The 5-Minute, Open-Palm, Exploding Add Mess Technique

In the mid- to late-60s, schoolchildren were taught that we’d have so much leisure time in the future that we’d have to come up with a plan on how to spend it wisely. I seems that the sixties futurists were wrong. Instead of slowing down, we’ve sped up.

This isn’t bad for ADD people because they go at this pace 24/7 anyway, and it seems like it’s more 28/7, right? And that’s great, as long as we’re doing something we like to do, that’s fun for us. However, while we’re concentrating on stuff we like to do, the stuff we hate to do is being neglected.

Of course, this happens at times for everyone, but ADD people are particularly good with procrastination which is a polite word for, “Well, we want it to be done, but we don’t want to do it.” So, how can you tackle a job that needs doing and make short work of it?

The very first thing you should do is decide if it’s a task that needs to be done or just something that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Brain dump it. Keep a notepad nearby and write your brilliant ideas down. That way, you won’t have them nagging you at the back of your brain because they’re out on the paper. Or, is this something that the people in your social circle think you “should” do. Those things are probably not that important.

Let’s take house clutter, for instance. Society says you should have a neat, clean house. And you may say, “Well, I just won’t invite people over. Then, I won’t have to worry about it.” But if you can’t find your contact lenses for three days in a row, you have a problem.

It’s no longer something people think you “should” have. You need a tidy house, just so you can find all your stuff.

The easiest ADD solution is to hire someone to take care of the mess for you–a housekeeper. But if it’s too nasty, they won’t want to handle it, either. You may have to call in an efficiency expert first to get things under control and then, a housekeeper to keep them that way, even when you mess them up.

Then again, you may not be able to hire people because hired help just doesn’t fit into your budget. You need to do these things for yourself. But you have no clue where to start, right?

Well, don’t look at the big picture and try to do it all at once. Take just 5 minutes a day to make your world livable again. You’ll be very surprised at how much you can get accomplished in that short a time, if you stay focused and anyone can focus for 5 minutes. For example, let’s say your underwear drawer is overflowing. You aren’t sure how all that underwear got into the drawer to begin with, but you have to do something! Take five minutes to sort the drawer in to three piles: keep, giveaway, throw away. I think you get the idea. At the end of the 5 minutes stop. Don’t do another thing. If you still have underwear to sort, stop and do 5 more minutes the following day. This way, you won’t get bored.

If you do the 5-minute work order, you’ll avoid procrastination. You can stand anything, aside from sheer torture, for 5 minutes, right? It’s not that much time taken from something you’d rather do. Set some time up, maybe in the time before starting your daily routine, or just after you get home from work at night. When you’ve cleaned out the underwear drawer, start with the cosmetics drawer or the bathroom cabinet, or whatever. You can have everything cleaned up by taking just 5 minutes per day.

Maintenance is the key, and if you set up some ADD-friendly systems while you’re doing your 5-minute routine, it will all work out well. If you lose your contact lenses case and just can’t seem to keep it in the bathroom medicine cabinet, put a small dish or container right beside where you take them out at night and throw them in there. Or keep your car keys in a basket or on a hook right next to the front door. Have a hook for your purse, too, or a tray on the dresser where you can toss your wallet.

The whole point is that people with ADD don’t like complications in life. So, make things as easy for yourself as possible. Opening a drawer might be too much for some of us. So, think openness, where things can just be tossed, rather than “put away.”

But some of us are our own worst enemies and can go right back to the old patterns. The instant you see this happening, start your 5-minute technique all over again and you’ll soon be clutter free.