Tag Archive for: adhd and organizing

ADHD, Decision making and Organizing


ADHD Decision making and Organizing


Decision making is the first step in all organizing projects. And when those decisions become overwhelming is when we become paralyzed.  For ADHD and executive function challenges, decision making can halt organizing progress.  There’s a definite connection between ADHD, decision making and organizing.


Too many decisions

It’s overwhelming to think about the number of decisions we make in a day.  Research reveals that when we make decision after decision, we become frustrated, angry or anxious.  Each day we are make decisions about literally thousands of questions or crossroads.  When it comes to decision making, think about limiting choices.  Keep it simple like just 3 -5 options, rather than ten or more.


  • When you begin organizing, make decision making simple and easy.  Start with decisions to let go of things that are easy to part with, you have not used or seen in a long time, or without hesitation know your decision.


  • When it comes to the stuff in your life, one question can be all you need.  Make decision making easy with one big question to answer: does this make me look or feel fabulous?  If the answer is no, off it goes.


  • Use the tournament method.  Compare two items, pick the best.  Use the “winner”  and compare with another item, pick the best.  You can divide items into four piles and use the tournament method too.


 Good decisions start with wellness

It’s not surprising how much rest and nutrition play a role in good decision making.  Research shows that a good night’s sleep makes for better decision making, improved retention of information and a better outcome.


  • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Not only will you feel better on all fronts, it’s easy to make decisions and be productive. Start with an earlier than expected prep time for bedtime. It’s easy to get in bed when you are ready.



  • Keep protein handy.  We can’t make good decisions with just snacks.  Eating protein regularly helps us think clearly.



 Resources for decision making

We know we don’t know it all.  But that’s not a problem! We have trust resources to help make decisions.   Our resources include an array of options, including our friends, professionals and the internet.  Build competence and confidence with your resources.


  • Start with your easiest way of finding information.  Phone or text a friend or look online are the simplest first steps.  Reading a book or blog can help you find the information you need.  Add in a clutter buddy or paper partner.  They are your trusted friend for decision making; your go to resource for no matter what the question is.  Decide on what’s easiest for you.


  • Take the emotion out of your decision.  Think about the decision as if you were making it for someone else.  Take a deep breath, do 10 jumping jacks, call a friend and share why this is so hard.  Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen if this decision is not right.  Then get back to that decision.  It’s often not the decision at all that is hard but an emotion associated with it.


  • Ask for help.  It’s hard to accept ask for or accept help.  But a partnership can make all the difference.  Ask for help when you find yourself lacking a skill, not sure of how to manage technology or to speed the project along.  Remember that in doubling up with a partner you have more brain and brawn to find solutions.


We all get stuck sometime.  Find ways to help yourself with decision making whether it’s paring down, wellness, or resources to make decisions happen.


More resources  on my ADD/ADHD pinterest board.

A spark of organizing and productivity energy every month! Join my newsletter here


Making Organizing Manageable

chunking organizing

How do you eat an elephant?   …….One bite at a time!


Making organizing manageable is all about breaking the tasks into manageable pieces.  When we see a big project it’s often overwhelming.  We think about organizing our entire home, storage or an office and it seems to be an impossible tasks.  There are several ways to chunk down the project and create a manageable plan.


Work in time increments

I am a huge fan of using a timer to work on any project.  Even just 15 minutes on any project will help you reach your goal.  But I also like the idea of percolation time and working an hour at a time.  Other ways to use time increments include two or three hour segments with an alarm set for 30 minutes before the end of the time. If you are unsure about how long the project will take, using time increments helps you get started and work in measured units.


Use Quadrants

Think about dividing the space you are working in into quadrants of work.  It could be floor space, left wall, center wall, and right wall.   It could be dividing the space into 4 quadrants entirely. Creating a physical delineation of what areas you are working on helps you see change.   There’s hoola hoop organizing.  Drop a hoola hoop on the floor and work on that area to eliminate and organize.  As more space evolves,  you are feeling more capable and less overwhelmed.


Use Numbers

Flylady refers to her 27 fling bogie.   Flylady suggests eliminating 27 items a day.   White House Black Shutters recommends 40 bags in 40 days.  Use numbers to help you break through your feeling of being overwhelmed.  You can choose your own number, no matter how large or small.  Whatever your numbers, use these wisely to make your project easy to accomplish.


