When faced with long stretches at home, many rejoiced with all the projects they would be able to get done. Those loose photos can finally be organized into albums! Time to clean out all the closets! Homeschooling the kids? No problem!
Some people with ADHD may have started out feeling hopeful, only to find that weeks later there has been nothing crossed off the list. Maybe you started purging your closet and midway through you decide that the shelves really don’t work well for your closet size and two hours later you find yourself plopped down in the middle of your half-finished purge pile creating a board for closet organization on Pinterest. Maybe you want to read that new novel for just a little bit before you start that report the boss is asking for only to look up and realize it is four hours later.
Here are some tips that may help you stay focused and on task when the “new normal” doesn’t have built-in structure.
- Take your ADHD medication every day. Just because you do not have to rush to a 9 am meeting isn’t an excuse to slack on your meds. For more information about taking breaks from medication, check out our blog “Summer Medications”.
- Get dressed every morning. Sure, staying in your pj’s is a perk to not leaving the house, but getting dressed stimulates your brain and sets the tone for productivity.
- Set small, specific goals. Instead of boldly proclaiming, “I’m going to clean the entire house!”, make a deliberate list of tasks and crossing each one off will keep your momentum going. “Unload dishwasher” “Reload Dishwasher” “Mop Floor”
- Set reminders on your phone. You probably have a smartphone, use it! Designate time for meal prep, checking email, limit your downtime before you spend three hours playing Candy Crush.
- Get exercise! Even if you are super busy, there are plenty of free workouts either on apps or YouTube. Exercise is shown to amplify dopamine.
- Get social. If you crave socialization and miss your colleagues or classmates, Facetime them or plan a web call.
- Don’t compare. Just because your friends are posting amazing recipes that they tried (and not just pinned) or the new herb garden they planted (ahem, and not just pinned), doesn’t mean you have to keep up. Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t keeping up with your super productive pals. Reward yourself for knocking out the little things.
- Fit in the fun. ADHD brains get bored. Schedule some time to do something fun or creative. Learn a new craft (just one at a time, don’t break the bank on craft supplies you’ll abandon), invent a new outdoor game (how many times can your family hit the whiffle ball with the racquet without it touching the ground…our record is 74).
In times like these, people with ADHD may thrive because we are flexible and able to go-with-the-flow. Or, we might wander around the house aimlessly trying to figure out where to start. The key is, to JUST START. Use tools to help you stay structured, take control of your life and have some fun.