ADHD is hard to deal with when you are a kid, but having ADHD as an adult can be even more difficult. Here are some brain-based tips to help you manage your time and attention so that you can actually get things done!
1. Do a Power Hour of Activity
(or if that’s too long try 15 minute chunks)
Sometimes there are little tasks that get pushed aside because they seem insignificant and they aren’t an immediate priority. (For example: writing thank you notes, filing away papers, calling the cable company to fix something on your account, etc.) But when these little tasks pile up they can seem like a mountain of work. The power hour is a time to chip away at the little To Dos that have been draining you. Set your clock for an hour and try to get as much done in that time.
2. Do Something with Your Hands
Wonder why fidget spinners gained popularity so quick? It’s because they work! Hands down, this is the best way to give your restless fingers something constructive to do. And spinners aren’t the only option: there is Play-doh, silly putty, squishy toys, etc. If you’re looking for a more adult way to tame your digits, you can always opt for Ben Wa balls or therapy putty.
3. Straighten Your Space (One area at a time)
The more organized your environment, the more at peace you will feel, and the more you will be able to get done. As Gretchen Rubin says “outer order creates inner calm.” Start small and tackle one space at a time.
4. Make a To Do List EVERY DAY
For someone with ADHD, nothing feels better than crossing things off your To Do list and getting stuff done. But the only way this can happen is to actually make a To Do list. Yes. Every day. (Every day that you want to get stuff done, that is.) Not a pen and paper person? Jot down pending tasks on your phone or download an app to manage your To Dos.
5. Prioritize the Importance of Tasks
Not every task holds the same importance, so when you are making your To Do list put the most urgent tasks at the top. This seems obvious but when you have ADHD it is easy to fixate on the small things which can eat up time.
6. Snap a Picture of Your To Do List (or Shopping List) on your Phone
Ever go to the grocery store only to discover you forgot your shopping list at home? If you are a paper list kind of person, make a habit out of snapping pictures on your phone. This way your lists will be accessible even if you leave it on the kitchen table.
7. Think About Your Diet
There is a strong link between nutrition and ADHD. A diet high in protein and low in sugar and artificial flavoring has been found to lesson the symptoms of ADHD. Why? Protein-rich foods are used by the body to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals released by brain cells to communicate with each other. Protein can prevent surges in blood sugar, which increase hyperactivity. (Source)
8. Set up Auto Pay for All of Your Bills
With a million things to remember why not make your life easier? Putting your bills on auto pay is usually an easy, quick process and it simplifies your monthly To Do list.
9. Time Yourself with Music
Chunking your work into small, manageable tasks is a great way to accomplish things, but try taking it a step further. Putting your tasks to music will give you a time frame in which to complete the activity. How much laundry can you fold during a song? Can you put away all of the dishes before the commercial break comes on the radio? Try making a play list for your morning routine.
10. Write Notes in Dry Erase Marker on Your Bathroom Mirror
This is an age-old suggestion but creating a visual reminder of your tasks helps you get them done.
It’s no surprise that exercise makes your body healthier but it can also help combat the symptoms of ADHD. Exercise increases dopamine levels in the brain which helps improve focus and attention.
12. Color Code Everything
People with ADHD benefit from structure and visual stimulation. Color coding helps draw focus and helps organize information in the brain. You can color code just about anything from your shopping lists, to your family files, your bills, your email inbox…the possibilities are endless!
13. Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You Need
One thing many people with ADHD struggle with is being on time, or estimating how long it will take to accomplish a task. Whether you are meeting friends for dinner, running a few errands, or driving to the store, try adding 30 minutes to your time estimation. Your friends and family will be shocked by your promptness.
14. Get Rid of Things
Simplifying your life means you will have less distractions. When you straighten your space, remember that cramming junk into storage isn’t the only option. It’s okay to throw things away or donate them.