ADHD & Chores: 5 Daily Struggles

Chores with Adult ADHD can be both tricky and overwhelming. Learn more about the challenges involved and steps to overcome them here.

Table of Contents

ADHD & Chores: 5 Daily Struggles

1. Getting That Motivation To Accomplish Household Chores

2. Sudden Discouragement When Conquering 'Impossible' Tasks

3. Chores I Perceived “Disgusting” Will Be Delayed

4. ADHD, Distractions, and Cleaning Tasks Don’t Mix Well

5. Some Tasks May Trigger You To Take A Break

6. There Are ADHD Chores Struggles, But Here's What We Can Do

7. Conclusion

ADHD & Chores FAQs

Finishing Chores with ADHD Adults

There are many things our hyperactive brains can see and decide to do. For instance, there are moments when we enter a room and forget what we should be doing in there. At times, we are busy preparing a meal, then moments later, we find ourselves busy chatting with a close friend or too immersed in browsing Tiktok feeds. 😣 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can affect someone's ability to focus on their schedule, tasks involving organization, and ability to manage their time. In particular, chores with ADHD adults can be challenging. We might feel overwhelmed with tasks, which can lead to stress at the mere thought of them.

For my mental health, I often do a checklist of what should be done by when. However, having the list doesn't guarantee that I will finish doing everything. The urge to accomplish all the chores, after all, usually needs a lot of motivation. Sometimes, I have to set alarms on my smartphone to remind me about the cleaning schedule I should do today. But then, I might have a hard time getting out of bed. Anyway, here are some of the other struggles I encounter regarding my ADHD and doing household chores.

constantly forgetting clothes in the washing machine...

Getting That Motivation To Accomplish Household Chores

Some people who don't know me well might perceive me as lazy or someone who slacks off to avoid doing tasks. Believe me when I say that some adults with ADHD are often viewed this way. They are frequently tagged as "lazy folks" who make “excuses” to escape tasks. 

In reality, we’re not lazy.😉 Most of the time, we only need that motivation to kick in to start doing things. Once we get that head start, there's no stopping us from doing our daily chores.

Also, there are times when we stay focused on tasks and finish them in record time. These instances may occur when our ADHD brains don’t allow us to tend to anything else other than the task at hand. Some adults with ADHD even experience this prolonged focus and get to do the tasks without getting interrupted. This doesn't happen all the time, though, and some people don’t experience it at all. 

Keeping these things in mind, it’s easy to see why chores with ADHD adults can be tricky. 

Take me, for instance.🙋‍♀️ Did you know that I get sudden motivations to do house cleaning even without a cleaning schedule in mind? I always take these rare opportunities and do productive things because I know that they won't last long due to other, more interesting things or because I might soon get overwhelmed with chores. Honestly, the motivation that I get to start off doing house cleaning is unpredictable.

Getting sudden burst of motivation

Sudden Discouragement When Conquering 'Impossible' Tasks

An ADHD brain might need something new or exciting to function well - at least from time to time. A regular routine, such as doing household chores, don't get me excited, but they must be done to maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of my humble abode. The long hours I spend doing the same thing for hours on end may lead to boredom, which might force me to abandon the soon-to-be-finished task.

When I get the boost that I need to start putting things to order, I don't expect them to last long. At first, I can convince myself that I enjoy these tasks - taking away the clutter and doing some cleaning on the side, after all, are crucial for my well-being. However, when I reach the point where the chore becomes complicated or tedious, I might lose the motivation to continue. 😭 

For example, when I see a huge pile of used clothes for laundry, I might get discouraged and try to convince myself to do it at another time.

Most people with neurotypical brains may find doing chores soothing and relaxing. Some people with ADHD may even enjoy cleaning and doing their tasks at their own pace. But for me, it depends on the motivation that I get in a day, so I do as much as I can and accomplish tasks that I can do quickly. This way, I still get to tick off the task that needs to be done. But when the outburst of energy wears off, or I get overwhelmed by the task, I may wait for the next day to do them.

followed by intense discouragement.

