When you have ADHD, one of the worst tasks imaginable is… housework. It is boring and mundane, 2 things that people with ADHD hate the most. When you don’t enjoy something there is lots of potential for procrastination and distraction, and a two hour job can drag on all day.
Theoretically housework is not difficult; people without ADHD seem to be able to do it effortlessly, which only makes you feel worse! Now in addition to the piles of dishes and clothes, there is also guilt and shame too.
ADHD characteristics do make housework hard, but not impossible. Here is a winning ADHD friendly formula that makes housework interesting and even fun.
1) Get a piece of paper and a pen and write down every room that needs your attention. For example:
- Living Room
2) By the side of each room, write down the number 10. This stands for ten minutes.
3) Go into the first room, set your timer for 10 minutes and blitz. Do whatever needs to be done. It could be changing the bedding, picking clothes off the floor, vacuuming, etc. Keep moving until your timer rings. A golden rule is don’t leave the room you are working in (even for a second) during those 10 minutes. If you find an item that belongs in another room, put it by the door, and move it at the end of the 10 minutes. This keeps your mind focused and minimizes the chance of distraction.
4) When the timer rings, stop what you are doing even if you are in the middle of a task, and move to the next room. Moving on might be hard because our minds crave completion. However, it’s because you do stop and move on that this technique is so successful. Since you are moving from room to room you don’t get a chance to feel bored. Instead you stay motivated and energized. The timer creates a sense of urgency and also turns the housework into a game.
5 When you have finished all the rooms on your list, have a mini break. Drink some water and then start again at the beginning of your list and spend another 10 minutes in each room. By then you should have 4 clean and shiny rooms.
If you are thinking “10 minutes doesn’t sound long enough, my rooms are really messy,” you will be surprised by just how much you can do in 10 minutes.
There are a couple of variations to this technique you can try.
If you are feeling really overwhelmed or resistant to starting, set your timer for 5 minutes instead of 10.
If you have a very messy room or large area, such as a garage or basement, mentally divide that area into 4 quarters. Then work in each quarter for 10 minutes before moving to the next quarter.
When you have finished your housework, be sure to reward yourself with a treat. You deserve it.
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