Tag Archive for: overwhelmed by paper

ADHD and Paper


ADHD and Paper


It’s a love/hate relationship with paper!  What do we keep? How long do we keep it? Or are you just overwhelmed by it and can’t even get started!   What’s a person to do?

Working with paper if you are ADD/ADHD, hone in on your strengths and personalize your systems and routines.  Start by facing the fear, overwhelm and hatred (yes, a powerful emotion) about paper.   It is an evil monster, an anchor, and the enemy. But  now that we have vented, we are ready.   Paper may never be easy, but something we can work through.

Be brutal about what to keep and what to toss.  Often we are keeping way to much!  Using these resources, as well as asking your accountant,  you will keep less and work with less paper.



Keep paper from even coming in your home. Drop paper at the gas station when you are filling up. Shred paper by having a baby shredder in the kitchen.  Say no to receipts for gas.

It is very important to create “slots” to drop your paper.

  • Everyone needs a command center with easy access.   Here is where papers that need action start.  If you need to have a basket just to hold paper until “processed,” it can sit where you normally drop the paper.  In the command center are the actions you need to do.  Label the slots with what you call these items. Action, Pay, File are all required here.  But in addition you might have Pending, one for each of your kids and your partner, Receipts, and Contacts.
  • Next step is to create your files, which are the papers you will reference in the next year.  First decide what to keep and how long.  Don’t get overwhelmed, thinking about how much you have back logged on paper here.  Just work in 15 minute segments with a timer.  Everyone can do this for 15 minutes!  Start with general categories, like Auto/Home, Finance and Personal.  Keeping categories general makes it simple to file and simpler filing means more filing!
  • Add an archive section for required papers. This includes your taxes, legal documents, and other long term papers. You may need to add a section for investments that are getting to be a very large volume.
  • Keep your important documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, wills and related papers in a safe or safe deposit box.  You will always know where these are.

Sounds like a big project? Get help each step of the way with a professional organizer, trusted friend or reliable assistant in turning your paper  into a workable system. It is worth the work to create what works for you!


Image courtesy of the Container Store.

Staying on top of the paper tsunami!

Getting on top of the incoming flood of paper takes getting a great plan and personalized routines into action!  Without a doubt, dealing with paper is one of the most overwhelming tasks. Attack it with gusto!

This Smead Stadium Sorter is just the tool it takes to combat paper.  It is 12 tiered pockets so that you can see all your categories simultaneously.  Labels are included, such as by month, or household subject, or you can make your own with your personal categories, including your kids, your partner, receipts, dinner menus, coupons and other common categories of paper. It is a small enough size to fit on the counter, right by your phone.  It is large enough to hold  up to 900 sheets of paper!

Let’s go step by step with this sorter. 

  • First decide what your categories should include for your family.  I recommend not only the names of your kids and partner, but also Action, File, and Pending.  Label the files with the labels included, your sharpie pen or your label maker. 
  • Now place this in the spot that you can see it daily, and set it up as a work zone for incoming mail and kids’ papers.
  • Every evening, sort into your sorter. If you miss an evening, try to sort at least twice a week.
  • Once a week, go back into your sorter and have your administrative time.  This is the time to review what is in the sorter, do your filing into your real files, toss out expired, and make a list of actions left to do.  Having this time weekly means you are up to date on your papers. 
  • Now the bonus! Give yourself a reward for your hard work!  That can include a walk, bubble bath, time at Starbucks or Jamba Juice, or  your choice.  Working with paper is not for sissies!

What is your best tip for staying on top of paper?