How to manage ADHD: our 7 top tips

Living with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be challenging, however with the right strategies and resources, it is possible to manage your symptoms and improve your everyday life.

From practicing organisation to keeping a healthy exercise and nutrition plan, read on to discover our top seven tips to help you manage your symptoms effectively.

1. Stick to a routine

Establishing a routine can be incredibly helpful for people living with ADHD, by helping to structure your day and provide a sense of security.

It can be as simple as making sure to check off a to-do list each day or setting a specific time to go to bed each night.

Tips for creating a routine

  • Start with a basic schedule and build from there
  • Use visual aids, such as a calendar or planner, to help keep track of tasks and appointments
  • Break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps
  • Set reminders and alarms to help stay on track

Examples of daily routines

  • Wake up at the same time every day
  • Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up
  • Take medication at the same time each day
  • Schedule specific times for work or school tasks
  • Set aside time for exercise or other physical activity
  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine

2. Stay organised

A cluttered or disorganised environment can be overwhelming, especially when you're living with ADHD.

Creating an organised space, and organising your daily tasks can help reduce distractions and improve your focus.

Tips for organising your home and workspace

  • Declutter regularly to avoid excess items – try allocating time every week for cleaning and tidying
  • Use storage containers and labels to keep items organised
  • Create designated spaces for specific items or tasks
  • Minimise visual distractions, such as bright colours or busy patterns
  • Keep frequently used items within reach

Tools and resources for organisation

  • Apps, such as Trello or Evernote, can help with task and project management
  • Label makers and storage containers can help keep items organised
  • Professional Disability Employment Service providers like APM are here to help if you're having trouble making changes to your workplace environment on your own. If you need a hand, reach out to chat about how we can help you make your required workplace modifications.

3. Minimise distractions

Distractions can be a major obstacle to focus and productivity when you're living with ADHD.

Taking steps to minimise distractions can help improve your concentration and focus.

Tips for minimising distractions

  • Turn off notifications on your devices
  • Limit multitasking and focus on one task at a time
  • Work in a quiet environment, if possible
  • Schedule breaks throughout the day
  • Take regular walks or exercise
  • Tools and resources for minimising distractions
  • Noise-cancelling headphones can help block out background noise
  • Mindfulness apps, such as Headspace or Calm, can help with focus and concentration
  • Time management apps, such as Forest or Toggl, can help keep track of time and stay on task

4. Make time for mindfulness and self-care

Mindfulness and self-care can help you manage stress and reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Taking time to relax and practice mindfulness activities can help improve focus and concentration, as well as reduce impulsivity.

Try some of the following suggestions, and find the techniques and strategies that work best for you.

Techniques for practicing mindfulness

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation or yoga
  • Mindful eating
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Listen to calming music

Self-care strategies to try

  • Prioritise sleep and establish a consistent bedtime routine
  • Engage in physical activity regularly
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein
  • Take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge
  • Make time for activities that you enjoy

5. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is an important part of managing ADHD.

Having clear boundaries can help reduce stress and feelings of over-commitment and improve relationships with your family and friends.

Setting boundaries can feel overwhelming, especially with people you care about.

Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Be direct and honest about your needs and expectations
  • Be firm but compassionate when communicating with others
  • Give yourself permission to say 'no' to other people, and commitments
  • Prioritise tasks and activities that are important to you
  • Take time for yourself to relax and recharge
  • Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself

6. Regular exercise and good nutrition

Regular exercise and a healthy diet can be a great way to help manage ADHD symptoms by improving focus, reducing hyperactivity, and promoting your overall well-being.

Regular physical activity can also help reduce stress and improve your concentration, through the release of endorphins in your body after a workout.

Effective exercise routine tips

  • Try to make physical activity a part of your daily routine
  • Take breaks throughout the day to move around and stretch
  • Try a mixture of physical activities to find what you enjoy most, and leaves you feeling the best afterwards, such as jogging, yoga, or a sport
  • Be realistic with your goals and expectations – try to start with just 30 minutes of exercise a day

Good nutrition tips

  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein
  • Limit processed foods and sugary snacks
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Include healthy sources of protein, such as lean meats, nuts, and legumes
  • Include healthy sources of fat, such as avocados, olive oil, and fish
  • Take a multivitamin or supplement to ensure you're getting the nutrition you need.

7. Seek support

If you're living with ADHD and looking for ways to manage your symptoms, reaching out for support is a great idea.

Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and can help you reach your goals.

There are many types of support available, ranging from professional mental health services to peers, employment support and online resources.

Explore them all, and find the types of support that work best for you.

Types of support available

  • Mental health professional – talking to a mental health professional can help you gain a better understanding of your condition and triggers, and can help you learn new ways to manage your symptoms and get back to living a fulfilling life. Your local GP or healthcare provider can refer you to a mental health professional in your area, or you can search online for mental health providers that appeal to you.
  • Mental health helplines – if you feel like you need immediate, or over-the-phone support, mental health helplines like Lifeline are there to help. If you are in immediate physical danger, always call 000.
  • Support groups – support groups can provide a safe space to talk to other people who have similar experiences, and can help you feel less alone. You can find local support groups in your area, or look for online support groups.
  • Employment support – if you need help finding and keeping a job that works for you and your ADHD symptoms, a Disability Employment Services provider like APM can help. You can also explore some great jobs for people living with ADHD here.
  • Peer support – speaking to a trusted friend or family member can be a great source of support. Talking to someone who understands your struggles can help you feel less overwhelmed and provide you with valuable insight.
  • Self-help resources – many books, podcasts, websites and blogs provide helpful information about ADHD and strategies for managing symptoms. Doing research and reading up on ADHD can help you gain a better understanding of your condition and learn new ways to cope. To get started, you can explore our blog on how to know if you have ADHD, and where to get help.

Living with ADHD can be challenging, however with the right strategies and support, you'll be able to manage your symptoms much more effectively.

By keeping these seven tips in mind, and remembering to seek professional mental health and GP advice when you need it, you'll be able to get back to living a fulfilling everyday life.