When most people think about ADHD, they think about someone who has trouble focusing, can’t sit still, and struggles to meet deadlines. While these are common issues associated with ADHD, these traits don’t have to define who you are as a person with ADHD.
As a clinical psychologist based in Bethesda, Maryland who specializes in ADHD and related executive function deficits, I help people enhance their well-being by learning practical tools that result in minimizing the impact that ADHD has on their lives. The tools that I use with people are helpful to everyone, not just those with ADHD.
For example, to help improve time management and organization, I often recommend finding a task list app that you feel comfortable using such as Reminders, gTasks, or Do! Having all tasks in a list serves as a master to-do list. Then, to avoid having to hold so much information and planning in your mind, I recommend scheduling each task in the list for a set time and day. These apps then use that information to automatically prepare a daily to-do list for you.
In addition, I often help individuals to use a calendar app that fits their needs well. Some people are picky about how it looks, what functions it has, etc. It is ok to be picky about something that you have to rely on because if you don’t like how it looks/functions, you are going to be less inclined to use it. A few calendar apps that I like a lot are iCalendar, Fantastical, and Calendars5. All of these combine a calendar with a task list. In addition, these apps offer different views of the day in terms of list, time block, and week views.
Of course, technology is not the be all and end all of things. For some individuals, paper options are preferable and that is fine.
In order to make improvements in your life, whether it be related to ADHD or not, you have to examine where the difficulties are and then identify ways to make changes. Thus, taking a systematic and practical approach to making life with ADHD better can make a huge difference in your outlook and enjoyment. Oftentimes, I’ve found it ends up being small things that are simple that result in a big improvement in overall life satisfaction.
Therefore, in honor of ADHD awareness month, I challenge you, whether you have ADHD or not, to reflect on your efficiency of getting things done as well as your time management and organization skills, and pick one thing to improve on. Then, identify what steps you could take to do that and execute the actions necessary to achieve your goal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Carey Heller is a clinical psychologist and founding partner of The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related executive function weaknesses. Dr. Heller provides formal testing as well as therapy/coaching. His approach to treatment is somewhat unique in that he blends traditional talk therapy with practical coaching tools.
Dr. Heller really enjoys writing, as might be evident from his writing this blog post, as well as the many articles and several books that he has written. He especially likes writing items that are short, practical, and directly helpful to others. In addition, Dr. Heller likes music a lot, and plays the guitar.