BY DAN ARNOLD / AJT //
As a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), I often am asked how to make day-to-day tasks simpler for those with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD).
Here are some strategies I recommend when working with both children and adults who have ADHD. Many of these tips can be used as well for those without ADHD who simply are looking to structure their daily tasks.
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Break assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks. Large, multipart assignments can be overwhelming and result in feeling disorganized and lost.
Creating smaller tasks and establishing time frames for completion of these smaller tasks makes the entire project more doable. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself as you complete tasks.
Determine what you need from your environment to feel more efficient. While some people can only work in a quiet, sterile setting, others need “white noise” to filter out possible distractions.
Be realistic with your expectations about time. Knowing yourself, consider using a timer and decide how long you will work before taking a break.
Establishing a schedule and adhering to it will help you work more efficiently. Similarly, what time of day you are most productive can help you create a schedule that promotes efficiency.
Try to establish routines that you can follow. Doing things the same way each day establishes patterns and means that you are less likely to forget important tasks.
It also means that you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you complete routine tasks.
Another way to establish routines is to think about how you organize things. Organize your belongings in ways that work for you.
Think about the daily tasks that are essential to your day and develop strategies. For example, put your wallet/purse, keys and phone in the same place every day so you know where to find them in the morning.
Create daily to-do lists that are prioritized. Many of us choose to do the more favorable tasks immediately and then procrastinate with the less desirable ones, often resulting in them being undone.
One suggestion is to conquer the less desirable tasks first and then reward yourself with the tasks that you enjoy.
Find a method of accountability that works for you, like a traditional pen & paper list or an electronic device.
Having an easy and always accessible way to keep your tasks organized can prevent you from forgetting about responsibilities, and also works as a great time management tool.
About the writer
Dan Arnold is the Senior Clinical Supervisor / Manager of JF&CS’ Child & Adolescent Services – Tools for Families division. His clinical areas of specialization are: Kids, Adults & Couples