 Work with a team

It’s much easier to work together to achieve more. Make organizing manageable by adding a partner or triad of workers. Not only does having many hands help, you have lots of ideas to get your organizing done.


Whatever strategy you use, make organizing manageable in a way that fits your strengths and style. Choose one of these ideas in order to get started and complete a project.




Monthly organizing tips and tweaks.  Join here!









Asking for Help


asking for help

Is it not in your nature to ask for help?

Have you asked for help and you heard crickets?

Is it easier to procrastinate about something rather than ask for help?


Let’s admit it, asking for help is hard.  It may seem like it’s a signal about deficiency or weakness. It may be about fear and vulnerability. It may be a lack of a skill or an undeveloped skill.  It could even be about being stubborn. A lot plays into asking for help.  It’s time to acknowledge we are all not good at everything and play to our strengths.


It’s the best way to conquer a tough project though.  It helps you move forward when you are stuck. It saves you time when you are struggling with a task or technology.  Bringing together more hands and ideas can improve your project too.  Is it time for you to assess asking for help?


Start small

The best way to start anything new is to start small.  Ask for help with a small time commitment or piece of the project.  Isolate just one thing that is holding you back on a project.  Ask a trusted resource to help you with that one small task.  If you are not sure what that one small thing is, ask a trusted resource to process the steps in the project to create the series of actions for completing the task.


Asking for help at work

Collaboration is a great strategy for asking for help at work.  Create a team that works well together who create energy and more together.  Find resources for a variety of needs that you have, whether tech, writing, calculations or other needs.  Sweeten the pot with an offer to assist with a strength you have.


Email is your best tool for asking for help.  Be sure to include a specific request with a deadline.  Think of potential solutions as options that your resource can help you with, especially the small simple solutions.  Think about additional resources like coaches, professional organizers, and productivity consultants who can also provide support and increase your productivity.



Asking for help at home

We often think our family is an unreliable source for help.  However, asking for help at home is an important part of family cohesiveness.  Even if you think it’s easier to do whatever yourself, teaching how to help others and team work is worth the extra energy and time.


It’s easiest to ask by starting with a family meeting.  Even if there is a lot of eye rolling, your family will be happy to help with simple, small tasks that can be done quickly.  Use a family chart to keep everyone on track.  Set a time and date for your helpers to complete their work.  If someone is already doing that task, count that.  Find tasks everyone can do at the same time together to get a big job done too.


Finding resources

Have an array of resources at your disposal.

  • My first go to is google and find online resources. Finding answers can be as simple as a few keyboard clicks. It takes a few minutes and already I know new tricks.
  • My next step is to find someone in my inner circle who can respect my request.  There are many colleagues, family and friends who have skills that compliment mine. I return the favor by offering something to help them as well.
  • Finding resources in your community are a great collaboration as well.  In my arena I love having interior decorators who work on color and space design, handymen who repair and hang pictures,  and tech people who help make my computer and smart phone work well.
  • Who would be a bonus to you as a resource?


Not matter the challenge, there is help there for the asking!  Remember to share your gratitude for their help.   It’s not only about how to ask for help, it’s also how to appreciate those helping out too.


Tricks and tips for any organizing or productivity challenge here!



Perfectionism, Procrastination and Organizing

perfectionism, procrastination and organizing



Perfectionism and procrastination sound like opposites but are they really? Do you set incredibly high standards for a project including lots of planning and then don’t get started because it won’t be completed to your satisfaction? Do you put off a project, thinking you will have more time or energy to do it later? More often than you think, perfectionism can be immobilizing you.  Here are some points to think about with perfectionism, procrastination and organizing.


Are you a perfectionist?

Begin by becoming aware of perfectionism in your life. Many people do not realize that they are perfectionists. A home with clutter or incomplete projects can be the home of a perfectionist! Having incredibly high standards that are impossible to reach, whether in taking care of your home, completing a project, or in any thought process, indicate perfectionism. By having the realization of perfectionism, you can begin to evaluate what this is costing you and what’s next.


Focus on balanced goals and completion

Because perfectionism is stopping us from starting, we need to focus on the goals of balance and completion. Simply put, it is that old saying, “If I can’t do it right I am not going to do it at all.” Start by asking yourself, what is “right” to you? A realistic goal balances your personal energy, time and importance of the task. You can do it well and get it done. Donna Smallin, author of Organizing Plain and Simple, notes that “done is perfect.” You can start by using Donna’s saying to help you put things in perspective, create the balance for yourself and get the job done.

