Your ADHD Brain: Stay Organized, Forget Less, and Get More Done

Shot of a young businessman sitting at a desk putting in the hours to get work doneSymptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) can include difficulty completing tasks in a timely manner, inability to focus for long periods of time, forgetfulness, and a general sense of feeling scatterbrained. In a work or school environment, those with inattention issues may have difficulty completing assignments, meeting deadlines, and forgetting daily tasks that have been assigned by superiors. It can be difficult to see the proverbial forest for the trees in what can feel like a whirlwind of forgetfulness and lack of focus.

Whether or not you experience inattention, each person experiences how the brain “operates” in their own way. When we explore and accept our own brain’s individuality and rhythm of functioning, it can give way to improvement and give us the attention boost we’ve been looking for. Accepting our brain and providing what it needs on its own terms can yield success in daily functioning.

Difficulties for exploration may include:


Organization can be difficult for everyone, but for those with ADHD, it can prove even more challenging. Think about what feels easiest to sort through when working with information or items. Is it easier to pick out an outfit in the morning when clothes are hung up or when they are laid out in drawers? Is it easier to look at items in stacks on a shelf or compartmentalized in bins? Think about what appears less confusing or overwhelming and organize accordingly.


Many people who have been diagnosed with ADHD can be forgetful. Missed appointments, forgotten deadlines, and lunches left at home can dampen even the best of days. Luckily, in today’s technology age there are many tools that can help aid a scattered memory. Begin again by exploring and accepting your brain. Are checklists helpful? If so, are they best seen on paper or on a phone? Are appointments kept more frequently when looking at a pocket day planner or when using an app? If you have difficulty remembering items as you acquire them throughout the day, try carrying a notepad to quickly jot down tasks for reference later.

Thinking about your own preferences and placing yourself in those situations as much as possible can help your brain thrive in the environment it needs.

Focus and Productivity

Productivity can be a struggle for those experiencing inattention. Acquiring motivation to begin tasks and utilizing the sustained attention required to complete them can be downright painstaking. Deficits in these areas have left many procrastinating or avoiding tasks altogether. Different times of the day, however, can bring about improved focus. For some, the early morning hours bring a sense of tranquility and focus. For others, evening hours bring about sustained attention. Still for others, the initial start of a task may be somewhat challenging, but once it is underway focus can be sustained until the task is completed. Exploring your brain’s rhythms and working accordingly can help conquer difficulty with focus and productivity. If you feel most focused in the morning, plan to begin and complete more difficult tasks at this time, saving easier tasks for later when focus may be more sporadic.


A continual lack of inattention over time can feel exhausting and depleting, leaving your brain even less focused. Increased worry over forgotten appointments and deadlines can contribute to a lack of focus as well. It is important to practice self-care to rejuvenate your brain for optimal efficiency. Take care of yourself and be kind and forgiving. Practicing mindfulness daily, for even a few minutes, may reduce stress and increase focus. Likewise, exercise can also increase focus and reduce tension and stress.

Each person has unique preferences for memory, organization, completing tasks, and acquiring focus. Thinking about your own preferences and placing yourself in those situations as much as possible can help your brain thrive in the environment it needs.

© Copyright 2017 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Denise Olesky, MA, NCC, LPC, Topic Expert

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Heather

    May 9th, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this with your readers. I have ADHD and there are days when I literally feel like I am a hamster on a wheel, running furiously and never quite getting caught up. I appreciate the tips, I am always looking for ways to stay on top of my projects that have to be done.

  • Denise Olesky

    May 13th, 2017 at 2:51 PM

    Thank you for your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  • paige

    May 10th, 2017 at 11:32 AM

    We have all kinds of reminders and alerts set up on our son’s phone and this has made a huge difference for him. His problem too was being so forgetful, and this helps him be a much better manager of his time.

  • Denise Olesky

    May 13th, 2017 at 2:52 PM

    Technology is a wonderful thing! Thank you for reading!

  • Jerry

    May 12th, 2017 at 12:49 PM

    I find that I am so much more aware and fully engaged with my whole life when I can take a little time out of each day for me.
    At first that felt pretty selfish to me, why did i need that extra time to devote to me? I had to work at it for sure to comprehend that what was selfish was not taking that time for me, because I am just not that good at giving to other people when I have not first taken care of myself.

  • Denise Olesky

    May 13th, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    Thanks for your reply Jerry! Self-care is a life long process. It’s wonderful that you’re finding a balance.

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