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Trying to actually stay organized seems like a task only wizards can accomplish.
Getting organized is one of my favorite things in the world to do.
…staying organized is the issue.
I have ADHD, which means my brain needs fun and new in order to light up and get excited to finish the task.
This usually means buying a bunch of new organizational tools with the clear intention of “finally sticking with it this time.”
So, if you’re like me, and you get organized for a while but then you seem to fall off the wagon and go back to a chaotic mess within a few months… This post is for you.
This post will help you actually stay organized, even if you’ve tried everything.
So many organizational options!
Let’s start with the millions of ways you can get organized. And I know, I’ve tried them all!
Sometimes even all at once.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re aimlessly walking around Target, and you find yourself in the office section.
They have lots of cool whiteboards, corkboards, and planners galore!
You instantly know you need ALL THE THINGS to help you stay organized.
“This time I’ll stick to it for sure!” you say as you pile your cart sky-high with shiny new organizers.
…And then in a month or two, the newness wears off and you’re back to your paper mess.
How do I know this story so well? Because this is me.
All. The. Time.
It’s the curse of ADHD.
However, lucky for you and me, I’ve found a few ways around this never-ending cycle.
List all the ways you actually stay organized
Since there are so many different options you can actually stay organized with, list out which ones work best for you.
You don’t necessarily need to physically write this out, but you can if you want.
What organizational methods work for you?
- Are you more of a digital organizer?
- Do you like to use a whiteboard or corkboard?
- Would a physical planner help?
- Do you need a desk or paper storage?
The thing with ADHD organization is we are very visual.
If it’s not directly in our faces, we’re likely to forget about it.
However, the curse comes in because if it’s in our face for too long it becomes background noise and we seem to forget it’s there as well.
It’s a delicate balance.
Your organizational method of choice also can depend on your job as well.
If you’re a blogger like me, you can keep all of your things digital pretty easily.
If you work an office job, you may have to use a file cabinet for physical papers.
But what’s the point of this?
The reason you do this is so you have an idea of what works for you to actually stay organized.
That way, you have other methods to fall back on once one system starts to fail.
Every brain is different, so the way we organize things will be different too!
Choose one organizational method
Which one of the methods that work for you do you want to start with?
Which one excites you the most?
You also want to look at a few more things to help you choose;
- What organizational method is easiest?
- Which one has the least amount of steps or work involved?
- Which method is the most practical?
If your organization method is too complicated, hard to replicate, or isn’t very practical, chances are high that you’ll fall off it quickly.
ADHD’ers don’t like a task that requires a lot of steps.
We tend to love to set up a complicated, beautiful-looking organizational system… but it usually gets thrown out in the end due to being overwhelming.
So keep it simple!
| Do you feel the need to be productive all the time? Watch this video to learn more about why productivity can actually be toxic! |
Move on to another method when you get bored
You honestly may not even realize you’re bored with an organizational method until your desk is a mess and you can’t find anything!
Our brains tend to hate routine, but also require it to thrive.
So chances are if you get lazy or bored with your organizational method and skip even just one day of it, that might be all you need to abandon it all together!
And all this can happen without you meaning to!
So, this means you want to make the transition from one method to the next as smooth and easy as possible.
So easy that you may not even realize you’ve done it!
This may relate to only a small niche of people, but it happened to me!
I prefer to keep everything digital. Physical planner’s novelty wears off for me and I fall off with using it.
But, even some digital methods get boring so I move on to the next!
Here’s an example.
I have a content calendar that stores all my blog post ideas, links, Pinterest information, and more.
It’s the exact same template that I have available in my shop!
I was using this content calendar for a long time, so all of my ideas are still stored there.
But it eventually got boring, so I moved over to Trello for a while.
Lately, however, I noticed Trello isn’t where I’m going anymore, I’m going back to the content calendar!
But, the transition was smooth and easy because all of my posts were still written out in the content calendar.
It just needed to be updated with new posts!
So, I honestly made the switch back without realizing it!
Use the method that will actually help you stay organized- without guilt
I’m sure we’ve all been there, going through Pinterest and looking at all the pretty organizational posts.
Trying everything that others are doing… and then feeling guilty when we give up and move on.
Or using methods that never worked in the first place!
But here’s the thing, an ADHD brain craves new and exciting things.
So, you constantly need to switch things up to keep it interesting for you!
This may not be the case for you, but I read so many productivity posts written by people who didn’t have ADHD and none of them worked for me!
And I used to feel so guilty that they didn’t work.
But in reality, I just needed to find something that worked for me and my brain! And not feel guilty about it in the process.
Work with your brain, not against it.
Even if that means in order to actually stay organized you need to do something that doesn’t make sense to others, is a little unconventional, or, even if you need to switch methods each month.
Whatever works for you. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else but you!
Stop making to do lists- try this instead
The first thing on the productivity posts is always to “create a to-do list” and “Prioritize your tasks.”
Which of course, is something hard for an ADHD brain to do.
For me, creating a to-do list worked for a while.
But eventually, I found myself making them and then actively avoiding everything on the list.
Things still would get done, it just… wouldn’t be on the list.
So, I stopped making to-do lists altogether.
And guess what?!
Things still got done.
You know what needs to get done, and you just have to do it.
But, if you still like the satisfaction of crossing things off a list or being able to look back on all the progress you made, try this instead.
To actually stay organized and make sure you’re on track, create a “to-done list” instead.
At the end of the day, it may feel like you didn’t accomplish anything because it all just passes in a blur.
Or maybe, you like the idea of crossing things off to feel accomplished.
That’s where a to-done list comes in!
When you finish a task, write it down. And then cross it off.
So that way, at the end of the day, you still have a record of what you’ve done to look back on!
And, you can see how much you accomplished or if it was actually productive work you got done towards your goals!
It’s basically a backward to-do list!
It’s important to know it’s okay if your brain works differently than others.
It’s okay to change things up, try methods that didn’t work, or put old methods on the back burner while you chase the shiny new organizational method.
And it’s super important to do this all without feeling guilty about it.
Falling off a routine or switching things up is not a failure on your part- it’s just how your brain works. Embrace it!
We are all built differently and we should embrace our difference- not try to break ourselves to fit into the mold we think we should fit in.
Check out more from me here:
- How to Find Your Most Productive Time of Day
- 6 Ways to Have a Successful Morning Routine
- What Every Girl Boss Should Have on her Desk