EZ Organization tips or links for somone with Adult ADD
March 22, 2013 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Although it has long been a suspicion, I have every sign of having Adult ADD. I tend to do most of the things in the checklist (multitask without finishing many tasks, forget things, tons of lists and forgotten "helpful" notes, watch a movie in 10 minute intervals while doing 4 other things never to finish many movies, reading at current count 22 books, impulsive behavior -- well, you get the drift.) I am curious in the short run, what might have helped you with simple organization at work and at home. Feel free to share any tips and web sites. I hope to move on to some books (I have many checked out from the 'brary) but need a small step approach. My artistic side is keeping me sane and hopefully your tips can help me get a kick-start. (As far as medication, I am in consultation with a dr but want to try some diet/exerisie/organic things first. And yes, I abuse parentheses like nobody's business.) I am going through this previous link as well.
posted by snap_dragon to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Flylady.net.

Start slow. Clean your sink. The effects are multidimensional. And don't get hyper-attentive or feel like you have to do everything all at once. Start and stop on time.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:18 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Flylady helped me to organize my housework; a daily mail saying "clean storage room for 15 minutes" was really helpful to get out of the "oh god, must do 25 things, where to start" issue. Lately, they sadly spam a LOT unrelated testemonial mails. If that's a managable distraction for you, it might help to build a schedule. (I made a spam filter to sort out anything with "testemonial", so I just get the daily task mails.)
posted by MinusCelsius at 4:20 PM on March 22, 2013

Get a clip for your keys.
posted by yohko at 4:36 PM on March 22, 2013

Best answer: UFYH is an excellent site- they're very big on making yourself take a break. 20/10 means you clean for 20 mins, then take a break for 10, no matter what. This makes even the most daunting task far less overwhelming.
posted by Neeuq Nus at 5:18 PM on March 22, 2013

Best answer: Smartphone. My phone has been the best thing for keeping track of details. SO MANY THINGS you can do and keep track of. A lot of distraction potential, but a way to keep everything consolidated. I'm happy to recommend specific apps if desired, but as far as a tool, that's number one.

I also concur with UFYH, the welcome packet is a good place to start.
posted by HermitDog at 6:01 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have a habit of locking yourself out: Never go through a door without first pausing and taking hold of the keys that you need to return. Every door that closes. Stop: Do I need keys to go back? Do I have those keys. It will slow you down by half a second several times a day, and save you a ton of money in locksmith fees and many hours spent waiting to get back in the house/car.

Find a space to put your keys within your house and try as hard as possible to put the keys there before you do anything else after walking in the door. Make it a religion: I will put the keys on the hook. I will put the keys on the hook. I will put the keys on the hook.

If you master that one, start hanging up your jacket in the closet as soon as you hang up the keys. Then work on taking anything you are carrying and putting those things in designated places -- purse/briefcase should have a home or resting space near the front door. Food goes away immediately. Mail should at least have a pile that you deal with frequently. Junk mail gets tossed/recycled.

When it seems like too much, take a deep breath and do your best.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 6:31 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have a bunch of different systems with failsafes in them.

Google calendar. All appointments, colour coded. Reminder set for email and pop up. Use it on my phone as well.

My Book: A5 binder with the following sections:
Books, movies, music - to get, see, read
Year long calendar (A4 folded)
Daily planner - self designed to include regular daily activities (schedule, tasks, shopping list, spending)
Goals and plans to reach
Meetings (blank sheets for me to take notes)
Reference material (dewey decimal system, conversion, that sort of thing)
Phone numbers (of course they're in my phone as well)
Passwords - I have a major problem remembering these
List of things to take daily (so I pack my bag with necessities, like medication, wallet)
Global to do list - everything on it, sorted by categories - updated say monthly
Weekly action sheet
Plastic sleeve with my prescriptions in it, and if ongoing, referral letters to specialists.
Anxiety tips
Cognitive distortions worksheets
Long term shopping list
Regular household tasks list.

Now I don't use these all regularly and i know I won't. I get bored using the same method all the time.

Sometimes I schedule my entire day 30 min by 30 min in google calendar.Sometimes my to do list might be written on a large sheet of paper I keep on my desk. Sometimes it's a word document. Sometimes it's an email created from notes on my phone that I send to myself.

If I have a major project, I keep a running to do list, with things categorised by task type, and move the done stuff onto the last page (and title it that) otherwise I will forget that I've done it, and do it again. I managed to run a 150 person conference in February with this tactic - it went well.

My shopping list is supplemented by a notebook I keep in the kitchen and add to when I realise I'm missing stuff.

My email - I keep undone tasks as unread to remind me to get to them.

I have set up as many bills as possible to pay automatically.

I have reminders popping up multiple times, and a decent time before the event.

I preset my medication in a pill box marked with the S, M, T, W, T, F, S once a week, so that I know if I've taken it or not.

I have folders of things I want to do - like "To paint next", "ideas for t-shirt design", Book that I'm writing & sketches to do for it.

And I'm 4 weeks behind in my studies and have a hard deadline on Monday for one of my jobs. So your mileage might vary.

Oh more: for learning terms (the concepts not a problem but remember the actual term) I create iphone size PDFs, so that when I'm on public transport, I can review them.

