Start a Tickler File to Get Focused

ADHD can make it hard to manage all of the paper you get at home and/or work.  Using a tickler file can be a helpful way to gain control of the paper.

  • First you will need an accordion folder with numbered tabs 1 – 31.
  • When you receive a new piece of paper that is time sensitive, write the date that you need to take action on the top of the paper.  For example, if I get a bill that is due on February 10th, I would write February 8th on top of the paper to ensure I have time to make an electronic payment.
  • File the paper in behind the tab with the corresponding date.  With my bill example above, I will put the paper behind tab 8
  • Check the tickler file once each day to see what paper needs to be handled.

What do you think?  Could a tickler file work for you?

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Estimate Time to Get Focused

If you have ADHD, estimating the time it takes to get your your work done can be difficult.  On the one hand, you may underestimate the time that certain tasks will take.  This can leave you overwhelmed with too much on your plate and not enough time to get it all done.  On the other hand, you might overestimate the time that something will take to complete.  If this happens, you might notice yourself with open, unproductive time or your efficiency might decrease causing you to take too much time to complete the assignment.

Estimating Time on Your Task List

To help you improve in this skill, I recommend that you get in the habit of estimating how much time a task will take to complete at the beginning of each day.  At the end of the day, go back to your to do list and note the actual time that something took.  Review your accuracy and reflect on where you can improve your estimating the next time.

This will take practice!

I encourage you to try this for a few weeks and see if your estimating skills improve.  Do not give up quickly.  This is something that takes some time before you will begin to see results.  Let us know how it goes!

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Exercise to Get Focused

When you have trouble staying focused during your workday, activities at home or your studies that could be a sign that you need an exercise break.  This does not mean you need to pack up and head to the gym!  For your exercise break, I am suggesting that you take a brisk walk, run in place or do some jumping jacks.  Just do something simple to give your self a break and get your blood pumping.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey, M.D. is a good resource if you are interested in learning more on this topic.

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Pay Bills to Get Focused

Set aside time today to pay bills.  If your ADHD makes paying bills a chore you would prefer to avoid, scheduling some time to get started can help.  If this sounds overwhelming to you, think about how spending 30 minutes would work for you.  Some time might be just what you need to get started.

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Plan Meals to Get Focused

To help you stay focused this week, spend some time TODAY planning your menu and getting groceries.  This can help reduce the distraction of menu planning and potentially help you eat healthier!  How do you like to plan your meals?  Share your ideas here!

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