Adult ADHD and Paperwork

September 9, 2013 Elizabeth Prager

I just sent in my life insurance premium. It was due in July. It wasn't entirely my Adult ADHD that lead to my paperwork being incomplete for so long - my wife and I use an online bank and we had ordered new checks months ago and they didn't come until mid-August. That has so little to do, though, with me sending it in tomorrow. If the premium was due late July, I should have sent it in mid-August - not mid-September. Paperwork is one of my least favorite adult needs. I'm not entirely sure how I would manage my paperwork and bill paying needs as a single person. I truthfully haven't been single in my adult life - I went from a long-term dating situation (over five years!) to dating my wife soon after. So, I can offer suggestions for what a happily single adult may do to combat the onslaught of bills and forms, but please take my advice with a few grains of salt as I have not tried them myself.

My number one idea: set aside a time each week to open mail. I know for me that if I open mail right away, I have a tendency to hate the idea of the follow-up tasks required that I might just tuck it away and let it mingle with all the other papers on my desk. Most of the papers on my desk are school-related and are often lectures or labs that I've already completed, so I don't necessarily need to look at them again. It's dangerous to stick bills there, because who knows when I'll look through that stack again.

I recommend getting something cute and eye-catching to hold your mail and paperwork. Etsy has really nice handmade pieces that will add to a room and not make your desk look any messier than it already might be.

The next step after collecting your mail for a week would be to set aside approximately 40 minutes to get your stuff done. You open the mail, you deal with the mail, and you recycle the extra paper bits all in one fell swoop. If I were single, this is what I would aspire to do.

As a married gal, I have a slightly different approach. I let the letters pile up for a few days, open them and put the ones I hate on my wife's desk. Then, she deals with it. True, this sounds lazy and like I'm not pushing myself to do what an "adult" should do. Thing is - I cook the meals, I vacuum AND I clean the bathroom normally. Marriage and relationships are about stepping up and doing for each other the things you excel at that they do not. My wife is good with finances and being cute, so we have agreed that she be the lead in those aspects of our relationship.

Do you all have any good ideas about how to make sure the paperwork that needs to get done gets done?

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2013, September 9). Adult ADHD and Paperwork, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

October, 18 2013 at 9:10 pm

The trick I've taught myself to deal with bills most effectively is to make a little financial section in a journal I keep...and make sure I remember to follow it! On one page I have a chart I use for bill paying. We get income at 3 different times during the month, I have the bills organized on the chart in the order they need to be paid. As each bill is paid for the current month, I check it off my chart. My chart covers about a 6-8 months’ time period. If I'm still in the same journal when I finish up a chart, I just make a new page and set up another 6 months of rows going across the page to check off bills again. When I fill up a journal, I start a new financial section/bill’s page in the new journal. I also use it when I’m reconciling the bank account, as a check off and reminder as to what bills will be due between the time the bank statement comes and when we get our next income deposits. People who don’t have ADD/ADHD take financial organization for granted and how helpful such a simple solution can be – but for me it has made all the difference. I still get screwed up sometimes with new bills, like new doctor bills that aren’t on my radar, but it helps. I’ve been doing this now for several years and it’s helped me with paying down our debt. If I had done this many years ago, we might not even be in debt anymore and probably would even be living in a better house. It has helped me reclaim our life financially. In addition, as I’ve cleaned up our finances, I have almost everything set up as automatic deposits and withdrawals, which of course necessitates accurate banking, but has also eliminated the need to mail very many checks. And I did all this in spite of having 2 kids in college that we have to help with some of their living expenses. When they graduate, we will free up several hundred dollars every month and I’m going to have everything on automatic withdrawal and try to eliminate the rest of the check mailing. I’ve had to tell myself, “better late than never”, and not live with regrets for all the times I’ve screwed up when I was younger, because it’s water under the bridge that is done and gone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Prager
October, 20 2013 at 1:08 pm

Thanks for the comment!!!

September, 9 2013 at 7:14 am

HI! I try to open my mail right away since I'm the one in charge of it. I shred the junk mail and credit card offers and place catalogs and the like in a box for recycling right away. I place my opened "good mail" in a horizontal bin for filing once the bin is full. This takes about 3-4 weeks and I have to file it since there is no more room left in the bin. I write my bills' due dates and amounts on a hanging wall calendar, it helps me keep track better than a desk calendar. I also cross out the bills I've paid from the calendar. This all usually works, although when I'm a bit manic I have trouble thinking about how to deal with the mail, the decisions are slower but habit helps. Sorry for the long rambling and I hope what I wrote helps.

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