ADD and home chores

I am severely ADD. My doctor put me on Adderall which reduced me to tears. I could focus but I couldn’t tolerate normal daytime sounds. I decided there had to be a better way.

I found the fog lifted quite a bit when I eliminated all grains from diet. I still didn’t know how to cope with the things I needed to do day in and day out. I kept asking friends in our church small group how they do it (who honestly often looked at me like I had three heads – am I the only one who doesn’t really know how to run a home?) I learned a few things there. More and more sites on line offer help (maybe people like me are making Lifehacker so popular!) I admit I spent more than one morning in tears and frustration just praying about it. I’m sure my poor husband did too! I think the things that have helped the most came from those times.

I’m going to start writing about what helped partly because we save money when I stay on top of my routines and partly to keep myself accountable. If you’re in the same boat, maybe you’ll find something in these posts that’s helpful (or maybe you have some tips or a good resource to share).

So you probably know where I’m going to go with this – for Pete’s sake – make it a game! Also – just like the Money Game – start with one small task and learn to do it every day. Once that becomes routine, you can add level up by adding another.

If you are ADD and don’t know where to start

Pick one thing and do it every day preferably at the same time. If you don’t know what would be best, load and run your dishwasher until all the dishes, pots & pans are clean. Put them all away. It may take you several days to knock it out (especially if you have a family to care for) but just keep at this one task until it is completely done.

Once it’s all caught up, your job is to run the dishwasher every night. (Ours is broken so I wash our dishes by hand and leave them in a rack to air dry.) The next morning, race the coffee pot. Put all the clean dishes away and try to finish before the coffee brews.

That’s it. It may take a month before you can do it even while swimming through the thickest ADD fog. But it becomes automatic.

What does this give you? You now have a place to put dirty dishes during the day. Your family doesn’t have to wonder “clean or dirty?” The answer is always, always “dirty” and that’s where they can help you by picking up after themselves.

You can also use the shortest cycle on your dishwasher (or hand wash faster since everything didn’t dry on). That will save some money. You’ll see more benefits as you stick with it. I would freak if something happened and I couldn’t keep this routine going.

What you CAN’T do

Please do not go on a 6 hour cleaning jag. You are only going to burn out!! Be good to yourself. Encourage yourself. Sure I know there are other things you have to do. Do them but don’t over do it and then shut down. It doesn’t work long term.

If your child is ADD

Have a heart and become a teacher. Make it a game. Realize that not everyone is born knowing how to clean and organize. Consider these tips:

  • Use encouraging words in a friendly, helpful tone.
  • Stand at the door to their room and together figure out logical “zones” like wall #1, wall #2, the bed, the floor, the desk, the closet. Ask them to do a specific task in just one zone like “let’s pick up all the clothes on the floor and put them in the laundry basket”. That is manageable and doable. Since they can manage and handle one zone, maybe they can assume responsibility for just that. Nothing succeeds like success. Set them up for success and then go nuts noticing, approving and everything else moms get blamed for not doing.
  • My grandson (another severely ADD person) and I would stand at the door and ask each other “What is the one thing we can do to this room that will have the biggest impact?” We’d do it and be amazed at how much it helped. We only picked up one or two things but the room would look 50% better. That would put the wind in our sails.
  • Play with your kids between each small task. I know it’s going to take forever (it will) but at least they won’t be trashing the house. It’s like saving money versus spending money. Sometimes what you save has a bigger impact than what you earn.
  • Keep building your relationship more than the cleaning rules. But keep cleaning and encouraging that too. Point out how much nicer something looks.

Is there anything you can do to make this job easier?

Sometimes I’d notice the dishwasher wasn’t full. I’d run it anyway. Having less to put away was my reward for staying on top of it. I’d use the shortest cycle or just handwash if there really wasn’t much. I started using the same drinking glass all day. If you know you’re going to make yourself put away every dish, you start finding ways to cut the number down.

This post ends with a small power up. The phone bill just auto paid and there’s $2.44 left in that category. I just moved it to the Money Game fund.

Level Completed: 163 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $329.22
Total Balance: $14,676.28
Our Money Game fund has increased 2.3% so far this month.

$252.18 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game


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