131 ADHD pro-tips 1. General 2. Cleaning 3. Memory 4. Time Blindness 5. Distractions 6. Getting Things Done 7. Emotional Dysregulation 8. Sleep 9. Relationships 10. Work 11. School 12. Executive Function 13. Nutrition/Medication General • Pack things the day before so you don’t forget. • Don’t drink alcohol. Causes brain fog and it can negatively interact with medications. Alcohol can even cause ADHD-like symptoms in non-ADHD people. • Do cardio before you need to do stuff that requires sitting. It helps you focus. • Use text-to-speech generators to help you read webpages/books. • Keep things at eye level. (Especially notes/to-do lists) • Be stupidly early to places just in case you forget something. • Stretch once in a while. • Take a deep breath. • Take a cold shower in the morning or turn it to cold just for 30-60 seconds at the end of your shower. Wakes you up, gets your blood flowing and gets you out of the shower. • Get a therapist if you can. • If you aren’t diagnosed: Actually get a diagnosis and a therapeutic program that works for you. Don’t spend more time wondering - you’ll still feel like an imposter afterwards, don’t worry. • Most important for me has been telling myself all I need to do is floss. Usually you'll end up chaining the rest of your night routine tasks like brushing onto that. Buy a whiteboard to sketch out things when your mind starts going into overdrive. Cleaning • Have a designated spot for every single item. (Put it in the same place every time) • Have a “misc.” basket in each room. If you’re truly unable to put something away, put it in the basket. Have a designated period of time, once a week, when your sole priority is to put everything away, all at once. Whenever you lose something that you “put away,” start keeping it in the first place you looked for it. • In order to not get overwhelmed when cleaning, remember there are only 5 things you need to tackle: Trash, Laundry, Dishes, Putting things back that have a place, Put things in a pile that don’t have a place. • If you’re moving from one room to another, take the item with you that needs to go to the other room. It’s already on your way and its one less thing cluttering your room. • If you can afford it: Get a cleaning person; it takes them 3 hours to do what you can do in 3 weeks. While they are there, use them as an accountability buddy and sort out your misc. tasks like paying bills. • Embrace chaos. Let your brain get distracted when you’re cleaning. Cleaning dishes and stop spare trash? Its fine go clean that and then get back to the dishes. • Have a dedicated playlist for cleaning. High tempo songs help keep you moving. • Do chores before you go to bed. No matter what your routine is, you have to go to bed at some point. You can “habit-chain” cleaning into going to bed. Memory • Having a tablet like an iPad Pro is helpful for keeping colorful notes. Avoids issues losing notebooks. • Park in the same place every time when you go to a common place. You won’t forget where you park that waY. Keep a spare house key in your car and one outside your house. • Keep important items in visible and convenient locations. e.g: Take pills when you eat? Keep your bottle beside your table where you eat. • Get a Tile. Bluetooth GPS trackers that are a game changer for ADHD people that lose keys/wallets. • Tape your most often made recipes to the inside of your kitchen cabinet doors. • Three point check when you close the front door: Phone, wallet, keys. • Use voice assistants. “Remind me to do X tomorrow at Y time”. • Use the mind palace memory exercise to help solve retention issues. • Keep forgetting your lunch? Put your keys on it. That way you can’t leave without your lunch. • If you need to remember to bring something with you the next day, place it right in front of the exit door so you HAVE to touch it before you leave the house. If it’s something in the fridge, put a sticky note on the exit door’s handle. • Buy multiple items that you use often. Setup multiple chargers at work/home (so you have a spare if you lose one). E.g. buy 10 different lip balms so you can always find it when you need it. • Have convenient, labeled spaces for things. It’s hard to forget your phone when you ALWAYS put it beside your charger. (Use a cheap label maker!) • Get a tracking tool like Tile and put it on things you lose regularly. • Have rules for placement of the important things in your life. (it’s too hard to do it for everything) • Create a second brain for yourself - in whatever way is most appealing to you. (I personally use Notion) • If you want to remember something, put an object out-of-place whilst thinking about what you want to remember. • Count your steps as you walk into a new room. It’ll help you remember why you entered that room. It gives you something to focus on but it’s not too much that you’ll get distracted. (This is similar to many forms of counting meditations too) • Use a bowl to throw your keys, badges, and wallet into when you get home. That way you can’t leave without ALL the stuff you need. • ALWAYS have a bag with the essentials. Keys, charger, papers and even a tooth brush. If I’m going out, I do not waste time searching for everything. Just search for a bag. • Make a calendar entry for every scheduled thing religiously unless it’s routine like a 9-5 job. Make the calendar entry immediately while making the appointment. Do this for parties, birthdays, dates, finals, med refills, trash night, etc. Time Blindness • Set your phone clock 10-15 min fast on purpose. • Put appointments in your calendar 10-20 minutes earlier than the actual appointment. • A