ADHD Project Basket: the end of the to do list?

Do you try to keep To Do Lists, but never remember what’s on them?

When you are working on your homework, do you get distracted and forget what you were working on when you sit back down?

Do you start little projects and leave supplies all over the house that you can’t find later when you need them?

Then you might want to try using a Project Basket.

What’s in a Project Basket?

A Project Basket holds physical reminders and everything you need, or are working on, throughout the day. Basic items include:

  • Your “must do today” list
  • Your phone – only so you don’t have to get up if it rings.
  • A notepad and pen to dump important ideas that don’t have anything to do with the task at hand, but you can do later.
  • Supplies for the half finished projects you have underway.  (If they are too big to include in the basket, then write a word on a note card to remind you to go back later.) Notes, workbooks, reference books, usb drives.
  • A reminder to exercise, a workout band, ipod, or workout set list
  • A copy of your schedule for the day (this could be your phone, tablet or hard copy)

How do you use a Project Basket?

During the day keep your Project Basket at hand at all times – even when you are relaxing. And ONLY keep things in your basket that you plan to accomplish that day. For example, if you aren’t going to exercise, don’t include the set list. But, you could keep your Xbox controller in your Project Basket to remind you that today will not be all work and no play.

If you have to leave the basket somewhere for a quick minute (say you have to use the restroom), put the thing you want to come back to on top. Leave the basket in the place you need to work next, e.g. at your desk, on the kitchen counter.

If you find something that needs to be put away in another room, put it in your basket. Take a few minutes before you eat a meal or a snack to put everything in your basket away that you aren’t using.

Better yet, hold onto the item (or a symbol of it) until you can come back to it. For example, you are less likely to forget that you were going to post something on your bulletin board if you are carrying around a thumbtack.

Practical application:

While I was writing this I got up for a cup of coffee – and brought my Project Basket with me. Then I got distracted by the breakfast dishes, which I quickly cleaned up. I needed to fidget a bit so I looked in my Project Basket and found a coffee cup that I had intended to bring into the kitchen. I added it to the running dishwasher. I found the notes for this post right on top and I realized I needed to come back to my computer to finish it. On my way to my computer I found a glove I had dropped and some bills I needed to put in my bill pile to pay later. I put them in my basket to put away later. At my computer I referred to my outline, reviewed what I previously wrote, and got refocused.

Sure, I got distracted by the fog horn that just started blowing, but the blog post is now complete and I’m ready to take a break and use that exercise band I’ve been carrying around.

Your turn

Does the Project Basket sound like an idea you’d like to try? Do you have another technique that helps you keep on track? Please let us know in the comments.

And if this method doesn’t work for you, don’t worry. An ADHD coach can help you figure out strategies that will work for your unique talents and lifestyle.

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