How to Setup and Use Organizer & Filing Systems – ADD Coping Skills

Organizing and planning are normal parts of everyday life. Why be organized?

    So you can spend less time looking for things, more time ENJOYING things and being more productive.
    -So you can stop feeling anxious and overwhelmed when you cant find something and feel overjoyed instead at knowing exactly where your possessions are!
    -So you can get more accomplished and earn more money
    -So you can lighten stress levels resulting from wasted “searching” for things, from being late, unprepared, harried angry. And instead reap benefits from improved relationships at home, at work, at social function.

But what happens in the world of ADD is this. There are normal cognitive (or brain) functions that control learning and behavioral activities; the top three of these functions are working memory (or the maintaining of information that was just seen or heard), sense of time and organization. People who have ADD often have trouble dealing with these three functions. The results? Lack of good, solid planning and time management skills, often hurting their job, home and social responsibilities.

There are a few basic steps for setting up and using organizer and filing systems to help people with ADD. These are only general guidelines and can be adjusted to suit individual needs. Seek help from a trusted friend, educator or other person who uses successful planning strategy, or check with professional organizational companies.

Planners Planning systems can help people calm down and focus more on real-time, day-to-day activities. They need to be used for short-term and long-term planning. Look over options available in your price ranges at planning departments and stores like Day-Timers and Franklin Covey, and online. There are print planners and planner software for computers and handheld computers. And check with the local librarian and search online for books, forms and other resources that may be available for creating our own planner pages on your computer or word processor. Pencil and paper work fine, too.

Many planners have instructions to help guide you through setting up a system. (If you are using pencil and paper, find a library book or guide to help you). Choose the calendar pages youd like: some planners offer variations, like choosing between daily, weekly or monthly planning sheets.

To begin, daily sheets are a good choice so that you have plenty of room to jot down information. Monthly sheets only offer small-boxed areas the size of a calendar for writing down information, whereas daily pages offer one full page per day, usually sectioned off in hourly segments to log your meetings, classes, work and other functions. Fill out any contact information page in case you misplace your planner, then fill in any resource contacts youd like in the back (like phone numbers for relatives, clients, doctors, etc.).

To-Do Lists Work with your ADD or helping coach to create To-Do lists. Keep it simple and start with the top three priorities each day. Add to the list as needed. Then for up to 15 minutes a day, spend time transferring these tasks to your calendar pages and prioritizing them, so you have a strategy for handling each day. Use colored markers and stickers to help and make planning fun. For example, highlight top the three top priority To-Dos each day in RED. Less important items that dont necessarily need completed that day could be highlighted in YELLOW.

Alarm Systems To coordinate your schedule, be pro-active. Use an alarm clock and plan on enough time to get up to get ready for work or school. For meetings, appointments and other timed functions throughout the day, get or learn how to set your watch alarm or cell phone alarm (on vibrate mode, if sound will disrupt a class or something). Dont leave timing to chance and guessing. Take charge!