3 Great Ways to Organise When You Have ADHD
Want to organise your life? Here are 3 great methods every person with ADHD needs to know.
Method #1: Stay On Top Of Chores With A Tracker
Getting the overwhelming household tasks out of your head and onto a tracker is the core idea with this method. It will show exactly what needs doing around the house, when it needs doing, and when it last got done.
Without some sort of tracker, it's hard for us to hold that much information about all these different tasks in our heads.
To make a monthly task tracker, list all the tasks you need to get done each week along one axis, and the days of the week along the other. This gives you a visual snapshot of what needs to get done and when.
A thicker border is drawn around the squares on the dates each task is due. When the task actually gets done, the rest of the square is shaded in.
If the task doesn't get done on the day it should have been done, shade in the square on the date it was actually done. This way, it's easy to see the areas of most difficulty and look to make improvements.
Task trackers can also be used for less frequent tasks, which is particularly useful for the ADHD brain as it's often difficult to remember things that need doing at regular intervals but are spaced far apart. Examples of other things to use a task tracker for include:
routine pet care
reading the meter
Method #2: Delegate, Outsource, And Automate Household Chores
One thing is for sure, it's a great idea to delegate some household responsibilities to others, whether they are other people in the household, people hired to help, or automated services.
This comes down to the fact that nobody should have to take on all the responsibility of household chores and organisation without the help and support of others.
It's common to feel as though doing it all should be easy, but this creates a situation where overwhelm is likely. Household chores are many, varied, and generally time-dependent, none of which are areas that the ADHD brain finds easy to deal with.
Trying to cope with it all can lead to a disorganised home life and lower self-esteem. We are worth more!
So the next step here is to divide up the chores evenly so everyone in the household has an equal share. To decide who does what, consider that each person in the household will have strengths and weaknesses; for example, one person may be more suited to handling the bills and running errands, while another manages the cooking and cleaning.
If difficulty finishing tasks is a problem, one solution is to divide tasks in a way that one person starts them, and another completes them (make sure this is accounted for in the arrangement to avoid resentments).
If living alone, or if chores are still too much, consider hiring a cleaner or doing food shopping online for delivery. Automate things such as bill payments, or pre-scheduled regular deliveries of staple household items.
Method #3: Prioritise Effectively
The key idea with this method is to learn how to effectively prioritise time. By learning to do this, our limited time and energy is directed towards the right things, instead of being scattered and ineffective.
It's hard for the ADHD brain to effectively prioritise what should get done and in what order. We often prioritise by categories that aren't particularly helpful, such as whatever is most urgent, the easiest, what we feel like doing, or the loudest requests and demands of others. None of these methods of prioritising are in line with what's most conducive to our wellbeing, or the attainment of our long-term goals.
My suggestion to you now is to use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to effectively prioritise. Here's how! Divide a page into four and write the following headings in the sections:
Important, Not Urgent
Not Important, Urgent
Not Important, Not Urgent
List all tasks under the appropriate heading, then do the tasks in order.
The first priority is section 1, what's important and urgent. That much is obvious. However, the tendency of the ADHD brain is to then move to section 3 — not important, urgent — because we are focused on the now.
Instead, we need to ensure we work on section 2 — important, not urgent — before working on section 3. If something is not important, why are we wasting our time? Probably because it feels important due to its urgency. This is usually untrue! Remember, "What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important." — Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The only way we can ensure we work on important, not urgent tasks is when they become urgent. This often happens unintentionally and unhealthily when we procrastinate until the deadline is upon us, then we rush to get it done.
But there are the tasks that will never become urgent, and simply won't ever get done because we will never have a deadline.
A better way to make sure we work on important tasks is to make them urgent before they actually are. That way, they move from section 2 to section 1, and we work on them right away. We can do this by setting ourselves targets, goals, and deadlines. A Bullet Journal can be very helpful for this.
With section 3, if the not important, urgent tasks don't get done, the deadline has passed and it clearly didn't matter because it wasn't important. These can now be safely dispensed with altogether. With section 4... if a task isn't important and it isn't urgent, why spend any time on it at all?
Time is a precious resource. By using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, unnecessary time sinks and the reactive anxiety of always dealing with what's urgent can all be filtered out, and we start to work on what's important, instead.
Experiment with these three methods of organising, and begin to move forward with confidence. Going through these 3 methods is a great start for any person with ADHD!
But this really is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to stay on task once you've started, this blog post lays it all out for you! Check it out here.