Dr. Umesh Jain
is now exclusively responsible
for TotallyADD.com
and its content
Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
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  • Tiddler

    I need to work at my desk. I’m hoping doing this will reduce the amount of paperwork I lose and help me focus. I had a meeting with a physio who was extremely helpful but could only give me one appointment. She made some excellent suggestions including:

    Keeping a fiddle toy on the desk.

    Using a timer to remind me to work/stop working/get back to work (lost already)

    Getting a friend to help me organise it.

    Make sure lighting is right for me and it’s positioned where there are few distractions.

    Have music available if that helps. (It does.)

    So, I think I know what to do – it’s facing the door so I don’t have my back it (I never sit with my back to the way in.) I’ve ordered a cheap desk lamp. I have drawers (one is broken from when I slammed it shut in a temper when I couldn’t find my glasses.) I have a stand for the laptop, a printer and a stereo.

    I don’t really know how to work in the same spot every day – I will get restless and move away, bored etc. But I need to learn how to do this and make it work.

    How do you guys manage it?


    Good to see you back for a post, Tiddler.  I’ve been wondering how you’ve been.  I can relate to your problem.

    As I try to remember how it was some thirty years ago when I worked for a company, I think that I went around visiting with other employees until the last moment I could do so and still meet the deadline with a marathon hyperfocus effort.

    I tend to be visual, so anything that needs to be done needs to be where I can see it  I also am one who has organized clutter.  That is to the casual observer, the room, office, kitchen, etc. looks like a mess . . . but I know where everything is and am usually able to find what I need quickly.  If I were to let someone organize things for me, I wouldn’t be able to find things any more.

    There have been times though when I have hovered over a small area for quite some time before finding what I’m after.  Sometimes going off to search elsewhere, but always returning to the same place before being successful.

    And when I go to put something in it’s place, I think, “Now where is the first place I will look for this the next time I need it.”  Note: This is usually different from putting it in a place where “it belongs” or where you will “remember where you put it” because as you know, you never remember where you put things.

    There are several things I have found useful which I’ll pass along.

    1.  I have a microsoft word file on my windows desktop where I keep a to do list.  It’s easily accessible and I can add and delete items as I think of them or I get them done.  Similarly, I have a spreadsheet with months across the top and bills and expenses down the left ordered by due date.  As The bill is paid, I fill in the amount.  This way, I can see what has and hasn’t been paid.  I have monthly reminders on my iPhone to alert me on critical items.

    2. Recently I have numbered some file folders 1-5, representing each of the Fridays in a month, 5 being the fifth Friday or the last day of the month.  This seems to be working well for me as follows.  When I go through my mail sorting bills and other paperwork, I’ll put the stuff into one of the folders.  (Its a way of organized procrastinating.)  So during the first week of the month, the items in the folder 1 need to be done by the first Friday . . . or at least before the second one.  That folder goes to the back and #2 is now next in line with things needing done on or before the second Friday.  This has worked well in sorting the workload (and mail) by week and gets it off my desk.

    3. I have a Neat Receipts scanner that I can scan documents and file them on the hard drive with Windows Explorer.  Using this, I can organize a multilevel file system and find things easily except in the cases where I don’t remember how I filed the thing.  Then, I can use the search feature of Windows Explorer to try to locate the document for me.  This also allows me to have all my documents with me on my laptop.  Something I couldn’t do otherwise.

    Much of my stuff is accounting records.  All the stuff I’m working on this year is in a folder named “2013.”  Stuff from last year is in folder “2012”, etc.

    4. Get a cup for your pencils and pens.

    5. If you work on a computer, get a second monitor to be used in addition to the first.  I added a second one after seeing my daughter using two.  I would feel like I have one arm tied behind my back now without it.


    Hi Tiddler!

    I made a recent effort to clean up my office space and realized that my old desk was way too big. It was on of those huge L-shaped things and  perfect for allowing me to just keep piling things on it  until working on it became impossible. As a result I would end up working everywhere but there. Long story short, I ended up    getting rid of it and replacing it with a much smaller glass topped one. It can only hold my laptop,an extra large monitor , my ren-tablet and a pen/pencil holder etc. It doesn’t have any drawers because I know I’d just fill. It forces me to keep it tidy. I actually am more productive when I work on it although I still tend to drag my laptop all over the place. However, when I notice I’m being un-productive I go back to the desk . I actually like working at it despite that I  assumed being in one spot would cause me to be restless.

