Colors and ADHD: How Color Coding Can Make Your Life Easier

ADHD adults are visual people. Color coding your environment has a positive effect on you noticing, remembering, organizing and generally being more effective both at work and at home.
When I was studying psychology I came across a fascinating study where a school repainted their walls in vibrant colors. From the dull boring colors that we associate with schools this school choose bright vibrant colors. Something very interesting happened as a result.  The student’s behavior changed. Class attendance increased, grades improved, lateness to class was reduced and much, much more.

This is all very impressive. However it gets 100 times more impressive when you learn that that this school was a school for the blind. Did you get goose bumps when you read that? I know I did.

This goes to show how important colour is, even in situations when you think it wouldn’t matter.

Here are a few ideas to colour code your life.

Colour code your to-do list.
Why not write or type the must do action or actions in red, the less pressing items in orange and the other actions green. This makes your lists much more visually clear on what needs your attention first.

Colour code your files
Pick 5 of your favorite colours and buy files and binders in these colours. Then allot a colour to a project. For example, all your client X information goes in green folders and all your finance information in red.

Colour code your keys
Blue for your office, green for your garden shed, etc. This will save alot of time hunting around for the right shape.

Post it notes
People use post it notes for many different reasons. Don’t just buy the standard yellow ones. Get the assorted variety. Then get creative in how you use them!

Organizing baskets and containers
At home you can get creative with how you organize yourself.
Have all your ski stuff in a blue container, and your Halloween outfits in an orange container…that sort of thing.

Colour coding your environment doesn’t take long -it can even fun – but you will really notice huge benefits in clarity of your mind, increased focus and memory.

Have fun!


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  1. GDV says:

    This works really well when studying too. I’m currently in college and I find way easier to focus on colored material and notes than black and withe pages. I was a poor/average student, now with colors, my grades skyrocketed.

    Colors FTW!

  2. Abbie Taylor says:

    Ken, that is so wrong of your employer to terminate you for that. Have they not heard of DISCRIMINATION? I hope you have a more understanding employer now.

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Thanks for being so supportive Abbie!

  3. Ken May says:

    Hi Jacqueline,
    Great post and from experience a great tool. I developed a color coding system for an over the top boring excel spreadsheet specific to me. It helped me tremendously. Ironically, I was reprimanded for using it and actually disciplined. This shortly after led to my termination. It should be noted that because of this I “came out” at work, requested that I be able to do this color thing as a bit of a self accomodation, if you will, and was terminated shortly after. I enjoy your Blog and look forward to reading your book. I found you by accident as a member of ADDerworld. Bryan wrote a nice synopsis of your book, and to find your site. Thanks to all.

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Hi Ken
      Thanks for saying hi! Very sorry to hear you got terminated for your job.
      Now you know that color coding works for you, you can try using it in other area’s of your life too.
      I will head over to ADDerworld and see what Bryan wrote 🙂
      Keep in touch

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