schedule is only as good as the alarms and info you put in. • Set timers for activities you hyper focus on. BUT set the timer for X minutes less than the task takes. (Give yourself time to wrap up whatever you’re working on) o Use this on a watch rather than your phone to avoid getting distracted. A basic watch/smart watch will save your life. • Download an app on your phone that chimes and buzzes every half an hour during your awake time. Keeps you aware of how much time has passed. • Track your time. Every morning, write out a to-do list by hand and track the time taken for each task. (Write down the time whenever you take a break or switch tasks) Distractions • Disable all your notifications on your phone except for essential apps. (Texting, Voicemail, Calendar) • Use website blockers for distracting websites. • Get a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones + non-distracting music/audio. • If you can’t stop yourself from answering that text/email/IM right away but don’t actually have time to deal with it, tell the person you’ll respond when you get a minute • Your brain focuses better after some exercise. Getting Things Done • Put a widget from your to-do list app on your home screen so it’s the first thing you see • Break tasks down into as many smaller tasks as you need for it to feel manageable. • Learn to plan around transitions. It’s easier to start things if you chain them with another task that is ending. Use the Pomodoro Technique for everything. It’s great having a break to look forward to. • Remember that something is better than nothing. If you only get 26% of a task done then it’s further than if you never started. It’s better to do little bits of every task rather than procrastinating. • Attach numbers to events. e.g.: Going to bed (3) - Brush, Floss, Mouthwash. • Lie to yourself. I’ll tell myself that I’m just going to unload one dish from the dishwasher. Once I’ve started, I’ll at least unload a few, and maybe clean the whole kitchen. • Decide what you’re going to do each day beforehand, preferably while your meds are at their working-est. Make sure it’s only 1 thing. • Understand that FUTURE YOU IS STILL YOU. If you think you’ll do something later, understand that future you is still you. Future you isn’t more likely to muster up the desire to do the work. f you don’t have the motivation to do it in the next 24 hours then future you probably won’t either. • When you need to transition between tasks, pretend that you are talking to a friend who is having issues with something. Give yourself a nudge and remind yourself it’s time to switch tasks/get started. (Detach yourself from the task) • When you take breaks, make sure your break isn’t too interesting. That way you won’t get absorbed in your break. Just clean during your break or something like that. • Gamify things and set a limited amount of time to accomplish something. e.g: Brew your coffee and get as many chores done as you can before the coffee is finished brewing. • Write to-do lists as a brain dump. And then order them in importance or the order you want to do them in. That way you don’t pause while writing down tasks. • Don’t be afraid to stimulate yourself if you need it. Listen to a podcast or music to get yourself to do something. • Reward yourself when you get things done. Positive Reinforcement is good and you’ll feel like getting more things done. • Change your environment and work from a place where there are fewer distractions. e.g.: Cafe/library. You’ll get more stuff done • Set a time to do work, and a time to relax; that way you don’t feel guilty about relaxing during the time you set aside for yourself. • Change your alarm sounds/timer sounds frequently, but use alarms and timers as much as possible. • Treat timers and alarms like non-negotiable laws. When the timer goes off, doesn’t matter what you were doing seconds ago, it’s time to go. Half showered, wet hair, one eye done, whatever it is, you’re out the door. Emotional Dysregulation • Brain dump in a notebook by your bed every night. • Don’t feel bad about sucking at school/work. You’ll get better as you learn more strategies for coping with ADHD. Things get better. • Use writing/journaling as cognitive therapy to defuse emotional history. • Remind yourself that the world won’t end if a few things fall behind. • Write a reverse todo-list. Write down the things you have accomplished for the day. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed and it’ll make you feel better. • You’re allowed to let things go. Forget irrelevant things and forgive yourself. Ignore the awkward thing you did last week. Life will move on. • Forgive yourself for your limits. • Meditation. Active breaks for people that struggle to take breaks. Use a meditation app when you’re starting. • Start working on letting go of shame. It depresses your motivation and only makes things worse. You wouldn’t shame someone in a wheelchair for not getting things done, your difficulty is in your brain instead of your legs but it’s no less real. o Cognitive Behavioral Therapy + meditation Sleep • Put your phone on the other side of the room and make your alarm super loud. Gets you out of bed and will make you turn it off so you don’t wake other people up. • If you’re having trouble getting out of bed then set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes and chuck it across the room. It’ll force you to get up and turn it off. • Buy 2 bright lamps and 2 timers. Set them up to turn on automatically 5-15min before you want your alarm to go off in the morning. The lights help your body know its daytime. • Change