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10-Minute Tips To Tackle Organization | Life Skills Advocate


Staying organized is a challenge for everyone, especially if you identify as neurodivergent. It can be difficult to stay motivated and focused on the task at hand.

But with a few simple tips, it’s possible to stay organized and get things done in no time.

Here are our best 10-minute tips to help you tackle organization!

Is neurodivergence and organization related?

Organizing ourselves, our spaces, and managing our time can be challenging for anyone. However, for neurodivergent individuals, especially those with ADHD, these everyday tasks can be downright overwhelming.

First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder resulting from differences in brain function and structure.

The prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functions, including organization and planning, is thought to be underdeveloped in individuals with ADHD, leading to difficulties in organization and time management. This isn’t due to laziness or lack of effort; instead, it’s merely a reflection of how their brains work.

The Role of Attentional Control & Organization

In addition to the differences in brain structure, those with ADHD often have differences in attention span, making it harder for them to focus on tasks for extended periods. When organizing or cleaning out a space, their thoughts might jump from one thing to another, leading to unfinished tasks and an even messier environment.

This distractibility also makes it difficult to prioritize tasks and follow through, adding to the struggle to stay organized.

The Role of Time Management & Organization

Procrastination is a common issue in everyone’s life. However, it’s even more prevalent for those with ADHD. With their executive functions compromised, they may put off tasks until the last minute, which results in stress, late assignments, or misplaced items.

Time management is a crucial component of staying organized, but for someone with ADHD, time can feel like an abstract concept, making it difficult to manage deadlines and plan their days effectively.

Assessing Executive Functioning

Do these challenges with organization, time management, and attentional control sound familiar for you or your learner?

Consider taking our free .pdf Executive Functioning Assessment to determine if the organization skills your struggling with may also be related to challenges with other EF skills. These short, free assessments can help you pinpoint which of the strategies below might be the most helpful.

The Weight of Disorganization

It’s no secret that living in disarray can take an emotional toll. For someone with ADHD, the weight of disorganization can bring additional emotional baggage, from feelings of anxiety and depression to embarrassment and low self-esteem. These feelings can create a vicious cycle; as the disorder becomes harder to manage, the emotional consequences pile up even more, creating a continuous struggle.

For more on how challenges with executive functioning skills can have trickle down effects into other areas of independent living, check out our article: Understanding The Executive Functioning Ripple Effect.

Our List of the Best 10-Minute Tips to Tackle for Better Organization

These simple tasks not only make daily life more manageable but also help reduce stress, create a sense of accomplishment, and ultimately, pave the way for a clearer mind.

1. Set a Timer for 10 Minutes to Declutter/Throw Out Items In One Room

The key to successful decluttering is starting small and resisting the urge to multi-task. Simply set a timer for 10 minutes and choose a single room or area to focus on. Pick up items that no longer serve a purpose or belong in that space, and either toss them, donate them, or move them to their designated areas.

Make it a habit to routinely perform this 10-minute decluttering exercise, and your home will become more organized with each session.

2. Clean Off Your Countertops

Whether you’re in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom, countertops quickly become catch-all areas for clutter. Instead of letting it pile up, take 10 minutes to clear off the surfaces and only keep frequently used or essential items. This will not only make your space appear tidier but also save time when searching for items.

3. Clean Out Your Bag

Every morning build in time to emptying and organizing the contents of your purse, backpack, or workbag.

Start by removing items that don’t belong or are no longer useful.

Then mentally review each of the major tasks in your schedule for the day (or take out your calendar and review each appointment. Think about the items you will need for that task, and make sure they’re in your bag for the day.

As you put items back in the bag, consider using pouches or other compartmentalizing tools to keep the remaining items sorted.

Maintaining an organized bag will make it easier for you to find what you need on the go and prevent unnecessary clutter.

4. Make Your Bed

It might seem simple, but one of the most effective ways to feel more organized each day is to make your bed. Taking just a few minutes to straighten sheets and fluff pillows can help you start each day with a sense of accomplishment, while also instantly improving the overall appearance of your bedroom.

5. Write Down Your Biggest Organizational Tasks – and Break Them Down Into Chunks

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by large organizational projects (think closets, garages, or storage rooms), set a timer and spend 10 minutes listing what needs to be tackled and breaking those tasks down into achievable chunks. This will make it easier to plan how and when to address each subtask, ultimately boosting productivity and reducing stress.

