Staying Organized

ADD/ADHD Tutorial

Staying Organized


As someone who struggled with ADHD as a child, and still struggles occasionally in my adult life, I understand better than most that staying organized and motivated can be a frustrating challenge to students with ADHD. Hopefully these tips and tricks can help you to stay on track.

Sample Problem

Nothing is more frustrating than facing deadlines. In my experience, the biggest obstacle students with ADHD face is staying on top of these deadlines and completing tasks in an organized manner. Tasks can easily build up in grade school and high school, from completing homework and projects, to studying for tests and quizzes. So what can be done to keep your head above water when things are piling up?


Below, I’ve detailed a few steps you can take to keep yourself organized and help with de-cluttering your schedule. As you read this list, keep in mind the best way to stay organized and on top of things is to give yourself the benefit of the doubt. School is not easy, but there are things you can do to make it less stressful.

1. Planners are EVERYTHING – I know what you’re thinking. The dinky little planner they give you at school may be great, but how can you make a list of things you need to get done when you hardly remember to write in it? For some, writing in their planner is second nature, but that’s not the case for everyone. I would suggest looking for homework apps instead. There are many free apps in the market that will even go so far as to remind you to write things down! If you’re not really a fan of apps, and would prefer to use the planner, go ahead and schedule an alarm in your phone. Name the alarm “Planner” or whatever works to remind you. Having a list is one of the most important parts of staying organized.

2. Speaking of LISTS – Using a list, and checking things off of it, may be the easiest way to make something overwhelming much more manageable. Not only do you gain satisfaction from crossing things off, but you can watch your list get shorter and shorter as you work. Taking short breaks throughout your work can be beneficial as well, as it gives your brain a chance to take a breath and reset. Let’s say your list has ten homework assignments: break this up into 2 assignments at a time, or tell yourself “Once I get these three done, I’ll grab a snack. Then after the next two, I’ll give myself a 15 minute phone break.” Pacing yourself will help you complete tasks without feeling like you wrung your brain out.

3. Don’t get down on yourself – If you feel like you’re not getting anywhere on an essay, or not doing too well studying for that big math test – PAUSE. Go do something you enjoy for a few minutes. Specifically, something you can succeed at. This could range from playing your best solo at whatever instrument you play, or finally beating that level of your video game. The feeling of success after you’ve completed something fun will carry over to your work when you get back to it. If you push yourself too hard while you study or do your homework, it will be easy to get into a mood where you don’t think you’re good at anything. Remind yourself how strong and smart you are, then get back to it!

4. Don’t step away from your work for TOO LONG – While you should allow yourself to take a break, don’t forget the ultimate goal. Use those alarms on your phone! Watch the clock! If you do decide to step away from your work for a little while, always set a timer so you’ll remember to get back to it. If you take a break to go eat something and get away from the desk, give yourself 15-30 minutes. Then get your butt back to work! You’ll have all the time you want after you’re done, after all.

Hopefully these steps will help you take control of your schedule, and take control of your life. As someone who went through what you are going through now, I know for sure you can do it. You are strong, and smart – you just need to have faith in yourself!

About The Author

English Student And Editor
I have helped to tutor students K-12 with English since I was in high school, including work on cover letters, resumes, and essays formatted in both MLA and APA. I am currently working towards a degree in English at Georgia Highlands College, and will be assisting my professor with classes starting ...
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Kennesaw, GA
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