    My printer, scanner & filing cabinet area all in ideal  reach when I am seated at the desk as well so I don’t have to get up. My extra stationary supplies are in reach in one of the those rolling 7-drawer units  Although my system is still a work in progress because the room overhaul was a massive under-taking, I feel like I’ve made quite a lot of progress.

    I highly recommend using a proper desk.

    Brilliant suggestions here. We’ve just moved and are setting up our home and office, all while keeping TotallyADD up and humming, and celebrating ADHD Awareness Month. (And doing 5 webinars this month, and, and, and… But I love it.)

    The funny thing is, I’m setting up my desk today, but I thought I’d check in the Forums first, and voila, a bunch of great suggestions.

    Like the idea of a small surface, so it can’t get too cluttered. It’s got me thinking I’ll move this big desktop elsewhere and get something just bit enough for my computer and notes.

    One thing I am working on this month is getting in shape. (It’s ongoing, and I am getting in shape!) So I have deliberately placed the printer two floors away, so that I have to get up and walk up and down stairs to get what I need.

    I only use the printer a few times a day. So this is just a nice break, a change of scenery, and a chance to check in with Ava and Jimi. And my route doesn’t take my near the kitchen.


    @Rick – Consider a “Multi purpose Laptop Stand


    It can be used sitting, standing, or in bed.

    I have a terrific view of the east Texas forest from my second floor window.  I’ll work standing in front of the window or TV.  Standing burns calories, keeps the legs in good shape, and is easier on the back than working hunched over at a desk.  (Its also harder to fall asleep standing.)

    The stand is small, portable, and can be rolled to the corner out of the way.  Combined with a cell phone, file box, and old VW Bus and you have the ultimate portable office.  Great for those that have to “get out of Dodge” quickly when things go sour in a hurry.


    This is good stuff, since I am thinking of trying to work from home.

    I don’t get the whole standing up while working thing. Especially the people who use the treadmill desks. I don’t know how they can do it. I think I would rather sit to do my work with regularly scheduled activity breaks.

    I also prefer a large working surface. I feel too cramped if I don’t have enough room to spread things out.  But I will have to watch for clutter. I used to have what could be called “organized clutter” but it descended into complete chaos some time ago. I still have a general idea of what part of the house I might find something in but that’s about it. I can’t have anyone else organize things for me though. I’d never find anything.

    Keeping a “fiddle toy” on the desk is a must. Wouldn’t have it any other way. When I had a desk it was home to a Hoberman Sphere, a little wind up robot, silly putty, a mini bubblegum machine, several little monsters/aliens that sat on top of the monitor… Another good fiddle toy is one of those little stress relief balls that you squeeze.

    I also recommend a little box full of candy for anyone who doesn’t have to worry about eating too much sugar. I like Nerds because they’re small and flavourful and I can just eat a couple of tiny pieces at a time so I’m not overdoing it. I also like strong mints or mint flavoured gum because the flavour of mint is very stimulating.

    Which makes me think of another thing that I would find helpful- fragrance. Having something that smells nice and that you find stimulating (or relaxing) near your desk could help.  For me the smell of my environment has a huge affect on my mood.


    I have a new and wondeful way to file my paperwork. It is called a foot stool.

    I’m not kidding. I bought a footstool that has a removable top and I file all my important paperwork in it. When I get the mail or whatever, I keep all the good stuff in the stool and immediately throw the rest away.

    Now that it is the end of the year, I will empty my stool into a storage box with 2013 on it and store it away. I find it easier for me to correlate things with time and events than with regular filing (which I never do anyway) so whenever I need something, I just remember what year it came in and I rifle through the box.

    Nothing is in order, nothing is alphabetized. Couldn’t be easier.



    I agree, simple is better. Having fewer details to deal with takes away the stress and makes it easier to get things done.

    Sounds a lot like my system, minus the throwing it all in one place and the putting it all together at the end of the year. But things generally just get tossed in a pile somewhere and each somewhere has a general purpose. Really important stuff stays on the coffee table where, theoretically, I will see it and remember to deal with it. Important stuff goes in the filing cabinet. Stuff I want to keep safe goes in the set of plastic drawers underneath the table I use for a desk…..etc.

