For many people with attention-deficit hyperactivity, better known as ADHD, keeping on top of the tasks expected of them at home can be an ongoing challenge. Among other symptoms, ADHD is associated with trouble focusing, forgetfulness, distractibility, difficulty staying organized, and general attention issues.
In order to improve efficiency with day-to-day tasks at home, the first step is to figure out what needs to be done. Then you can examine and streamline how each task is completed.
To get started, write out a list of the main tasks you need to complete. Here is a sample list:
- Shop for food
- Make dinner
- Pack lunches for family members
- Clean up around the house
- Pick up dry cleaning
- Do laundry
- Walk the dog
Once you have your list, write next to each item when you will perform the task. For example:
- Shop for food: Whenever I have time
- Make dinner: Around 6 p.m.
- Pack lunches for family members: In the morning
- Clean up around the house: Whenever I have time
- Pick up dry cleaning: Whenever I run out of clean clothing
- Do laundry: When my children need clean clothing
- Walk the dog: When the dog looks ready to go out
Now, evaluate each item on your list to determine how efficient you are with it on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being as efficient as possible). If the item is not a 5, write out possible ways to improve efficiency.
The following is an example of this process for the imagined list above:
Shop for food – 3
- Look at the schedule and pick a set time each week to go. Think about when it would be most helpful in the week to have plenty of food.
- Have family members add items to the list on the refrigerator when wanted or needed. Alternatively, have them add it to a joint list on an app.
- When and where possible, go online to preorder food and then pick it up or have it delivered. Some companies will send you reminders to order food if you request it.
- Use companies that offer reoccurring shipment options for household goods such as paper towels, toilet paper, dog food, etc. This way, you always have enough items at home and don’t have to worry about running out to get more, provided you use about the same amount of each item each month.
Make dinner – 4
- On Sunday evenings, write out a list of meals you will prepare each night of the week, taking into account how long each recipe will take and when you will get home to begin cooking.
- If it will save time, put the ingredients together the night before or in the morning.
- Use slow cookers or other devices that allow you to prepare ingredients during the day.
Pack lunches for family members – 2
- On Sunday evenings, prepare lunches for Monday and Tuesday to the extent possible. On Wednesday, prepare lunches for Thursday and Friday. Make sure any food packed ahead of time will keep until it is eaten.
- Make lunches with the whole family together and have each person fulfill a role in packing (i.e., one person packs drinks, another puts macaroni and cheese into individual containers).
- Buy prepacked components to speed along the process.
Clean up around the house – 2
- After the children go to bed, clean up.
- Alternatively, clean up each morning before leaving the house.
Pick up dry cleaning – 4
- Drop dry cleaning off on the same day each week so it will be ready at the same time each week.
- Use a company that picks up/drops off clothing at your office.
Do laundry – 3
- Do all laundry on the same day each week.
- Alternatively, do each person’s laundry on a separate day (i.e., child’s laundry on Tuesday, partner’s laundry on Wednesday).
- Do one load of laundry each evening so it does not pile up.
Walk the dog – 4
- Walk the dog at set times or intervals if feasible (i.e., before eating breakfast or dinner, right after dinner).
- Organize dog playdates, taking turns with another dog owner to watch/walk the dogs.
The idea is to evaluate each thing you have to do, whether it be when you do it or how you do it, and make sure you are being as efficient as you can be. You can measure efficiency in the amount of time it takes, convenience, and quality of task completion. I hope these suggestions prove helpful.
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