Seven Ways I Cope with ADHD without Meds!

  1. Colour-code and colour-assign everything. I tend to make associations with colours and images rather than words, despite being a avid reader. The brighter the better–folders, post-its, plastering stickers on everything (especially stuff I need to find, like my phone), lots of fun keychains help me find my keys.
  2. Multitasking and allowable/manageable distractions. The major thing that got me through grad school was Facebook’s YoVille game. If I had to write a long paper, I’d turn it on, and, since the free version has limited time, it was a limited distraction that worked as a  background and stimulated/captured my attention span long enough to start writing my paper. Next thing I knew, I would have 60 pages done! TV shows, especially old favourites, are perfect for getting me through mundane tasks like paying bills, doing my financial records, or anything else that doesn’t require a lot of extra attention.
  3. Do not stress or berate yourself if you make a typical ADHD mistake. If you mess up, miss a date, are running late–the worst thing you can do is freak out. This is the hardest thing for me not to do. There is usually always a fix.
  4. Remembering appointments, meetings and deadlines. Recently I missed jury duty because I did not put the date on my “page-a-day” calendar. Somehow, the visual part of the calendar helps me remember to check in on what day it is. Fun calendars like Star Wars and Harry Potter—even horoscopes or facts-of-the-day–provide an exciting, although simple, way to check the calendar date, and can be a place to put important meetings and appointments. (link: Wall size calendars with attention-grabbing stickers can also help. The more fun and attention grabbing things are, the easier it will be to check them and notice them. Motivation is always key for ADHD types. Routine and security can help, but rote, bland objects (the wallpaper effect, I call it) makes us blind.
  5. Trust your own instincts and inner promptings. Follow your intuition. If you simply don’t feel motivated to do a task at the desk right at that moment, replace it with something else. Like, if I need to write up a paper, but also have to go run errands (go to the store, the bank, etc.), and you feel more motivated to go out and be active, do that. Otherwise, I will find myself wandering around aimlessly, doing everything possible to not sit at the computer and type. And the whole day will be wasted. I’ll go out, then come back, and generally within the deadline, like in the late evening hours, I will be more focused to work on desk work.
  6. I keep important things I have to take care of within a highly prominent place. Line-of-sight helps. I lay out all my bills on a flat surface, so I would remember to pay them. I had this roommate for a very brief period of time, and they took up all my bills and notes and things and put them in this basket because they didn’t like clutter. Three weeks later, I got a past due notice for my bills, and had to pay a fee. Out of sight, out of mind.
  7. When I have an appointment, or I have to be at work or class or anything else at a specific time, I generally have to start getting ready at least an hour or two beforehand. This gives me a relaxed time window that has enough room to make sure I get everything I need for work or class, but still also gives me a chance to wander around and do other miscellaneous activities/tasks that I remember while I’m doing about 20 other things. I get more accomplished in that time then I do all week, with a clearly outlined schedule I used to try to adhere to. It also helps to have the right kind of alarm clock. I have one from Sharper Image that has two alarms (I can set one an hour later for when I’m procrastinating via sleep) and it has nice sounds to wake up to–not the annoying blast that makes you so stressed out even before you get out of bed. Here’s the alarm clock link. My favourites are “Foghorn”, followed by “Oceanside”. 🙂

Author: The Chaos Realm

Copy Editor/Proofreader, Historian, Freelance Writer, Virtual Assistant.

2 thoughts on “Seven Ways I Cope with ADHD without Meds!”

  1. When I finally learned to stop berating myself for an ADD mistake, my life began to change. I also missed jury duty. I actually wrote the date in my calendar but did it in a rush and put Wednesday instead of Monday. Sigh… Love your blog.

    1. EXACTLY! Simply gaining awareness about how I operate and coming up with creative solutions, instead of the “berating” you mention, takes so much stress off. Every now and then I fall into old habits re: self-laceration, but things are loads better!

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