6 Tips for Organizing with ADD

 organizing with ADD

Are you ashamed of your piles and your clutter?  You are not alone.  I have talked to hundreds of people over the years that feel the exact same way. You would think shame would be a good motivator but it is not.  It actually wastes more energy keeping you stuck.

If you are dealing with ADD or have a hard time focusing… getting your life organized can seem like a huge mountain to climb.  However it can be done!  The trick is to not focus on getting super organized.  If you are just starting out this can be an unrealistic (and frustrating goal if you have ADD).   Make it a goal to get “Good Enough” organized.  After all you are not a professional organizer and you are not Martha Stewart…and you can always find ways to tweak and improve down the road if the desire arises.

6 Tips for Organizing with ADD

1) Write it Down:  writing your to-dos down will make a HUGE difference on your mental health.  Even people who don’t have ADD have a hard time remembering. 

2) Set a timer for 20-30 minutes to begin and organized one specific area. A shelf, drawer, cupboard, a section of your closet etc.  If you stick to this plan you will be more likely to do it again tomorrow or next day.  If you go over your allotted time you could dread doing this exercise again.  The Time Timer works great because it is not only a timer but the “red” slipping away is a fantastic visual.  You can also set the time on your microwave or cell phone.

3) Limit the amount of TV you watch!  TV is full of useless information that can damage our peace of mind.  TV is constantly throwing images, words and noise at your brain which will no doubt add to your mental clutter.  Actually if you are feeling mentally unhealthy or suffer from ADD/ADHD it is a good idea to limit all electronics: video games and the internet.  Studies have shown that too much of these can actually predispose these traits.

4)  Ask for help!  See if a trusted friend or even hire a professional organizer.  It is much easier to get things accomplished when you have someone to help you.  This person can help you stay focused and not allow you to quit!  Be open with this person about your struggles and tell them exactly what you need from them.




5) Make it a priority to spend time with positive people in your life on a weekly basis.  Human contact is a necessity for all of us.  Surround yourself with people who love you, people who want to see you succeed and lift you up when you are low.  Eliminate your time with those that do not do these things.

6)  When you organize start with sorting.  Place everything sorted into a pile, bin or box labeled:




            -Not sure

Organizing Tip of the Day

-Know your strengths not just your weaknesses.  Have pride in doing something well and praise yourself for it. 

-Everything you feel is based on love or fear.  Always try to choose love.

-Structure is one of the best things you can have if you are dealing with ADD.  According to Dr. Ratey of Driven to Distraction, useful devices and new habits can help more than any medication.  This is why it is so important to have a home for everything and systems in place for your tasks.

-Adequate sleep, regular exercise and a balanced diet are keys for a mentally healthy lifestyle.

*I have created a special tool to help you stay focused this year.  Try it: Free Printable: Inner Clutter Checklist for 2014

Happy Organizing

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Hi there! I am Jennifer Ford Berry or some people like to call me "Life's Organization Expert". I am super passionate about helping people get organized and stay that way! I have written a series of books called Organize Now! I contribute my organizing tips to National magazines, radio and TV shows. I am here to help you realize that your life is not about stuff...it is about living! YOU can live an organized, healthy and exciting life one baby step at a time. Let me show you how!

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5 replies
  1. Alli
    Alli says:

    I love the tips in this post. Life with ADD can be really tough. The little things that seem so effortless and easy for most can feel like mountains to an ADDer. These tips are great! the timer one is the best one I’ve found yet, even on my “scattered” days I can still set it for 5 or 10 minutes and get something done, even if I don’t finish.
    Thanks for sharing these!

  2. Lisa Mallis
    Lisa Mallis says:

    Great post, Jennifer! As a coach who works with many clients that have ADHD, I love your tips! Especially “organized enough”. I have one clients that organizes his receipts into 2 boxes for taxes. One box is for personal, one box is for business. It works for him – he gets his taxes done on time each year!


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