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7 Tips to Create an ADHD-Friendly Environment  for your Mind

Decluttering Your Workspace: 7 Creating an ADHD-Friendly Environment for your mind

Creating an ADHD-Friendly Environment

Creating an ADHD-friendly workspace starts with understanding the deep connection between physical clutter and mental clutter, especially for individuals with ADHD. 

This article dives into how a cluttered environment can lead to feelings of overwhelm and reduce productivity, highlighting the cognitive benefits of a well-organized workspace. 

We’ll also explore personalized decluttering strategies that cater to the unique needs of those with ADHD, to minimize distractions and promote efficiency. 

Whether you’re assessing your organizational style or establishing daily routines to maintain a clutter-free environment, this guide provides actionable advice to transform your workspace into a supportive setting conducive to focus and creativity.

Let’s clear the air about something crucial: the mess around you isn’t just an eyesore; it’s a mind clog. 

When your workspace looks like a scene from a disaster movie, it’s no surprise you feel like you’re slogging through mud mentally. Studies have shown that a cluttered environment can significantly contribute to feelings of overwhelm and a drop in productivity. 

It’s like trying to run a race with your shoelaces tied together – you’re not going to get very far, are you? The constant visual reminder of disarray can lead to stress and anxiety, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

Now, shift gears and think about the oasis of calm that is a well-organized workspace. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about psychology. A clear space can lead to a clear mind

When everything has its place, and you’re not constantly dodging piles of paper or searching through mountains of blankets for a pen, your brain breathes a sigh of relief. 

This isn’t just feel-good fluff. Cognitive benefits include improved focus, quicker information processing, and a boost in creativity. 

Imagine your workspace as a reflection of your mind: organized, efficient, ready to tackle any project that comes your way.

Creating an ADHD-Friendly workspace

Now, let’s talk about ADHD and the workspace.

For individuals with ADHD, the battle against clutter isn’t just tough, it’s Herculean. It’s not about lack of effort; it’s about how ADHD wiring can turn the simple act of organizing into an overwhelming challenge. 

The executive function impairments that come with ADHD – think struggle with planning, organizing, and maintaining attention – mean that keeping a workspace tidy requires strategies tailored specifically to their unique needs.

The workplace can feel like a minefield for those with ADHD, full of potential distractions and pitfalls. Recognizing these challenges is the first step towards creating an ADHD-friendly environment.

It’s not just about tidiness for tidiness’ sake. 

It’s about admitting the profound impact the physical environment has on mental well-being and productivity for individuals with ADHD. Addressing these needs means the enhancement in their ability to focus, process information, and thrive.

ADHD-Friendly Environment

First, let’s tackle how you understand your unique working habits and tendencies. Everyone has their own rhythm and method especially when it comes to how we work. 

For people with ADHD, recognizing these patterns isn’t just helpful – it’s crucial. This means taking a moment to observe how you operate on a day-to-day basis. 

Do you thrive in a bustling environment, or do you require absolute silence? Are you a visual person who benefits from mind maps and charts, or do you prefer lists and written instructions? These insights serve as the foundation for crafting a workspace that complements, rather than clashes with, your ADHD.

Determining the organizational approaches that best align with your needs and preferences isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s about finding what specifically works for you. 

For instance, if color-coding helps you keep track of tasks and deadlines, then your desk might benefit from a rainbow of folders and post-it notes. On the other hand, if you’re easily overwhelmed by visual clutter, minimalist setups with less on display and more stored away could be the way to go. 

This step is about experimenting with different strategies and identifying what helps you stay focused, productive, and, most importantly, stress-free.

Imagine your ideal workspace. What does it look like? Is it a quiet, clutter-free zone with neutral colors, or a vibrant area filled with sounds and visual stimuli? 

Occupational therapists Krysta Longridge and Katie Eichar discuss two main types of work environments for people with ADHD in their presentation, “Build Your Thrive Space”:

    • Low Stimulation Environments: These are quiet, minimize interruptions (like a private office), and are clutter-free with neutral decor.
    • High Stimulation Environments: These might include background music, allow for movement between different areas (like from a desk to a recliner), and are more open and brightly decorated.

Align your workspace with the level of stimulation that feels right for you. If you thrive on variety, consider setting up multiple mini-workspaces at home or working occasionally in public spaces like cafes or libraries.

Remember, the right environment can make a significant difference in managing ADHD and boosting productivity. Tailor your space to your needs and see how it transforms your workday

Creating a friendly and structured environment for you, especially if you have ADHD, can significantly enhance their ability to focus and succeed in your daily tasks. Here are some practical tips to help you build a supportive routine:

Keep essential items like school projects, books, and supplies in open, visible places. Use shelves or desks where items can be easily seen and reached. This reduces the frustration of searching for items and helps your child begin tasks more efficiently.

clear daily routine

Try to always place your belongings in the same spot.