Empowering self talk

Another aspect of perfectionism is rigid, black and white thinking. Either a project is perfect or a disaster! Using acknowledging, empowering self talk, including kudos of accomplishment throughout the project, leads to satisfaction with the outcome and completion. Seeing productivity, you will feel successful and feel more like completing the project. It is definitely a circle of work and success that stands out then.


Making projects manageable


We may think that a project is going to take hours and we may not have hours to work on it. It may surprise you how much less time a project takes than we imagined.  We may not start a project until everything else is perfect around it.  Break the tasks into manageable parts. Make it manageable with one or two hour time slots, only taking out a part of the project, or adding in additional resources.  As you work through your project, commit by writing in your calendar slots that take advantage of your best energy times.  You will feel successful as you move forward, instead of putting off and procrastinating.



Standards of excellence instead of perfection make a difference in starting and completing a project. Whether organizing a space or any other task, start with baby steps and practice your imperfection. Work at a comfortable pace, allow for changes as needed and review your work consistently. When others offer to assist, welcome their help and disregard their imperfections as they help you complete a project. With this process, you will be excited by the excellence you created!


Want more organizing motivation and inspiration? Join my newsletter.

Organizing Your ADHD Family


organizing your adhd family


Your family may have one or more family members who have been diagnosed with ADHD.  Diagnosis continues to grow each year. There’s clutter, time and stuff lost, and frustration.  Organizing is not the first thing anyone wants to do and those in your family with ADHD find organizing painful, tedious and unending.  Help is here! There are some basic strategies to help you and your family get organized and stay organized.


Building your Team

Families that work together and play together do better together on communication and cohesiveness.  Get started with a family meeting.  The family meeting is the time to model organizing skills with a month at a glance calendar.  Each member brings their own calendar too to update with dates and activities.  Write everything down on the calendar so everyone can see what is going on.  Be sure you can hang your calendar in the kitchen, even if you print out your digital calendar later.  Discuss your family mission at your family meeting. What do you stand for as a team? This creates a foundation for all you do as a family. End your meeting within 20 minutes with family fun.  Simple physical activities like bike riding, going to a park or making an ice cream sundae.  For an ADHD family, this meeting is where everyone pulls together.


Family Routines

Co-ordinate your ADHD family’s daily schedule by starting with routines. These are activities in sequence that help keep order throughout the day.  It includes getting up, getting ready,  picking up and getting to bed. A checklist is a great way to share these routines.  The checklist reminds everyone of their personal responsibilities and avoids nagging and negativity. Be specific with your routines to help your family understand expectations.  Being specific can mean setting a day for a responsibility or setting a time to have it complete.   Be sure to include specific times to get kids’ backpacks ready and pick up each evening to avoid being overwhelmed. For an ADHD family, including some white space with down time helps people feel more in balance.


Home Clutter

Clutter can be overwhelming in an ADHD family.  Start small and work together. Starting small may mean a small area or a small amount of time such as working on a drawer in a desk or setting a timer for 30 minutes.  Breaking decluttering into baby steps adds to your success.   Working with a partner means that someone is lending energy to the decision maker and withholding judgment on decisions.  That can be difficult for a parent or a child, but most important for eliminating items.   Add incentives for what matters most to your family.  Incentives can include money, time on a video game, or time to read.  For an ADHD family, be sure everything has a specific, labeled spot  and set a time daily to return it to that spot.


Paper Clutter

All too often the most difficult clutter is paper clutter.  Start by going digital with online bill pay and as many papers as you can.  Add a command center to consolidate papers and triage these daily to eliminate as much as possible.  At your command center, create a station with products for processing the mail and other papers that come to your home.  Use an expandable accordion file to keep papers longer term.



Tools and Tips

Organizing planners and products can make a difference for your ADHD family. Clear bins labeled with cute, uniform labels are great organizing products.  Uniform containers in shoe box, sweater box, and 66 quart sizes can be used throughout your home to corral stuff.  Consistent colored containers add fun too! Label all areas of your home, including inside drawers for clothes, in your pantry for food, and in your media area with boxes for videos, games and music.

Plan your work and work your plan with your ADHD family.  Making organizing a consistent priority with time spent daily will yield great organizing results.


What helps your ADHD family get organized?


Check out my monthly newsletter for more ideas on ADHD.