Adults with ADHD often learn to cope with their condition in creative ways as children and teens, but once they are no longer supervised on a daily basis, it’s easy to fall back into old habits that don’t work for adult life. If you’re an adult struggling with ADHD, these tips can help you manage your ADHD symptoms without letting it hold you back at work or in your personal life!
1) Make a To-Do-List
Most can benefit from to-do-lists. If you’re an adult with ADHD, a to-do-list is a non-negotiable. Daily To-Do Lists serve as a portable reminder of the hand-picked tasks that you must complete during the course of the day. You can select, rank, and prioritize tasks in several ways your tasks in an easy way.
- Get a planner. It’s important to have everything you need in one place so you’re not misplacing notes.
- List EVERYTHING that needs to be done.
- Next, assess the significance of different tasks in order to identify what needs to be done first. Using the colors green, yellow, and red, you can identify different levels of priority so you know at a glance what MUST get done.
- When new tasks come up, add them to the list for tomorrow, but don’t worry about color coding it until your day is done. This will help make sure that you’re not overwhelmed by things all at once when it is time for action.
2) Break it down into simple steps
Some tasks, like “cleaning your room”, may feel too big to tackle. Breaking this down into manageable steps will help motivate you to get started. For example, cleaning your room can look like this…
- Pick up all my dirty clothes and put them in the hamper.
- Make my bed.
- Create a pile for my books.
- Go through the books and decide which ones I want to get rid of.
- Clean off everything on top of my dresser.
It’s important to give yourself permission to get these tasks done over a period of days if necessary. Don’t feel like it has to done all at once.
3) Follow the 10-minute rule
Adults with ADHD procrastinate when things feel too big, or they think something is going to take too much time. Set a goal to work on something for 10 minutes. Set a timer and really dive in. Focus on thi task, AND NO OTHERS, for just 10 minutes.
If, after 10 minutes, you want to move onto something else, that’s ok. What you may start to find is that once you’ve taken the pressure off and overcome the initial aversion, you might be able to concentrate on the task just a little bit longer. Either way, you’ve overcome procrastination!
4) Make this a habit
People are creatures of habit, and this couldn’t be more true for adults with ADHD. Stay in the habit of keeping your planner up-to-date. Stay in the habit of color coding your priorities. Break your tasks down into simple steps, and give yourself 10-minutes to go all in.
Most importantly, don’t add anything else on to these 3 steps until they are second nature. There are A LOT of good strategies for adult ADHD. Don’t get distracted by the next best routine. Pick one, get intimately familiar with it, and then add on one thing at a time.
Stephanie Ludwig, who trained under Ned Hallowell, is passionate about helping people thrive and use their creativity to harness their unique superpowers. Wanna hear the best part? She offers free consultations!