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Living with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) offers unique challenges in staying organized and managing daily tasks.

The impulsivity, distractibility (squirrel!), and the often overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start can make getting organized seem like an impossible task.

However, with smart strategies and an understanding of how ADD/ADHD affects organization, you can create a system that works for you, all while enhancing productivity and reducing stress at the same time.

Without further delay, let’s jump into some practical tips and methods for getting organized with ADD/ADHD.

Understanding ADD/ADHD

Understanding how ADD/ADHD affects you personally is the very first step toward getting organized.

Some people might be more forgetful, while others might struggle with starting tasks.

Knowing your specific challenges will help you tailor organization strategies to your needs.

Next, accept that you have ADD/ADHD and work with ti, instead of wishing it away.

The truth is that you do have some super powers, and harnessing these powers and unleashing them at the right time will serve you best.

Embrace the ADD/ADHD

Accepting that some tasks might be harder for you because of ADD/ADHD is crucial.

Instead of fighting against your natural tendencies, find ways to work with them.

This might mean breaking tasks into smaller steps or using reminders and alarms more frequently.

As Marie Forleo says, it’s all “figureoutable.”

Let this be your new mantra.

Adopt the mindset of figuring it out and making it work rather than being critical of yourself and letting that stop any potential change.

Beautifully simple blank weekly calendar planner page that is a perfect addition to any DIY printable planner as a planner insert. Great organizing printable with integrated meal planning block!

Create an Organized Environment

Let’s prime your space for an organized life.

Reduce Clutter

A cluttered space can be overwhelming and distracting for anyone, but it’s especially so for individuals with ADD/ADHD.

Start by decluttering your most used spaces, like your desk or bedroom.

Limiting the number of items actually present in your space can have a profound effect and make it incredibly easier to not only keep a space organized, but also more easily find what you’re looking for in the first place.

Fewer items mean less decisions to make, fewer items to maintain and less opportunities for shiny object syndrome.

One of my favorite suggestions is to buy experiences, not objects.  

You won’t have the same issue with memories as you will with physical objects turning into clutter.  

This is one tip that actually works for everyone, whether or not neurodivergent, because most of us have too much stuff because we’ve been conditioned to consume, buy and “support the economy.”

Use Visual Aids

Visual aids can be incredibly helpful during the organizing process itself, and will help to keep the process on track.

And visual aids can also help maintain an organized space too.

This might include using color-coded folders, labels, and calendars.

If you choose to go the color-coded route, use the same color across items.

For example, if your digital Google or Apple calendar is blue and your spouse or partner’s is green, also use blue file folders for your documents and green for your spouse/partner.

Consistency builds familiarity, which will begin to register in your brain and make things more familiar and less easy to forget.

Human brains also recognize images faster than text, so use this to your advantage by adding labels when possible.

But it’s important to label things correctly.

Especially in storage areas where bins are being moved around, put the labels where you’ll actually see them- on at least 3 sides of a box or container.

Also be sure to use a bold font to make sure the lettering on the label can be clearly seen, even in less than bright light.

Here are some of my favorite home organization labels, for pretty much every area in your home:

black and white and colorful printable home organizing labels with text and icons

There’s a set of labels for every area of your home, from the bathroom to garage and everything in between.

Time Management

Managing your time with a neurodivergent brain is another challenge that disrupts and organized routine.

A great strategy for managing your time better, especially if your struggle with being late all the time, is to break tasks into smaller steps.

This is smart because large tasks can seem insurmountable when you have ADD/ADHD.

Break tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps.

This not only makes it easier to start a task but also provides a clear roadmap of what needs to be done.

Avoid the urge to judge yourself that things aren’t happening as fast as you’d like. Any progress counts as a win!

Another fantastic tactic is to use timers and alarms to cue progress and manage your time better.

Time management can be challenging when you’re easily distracted.

Use timer and alarms

Using timers and alarms can help keep you on track.

Set alarms for different tasks throughout the day or use a timer to dedicate focus time to specific tasks.

Our phones are wonderful tools for helping here, especially since you can add a label and name the alarm, so you know exactly why it’s going off and won’t have to think about it even for a second.

Setting time limits for decision making is a great strategy to keep a person with ADD / ADHD from getting stuck as suggested in this article.  

Not having a set time to make a decision can lead to paralysis.

You can also avoid getting sucked into different things (Facebook, Pinterest, and other black holes of time-suckage are prime examples) and have hours whizz by unbeknownst to you by using this timer tactic as well.    

And once you set the timer, abide by it!  

When the timer dings, you are done with the task and need to move onto the next thing on your schedule.

Look at your currently schedule of life and things that seem to slip your mind.

What nudges can you add in the form of a timer or alarm to help keep you on track?

Prioritize a few to add at first.

Don’t try to add all the timers and alarms you might need all at once, or it’ll devolve into overwhelm and stall any potential progress.

Work on building up a new routine, working with a schedule that accommodates your life’s demands.

Make it into a Game

Turning the alarm into a game is another great strategy for making the most of your time.

I regularly suggest this timer game strategy with my clients ad well as practice it in my home too.

Give the linked article a read to learn all about the gamification of simple alarms and how it can help you make huge progress towards your goal of an more organized life.

Leverage Technology

Embrace technology to support you as needed.

This may just mean carving out some time to learn about the possibilities.

Once great source for learning to use Apple products is the MacMost YouTube channel.

Gary has a straightforward and easy to understand explanation of everything in the Apple ecosystem.

I’ve personally learned so much from him and have leveled up my use of tech so that it’s more full supporting me in my daily routine.

There are numerous apps designed to aid in organization and time management. Find one that suits your needs, whether it’s a to-do list app, a calendar app, or something more specialized for ADD/ADHD management.

But keep things simple! It’s super easy to go down the rabbit hole looking for a shiny new to do list.

After months of searching for the perfect To Do List app, I finally just learned how to use the Reminders App on my iPhone and it has served me well. Courtesy of MacMost, of course!

Schedules are your friend

Next, embrace schedules as a key tool to manage your life on the daily.

Keep in mind, not all calendars will work for every person.  

Find the system you prefer, electronic or paper, and stick with it!

365 Days to an Organized Your Organizing Calendar pages splayed out on an angle with teal cover on top against white background

Once calendar that moves the needle forward is the 365 Days to an Organized You Organizing Calendar.

It’s a perpetual calendar with a different daily task to take care of.

When followed, it helps to build routines and habits that will support and organized lifestyle, which is exactly what you need!

Seek Support

Before we wrap up these tips for getting organized with ADD/ADHD, let’s talk about getting support in your journey to a more organized life.

Consider working with a therapist or coach who specializes in ADD/ADHD.

They can provide personalized strategies and support for managing symptoms and improving organization skills.

I’ve worked with many neurodivergent clients over the years and enjoy helping them create new routines and finding ways to embrace the ADD/ADHD and harness the power of their brain’s differences.

Click here to learn more about working with me.

Over to you!

Getting organized with ADD/ADHD requires patience, understanding, and a bit of creativity.

By tweaking organization strategies to fit your unique needs and challenges, it’s entirely possible to create a system that helps you manage daily tasks more effectively.

Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.

Celebrate the small victories and continue to refine your strategies as you learn what works best for you.

An organized life is within your reach if you work towards it using the strategies outlined in this article.

Happy organizing!

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