Chores I Perceived “Disgusting” Will Be Delayed

ADHD can also affect our reaction to external stimuli and test our patience when we encounter them. This, of course, might make chores with ADHD adults a little tricky. 

For instance, sensory overload and sensitivity may come our way when we do household chores concerning cleanliness. We may be distracted by the intense smell of detergents or cleaning chemicals.  Likewise, we can get easily blinded by bright lights when cleaning the ceiling. The struggle of some people with ADHD with regard to their senses is real and should not be taken lightly.

We might feel disgusted the moment we touch something slimy, such as the oil and grease found on dirty dishes, or the lukewarm temperature needed to wash our clothes. This feeling may hinder us from finishing the task. 

Please note that the trouble our brain encounters in handling these odd external stimuli can be one of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why I find doing the laundry an impossible task. The mountain-pile of soiled clothes, my sensitivity to the water temperature, the smell of laundry detergent, and not to mention the strenuous task of doing everything, add up to the challenge. I'd instead drop them off at the nearest laundry shop and save myself the trouble of feeling anxious while doing them. 😅

easily getting disgusted because of sensory sensitivity

ADHD, Distractions, and Cleaning Tasks Don’t Mix Well

Recently, I observed myself being more productive when my cleaning schedule is early in the morning. I accomplish plenty of chores when I do them early compared to when I do them at night or in the afternoon. One of the factors for this improvement is my focus on the task at hand.

Before I start my house cleaning in the morning, I usually take a couple of sips of coffee. My cleaning schedule involves doing the household chores I see first, so that I can get the hang of it faster. What's difficult in doing these tasks is staying focused on the current chore before moving on to the chore waiting in the other room. 

But I get discouraged easily when I try to do all these tasks late in the afternoon or early evening. First, with this schedule, my favorite TV series airs at the same time I do my cleaning task. When I tried to do everything while watching the telly, I ended up not accomplishing anything at all! 😭 It's straightforward to get lost in whatever task you are doing because you are distracted by something more interesting.

Another struggle I encounter when I do deep cleaning is that I get easily knocked off by the things that I find. One time, I was starting to create momentum in my cleaning task. I really thought I'd successfully finish cleaning all the clutter in a single day. When I was halfway done, I found my family's old picture inside the cabinet I was tidying up, reminisced about the good old times, and called everyone back home to know how they were doing. ❤️ When I realized that I was doing something else, it was already late, and I got distracted from finishing all the tasks.

getting easily distracted

Some Tasks May Trigger You To Take A Break

There was one time I had the chance to plan my schedule for the next day. I initially planned on organizing the house then going out to grab some snacks while paying bills. I thought I had everything in order. I readied all the tools I'll need, which room would be the first to get done, and which stuff I needed to throw away. Basically, the routine was already on my mind, and I had a timetable of the events at a specific time that I had to do for the next day.

So when the moment arrived, I was ecstatic to do everything planned. I started doing the tasks at their specific time and followed the cleaning schedule diligently at first. I even set a timer to remind me of everything. 

But, when I was sweeping the floor, I suddenly felt tired and told myself that I should probably get some rest before continuing. I set the alarm scheduled for fifteen minutes later. I sat down, took a rest, and browsed my phone. Sadly, it took me an hour and a half to stop scrolling my device and continue my routine (which needed another hour and a half). Imagine spending three hours on a particular task because you lost track of doing other unrelated things.

We sometimes struggle to let go of doing something that interests us. The time that I have spent "resting" could have been used in accomplishing other productive stuff. But then I forget that our brain can struggle with these things, getting easily distracted and having difficulty planning how long it will take for us to finish a task.

overestimating how long a task ill take

There Are ADHD Chores Struggles, But Here's What We Can Do

House Cleaning is a task that can be challenging,  particularly with neurotypical folks. Clutter and mess will always be a part of our daily lives, and as long as they don't hamper our way of living, they are still acceptable. 