6. Sort Items Into Clear Bins

One of the most efficient ways to maintain an organized living space is to use clear plastic bins for storage. Spend 10 minutes gathering items that belong together (e.g., arts and crafts supplies, holiday decorations, or toys), and sort them into labeled, clear bins.

Not only will this make it easy for you to locate a specific item, but it will also significantly reduce the time spent searching through scattered belongings.

7. Write Your To-Do List in Your Planner

One of the most critical steps in staying organized is making a to-do list – and actually using it!

Take just 10 minutes each day to jot down the tasks you need to accomplish. Make sure you’re consistent; whether you prefer to write your list in the morning or evening, stick to that time frame.

Not only will this help you keep track of your responsibilities, but also give you a sense of accomplishment when you’re able to tick things off your list.

For a sample weekly planner, download our free .pdf weekly organization checklist exercise that can help you keep track of specific tasks you need to organize regularly. This exercise from The Real-Life Executive Functioning Workbook gives you practice with sorting tasks

8. Categorize Your Tasks

To further streamline your to-do list, consider categorizing your tasks. Separate tasks by their urgency, difficulty, and context (personal, work, or school). By doing this, you’ll be able to create a more organized to-do list and minimize the feeling of being overwhelmed.

By taking the time to think through which tasks belong in each category, you help solidify their importance in your mind, making it easier to prioritize and focus on what needs to be done first.

9. Try Time Blocking

Time blocking is the practice of dedicating specific blocks of time to individual tasks or groups of tasks. Instead of mentally juggling several tasks at once or getting sidetracked, you allocate, say, 10 or 20 minutes to devote to a single task.

By doing this, you’re forcing yourself to prioritize your tasks, take breaks, and make the most of your time. Time blocking can be a game-changer for those with ADHD, especially when used in combination with your categorized to-do list.

10. Try the “Set Focus Time” Strategy

If you’re feeling too overwhelmed by a task, try setting a focus time – which is the amount of time you dedicate to work on a task without distractions. By setting aside 10 minutes at a time to focus on a single task, you can quickly make progress without feeling overwhelmed.

Plus, when you break things down into smaller increments, it’s easier to manage the time and maintain your focus. It’s a win-win situation.

11. Delete Old Emails

Let’s face it; we’ve all got that one email inbox filled with messages we no longer need. Take 10 minutes to purge unnecessary emails, unsubscribe from newsletters you never read, and organize the remaining ones into folders. By doing this, you eliminate distractions and make it easier to find important information when you need it.

12. Clear Up Your Phone Screen

In this digital age, staying organized extends beyond our physical spaces. Investing 10 minutes in decluttering your phone screen can work wonders for your productivity.

Remove unused apps, organize the remaining ones into folders, and only keep the necessary widgets and tools on your home screen. By reducing visual clutter, you’ll be able to focus better and minimize distractions.

13. Tackle Your Paper Pile

Paper clutter is one of the most common sources of disorganization. Start by setting a timer for 10 minutes and sort through your paper pile. Create three piles: one for recycling or shredding, another for items that need action or follow-up, and the last one for documents that need to be filed away.

After 10 minutes, you’ll be surprised at the difference this short period of focused work can make in decluttering your space and your mind.

14. Clear Out Your Junk Drawer

Everyone has that infamous junk drawer – the one that accumulates random items over time. Set aside 10 minutes to sort through it, discarding anything broken or unwanted, and placing items that can be used elsewhere in the appropriate spaces.

Organize the remaining contents in small containers or use drawer dividers to ensure everything has a place. Saying goodbye to your cluttered junk drawer will feel liberating and make finding things much easier in the future.

15. Take 10 Minutes at the End of Every Day to Return Things to Their “Home”

This tip requires a little bit of discipline, but it’s well worth the effort. Spend 10 minutes at the end of each day tidying up and returning items to their designated spaces, or “homes.” This daily habit will help keep clutter from building up and can help to maintain the organization you’ve implemented with other tips.

Final Thoughts

For those of us with ADHD, organization can often feel like an impossible task. But the truth is that anyone can get organized in 10 minutes or less with just a few simple steps. Start by making a list of all your tasks; then set timers for each one and reward yourself when they are complete.

Organization doesn’t have to be complicated; all it takes is a little bit of effort and creativity!

Further Reading

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.
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