10 ADHD hacks from the front line.

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October is ADHD Awareness Month.

I do not have ADHD, but I have lived my entire life with someone who does.  In my younger years, it was my brother, then I married a man who has it.  My husband was not diagnosed with ADHD for the first 5ish years we were together (we’ve now been together for 17 years), and I can tell you firsthand that figuring out what works for you is crucial.

With his help and blessing, I’ve compiled a list of ADHD hacks that have greatly helped him in his daily routine.  Since I am very familiar with the occasional attention span challenges associated with ADHD, I have kept this list to 10 ADHD hacks which are relatively to the point.

  1. Phone locator – My hubby has an iPhone and an Apple Watch – he uses each of them to locate the other when he’s in a hurry.  I also got him an Apple AirTag (#commissionedlink) which he has on his satchel (more on this below).  He can use his phone to ping the AirTag.  (An AirTag is similar to a Tile locator, but he has had much better luck with the AirTag than he ever did with Tile.)  Get it on Amazon!
  2. Satchel/backpack – he carries a small hard-side case that holds his wallet, car key, and other essentials for his daily life.  Some folks use a backpack for these, but my hubby wanted something smaller.
  3. Clear containers in the kitchen – many people with ADHD have issues with object permanence (the concept of “out of sight, out of mind”).  To help him in remembering what snacks and baking ingredients we have in our kitchen, we got clear storage containers (#commissionedlink).  They are airtight when sealed and the set of them is pretty attractive sitting on our counter, so we don’t feel the pressure to keep them hidden in a cupboard.
  4. Key hook – We have a key holder at our door where all of our keys go.  As soon as you walk into the house, you hang up your keys.  There’s no question about where the keys are – you walk in, hang it up when you turn around to close the door, and keep going with your day.
  5. Socks in bulk – He found a brand of socks he likes, and he buys them in multipacks.  They are all about the same, so he’s relatively assured that when he’s getting ready for his day at 4:30 AM, if he randomly grabs 2 socks in his dresser drawer, they will match each other.  (This sounds simple – I know, but it really does help him.)
  6. Dad Drawer – Many homes have a junk drawer where all of their random stuff goes.  Our is a Dad Drawer – his satchel, random tools, pocket change, etc go in this drawer.  It’s really only for his stuff, and it’s very conveniently located for him to use.  If he can’t find something, it’s usually the first place he goes.
  7. Capsule wardrobe – Most of the clothes he has could go with each other.  The color pallets are similar and the styles are mostly compatible.  He can pretty easily throw something together for work or for the weekend and it looks nice.
  8. Noise-canceling headphones – About 2 years ago I got him a pair of nice wireless noise-canceling headphones.  He wears them a LOT – if the house is crazy with loud kiddos, or if he wants to get into a home project, he will put them on and listen to music or a TV show and it allows him to focus or re-center himself.  He can keep one ear off to pay attention to what’s going on around him if he needs to.  There is a company called Loop that offers noise reduction earplugs if you don’t want to listen to anything and just need to dull noise around you to focus.  They are very well-rated, and at around $20, are pretty affordable. (#commissionedlink) 
  9. Cell phone alarms as reminders – My husband sets reminder alarms on his cell phone for things he needs to do at a certain time each day.  (This is an ADHD hack that I do as well so that we make sure to leave on time for school, start getting ready for bed, leave work on time, etc.)
  10. Don’t hide your ADHD from others – An ADHD diagnosis is nothing to be ashamed of.  People with ADHD can have superpowers of hyperfocus, can be incredibly creative, and are generally quite resilient.  I’m not saying that you need to mention it in every casual conversation you have or list it on your resume, but letting close colleagues and loved ones know can help them understand you more.

If you have any ADHD hacks that I have missed, please feel free to share them!

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