Some people with ADHD can go through different house cleaning and organization struggles. Remember that we have different experiences when it comes to doing these tasks. Some may find other tasks fun, and others may find comfort in cleaning the mess. Chores with ADHD adults may have a love-hate relationship, but here are some tips that you can do to avoid getting overwhelmed with cleaning your home.

  • As much as you can, schedule cleaning tasks regularly at a specific time. Having a routine of these tasks can develop a habit and make it easier for you to start doing - and accomplishing - them.
  • Do chores depending on how big or small the task is. Schedule them separately and allot longer times for those chores that require so.
  • Write a reminder for these schedules, or set your smartphone's alarm to notify you. This helps remind you that you have something important to do.
  • When you feel bored and have nothing else to do, you can start doing small tasks and tick them off quickly.
  • Invest in proper cleaning materials and research them. It's enticing to do chores when you have all the tools needed.
  • When living with your family, delegate tasks and set schedules with your family members. You don't have to do everything alone.
  • When you have your kids with you, assign tasks to them and make a regular routine suitable for them. This way, they can try to experience things differently and develop habits early.
  • If you have an ADHD partner, try as much as you can to help them get through their struggle. Always support them when needed. Do tasks that are quite overwhelming and share responsibilities among yourselves.
  • It is normal to feel anxious when you are overwhelmed with all the tasks. Don't forget to pause and take a rest to prevent burnout.
  • If the clutter and disarray affect your mental health and you cannot start doing a task, turn to a professional organizer and ask for assistance.

Conclusion

Some people with ADHD can face different struggles in almost all aspects of their lives. It's best to understand these difficulties to address them adequately. Household chores can sometimes give us a hard time, but with the help of proper planning, support, and delegation, we can still accomplish these tasks. 

If these house cleaning tasks become overwhelming for us to handle, remember that it is okay to ask for help. Your struggles are real, and they always make sense. Don't be ashamed to ask for assistance, and feel confident that you can take on these challenges.

ADHD and Chores: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

1.  How can handling chores for neurodivergent people affect their mental health?


Some neurodivergent people can often face different struggles in almost all aspects of their lives. One challenge that may arise is with handling chores. Chores can be overwhelming and difficult to start for those with ADHD, OCD, or anxiety. When these tasks are not completed, it can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness.


2. As a person with ADHD, how often do you do household chores?


Honestly, I'd like to be as productive as I can. 💪 When I am doing something and get distracted by the overflowing rubbish in the bin, I leave what I'm doing and then throw them outside first, then I'll notice that the hallway is dirty and needs a deep cleaning, I'll do it next. Keeping routine is also ideal, but try to capitalize on your impulsivity consistently 🤘

3.  Is it okay if I don't do as much Home Organization and leave clutter from time to time?


Absolutely 🥰 If you think that not doing your chores and leaving clutter is okay with you, there's no problem. However, if these things hamper your everyday living and won't permit you to focus and create a healthy living environment, it's probably time to face all this stuff. 🙏

4. Do people with ADHD need a routine to accomplish chores?


Routines help some people with ADHD stay more focused and get productive. Setting a schedule for when you need to clean and what chores need to be done will help develop the habit and reduce distractions. 

Table of Contents

ADHD & Chores: 5 Daily Struggles

1. Getting That Motivation To Accomplish Household Chores

2. Sudden Discouragement When Conquering 'Impossible' Tasks

3. Chores I Perceived “Disgusting” Will Be Delayed

4. ADHD, Distractions, and Cleaning Tasks Don’t Mix Well

5. Some Tasks May Trigger You To Take A Break

6. There Are ADHD Chores Struggles, But Here's What We Can Do

7. Conclusion

ADHD & Chores FAQs

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s best to see a professional for a diagnosis.

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I created The Mini ADHD Coach in august 2020 when I was just diagnosed with ADHD at 29. After years of questioning, therapy, burnouts and chaotic career path changes I finally understood why I was struggling with so many things. So I decided to share what I learned to raise awareness around ADHD and help the ADHD community thrive.

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