be completed. This can include regular housework as well as special projects for work or school.
- Break large projects into smaller ones. If children have a research paper due at school, for example, help them make a list of steps that can be taken to complete the project.
- Set a timer for certain tasks so that the individual with ADD knows when it is time to take a break or move on to the next task. The timer helps keep them from getting sidetrack or losing sight of time.
Color code items around your house.This can include towel sets, dishes, toy bins, files, and bedroom sets. Color coding helps those with ADD keep things organized by adding a visual element to each item. The individual with ADD can then transfer this organizational system to their study or work environment.
Keep a regular schedule.Have a morning and bedtime routine. Eat meals at the same time each night. Hang a family calendar so everyone knows when special events are coming up. Plan ahead as much as you can, but plan to be a little,if needed, for detours along the way if the schedule needs to be revised to accommodate for minor changes.
Create work rooms.It is important to limit distractions while individuals with ADD study or work. Creating separate study areas and entertainment or play areas will remove potential distractions. Keep the work room simple. Give them the tools they need to work and leave everything else out.
Get support from others.Your local community may offer resources to help your family put organizational systems in place. Ask people who are naturally well-organized to help you and your family find a good organizational system to use. You can also ask others for encouragement.
Focus on your family.Keep your priorities in check. Setting up a home organizational system is important for individuals with ADD, but having a positive home environment is probably the best thing you can provide for them.
- Have family nights. Laughing and talking together is a great way to invest in those relationships. It also provides an opportunity for you to model positive social skills that the individual with ADD needs to see.
- Encourage each family member to take some time for themselves. Everyone needs time to refresh. If that means that some chores occasionally go undone, it is okay.
- Be respectful and accepting at home. This creates an environment where the individual with ADD can continue learning self-efficiency and study/work skills to better manage their ADD.
- Technology can be a useful tool to help individuals with ADD stay organized. Look for software or devices that work for your family such as online calendars.
- Do not think that everything must always be cleaned and picked up. Allow room for some flexibility and let some things slide. The family and the person with ADD will be far happier.
Sources and Citations
- Silverman, Stephan M., Jacqueline S. Iseman, and Sue Jeweler. School Success for Kids with ADHD. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press, Inc, 2009.
- Kelly, Kate, and Peggy Ramundo. The ADDed Dimension. New York: Scribner, 1997.
- Solden, Sari. Journeys Through ADDulthood. New York: Walker Publishing Company, 2002.
- Barkley, Russell A., and Christine M. Benton. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD. New York: Guilford Press, 2010.
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