    That is until I have to clean up fast or have other stuff on my mind and everything just gets shoved in a plastic bag or box or whatever. I just finished going through mounds of paper as part of my clean up for Christmas campaign. Threw out an unbelievable amount. The rest is all stuffed in the filing cabinet and drawers now to be sorted after the holidays. And hopefully kept sorted.

    I have to agree with earlier comments about having someone else help to organize things being a bad thing. I would be hopelessly lost and hate the way it was set up. I have to do it my own way. And I am actually very good at organizing things. It’s keeping them organized I have a problem with.


    Does anyone else do this?

    I take notes about everything, and they end up in piles on my desk. Most of the notes are kind of dumb, but I need to make them.  Sometimes I file them in binders. I think I do this because I don’t have enough mental filing cabinets in my head.

    But my desk looks like a tornado hit. The piles of notes are chaotic.


    My whole house usually looks like a tornado hit it. Right after it hit a Staples store.

    I recently purchased a dry erase board and put it on the wall in my kitchen. I had read a tip in the organization forum about using white boards to replace all the notebooks all over the house. I thought “Hey, that’s a great idea! I have so many note books and I never remember to read them and I’m always losing them. I can write my to-to lists and reminders on a dry erase board instead. It’ll be so much easier!”

    While cleaning up over the last couple of weeks I found 3 dry erase boards, all with to-do lists on them, dating back over the last 3 years.

    I also bought some post-it notes because I read a lot about using them to jot down reminders. I thought maybe I’d give it a try.

    And while cleaning up I also found a pile of old post-it notes, some of them with old reminders jotted down on them.

    The great thing about ADHD- Everything old is new again.


    No matter what I do it seems like I always end up drowning in a sea of paper. But the dry erase board I am using now is helping a little. And now I have 3 more I can put up. 🙂



    Cool. I was thinking of getting a dry erase board – the corporate conference room size, or possibly a dry erase calendar in jumbo format. Then I could put post-its on it, or use the markers. The last dry erase calendar I had bit the dust because I accidentally used a permanent marker on it. Hate when that happens. Planners never work – the notebooks are like scribbles all over the page. And usually about unrelated bits of information.


    My house looks like the inside of a dumpster. But that would be a different topic.


    @sdwa I’ve been cleaning my house almost non stop for several days. It doesn’t look like it’s been cleaned at all. But I know that it has. I have the aching muscles and stiff joints to prove it.

    I don’t recommend putting post it notes directly on the dry erase board. I did that a couple of weeks ago and the next day when I wrote on it then erased what I wrote it left sticky streaks of colour all over the board that wouldn’t come off. They probably will come off with a bit of cleaner though. I haven’t tried yet.

    I have to really focus on the marker in my hand to make sure it is dry erase. Especially when I used to keep my Sharpies in the same drawer. Now I have all the dry ease ones laying on top of the cork board above my little dry erase board. And so far I have remembered to put them back there every time, and to not put any others up there.



    Excellent tips on keeping the markers separated. That is my downfall. They look the same.

    Good for you on cleaning and making progress. I need to this as well, in order to sell my house, and make our remaining time there more comfortable. I’m inspired that you’re doing this.


    @sdwa Happy I could inspire you. But I’m not really doing that well. The real test will be whether I can keep going after the holidays. I always do a mad dash right before Christmas in an attempt to make it look a little less like the inside of a dumpster. But then everything pretty much goes back to normal afterwards. I can sprint but I can’t run the marathon.

    I am just trying to get caught up and undo the damage done by years of neglect right now. But ultimately the reason is the same, to make living here more comfortable and to be ready to sell the house when the time comes.



    I have to sell my house, too.

    Wait – did I say that?

    I found something really cool – the “Tiny House” movement. People building their own  mini-houses to mount on trailers and drive around, or find a permanent spot for maybe. The idea is that they are very space efficient, involve not owning very much stuff because there’s nowhere to put it, and can be off the grid with solar power, so they are cheap to live in.

    I do sprints, too, on most things. Then I run out of steam and forget what was going on.

    I lost my job and now I have to look for a new one. I hate job hunting. I hate interviewing. I hate feeling like I’m going around begging people to like me. I wish I could figure out a way to earn a living where I didn’t have to be around anyone – where I could be in my own space, doing my own thing.

    I’ve done nothing to clean up my space, and haven’t even got around to getting a wall calendar.



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