Whether you were just diagnosed with ADD / ADHD, or if you were diagnosed a long time ago, organization is an ongoing challenge. Knowing yourself and reading about your ADHD is a good start. Whether you are taking ADD medication, or trying some alternative ADD therapies, you know that medicine alone won’t change your organization and time management habits.
So, what will?
Fake It Until You Make It
If you are an adult with ADD, chances are that you have owned more than your fair share of planners, calendars and organizers in your life. You may have even looked for a specific planner for people with ADD. The truth is that an organizer or calendar is essential for time management and organization. Just because it hasn’t worked before doesn’t mean it never will.
On the other hand, if you are still struggling with ADD organization and time management, I recommend getting a physical, paper calendar, organizer, or just a notebook. The reason is that you are trying to change an established habit. The best way to do that is to do something new. If you aren’t used to carrying around a planner, then starting to do so, is something new.
The catch, as you probably know, is that it won’t take right away. You’ll forget your planner at home; you’ll leave it sitting on your desk. Even worse, you’ll write things in it and then forget all about it, or you’ll forget to write important things in it in the first place. It doesn’t matter. Keep at it.
New ADHD Organization Habits
They say it takes six weeks to turn something into a habit. I don’t know if that is a solid number, but I do know that it takes time. The trick to developing an organizer, calendar, planner habit is to keep trying to use it.
Start by taking it with you. Throw it in your work bag. Carry it out and set it on the front seat of your car. Take it into a restaurant. Bring it with you to meetings. First, you might be developing nothing more than the habit of having it with you, even if you forget to read it, or write in it. But, don’t worry, that is step one.
Once you have a habit of carrying it with you, you will slowly develop a habit of using it. Maybe it will be when you have forgotten all about it, but you need a piece of paper and realize, “Wait! I have my planner right here.”
Maybe, you’ll need to remember something, or find a piece of information, and you’ll realize that you have your planner with you, and the data you need is right at your fingertips.
The key is to keep taking it with you, even if you don’t use it. Do TRY and use it, but make your focus just having it with you.
Just today, I realized that I needed a website that I had looked at but forgot all about. As a shot in the dark, I flipped through my notebook (and noticed TONS of great stuff that I forgot about. Need to remember to pull this thing out more often.) There it was, a quick note about the website, and it’s address. It saved me tons of online searching and wasted time.
The best part is, that’s one reward for my unconscious brain about the value of my notebook organizer. Enough of those, and instead of subconsciously forgetting about it all of the time, I’ll start subconsciously remembering it.
BTW, my latest notebook (not calendar, just notebook) is a Miquelrius. It has the subject sections broken out not by tabs, but by colors at the edge of the sheets. Not that I don’t have 50 other types sitting on my shelf right now. Perhaps a blog post about all my empty, and just barely started notebooks is in order