Category Archives: Organization

ADHD Holidays: Simplify and Discover your Strengths

Welcome to all of you.

This month I want to address the value of simplifying the holidays and everyday chores. We also have ideas for discovering your strengths and creating a life that features your best qualities.

Holidays are a break from everyday routines. They are therefore an extra challenge to normal coping skills for people with ADHD.  The lack of structure and increased social demands can be a problem for both kids and adults. Christmas is next week. How are YOU doing?

I hope that whatever holiday you celebrate, this season is a time of joy and communion with loved ones. Some of you may be excited and easily manage the many tasks involved, while others feel overwhelmed by the upcoming holidays and all its physical and social trappings. To keep your mental and physical energy at comfortable levels, you may have to simplify.

That doesn’t mean you have to drop everything from your schedule. But by thinking ahead, choosing your activities carefully, you can help your family enjoy the most important traditions while feeling safe and able to keep difficult emotions under control.

This newsletter comes too late to help you simplify the holidays this year, but I have a Printable from Andrea Dekker, Simple Steps for Staying Organized, that will guide you every day. It starts,  “If you open it, close it. If you drop it, pick it up. If you try it on, put it away…”   I keep a copy on my refrigerator. Amazing what a daily reminder can do to inspire action.

I did find an article by Katherine Quie with some great ideas for helping children and their parents cope with family get-togethers. My Top Ten Suggestions on How to Survive and Thrive During the Holidays.

Please see my Pinterest Board, Holidays and other Celebrations for many more ideas.

Strength-based treatments and self-advocacy

Trusting my abilities despite still needing to work on certain areas doesn’t come easily. Because of the erratic nature of whether I am capable of handling routine, boring, or difficult work on schedule, I have devalued the progress I have made. I ignore my talents and areas of strength. Coach Linda Walker writes on the importance of strengths and self-advocacy for both adults and children. Don’t miss her Twelve Great Strategies that Help ADHDers Thrive.

1.      Take advantage of your strengths.
2.      Surround yourself with people who can embrace your differences and who accept you for who you are and for what you are not…. and
12. The most important: laugh.

When we are interested or challenged by a project, most of us find that in those situations, our mind works well and we can shine. The best strategies build on your natural interests and skills.

To explore your best qualities, see my collection of resources, Self Advocacy for ADHD: Know yourself – Tools for self-discovery. You’ll find many more articles on discovering and using your strengths on the website.
–          Be the Best Version of Yourself: Explore your Strengths by Marla Cummins
–          Encouraging Self-Advocacy in Teens
–          For younger children, try the VIA Youth Survey – Ages 10 to 17  which examines 24 Character Strengths
–          Our ADHD Kids Page is also great for children to explore. It includes a few strengths and talents activities.

There is only so much that medication and remediation techniques can do in addressing those areas where people with ADHD fail. Learning to “lead with your strengths” can make a world of difference.


Enjoy yourself this holiday season,

Take care,


Joan Jager



Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Created on

Memory and Organization Tools


ADD freeSources Newsletter: August 2019

Remembering What You Want

This month we feature ADHD: 20 Tools to Enhance your Memory. Our thanks to the award-winning blogger and ADHD coach Marla Cummins for sharing these many useful tips. Minimize your frustration with these core strategies that you can learn to use on your own.

Short term (working) memory, as well as long term memory, is often weak in adults with ADHD. You may not hold information long enough to follow through on it. Because you do not hold onto information long enough it also does not enter your long term memory.
Even if you do capture that memory, you may have difficulty remembering your intention to do something in the future or have difficulty recalling information.” Memory is just one Executive Function, but it affects how effective your other efforts will be at planning and propelling actions. A few tips to keep your life in orders include:

  1. Write it down. (On a notepad, planner and/or calendar.)
  2. Use apps to manage your to-do lists.
  3. Develop a new strategy by tying it to another habit…
Get Organized

We also have  9 Ways to Get Organized with Minimal Effort by professional organizer Donna Smallin Kuper. She says, “If you want a cleaner, happier home, stop wishing you had a magic wand and become the magic wand!” You can’t go wrong if you follow these basic strategies.

  1. Start somewhere, anywhere.
  2. Break large projects into mini-projects.
  3. De-clutter in short bursts.
  4. Stop fighting with your stuff.
  5. Use apps
  6. Act as if you are organized.
  7. Let go of perfect. (Done is good enough.)
  8. Practice gratitude.
  9. Get support – Join Donna’s Unclutter Facebook page for free organizing support!

One thing I’ve found helpful is to not expect everything to work right from the beginning or fail. At a matter of fact, I assume that something will go wrong. (Either in starting the new habit or keeping it useful over time.)Then I try to identify just what did or did not happen that got in the way. Where did my bag of tricks fail me? Only by knowing where my sticking points are can I know what tactics to try the next time.

Lately, I have not been using my calendar and planning system despite a long period of success. Many areas of my life and work have been on hold for the last two months and I was getting quite frustrated with myself.

Finally, I realized that my new computer setup, using a monitor and keyboard connected to my laptop, meant that I no longer had room for my planner on the right-hand side of my desk. I couldn’t easily jot things down as they came to mind, plan the day, or keep track of my schedule.

Eureka! A little rearranging made space my space for my planner again. And it worked! I’m back on track. At least until the next time things go awry. Meanwhile, I keep trying.

