Explore support, information, and tips for managing life with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
You may not be able to do everything yourself, so try to enlist help. Delegate when you can, consider a chore schedule and, if you can afford it, hire someone to help with chores.
Organize at home with a "launch pad."
Identify a table or bookshelf near the door you enter to your house as your "launch pad" or "landing pad." Put a container or basket there to catch keys, glasses, papers, wallets, and other important items. Pocketbooks, briefcases, backpacks, and papers can be stored there to help provide a smooth take-off in the morning.
Try the 10-minute pick up.
Each night try to spend 10 minutes quickly going through the house seeing how many items you can pick up and put away. Set a timer. Take a bag, basket, or container and go through the house picking up items and dropping them off where they belong.
Minimize distractions at your desk.
Keep only what you're working on out in front of you, and get clutter off your desk.
Repeat to remember.
Repeat back what someone has said. This may help you remember multi-step instructions at work. It may also help you remember what your friend said, and they will feel like you are listening.
Focus on one task.
This may help you get started on a project you've been putting off. Set a timer for 15 minutes. If you can't continue the project after 15 minutes, stop, give yourself a break, and finish later.
Use prompts as helpful reminders.
Prompts can help you remember to do something or say something. Types of prompts can be visual (a sticky note), verbal (someone telling you to be quiet), physical (a vibrating phone alarm), or a gesture (someone pointing to their nose).
Ask for help when you need it.
Don't be afraid to get support. Many schools offer resources to help students with disabilities, such as ADHD. Check out your school's disability support program to see what is available. Help can vary and so can the names of the programs. The office may be called RDS—Resources for Disabled Students. It may also be referred to as the Office of Student Disability Services, Student Support Services, Services to Students with Disabilities, or Disability Services Office.
Time management is important in college. Fortunately, there are a number of computer and portable electronic programs and devices that may help you organize your schedule and keep track of classes, assignments, projects, and grades. Electronic reminders can also come in handy in college.
Discover your learning style.
Studying in a way that comes naturally to you may benefit you in college. For instance, some students are auditory learners. This means they learn best when they hear material. For auditory learners, recorded lectures may help. Other students are visual learners—they might be more likely to remember what they see. Highlighting key words or phrases helps visual learners with memorizing material. Others may learn by a hands-on approach. It's important to find what works best for you.
Check out professors before signing up for classes.
A website like www.ratemyprofessors.com may help you decide if a professor matches your needs. Professors can vary in their acceptance and understanding of ADHD. The staff at your support services provider may also be helpful in the course selection process and with identifying professors who have worked well with students with ADHD in the past.
Make sure you get a syllabus.
A syllabus will have information on schedules, assignments, and due dates for a particular class. Think of the syllabus as the ultimate guide to your class. The syllabus is usually handed out on the first day of class and may be posted online. You will be responsible for the information in the syllabus and any changes the professor makes to it. It helps to capture the important dates from the syllabus and put them in a planner to keep track of your schedule.
Carry a 3-hole punch with you.
Get one that is small enough to bring to class or fits into your notebook and use it with a 3-ring binder. That way you can file papers the moment they’re handed out. Resist the urge to do it later; often, that’s how papers get lost. Practicing this tip can help with organization.
Divide and conquer.
Divide reading assignments into small chunks. The more difficult the reading material, the more time you might need to devote to it. Determine what you can read in one study session and then divide the material into manageable reading periods.
Set daily and weekly goals.
Try to plan and record daily and weekly goals for studying and working on assignments and projects. Consider breaking down projects or assignments into smaller, more manageable chunks and including these on your schedule to get things done.
You may be able to learn a great deal by watching others do what you need to learn to do. Try finding a role model or mentor in the workplace or in your personal life.
Identify a supportive friend or your spouse to serve as your volunteer coach.
Review and discuss your steps and goals with your coach. Hopefully, your volunteer coach will help monitor your progress and provide support along the way.
Have you been diagnosed with ADHD? Ask your doctor questions, learn as much as you can and take an active role in your health. Start by exploring the resources below.
ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO)
A professional membership organization for ADHD coaches and resource for the public.
Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
Articles, personal stories, interviews with ADHD professionals, book reviews, and links to other ADHD-related sites.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
National non-profit organization working to improve the lives of affected people through education, advocacy, and support.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Part of the National Institutes of Health whose mission is to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.
National Institute of Mental Health
Part of the National Institutes of Health whose mission is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whose mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.