My handbag is set up with a pocket for my iphone and one for my wallet. Hanging off the side is a stretching string device with my swipe card for work, my transport card, my house key, and two loyalty cards for swiping. Inside the bag should always be a little camera, torch, ventolin, pen, breath freshener, pain killers, hanky. This doesn't always happen.

I do my grocery shopping online, and using the list I kept in the kitchen, and the global list provided by the site of all things I've ever bought, and the notes from my daily pages where I write things I need.

Things I haven't done, but intend - work out a systematic way for keeping up with friends family. They tend to contact me which isn't fair.

Watching movies / TV - I have a laptop in the living room, and if I can't get a friend to watch with me, which helps, I will do another task at the same time. I always use subtitles, because the effort sometimes of translating speech (different accents, poor sound recording) makes the movie something I don't want to do.

I have a plastic set of drawers in my bathroom bought from a hardware store, labeled with the contents, otherwise I will forget where things are within them, and won't be able to find them, and I won't put them away where I should.

I have a travel pencil case for when I'm going on site, otherwise I may well turn up without a pen.

I have a box of paper squares (not sticky notes) on my desk for doing quick calculations, or writing colour combinations (RGB etc) so I can toss them, otherwise, if they end up in a notebook, I will wonder if it's important.

I tend to do chores inbetween breaks when working from home.

Did I mention my phone goes off at 7.30 every morning reminding me to take my medication?

I have an analogue clock in my (home) office, and one in the living room.

I constantly use my phone as my external memory - notes, emails, calendar, alarms.
posted by b33j at 8:04 PM on March 22, 2013 [6 favorites]

And I like this.
posted by b33j at 8:06 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

HabitRPG - do things, get points, reward yourself.
posted by MesoFilter at 12:09 AM on March 23, 2013

For all the bad press it's got lately, Google has been my savior as far as keeping track of things that can be kept track of electronically. I have Google tasks on my gmail and any e-mail I get that involves some future action I add to tasks, schedule by date and then add the time in the "notes" field if it's time-sensitive. And this is probably bad on a security level but I store important bits of information in Google Drive files which, thanks to smart phone, I can access anywhere. I've also got Google calendar on my gmail page.

If you are a keys/wallet misplacer: I do strive to hang up my keys in the same spot every day, which has cut down the frequency of frantic key searches. However, this strategy never completely eliminated the problem. My solution has been to have two spare minimal key sets with house key/car key, and a spare minimal wallet with a secondary credit card, a few bucks in cash, and an expired copy of my driver's license. I keep the spare wallet in the drawer of my computer desk at home and use that one to make online purchases--this after so many occasions of pulling my credit card or wallet out of my purse to pay for something on line, leaving it sitting next to my computer, and then walking out of the house the next day with a walletless/credit cardless purse, only to realize this after ringing up $200 worth of groceries or noting that my car is going to run out of gas imminently. So my main wallet now lives in my purse permanently.
posted by drlith at 6:14 AM on March 23, 2013

Lifehacker is a great site for these kinds of tips, tricks, websites, etc. I check it every morning.

When I first started, working in 15/5 increments helped me. Do something on to do list for 15, something fun for 5. It helped me learn to estimate time better and gave me a way to stay on task. Also, I made and posted checklists everywhere--leaving house checklist, cleaning bathroom checklist, ect. Now they are habit.

My smartphone changed my life. Alarms for everything.
posted by Tall Telephone Pea at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2013

Best answer: Another vote for the smartphone, which has a bright cover on it, to keep from being misplaced, as well as a strap for the same reason. Also, evernote.
- Get in the habit of plugging the phone in to the car charger whenever you're in the car, and into the charger when you go to bed.
- Back up any smartphone data.
- I use evernote, so my notes are on the web; phones get stolen.
- prioritize. One reason I'm pulled in so many directions is that everything is important. So I have to define what's really important, what's worth doing, and what can be delayed/ ignored/ done when/if I have time.
- I email passwords to myself, and use gmail label for them. I don't change the gmail password lightly, and it gets stored in my wallet for several weeks until I know I have it memorized.
- Learn how much time things take. Once I'm 'ready to go', the dog needs to be fed, and I need to gather my laptop, purse, glasses, etc. So now I know to ad 5 minutes to 'ready to go'.
- Do it now. If I look at the gas gauge and it's below half, I stop for gas, because when it's down to 1/2 gal., I may not notice again. This requires the addition of prioritization, but it saves my bacon.
- I have some health issues, so I carry a bag of essentials - meds, knee brace, etc., and I review it at least every other week, so I have emergency supplies as needed.
- I'm forgetful, so there's a sparse makeup and toiletry kit in my bag. Just htis week, I realized I needed to use the travel size deodorant, and had it with me. Yay, me! I also had mascara and went to my meeting feeling better.

I'm investigating Tasker for my android, and a dayrunner/ half-sized binder with pockets, as a wallet replacement, and velcro for the smartphone, with velcro on the car dash and in my purse and on the datrunner. It's important not to change many systems at once, or it falls apart.

Accept that your brain needs lots of extra organization help, and make it something you do as a habit. You aren't going to remember that you have an appt Thursday, you aren't going to remember that great idea, unless you write it down. Once you've written it, you might remember, but it's okay, it's in your calendar or to-do or to follow-up list. Yay, you.
posted by Mom at 12:31 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone...this is all helpful. It is nice to see I have been already doing some of your suggestions (but I need a lot of work...)
posted by snap_dragon at 1:33 PM on March 23, 2013

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