The buys that makes ADHD life more manageable (Photo: Not On The High Street / Tile)
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My teenage years consisted of running late for everything, silently stressing in lessons because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t concentrate, and lots of emotional outbursts due to how generally overwhelmed I felt at all times.
Constantly just about ‘clinging on’, it wasn’t until I catastrophically flunked my A-Levels (to the surprise of absolutely everyone, but me) that the pieces of the puzzle were put together, and I got an ADHD diagnosis.
Fast forward eight years, and — like many adults with ADHD — a combo of good psychiatry and the right meds has really helped me. But I’d place just as much importance on the many hacks and products I’ve purchased over the years, that now play a crucial role in my daily routine.
Clearly, I have absolutely zero qualifications to back up my preaching. These are just the things I’ve found helpful for tackling time blindness, keeping on top of chores and admin, and staying focused throughout the work day.
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to encourage someone with ADHD to do some shopping, but I hope some of them might help you, too.
This vegetable chopper is great for those evenings I really can’t be arsed
If a recipe requires too much chopping, then chances are I’ll delay cooking dinner for as long as possible. So I love this vegetable chopper, as it’s so easy to use. Just roughly chop your onion, carrots, or peppers, and then close the lid and pull the handle several times to dice them into tiny pieces.
When it comes to noise cancellation, I just can’t fault these headphones
Don’t get me wrong – these earphones are quite the investment. But whether I’m in the office or just wandering down the high street, I find background noise both unsettling and distracting, so noise cancellation is a must for me. And these are just incredible!
Sleeping under a weighted blanket really helps keep me stay calm
My brain goes into overdrive at night, and so I find it hard to properly relax when I’m in bed. But there’s something so comforting about the lovely pressure of this weighted blanket, that makes me feel far more settled, and I therefore drift off much easier.
When I’m wiped out after work, I really love coming home to a hot dinner
I always find that by the evenings, my energy reserves are really low – so pulling together a whole meal can seem really tough. That’s why I love my slow cooker, as I can prepare dinner in the morning, and then when I come home from work, all I have to do is dish up!
I’m all for gadgets like this that tackle those tasks I dread doing
Because the door is shut most of the time, I find it really easy to forget that the microwave gets filthy if it isn’t regularly cleaned. So I love that I can just fill this lady with vinegar and water, pop her in the microwave, turn it on for five minutes, and let her get to work steaming it clean.
I use this file box to make keeping track of paperwork as easy as possible
People with ADHD can be pretty crap at keeping on top of paperwork, so I use this lockable file box to keep all important documents like bills and contracts in one place, and neatly organise them by labelling the suspension files.
This water bottle is easy to sip from and dishwasher-safe
I’m terrible at forgetting to drink until I suddenly feel really groggy and dehydrated. I love this bottle because it comes with a straw that’s easy to sip from, and also can go in the dishwasher, which makes it far more likely to actually get washed.
Standing while working helps me stay far more alert and focused
I find I work a lot better when I’m on my feet or even walking, so this handy converter has been great for turning my desk into a standing one when I need a boost of energy. It looks really chic, is far cheaper than buying an actual standing desk, and can be folded down super quickly.
This speedy kit is great for when a full floor clean feels overwhelming
If I don’t feel like my floors are clean, then I can’t relax properly. So when I can’t face wrestling the mop and bucket out of the cupboard, I just attach a wet cloth to my speed mop, and give them a quick once-over.
Alexa is my go-to gal for timers and reminders
I’ve always been a little sceptical of Alexa, but she’s actually been so helpful for keeping my day on track. A crucial part of my morning routine, I set timers with Alexa to keep an eye on how long I’m taking to get ready, and get her to remind me when I need to leave the house if I’m going to make my train.
This no-rinse spray keeps my shower sparkling for longer
If I know I need to do a ‘big clean’, chances are I’ll put it off for far too long. So I keep this spray next to my shampoo and conditioner, and have made a habit out of using it after every shower to keep my tiles shining with minimal effort. Plus, it smells amazing!
And this toilet cleaner takes the stress out of another terrible bathroom chore
In case it wasn’t obvious, cleaning the bathroom has become a big mental block of mine. So this toilet cleaning foam is another product that I use on a regular basis to stay on top of keeping the room looking nice. It’s self-activating – so all I have to do is pour it in, and leave it to get to work.
I’m far less likely to run out of meds when I use this pill organiser
Medication helps me function properly, but I’m truly terrible at planning ahead and making sure that I put another prescription in before I run out. So having my pills organised weekly helps me keep far better track of my stock.
I keep a storage box in each room for when clutter gets overwhelming
If I’m trying to get work done and there’s too much clutter around me, I find it really tricky to focus. So having storage bins around my home makes it easy to quickly clear stuff out of sight, so I can then properly put it away later.
Having a designated spot for my keys and purse stops me from losing them
To avoid losing track of which coat pocket, gym bag, or rucksack my personal items are in, I’ve made a habit out of putting my purse, headphones, sunglasses, and keys on this tiered tray the minute I walk through the door. Obviously, you don’t have to use this one – but I love that it’s got two tiers.
If you’re hypersensitive to light, then go for smart bulbs
Regardless of whether I’m trying to get some work done or relax, I find sitting under bright white light really distracting and unsettling. I used to specifically hunt down amber bulbs, but now I’m a proper convert to smart options, as they’re completely customisable.
Fake foliage looks far better than plants you always forget to water
I would honestly love to be a plant parent, but the reality is that I can barely keep myself hydrated – never mind another living organism. So faux foliage that looks really authentic is the next best thing.
These pre-chopped tins are a cooking crime but an ADHD win
When I’m feeling drained, the simple yet fiddly task of chopping up a bulb of garlic is enough to put me right off bothering to make dinner. So these pre-chopped tubs of garlic, ginger, and chilli are a firm favourite.
I’m always forgetting to drink my coffee, so this mug warmer has been great
As soon as I go in to hyperfocus over a task, I completely forget about the hot drink sitting in front of me. So this mug warmer has saved me from having to make at least two trips to the microwave over the course of the morning, to reheat my lukewarm coffee.
This sunrise alarm clock has made it so much easier to get up
I am absolutely terrible at getting up in the mornings – but this sunrise alarm clock has made it considerably easier. I always feel far less like I’ve been startled awake, and am therefore way less likely to press snooze.
Not On The High Street
I use creative kits like this to keep my hands busy so I don’t skin pick
Like many adults with ADHD, I’m guilty of picking at my skin and biting my nails when my hands are idle. So to keep my hands occupied while I'm watching TV in the evenings, doing a simple cross stitch kit like this is the perfect mindless task. Plus, at the end I get a gorgeous tapestry!
This handy tracker helps me quickly find my keys
When it comes to getting my train in the morning, I’m already guilty of cutting it super fine – so I really don’t have the time to hunt for my keys. But with this tracker, I can find them within a minute!
I use this microwave rice cooker to whip up a quick meal
This rice cooker has been a lifesaver for those days where I’ve got no energy to cook, but want to pull together a meal with minimal effort. After eight minutes in the microwave, you’ll have gorgeous fluffy grains to pair with whatever you can be bothered to chuck in the oven.
To keep track of what food I have, I put everything in clear storage bins
If I open my fridge or cupboards and find them crammed full and in pure chaos, I get too overwhelmed to cook. So I use acrylic organisers to ensure I can see everything at all times – which also helps ensure I only ever end up buying what I actually need.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.