Disorder and Deadlines

Disorder can cause trouble when you have ADHD and need to meet deadlines.   Transitions between tasks can already be a challenge with ADHD and disorder causes us more transition time because we spend time looking for something that we need to accomplish.  Worse, we might lose something that needs to be completed.  Both of these issues cause trouble when trying to reach deadlines.

Start small when trying to get more organized.  Pick one room, one stack of papers or one drawer to start.  There is temptation to tackle the whole office or house at once, but this typically adds to our stress level.  If you focus on one small step, maintaining it and moving on to the next small step, we are more likely to be successful in staying organized.

Here are some small steps to get you started…


Set up simple file folders that work for you. Label them in bright colors and use them!  Color code to prioritize email by the sender. This way, you can see emails from your priority customers, family members and bosses first. Taking care of priority emails will help keep your email organized.

Schedule It

Make an appointment with yourself to organize. Spend 30 minutes or less at first. Any more time can get overwhelming. If you have ADHD and can make hyperfocus work to your advantage, you might want to plan ahead and schedule a block of a few hours in one day. Check in with yourself – how much time works best for you?


When you start organizing, set timers to sound 10 minutes before you need to move to your next assignment. Use these 10 minutes to clean up your current organizing project.


Set up a simple system for yourself when going through mail whether at home or the office. Give yourself a few options such as File, Toss, Do and Delegate. If you have trouble setting up a system for yourself, hire a coach or partner with a friend to figure out a system that works for YOU.


Identify a reward for yourself when you accomplish a small organizing goal. Anything that will keep you going and that is affordable for you is a good idea.


I know it can be hard to focus on eliminating disorder when you have ADHD.  You would not have this challenge if it was easy!  To limit distractions when you are getting organized, turn off your computer and don’t answer the phone.  This will help you focus on your organizing goals, which will allow you to complete them sooner.

Let me know below which of these tips you will implement to help you reach your deadlines!




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