If you have an ASC/ADHD, you might not understand how some people seem to be so efficient at organisation and managing their time. Of course some people do seem to be naturally better at it than others, but organisation and time management are skills that can be learned by everyone.
• Keep it Simple – Ok – so you might have the ASC/ADHD impulsive nature and so might want to throw yourself headfirst into an organising frenzy. However, that will just cause you anxiety. Helpful habits take time to develop – so pick one or two key things to work on to start with, things you find fairly easy to change, then you can slowly build on those over time.
• Steps to Success – You won’t suddenly become more organised just because you have decided to be. You might have quite a backlog of stuff to work through. If you try to do everything at once, or even try to think of everything at once, you might get so overwhelmed you give up before you even start. Organisation is a step-by-step process. Learn new skills and build upon them, then gradually your feeling of being in control will improve. Keeping those habits then help to prevent the feeling of disorganisation from building up again.
Start each day by getting organised.
Make a list of all the activities you need to accomplish. You might find it useful to write a ‘to-do’ list or create memos in your online or paper diary or on your mobile phone – scraps of paper get lost! There is a lot to be said for writing things down so that you are not trying to hold lots of things in your memory then forgetting them.
When you know what you have to do you can start to prioritise the tasks – what has to be done and what is less important; what absolutely has to be done first and then what next? You can save a lot of time by working out what is necessary and prevent exhausting your energy by thinking and worrying about tasks you have to do – especially if they are not so important. Keep referring to your list and cross things off as you achieve them.
If you are using a calendar type memo or diary you might find it helpful to write in fixed appointments at the times planned then add other things around them in the spare time if it doesn’t matter so much when they are done. Make sure you plan in how long realistically each appointment or task will take. Plan in journey times, waiting times and meal times too so you are not rushing from one thing to another. If possible add in extra time for each task. If you think it will take 30 minutes, then add in another 10 minutes to be sure. If it doesn’t take so long then you can always use the time for something else or even take a break!
Plan in treat times during the day. You know how long you can concentrate for. If you try to do more then you won’t be productive and may even start procrastinating. Plan in a cup of tea or coffee, a short walk, a quick read – anything that will clear your mind for the next task or next bit of a task to be more effective and stop it being such a chore.
At the end of the day review what you achieved and transfer anything you didn’t manage to complete to your plan for the next day.