your thermostat so the temperature goes down an hour before bedtime and gets warmer 30 minutes before you wake up. The cooler temperatures get your body to sleep and the warmer temperatures help you wake up. • Use a reminder app for starting your bedtime routine, not just your bedtime. (And have a bedtime routine) • Try setup meetings/commitments early in the morning. They'll force you to get out of bed. Relationships • When having a conversation or learning something, repeat every word the person says in your head. It’ll help you not drift off as much. It also makes it so you’ll interrupt people less. • It’s okay to be in a room with people and just let people breathe. You don’t need to fill the silence. • Try to avoid the word 'but' when faced with a conflict. Instead try be constructive towards arguments/discussions with the word 'and'. Work • If you hate your job. Make a job switch. It’ll help you make positive changes in your life. • Find a job that works WITH your system. If you can’t wake up and be functional in the morning then stop trying. Stop beating yourself up over things your brains isn’t designed for. • Be self-employed and start a business. “No matter where I worked or what I did, I was constantly watching the clock, hating every single second of it. On Saturday I worked 27 straight hours to finish a job on time and it was still less painful than working an 8 hour shift as an employee. Those 27 hours disappeared and left me feeling gratified because I made someone’s house beautiful and I got to see how happy I made her the first time she saw her new home.” • When promising a timescale to a client, double or triple the amount of time that you initially think it will take. That way worst case scenario, you will finish it on deadline and meet expectations or best case, finish before and exceed expectations. • The moment you know you aren’t going to make a deadline, let the client know and again give them an overestimate of time for new deadline. People are always understanding and appreciative for this quick communication. • Reply to emails and messages when you read them. 99% of the time, days and weeks will go by if you tell yourself that you’ll reply later on. • Be honest about your limitations and own your shit. Most people have no idea how much ADHD affects so many things and therefore can’t understand our inability to do basic things at times. Especially if you come across as smart and creative, they can misplace our struggles for laziness and lack of care. If you fuck up own it, explain why and apologize. It doesn’t have to be long winded but it is important to state how you aim to rectify the situation and again. • Stop comparing your output and motivation to others and embrace a slower, more considered, creative one. You are not other people. You are you. Trying to jam your freeform, 12 sided shape into the round hole is painful and won’t work. You don’t need a hole, you need self- acceptance. School • Use Active Recall + Spaced Repetition to study for all your exams. • If you're finding it difficult to start assignments early then ONLY read + annotate the assignment brief early and go take a break after that. Your subconscious should process the information and it'll be easier to start later on. • It’s better to turn in an assignment that is 75% done. It’ll drag your grades down less than if you never turned it in • Print out lectures and PowerPoints in advance (ask the teacher for them). That way you won’t need to listen and write at the same time. You can annotate the printed versions instead. Executive Function • Setup a morning routine + a reset routine. A reset routine is something you do when you're feeling super unfocused. Mine consists of meditation, exercise, journaling, playing music and making some tea. • If it takes less than ten minutes to do the task, just do it immediately. • Have a uniform for work, social and casual scenarios. Don’t mix your work clothes with your casual clothes. • If you start to feel frustrated for no reason, eat something and keep yourself hydrated. • It’s better to half-ass most things than it is to not do them at all. • Set alarms using music rather than the default alarm sounds. It’ll help you get going. (And music releases norepinephrine in your brain!) • Make yourself kits for common repeated household tasks. e.g.: Cleaning Kit, Package mailing kit… Reduces the friction needed to get started on a task • Refine your routine and rituals to reduce the overall time it takes to get them ready. Reduce the friction needed to start your morning routine. e.g.: Prepare a filled pot of coffee the night before. • Set just a few non-negotiable standards and laws for yourself. Pick those that improve your life the most. e.g.: No phone in bed at night or in the morning. Not even a quick email check. And read your goals every morning. • When you’re trying to get started on a task: Write down the steps you’ve already done and the steps you plan to do next. Helps a lot with spaghetti thoughts. Drink a big glass of water when you know you are going to have to start doing a thing in a bit. When you inevitably have to go pee, start after you wash your hands. You are already up and your brain already had to switch gears. Use it as momentum. Nutrition/Medication • If you are Vitamin D deficient then take Vitamin D supplements (see a doctor first). It’ll help your mood and energy levels. • Eat lots of protein and stay hydrated. • Figure out if you're deficient in anything and try fix those things. This includes getting a food allergy test, figuring out deficiencies and eating a healthy diet.