There has been less research regarding adult ADHD in comparison to ADHD in children, making the symptoms more uncertain and unpredictable. It is more common for hyperactivity to decrease in adulthood, but impulsiveness, restlessness and difficulty focusing/paying attention do continue. Adult ADHD could negatively impact one’s relationships, create poor work or school performance, lower self-esteem and cause other issues BUT there are ways to push back against it, minimize its impact and set yourself up to succeed. Here are 8 ways you can get started.
1) Try not to over-commit yourself. Adults with ADHD tend to spread themselves too thin; agreeing to a multitude of commitments that in the end burn them out, or they have to cancel/quit. Begin trying to prioritize your commitments and let go of those that are not of importance or are unnecessary.
2) Set time limits on decision making. Some people with ADHD can spend enormous amounts of time agonizing over decisions that need to be made, which could be decided within minutes. By giving yourself a time frame for how long you can take to decide, it reduces the amount energy you spend thinking about what to decide on, and gives you the extra time to focus on other matters.
3) Limit your hyperfocus. There are times when you get immersed in something and can’t seem to divert your attention from it, but in the meantime it can distract from other tasks that need your attention. Try setting an alarm on your watch or phone for how much time you will allot to the particular activity. If this isn’t enough to get you out of your hyper focused state, you can also have a friend or family member call you at a specified time to tell you it’s time to stop whatever it is you are hyper focused on.
4) Keep to-do lists short. Attempt making a to-do list no more than five tasks at a time. You will feel less frustrated, manage your time better and consequently accomplish more.
5) Let go of unnecessary items lying around the house. These items include cards you’ve received over the years, random mystery cords that no longer connect to anything, and other miscellaneous objects lying around the house. Toss these objects in to the “miscellaneous box” and once it is full, donate/recycle/throw the items away and then start the whole process over again. You will feel a whole lot lighter when you don’t have clutter weighing you down.
6) Find a de-clutter partner. Another way to organize clutter building up in your home, is to find yourself a “de-clutter partner”. This is someone who will help you get rid of all the stuff that you don’t use, but have trouble throwing away. Sometimes, having another person there to help you make quick decisions can make the process a whole lot easier and less agonizing. Make four piles: keep, toss, donate, and age. Items put into the “age” pile are things that you are not quite ready to throw away yet. Put a date on the box of aged items, so that you can come back to it and see if you are ready to throw away or donate these items in the future.
7) Make use of “in-between” minutes. Don’t wait until you have large blocks of time to tackle chores and tasks. Some tasks will only take a minute to complete, like organizing your mail, or watering the plants. So when you are waiting for your lunch to heat in the microwave, or just have a few minutes to spare before heading out, try to complete one small task in these “in-between” minutes.
8) Take one thing/project at a time. It can be overwhelming and stressful to take on massive projects or have multiple tasks to complete all at once. Break it down into one task at a time. Once that small task is complete, go on to the next one and so on.