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How to make better habits when you have ADHD

Written by Ronnia Townsend

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (aka ADHD), makes your day to day tasks a bit harder to manage. For example it is hard for me to focus on a lecture or long meetings. So I have a simple game on my phone to distract my eyes and hands while I listen to the lecture. To other people it seems like I am not listening, but I respond to questions and I voice record the lecture/meeting to take notes.

There are triggers for some people with ADHD such as stress, poor sleep, certain foods, and overstimulation. Think about being a full-time student with a job, and family needs to tend to, your focus is very scattered, and your stress level tends to become pretty high. So taking breaks to help you focus on your next task is helpful.

Here are some ways that I manage my days with ADHD. When you have a lecture, try using colorful pens, highlighters, and sticky notes to help you focus on the topic at hand. The sticky note is for the thoughts that side track your mind while you are in the lecture, and the colorful pens help you remember what was talked about in the lecture. The highlighter is to remember what was most important. While at work, whether that is a sit down job or on your feet type job, have a list that you can understand, and go through to help you be more productive. Check things off as you go, and set a goal to complete the list before it is time to clock out. You can also try listening to music, having a fidget toy, or a snack like carrots, that keep you occupied in all areas while you work.

When it comes to reminders, I am the worst at it. I set one in my phone, but can still forget after looking at it. To help you remember things while you are busy, try saying what it is that needs to be done over and over again until you complete the task. You can also write it down if that helps you. However, with the out of sight out of mind notion it would help if you kept the note somewhere you won’t miss it. Using a dry erase board to help you remember is worth a try as well.

Something else that might help is setting a sleep schedule. Once you set a sleep schedule it also helps you to find ways to turn your brain off to get a good night's rest. Drinking sleep teas with no caffeine, doing a stretch or workout before bed, or even turning on some relaxing music and just focusing on the sounds help. Other ways to sleep better is to make a list before bed of all the things that go through your head. This gives you a clear mind so you don’t have thoughts just flying through your mind.

ADHD is something that people around the world live with. It isn't always easy to spot, but if you are having issues with focusing, impulsiveness, disorganization and problems prioritizing, poor time management skills, excessive activity or restlessness, or low frustration tolerance, then I would suggest reaching out to someone to help you with your day to day life. ADHD is not something to be afraid or ashamed of, it is something that you can work on and overcome the small issues that it may give you. Thinking of ADHD as a small issue, instead of a large problem will help your mindset and will make everyday better.

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