Organizing can be challenging for anyone, but if you have ADHD, it can feel impossible. Even small tasks like keeping your room clean or getting to work on time can seem Herculean. But don’t despair – there are organization tools to make it more manageable, even for those with ADHD like myself. Many years were spent struggling to maintain any semblance of organization before the realization that I might have ADHD.
I tried so hard to do what every other neurotypical person was doing to stay organized and keep their house clean. I continually failed and convinced myself I was too lazy or not smart enough to handle life. After my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, I began to suspect that I might also have it. It still took me a while to learn how my brain works differently than someone without this diagnosis. I am finally starting to learn the tools and tricks to help my ADHD brain succeed.
In this article, I’ll share ten essential ADHD organization tools to simplify your life. These tools will help you on the road to a better level of organization with ADHD. From phone apps to visual timers. If you’re ready to make a change, read on!
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Table of Contents
Why is organizing so hard with ADHD?
There are several reasons why organizing can be so hard for people with ADHD. One reason is that people with ADHD often have a lot of ideas. Our brains constantly jump from one thing to another and then back again. This can make it difficult to focus on one task and stay organized. Another reason is that people with ADHD often struggle with executive functioning skills. These skills are essential for planning, organizing, and completing tasks. People with ADHD may also have trouble with working memory. This can make remembering things like appointments, deadlines, and to-do lists difficult.
Does organizing help ADHD?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some people find that organizing helps them focus and get things done. Other people find that organizing is more of a challenge than it’s worth. If you find organizing helpful, there are several ways to make it easier. For example, you can use phone apps, paper calendars, and notebooks to keep track of things. You can also use labels and clear bins to help you stay organized. If you find that organizing is more of a challenge than it’s worth, that’s okay, too. You can still find other ways to manage your ADHD. For example, you can use medication, therapy, and counseling to help you.
ADHD Organization Tools for Adults
One way to make organizing easier is to use phone apps. Several apps are designed specifically for people with ADHD and can be a lifesaver.
‘Evernote‘ can help you keep track of notes, ideas, and more. I’ve been using Evernote for a while, and what I love about it is you can scan documents and keep them organized. So, instead of having a bunch of paper clutter, you can make everything digital.
‘Forest‘ or ‘Flora‘ are great apps for staying focused. I recently tried Flora, and it did help me. The premise behind these apps is that you set a timer for how long you want to focus on something, and if you complete the timer, you grow a tree or plant for your forest. If you leave the app early, the plant dies. The goal is to grow your forest as much as possible by having focused time. You also have options to plant real trees through these apps. For my ADHD, I enjoy things that feel like ‘games’ but still help me accomplish what I need to.
‘Structured‘ is another app I’ve been trying out and enjoying. Structured will help you with your to-do lists and tasks for the day. You can also use it to block your time. You can set time blocks for anything you need to accomplish. Structured also offers the ability to color code, set reminders, set up recurring tasks, and more. They have a widget you can put on your phone’s home screen to show what you are currently working on or what you have coming up.
There are many other apps available, but these are the ones I have tried out so far and am familiar with. Thankfully, many of these apps have free versions to try out, so you need to try different things until you find something that works for you.
Another way to make organizing easier is to use a paper calendar or planner. This can help you keep track of appointments, deadlines, and other important dates. I have learned that physically writing things down helps me remember things much better. Digital reminders don’t always work because I am exceptionally good at ignoring notifications on my phone.
I regularly keep a planner in my purse, and I open it up that day and set it on my desk so I can write anything down as it pops into my head or I see something in my email I need to remember. The planner I use and love now is The Day Designer. I love it because each day has its own page, so there is plenty of space to write down anything that comes into my head that day and block out my time. The Day Designer is also sold on Amazon in a softcover version for a more affordable option.
Now, my Day Designer takes the place of a notebook and paper planner for the most part. Otherwise, a notebook is a great thing to write down your to-do list or other things you need to remember. I now physically write down any pertinent information instead of saving emails I will never return to read. This helps me remember, or I can go back and reference it later. Going through saved emails is incredibly overwhelming, but looking through notes I made in my notebook of only the critical information is much easier.
Labels and a label maker can also be helpful for people with ADHD. Labeling things can help you stay organized and make it easier to find things when needed. Keeping your home clean and organized is much easier if everything has its place. Labeling bins, boxes, or drawers with what is stored there can help you remember where things are and where to put them back.
Clear bins can be another helpful tool. With ADHD, out of sight means out of mind, so you need to easily see what you have when you open a closet or cupboard. Clear bins can help you see what’s inside and make finding things more manageable. Keeping things in bins can make it easier to store items neatly as you can keep like items together and stack bins together to maximize space in closets and shelves.
Sticky notes can also be helpful. You can use them to remind yourself of important tasks or to keep track of ideas. You can put sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, closet, cabinet doors, or wherever else you might be helped with a visual reminder.
Amazon Alexa or Google Home
Voice assistants can also be super helpful. Amazon Alexa or Google Home are valuable tools to have at home. These can help you keep track of tasks, set reminders, and more. Once I am focused on a task, I don’t particularly appreciate stopping the momentum. Still, if something pops into my head that I need to remember, I can say, ‘Alexa, add toilet paper to the Costco shopping list’ or ‘Alexa,’ set a reminder to switch the laundry in 45 minutes.’
It is quicker and allows you to stay more focused than going onto your phone to set a reminder or add to a list and risk getting distracted by Instagram. Then you have the Alexa app on your phone, so whenever you run to the store, you always have that list with you instead of forgetting your written list or what you meant to buy.
Website blockers can also be helpful. Several website blockers can help you stay focused and on task. If you need to be on your computer and doing work or even on your phone, different apps can keep you from getting distracted on other websites that would take you away from the task.
Another helpful tool is a Tile tracker that can help you find things that you’ve lost. If you constantly lose your keys or other essential items, you can add a Tile tracker, which will help you locate the item on a map and play a sound to find it quickly.
Finally, visual timers can be helpful. Visual timers can help you stay on track and can help you see how much time you have left to complete a task. I’ve seen other ADHD accounts or articles talk about the Time Timer. Although I have not tried it, I can see how it would be beneficial. The Time Timer gives you a visual cue to stay on task as you can see the passage of time and anticipate when you will get to take a break.
If you’re struggling with ADHD and organization, know that you’re not alone. These ten essential ADHD organization tools can help make your life easier. From bullet journaling to to-do list apps, there’s something on this list for everyone. Connect with me on Instagram or join my private Facebook Group for more tips and tricks.