ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental variation that affects both children and adults. ADHDers have differences in the way that they sustain attention, experience sensory input, and communicate.
I've got serious love for ADHDers, and you should too. So much that I wrote an entire BLOG about the advantage of having ADHD. This time around I'm focusing on tips and tricks to work with your ADHD. As an added bonus, all of these words of advice come from the ADHD world itself.
LIFE HACKS + LIVED EXPERIENCE
Body Doubling Body doubling is having a person present while you complete a task. Many people with ADHD report that simply having someone else around who knows what they are supposed to be doing increases motivation for the task. They may be working with you on a task, working on a separate task, or just keeping you company. Having another person come to where you are in person is not always feasible, but body doubling can also work virtually.
To Do Key Rings
I saw this one on Instagram (@adhdloyal). The creator (@lorainesimonis_) calls it their chore charm system. Basically, you take a bunch of key rings on bracelets (color-coded if you'd like) and write a daily task on each one. In the morning, they take all of the AM Routine bracelets and place them on their arm. Once a task is completed, the charm comes off the wrist and into a jar. The bracelets give you a tactile (and auditory) cue that there are still tasks to be done, and there's satisfaction in putting each one away.
This life hack is about rethinking independence and advocating for the help that you need. Are there things in your day or week that you hate doing, and therefore never get done? Maybe hiring someone to come in and clean your house every couple of weeks is the secret to keeping your life organized. Or, maybe you auto-pay those bills.
Create Capture Areas
Late for that appointment because you couldn't find your keys - again?! Consider creating capture spaces for “grabbing” stuff, like a mail bin and key hanger near the front door.
I find that a capture area is great, but it also needs regular culling to keep it from become a 'catch all.'
Timers that actually work? Is that an ADHD hack? In theory, visual timers are great to show how much time has passed/how much time is left. However, I know that for many people, timers aren't a strong enough tool to keep them moving.
If the thought of a daunting task is making you avoid it, tell yourself it’s okay if it’s not done well. This hack is called, 'permission to half-a** it,' and I think this one's a winner. Tell yourself that you don't have to clean the whole kitchen, but you do have do the dishes. You don't have to finish the whole report, but you just have to make the outline. You'll either finish part of the task and feel great, or gain momentum to keep on going. Progress, not perfection.
Technology can be an amazing tool for the ADHD brain. Again, I know a lot of well-intentioned people that have downloaded ALL of the organization apps, but have yet to open them. There's a great post from @neurodivergentlou that has a ton of great apps. I've also done some reading about the MindNode App, which essentially lets you visually plan and organize all the brilliant thoughts in your head.
Almost Always Late
It's no secret that ADHDers work great under pressure. Because of this, @comfortandkindness recommends doing things last minute - on purpose. Instead of getting ready right when you wake up, give yourself permission to enjoy your morning, but turn on high gear 15 minutes before you've got to be out the door. This kind of thinking also works for deadlines. Rather than beating yourself up for not starting, let yourself start late.
Put it in Your Shoe
Got something that you can't forget to grab on your way out the door? Put it in your shoe! I like to put notes or items to take with me right in front of the door. If it's literally in my way, I'm sure to remember it - right?
Spoonful of Sugar
This one comes from @adhdcoachsheila, who recommends adding something you like to a task you don’t want to do to make it more enjoyable. Some examples: listening to music while cleaning, colouring while listening to a lecture, enjoying a special drink while studying, or watching a show while on the treadmill.
Another great hack from @adhdcoachsheila. She recommends starting with easy tasks to build up momentum before attempting a difficult task. For example, put out fresh hand towels before doing the dishes. You'll get a sense of accomplishment from completing a task, leading you right into the next.
Fidgeting can also be a life hack. ADHDers often engages with stimming to regulate, focus, release energy, gain sensory input and more (@livedexperienceeducator). Fidgeting, doodling, snacking, or multitasking can make it more likely that you can focus. ADHDers have differences in body language including looking away, stimming, and moving while listening (@livedexperienceeducator). Just keep stimming!
Make a list, talk to yourself, tell someone else, use a calendar, or do a complete brain dump (@adhdcoachsheila). If you had a chance to check out the Mind Node App, this might be a perfect place to get your ideas down. Are you team paper or team technology?
Hopefully you've found a useful hack to support your wonderful ADHD brain. Got a hack of your own? Drop it in the comments.