For example, a hook for their backpack and a tray for school papers can minimize lost items and last-minute scrambles.

A storage bin is a versatile container used to organize, store, and move items around. They come in various sizes and materials like plastic, fabric, or metal, and can be used anywhere from homes to offices to warehouses.

Features like lids, wheels, and handles make them super handy, and some can even stack up to save space. Whether you’re tidying up toys, sorting office supplies, or organizing tools, storage bins help keep everything neat and easy to find.

Apply what you learned

Using clear bins helps you avoid frustration. You won’t have to dig through a bunch of boxes to find what you need, which can be super annoying, especially when you’re in a hurry. They also make cleaning up easier because you know exactly where everything goes.

For someone with ADHD, who might find it tricky to remember where things are or feel overwhelmed by clutter, clear bins can be a game-changer. They reduce the time and stress of searching for items, making your day-to-day life a bit smoother.

So, think of clear storage bins as your tools for keeping your stuff not just organized, but also making your daily routine more manageable and less of a hassle. It’s all about making things visible and easy to access, so you spend less time searching and more time doing the things you love.

    • Sort Your Stuff: Start by grouping similar items together. All your art supplies in one pile, all your winter hats and gloves in another.
    • Choose the Right Size Bins: Make sure the bins are big enough to hold your stuff but not so big that they’re hard to move or don’t fit where you want to store them.
    • Label Each Bin: Use a marker or sticky labels to clearly mark what’s inside each bin. If you’re feeling creative, you can even use different colored labels for different categories.
    • Place Bins in Their ‘Homes’: Put each bin in its designated spot. Remember, the places you choose should be easy to reach when you need something, but out of the way enough to keep your space neat and tidy.

While it’s important to have essential items visible, keep the overall environment clutter-free. Too many visible items can be distracting. Strike a balance by having just the necessary items out in the open and storing away less frequently used things.

Imagine you’re creating a cozy home office in a small room. Here’s how to keep it neat and efficient:

Desk Essentials: Keep only the must-haves on your desk: a laptop, a desk lamp, a notepad, and some pens. This keeps your workspace open and ready for action.

Use floating shelves above the desk for books you often reach for. Store other supplies like extra paper and tech gadgets in a drawer under the desk, neatly organized and labeled.

Cut down on physical clutter with digital tools like a calendar and task manager on your computer or smartphone.

If you belong to the Low Stimulation Environments group you need a place where you can relax and find peace.  You will want a place where you can go to deal with emotions, calm down, and simply detach yourself from the hustle and bustle of the world. 

Many homes have a prayer corner or a meditation area which everyone understands is meant for quiet, peaceful time away from the regular routine – you could extend this area’s use to settle and collect yourself whenever needed. 

Apply what you learned

Regular reviews are like having a check-up for your environment. Here’s how you can do this effectively

    • Pick a Time: Choose a regular time to sit down and reflect. This could be every Sunday evening or the last day of the month. The important thing is to make it a regular appointment that you are most comfortable with.
    • Reflect
      • Celebrate What Works: Don’t forget to talk about what’s going well! 
      • If something isn’t working, think about why and how it could be better. Maybe your arrangement is not reasonable, are you forgetting to turn off your phone ringer? Fix it as soon as you discover a flaw.
    • Make Appropriate Changes: If you decide to change something, start small. Big changes can be overwhelming.
    • See How It Goes: After you make some changes, see how they work out. You might need to adjust them a bit more until everything feels just right.
Apply what you learned

Think of regular reviews as a way to make sure your daily routines are helping you, not frustrating you. As you grow and change, what you need from your change too. These reviews are a chance to make sure your day is set up the best way for you.

By figuring out what’s not working and how to fix it, you’re learning to take charge of your own life. Plus, it shows that it’s okay to try something, adjust it, and try again. That’s how we all learn and get better at things.

    • Desk: Choose one that fits your space and work style. Consider a larger desk or an L-shaped one for more room, or a convertible sit-stand desk for flexibility.
    • Ergonomic Chair: Invest in a chair that supports your back and allows for adjustments in height, tilt, and armrests. Features like a five-point base with casters can enhance mobility.
    • Lighting: Ensure your workspace is well-lit to reduce eye strain and keep you focused.

In wrapping up, transforming your workspace into an ADHD-friendly zone is more than just tidying up—it’s about creating a supportive environment that significantly boosts your mental clarity and productivity. 

Understanding your own organizational style and establishing daily routines are key steps toward maintaining a clutter-free space that not only looks good but feels good too.

Remember, everyone’s journey to build an ADHD-friendly environment is unique, and it’s important to discover what works best for you.

Additionally, you can read the full guide on how to manage ADHD here

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