5 Key Principles for Staying Organized with ADHD
Today we’ll continue our conversation about staying organized with ADHD. Last week we talked about how to get off the organizing roller coaster. So you stop getting organized only to have the clutter reappear.
Writing that newsletter got me thinking about my own transformation to becoming organized. Sure I needed to learn ADHD organizing tips and tricks. But staying organized with ADHD took more than that.
I had to start thinking and acting like an organized person. But, in a way that worked for me. I had to sneak up on it. I had to get organized in a way that worked for my naturally disorganized self.
Today we’ll dive into the 5 key ADHD organizing principles. What a born disorganized person needs to know to stay organized.
Principle #1 – Have a Realistic Goal
Do you imagine that when you’re organized your home will look like the feature spread in a magazine? If so, that’s an unrealistic goal!
How organized you need to be has nothing to do with how things look. It’s about how well it works. Focus on getting organized enough so you can quickly find the things you use the most when you need them.
It’s that simple. There isn’t some magical standard. It’s about you and your needs. Don’t aim for a spotless home or office.
Principle #2 – Accept You’re on a Journey
Becoming organized with ADHD takes time. There is no magic wand. It’s not a one weekend fix. Like any journey sometimes getting organized is hard. Sometimes you get frustrated and scared. Some days you’ll feel hopeless. Too weak to go on.
Stick with it, and your organizing muscles will get stronger. Clearing clutter will become easier. You’ll get smarter about setting up systems you can sustain. You’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
My organizing journey took two years. Transforming from disorganized to organized enough was challenging. It took determination and focus. But it was worth it.
Principle #3 – Build Sustainable Systems
To succeed in staying organized with ADHD you’ll need to guard against a common trait of ADHD adults. Designing complicated organizing systems.
ADHD adults love making things complicated. Bells and whistles are exciting. Creative. Fun to design. But complicated systems are hard to maintain. They collapse. Not because you can’t get organized, but because your system has design flaws.
What’s a sustainable organizing system? One that’s simple. Requires the fewest decisions and fewest steps to maintain. Guard against your natural tendency to make things too complicated.
Principle #4 – Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
Don’t expect to be able to stay organized the way a born-organized person can. The systems must be simple for someone with ADHD to transform into an organized person. Where a naturally organized person can follow through on the extra steps, an ADHD adult can’t. Not won’t but CAN’T!
This means you must beware of unrealistic organizing advice. What’s magical for a naturally organized person won’t work for someone with ADHD.
Principle #5 – Embrace New Organizing Habits
A huge piece of staying organized with ADHD is building new habits. Not just any habits will do; however. You must develop organizing habits that suit your unique adult ADHD style.
You already have lots of habits for all kinds of activities. The problem is many of your habits keep you disorganized. Habits like ignoring the mail and not putting away the clean laundry.
Years ago, when I was getting organized, I noticed something. The organized people I studied had different habits than I did. Habits that kept clutter from collecting. When I adjusted those habits to suit my ADHD style I was able to stay organized.
The bottom line? Following these ADHD Organizing principles will make staying organized with ADHD an achievable goal. If you need a practical guide you’ll like my book, Organized for Life!