Use Lists for Organizing with ADD
We've all made lists before. We make them in our heads all of the time. Due to the workings of ADD, that isn't an effective way for us to keep lists. Don't even try to keep a list in your head. Get it down on paper. There are times when making lists is an angst-ridden activity. That is usually when we try to prioritize before we write the list. Just getting the first item down is hard, since there are so many and we stress about what should go first. Don't play that game with yourself. Get the items down as they occur to you. Afterwards, you can number them in order of how you want to accomplish the tasks.
Do you operate more effectively in the morning or evening? That is when you should work on your list. At our house, we usually build our lists at night, just before bed. My husband and I discuss what was accomplished during that day and what still needs to get done. We plan special projects. This goes down onto paper, and the tasks on the list are numbered. Our lists are coordinated. We decide on breakfast and foods for the following day. Meal planning happens on a weekly basis for many people. We do it the day before.
After you make the list, make a copy. Have a dedicated place to keep your list. You might even keep them in a binder to look back on. This will help give you a sense of accomplishment, when you see everything that you have done. Keep one copy of the list with you. Train yourself to revisit it at least hourly. This will help keep you on the right track. Cross off or check off items as they are completed. This gives a feeling of closure and success.
A list is not a magic wand that you can wave at your life to help you get organized. It is a good tool to help you use your time more effectively and to calm the chaos that Attention Deficit Disorder brings to your life. Making and following a list is hard work. However, with planning and follow-through, a list can help your life become more orderly and free up large swaths of time to do activities that bring you pleasure.
This week I saw a quotation that asked, "Would you sell an hour of your life for $13?" Many of us would answer with a resounding, "NO!" When we work for wages, that is what we do; we sell our time for money. It is the means of exchange that we have. Would you throw away hours upon hours of time, time that you can never take back? Making lists helps you use your time in an intentional way, and that can be a valuable aid in spending your time wisely to do what makes you most satisfied.
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