Some tips and techniques to help adults with ADHD-ADD or kids with ADHD-ADD are complicated. Others are little tricks that are so easy that they might seem like they couldn’t possibly help, but they do.
One trick that many people with ADHD-ADD find helpful is to add color to standard organization tools.
Customizing ADHD-ADD Planners
If you have a planner you use as your ADD planner, try adding some color to it and see how the planner’s organizational effectiveness increases.
There are some requirements.
First, the colors must be mutable, that is they must change from page to page, weekly, monthly, or whatever. Having a colored block or area pre-printed on your planner won’t help, because your mind will eventually block it out.
Essentially, the ADHD-ADD mind begins to ignore things it perceives as common, boring, or rote. The first time it encounters a colorful page in your planner, it will gleefully pay attention to all of the colors (perhaps at the same time).
But, as each page goes on, the brain becomes more used to the colors and perceives them not as new and novel, but as the same old thing. As such, the ADHD mind will not divert its attention from whatever else is occupying it to make anything other than a cursory note of those colors.
Instead of getting pre-colored pages or sheets, use highlighters or markers to add your own dynamic colors.
For example, highlight your most critical task in the to-do list in yellow. Highlight that critical can’t miss meeting in orange. Highlight your spouse’s birthday in blue. Write that important website to check out in purple ink.
Be sure to not overdo the color. Too many colors becomes just so much noise to any brain, especially the ADHD-ADD brain. Try and have just four or five colors (not including your usual black or blue ink) and use them sparingly.
Lastly, do not highlight the same things the same way each time. Again, the key is to make the page look new and different, not to always have a 9:00am staff meeting highlighted in orange.
Change the color used to highlight your critical to-do item with the color you used to highlight your critical meeting. Also, experiment with thick highlighting, think highlighting, highlighting a whole line and highlighting just a few key words.
You’ll find that there are two major benefits.
One benefit is that you have to actually go through that list you only half-read anymore in order to find the items that you want to highlight which means you will get more exposure to your whole list.
The second benefit is that your mind’s eye will constantly pop to each colored item because they are constantly in different locations and different colors which means you might actually not ignore that super-critical-top-of-the-list item that somehow normally just seems to blend in with things so instead you end up focusing on something like setting the Tivo to record So You Think You Can Dance.