To get into my office, I tap my key card on the card reader by the door handle. When the red light turns green, I can open the door.

8 ADHD friendly Strategies for Keeping Track of Your Keys 

8 ADHD friendly Strategies for Keeping Track of Your Keys

It’s a good system, unless you accidentally leave your key card inside your office, which I did one winter evening.

When I peeped through the window, I could see the key card sitting safely on the desk next to my cell phone.

Also inside my office were my winter coat and snow boots 

I couldn’t call anyone for help, and I couldn’t leave and come back the next day when the office staff would be around because it was snowy and minus 30 degrees.

I needed my key card.

Over the next 30 minutes, a few mini miracles occurred. Although most people had gone home, I spotted one person. Dispite not having met before, I asked to borrow her phone, and she graciously agreed.

I called the office admin number and, as expected, reached their out-of-office message.

I left a message anyway.

Then, I sat and waited, thinking through my options.

After 15 minutes, I saw the office manager walking down the hall! I couldn’t believe my luck.

He was working late, heard my message, and came with the master key card to let me in.

Phew.

I felt lucky but also silly. I also didn’t want to go through that experience again, so first thing the following day, I went to the office supply store and bought a blue plastic sleeve for the card to make it more visible. The white card looked practically invisible on my white office desk.

I also bought a lanyard to wear around my neck.

I had resisted wearing lanyards because I thought they looked too official. But now, I didn’t mind at all!

As well as making the keycard very visible (blue plastic sleeve) and always with me (lanyard), I developed the habit of checking that the card was around my neck before closing the office door.

I am happy to report I haven’t locked myself out of my office since.

I also updated the lanyard to one I like.

The combination of visibility and new habits helped.

Losing your keys or locking yourself out may seem like a little thing but it can have a significant ripple effect.

It can make you feel embarrassed, sad, and disorganized when you don’t have your keys when you need them.

It can also make you late for important events and be expensive. For example, I know someone who lost their only car key. They had to get their car towed to the garage and then pay for a new key.

Another client regularly locked her car keys in her car and had to call roadside assistance to get them.

Beyond Locks: The 7 Surprising Benefits of Organizing Your Keys

Feeling organized with your keys has much bigger benefits than the practical benefits of being able to lock and unlock doors.

1.Reduces Stress and Anxiety:

Misplacing keys can lead to panic and stress. Knowing where your keys are, even if you aren’t consciously thinking about them, helps you to feel secure and calm.

2.Time saver

By always knowing where your keys are, you don’t spend any time searching for them. This saves time (which you can use for something fun or productive) and reduces frustration and stress that you are going to be late.

3.Sense of Control:

Consistently finding your keys exactly where you expect them to be can give you a sense of control over your environment, which boosts both your confidence and self-efficacy.

4.Improved punctuality.

When you don’t have to spend time searching for your keys, it’s easier to stick to schedules and arrive on time for appointments, which makes you feel more reliable.

5.Positive Habit Formation:

When you create habits and practice mindfulness to always know where your keys are, you have developed skills that can be used to positively impact other areas of your life, which helps you with your overall organization.

6.Reduced Cognitive load.

When you always know where your essential items are, your mind declutters, reducing your cognitive load and allowing you to focus better on other tasks.

7.Mood booster.

Successfully finding your keys without stress is a mini-win. Little wins like this sprinkled throughout the day positively impact your mood and overall well-being.

Here are some techniques to help keep track of your keys.

ADHD friendly Strategies for Keeping Track of Your Keys 

1. A Designated Spot

Create Specific Spots for Your Keys at Home and Work

Having a designated spot for your keys is super helpful for keeping track of them.

Consider using a key hook or bowl close to your front door or the door you use the most.

Next, develop the habit of always placing your keys in your key spot as soon as you get home.

I have a key hook at home, where I keep my house and car keys.

At work, my house keys stay in my bag, always in the same pocket.

2 Visual

Make your keys noticeable! 

I got a blue sleeve to make the white key card easier to see.

I got pretty keyrings for my house keys that I like the look of and make my keys easier to notice.

How could you make your keys more visible?

3. Key Finder Device

If you frequently misplace your keys, using a key-finding device can save you a lot of time and upset.

There are Bluetooth trackers, like Tile Mate or Track R, that you attach to your keyring and connect to an app.

When you can’t find your keys, you can simply open the app on your phone, and your key-finding device will either make a sound or show you where it is on a map.

Smart Keychains. There are clever keychains that will make a noise if you clap so that you can find them!

4 Habits

Establishing habits with your keys can help you keep track of them.

For example, one client struggled to find her keys in the morning as she was heading to work because of her evening habit.

When she walked through the door, her three cats ran to greet her. It’s hard to resist a furry welcome, so she put her keys down absentmindedly in the excitement.

Our solution was to create a new habit: when she walked in the door, she would resist her cats’ for the first two seconds, hang her keys on the hook, then reward herself by enjoying her cats’ company.

What habit would help you keep track of your keys?

5 Mindfulness.

Mindfulness helps you be fully aware of the present moment. For the client who frequently locked her keys in her car, we created a mindfulness practice.

Before closing the car door, she would say out loud, “I now have the keys in my hand.”

This simple practice helped her stay present in the moment and stopped her from going on autopilot and leaving her keys inside.

Perhaps you could do something similar.

6. Backup set

Have spare keys just in case. You might not be able to think of a situation where you’d need a spare set, but there is a saying, ‘It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.’

You can keep them in a safe place at home or give a set to a family member, trusted neighbor, or friend.

7. Group your keys

If you have a lot of keys, it can be helpful to group them so you aren’t carrying around a heavy key ring all the time.

Grouping keys can also make it quicker to find the key you need, and if you ever lose your keys, you haven’t lost ALL your keys, which means less hassle if need to replace them.

The trick to grouping them is that they make sense to you, your brain, and your life.

Here are some examples

Group keys together based on their specific use, for example.

  • Home keys, including the mailbox key, on one key ring.
  • Car keys
  • Work keys
  • Shed, storage locker

Another way to group your keys could be by how often you use them.

Group keys you use daily together,

Home and car and office keys together.

Less frequently

your shed or storage locker.

8.Labeling

Labeling can help you quickly identify which key is for which lock, which is handy if you have multiple keys that look similar

However, it’s good to be aware of security concerns when labeling keys:

Rather than writing down your address on the label or the specific door, it unlocks the ‘front door,’ so you could be vaguer and write ‘home.

Even better, you could code your keys in a way that only makes sense to you. For example, I put a spot of pale nail varnish on one of my keys to help me distinguish it from the others.

Have you tried any of these strategies?

What works best for you? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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