About 4% of adults in the U.S. live with adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unmanaged adult ADHD can have negative impacts on work and time management, and can even affect relationships by manifesting in mood swings and low self-esteem. If you’re a caregiver, managing your ADHD is important for you to perform your work effectively.
Successful ADHD management strategies include any combination of medications, counseling and behavioral strategies. Finding the right approach will mean getting diagnosed by a doctor and finding what works, but anyone can start behavioral strategies at home.
One of the most common ways of managing ADHD is through one of many medication options, all with various effects and side effects. Finding the right one can take time and some trial and error.
Certain brands may be expensive, but some caregivers may qualify for savings programs through the brand’s website or apps like GoodRx. To find out more about ADHD medications, consult a primary-care physician.
2. Behavioral strategies
While medications require a medical diagnosis and prescription, anyone can try (and benefit) from behavioral strategies for managing adult ADHD. In order to avoid procrastination and properly prioritize your time, try one of these tactics:
Get organized – Staying organized helps caregivers stay on top of their tasks and know what they need to do next. Try reducing clutter and making sure everything has a place in its physical space. This can take time, so try to start with bite-sized areas and work through them. Totes, boxes and labels can help designate what should go where. Once a physical space is organized, turn those strategies to digital ones.
Manage time and tasks – Creating a task list can help caregivers know exactly what they should do and when. It may be helpful to have a daily to-do list, as well as a separate weekly and monthly list. Use apps like Reminders on iOS or Todoist on Android to stay on top of everything from daily tasks to medications to grocery lists. Planners and daily task lists can also help serve as reminders for what needs to be done and keep caregivers from getting distracted. For those who like to doodle or enjoy physical list-making, the method of bullet journaling may prove useful.
Try to avoid multitasking, and break up large tasks into smaller increments to complete. Creating a routine is also important: Tackling certain tasks – such as giving medications, checking vitals or cleaning – at a certain time of the day can help create a routine that makes it easier to stick with.
If medications or behavioral strategies are not enough to manage ADHD, counseling can also help caregivers improve symptoms. Counselors may also assist in keeping on top of behavioral strategies and recommend other tools for staying organized. Because no person has the same experience, an individualized maintenance plan for ADHD may help certain cases for finding the best management strategies.