When it comes to managing the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD or ADD, nothing is quite as frustrating as doing everything right and putting the effort into using all of the organizational tools, electronic organizers, and ADHD planners available to you only to have them not work for your ADD mind for some reason.
One of the most useful computer tools for ADHD available in most office environments without having to go through the trouble of getting new software or utilities installed on your work computer is Microsoft Outlook. Using Outlook can be one of the good ADHD tips.
In some way, MS Outlook is an ADDer’s worst nightmare. There are so many buttons, icons, and features, not to mention tons of functionality from other programs just a few clicks away, that one can easily get distracted and end up spending 45 minutes configuring your Google Gmail email account to synchronize with your Microsoft Outlook email client when you should be working on that presentation that is due in two hours.
On the other hand, all of those planners, calendars, task managers, and to-do lists can be wonderful for the adult with ADHD when used properly. In order to make these computerized organization tools work for ADHD you have to know how to get the most out of each of the different settings and functions. For example, tasks are great, but if you never click the tasks section, you will never see the list. Furthermore, if you don’t always input your tasks on the task list, then important tasks will slip by unnoticed.
I’ll be covering some of the great ways to use Outlook to organize your schedule and tasks more efficiently for ADD people. However, for today, I just wanted to convey one very important ADHD trick for people who use Outlook to help them stay organized.
Use Outlook Pop-Up Reminders To Improve ADHD Scheduling
The number one problem with any planner, calendar, or organizer used by adults with ADHD, or teens or kids with ADD for that matter, is remembering to actually use it and look at it. Too many of us have written everything down somewhere only to forget to ever look at what we wrote down. The reminder feature of MS Outlook helps prevent this problem.
By setting a reminder on your scheduled events, you get a right in your face, can’t ignore it, pop-up when your event is coming up. The default reminder goes off 15 minutes before the event starts. You ADDers already know where this is going. You read the reminder, and that is good. Then you click the Dismiss button and go back to what you were doing for “just a few more minutes.” Next thing you know, you are twenty minutes late for that meeting that you just got the reminder for.
To avoid this problem, don’t click dismiss. Click Snooze. That way, the reminder will come up again in five minutes. Do this even if you are planning to start the new even right away. There is no harm in a reminder window popping up and staying open on your computer screen while you are away working on your new task. You can just click Dismiss when you return. On the other hand, there can be a lot of harm if what you meant to happen when you clicked the Dismiss button didn’t actually end up happening as is so often the case.
Try it. Spend a week clicking Snooze and not clicking Dismiss until it pops back up and interrupts you working on your new task. You’ll be surprised at just how much this improves your time organization.