How To Start (And Finish!) Chores When You Have ADD

How To Start (And Finish!) Chores When You Have ADD

Anyone with ADD knows how hard it is to start (and finish!) chores.  It would be great if just having a routine, avoiding irritating those you live with, or upcoming deadlines were enough to drive us to do the things we need to do around the house but it doesn’t always work that way.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is common to many.  Unfortunately, few know there are some great tools available to survive and thrive with ADD.  Unjumbled has many suggestions for managing ADD but one of the most user-friendly (literally!) is body doubling.

Dogs and cats playing with their friends

Body Doubling – What Is It?

The Beatles sang ‘I get by with a little help from my friends’ and they weren’t wrong. Body doubling uses a partner to keep you accountable for starting a task you’ve been avoiding and staying on task so that you don’t step away until you reach a reasonable stopping point.

How you work with a partner can vary a great deal. Your partner may work alongside you doing what you’re doing OR may just be there doing their own thing. Your partner may give you some guidance as you work OR may not say anything unless you start wandering off task. Your partner may be in the room with you OR present via Zoom.

Dogs and cats playing together

Chores That Work Well With Body Doubling

Opening mail ~ Paying bills ~ Clearing off the kitchen counter ~ Going through kids’ clothing to get rid of things that don’t fit ~ Cleaning out drawers ~ Laundry ~ Cleaning out closets ~ Exercising ~ Studying ~ Making home repairs

Body Doubling – How It Helps

The ways to benefit from body doubling are endless but let’s look at a couple household tasks that are frequent victims of procrastination and see how body doubling helps.

Dog putting laundry in dryer

Laundry – Work with a friend and agree you’re both going to collect, sort, and move your dirty laundry to your laundry area after work on Friday. Text each other “all done!” when you’ve finished. If you don’t hear from your friend, text gentle reminders until you get their “all done!” On Saturday, start your laundry at 9 a.m. and text “started 1st load!” When you move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start a new load, text “started 2nd load!” . If you’re not hearing from your friend, text gentle reminders to help them get back on track. Keep doing this until all the laundry is washed, dried, and folded. Once it’s put away, text “ALL DONE!” When you hear that your friend is done, text “WELL DONE!”

Pro tip #1: Children can start putting away laundry at ages 4-5. It may not be done perfectly but they’ll learn and it becomes a big help.

Pro tip #2: When you’re texting, use CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!! You and your friend are doing great and deserve all the encouragement you can give each other.

Cats on Zoom call

Bill Paying – Zoom is a great help for paying bills. Coordinate with a friend that you’ll both throw your mail into a bag until an agreed upon meeting time. (Paying bills weekly or at least every other week is ideal. Never go more than 4 weeks.) At the agreed upon time, start your Zoom meeting while each of you sits at your work area and pays bills, answers correspondence, fills out forms, files paperwork, etc. You don’t have to talk to each other while you work, but you’ll feel much more accountable to stay put and finish the job if your friend is doing the same. If you happen to notice your friend wandering–physically or mentally–from the task at hand, offer a gentle reminder to stay the course. And when the job is done, you and your buddy can give each other a virtual high five.

Where Can I Find A Body Double?

Good options for a body double are people who have the same avoidance problem you have or a good friend who wants to see you succeed. Or Unjumbled! We are experienced at serving as a quiet partner or a partner who advises as you go along.

Whether you call in a friend or Unjumbled, using body doubling for accountability and companionship gets you started on routine tasks you’ve been avoiding. Body doubling is an ADD game changer!

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