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ADHD and Chores

Today’s topic is … chores. Now, admittedly, that’s not a very exciting topic. But that’s exactly what makes it important.

People with ADHD tend to especially struggle with the unexciting stuff, the stuff that doesn’t naturally motivate us or make us so enthusiastic we hyperfocus.

And chores, generally, are not fantastically exciting. Add in the fact that staying up on everyday chores requires organizational skills, planning, and the ability to regularly self-motivate – and you’ve potentially got a problem.

VacuumFor ADHDers, that problem can take different forms.

So how do people with ADHD struggle with chores, exactly? Let me count the ways.

People with ADHD procrastinate on chores, and they end up doing chores far later than they should. The huge pile of dishes in the sink or the fact that you’ve used and possibly reused every last pair of clean socks you own are testament to that fact.

Better late than never, right? But ADHDers sometimes forget to do chores entirely. Our attention tends to gravitate to whatever is most immediately rewarding, and I’ve discovered that paying bills tends not to be one of those things.

When we do chores, we might do them inefficiently. See my last post about time down the drain for some examples of how the duration of mundane tasks can get stretched beyond reason. We might also make inattentive mistakes while doing chores, which leads to us doing the chores incorrectly or having to go back and redo them.

So what can ADHDers do to combat these tendencies? I’ve discovered three techniques that help me.

The first is to use structure and have certain chores occur at regular times, or create rules about when you do chores. Bills are always paid on this day of the month. You do your laundry on such-and-such day of the week. All dishes are always washed immediately after dinner. And so on.

Then there’s the fact that anything you can do to make chores less boring will help. For me, that means listening to music. I love music, so playing some music can help turn a dreary task into something enjoyable.

Finally, write it down! Keep a written to-do list of chores to tackle and then cross off. Not only is this a good reminder not to forget about certain chores, but it gives you the satisfaction of checking off a chore once you’re done with it.

Of course, different coping strategies for different ADHDers. These are the ones that seem to help me, but if you’ve got other techniques, please share them in the comment section!

Image: Flickr/Linda moving ahead

ADHD and Chores

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on psychology, ADHD and education. In addition to ADHD Millennial, he writes about psychology at Psych Central's AllPsych blog and about ADHD at He can be found on Twitter at @ADaptHD_blog

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2020). ADHD and Chores. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Feb 2020
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