Take care of yourself,

Joan Riley Jager


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Change your Habits book cover by Sue West from Amazon –

ADHD: Create your Best Life, as Unique as You Are


Personalized Strategies Work WITH your ADHD brainADHD is complex and different for each person. There’s a saying among ADHD professionals, “If you’ve seen one case of ADHD, you’ve seen one case of ADHD.” Although there are similarities of symptoms, no two cases are the same.  In the same vein, there are no simple answers to effectively treating individual cases. Types of medication and dosages vary according to personal responses.

Another common saying is, “Pills don’t teach skills.” Developing these skills and systems must also be crafted for to meet individual needs. It’s also important to note that ADHD is a chronic condition that can be managed but not cured. A number of non-medical interventions have been found to be useful.

It’s important to remember that successful treatment doesn’t mean you can correct everything that’s affecting your ability to cope. Addressing your challenges can only take you so far. At some point, you must realize that your goal is not to be “normal” but to do “enough” with what you have, warts and all.

It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. As ADHD coach David Giwerc says, “Your job is to discover the options that naturally work for you and integrate them into your daily life.”

I’m learning to accept how ADHD and bipolar disorder affect my world and develop those strategies that allow me to express myself, live without stress, AND be happy in my work. As the song goes, I did it MY way.” But all of us are uniquely ourselves and must follow our own path to happiness.

ADDulting with ADHD: Avoiding ADHD Life Hacks Overwhelm by Coach Lou Brown

We are all beautifully unique, no ‘one size fits all’ life hacks actually exist….”

“The trick is to get to know your ADHD, your likes, and dislikes as well as your strengths and challenges. And to then use this knowledge to work out which life hacks may work for you and your unique brain wiring, before giving one a go.”

Self-Advocacy for ADHD: Know Yourself (Includes tools for discovering your strengths).

Tools for self-discovery. Advocate for yourself by using your strengths to meet your challenges. Leading with your strengths rather than struggling to overcome your weakness allows you to fully express yourself in new ways. It’s about accepting yourself and making good decisions based on what you do naturally, without the struggle. Self- advocacy involves asking for help to support your own efforts.

  Encouraging Self-Advocacy in Teens  is also helpful and appropriate for ages eight and up and 8 Tips to Help you be your Child’s Advocate by Mary Fowler is for getting your child’s needs met at school.

 All three articles encourage you to:

  •  Name your challenges both at home and at work.
  • Identify the situations when problems are most likely to show up.
  • Know exactly what your strengths are. Your values, talents, and skills all contribute to forming your personal strengths.
  • Develop strategies that reshape how you approach life.

Exactly WHAT TO DO is another matter. The next articles offer a myriad of ideas that may INDEED be overwhelming. But keep in mind that they are only lists of ideas that have worked for other people, both with and without ADHD. Instead, you MUST make these ideas work for YOU. What helps others may be useless for you.

ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time  by Coach and Organizer Sue Fay Working with Executive Functioning ChallengesWest

No big overhauls. Just tips to simplify your life. Categories include:  Working with Executive Functioning Challenges, Tips For home and work as well as Finances, Time, and Self-care. 

Time management: It’s a Family Affair by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC adds:

“Effective time management skills are essential to all adults and children. By becoming proactive in how you approach time you can make a noticeable and systemic difference in the in your life and the lives of your family members.”

Addressing your challenges can only take you so far. In “The Secrets of the ADHD Brain,” William Dodson, M.D. suggests that you write your own rules. The ADHD nervous system is activated by things or tasks that are interesting, challenging, or urgent. Rather than focus on where you fall short, you need to identify how you get into the zone. At some point, you must realize that your goal is not to be “normal” but to do “enough” with what you have, warts and all. As Ned Hallowell, M.D. recommends in ADDitude Magazine:

• Do what you’re good at.
• Don’t go it alone.
• Ask for Advice.
• Get organized “enough” to get by….”

This may seem like an awful lot to do, but it truly is worth the effort. We are all deserving of love and the best treatment available. Addressing one thing at a time goes a long way. Take the first step.

All the best for you and your family,


Featured Videos:

They Don’t Know   (6-minutes) Building ADHD Awareness from Singing for Superheroes – “They Don’t Know” stars DeMarcus Ware, his two sons, Snoop Dogg, and Steven Battey.

“They don’t know… how much you go through. They don’t know the truth. You’re not alone. There’s someone just like you. If you give me your hand, I’ll hold it all the way. No need to be ashamed. You’re going to change the world someday…”


Let Me Be Your Camera – Understanding ADHD and Executive Function What happens on a movie set when the director keeps falling asleep? (2 1/2 minutes)

Picture credits:

Title: (Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ Modified on Canva

Self-Advocacy “Image courtesy of ponsulak/” Modified on

ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time (Photo courtesy of twobee/ Modified on

ADDulting with ADHD: Avoiding Life Hack Overwhelm (Photo courtesy of Supertrooper/ Modified on


The ADHD Brain: Unraveling the secrets of your ADD Nervous Systemby Dr. Dodson

Seven Daily Habits to Close the “Success Gap” by Ned Hallowell





ADDULTING WITH ADHD: Avoiding ADHD Life Hack Overwhelm

Guest post by Coach Lou Brown

Which life hacks might work for you personally?“ADHD Life Hacks” is a hip way of describing strategies, tools, tricks, shortcuts, skills or novelty methods that individuals with ADHD may use to assist them with their organization, memory, productivity and/or efficiency.


I love reading about other people’s life hacks. It’s a great way to gather ideas to experiment with. However, with so many tips and tricks out there, working out which life hacks might work for you personally can be very challenging.

For example, many individuals with ADHD become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of suggestions offered to them.  But being overwhelmed can be a trigger for procrastination or make us want to give up altogether.

Whilst other individuals, after excitedly trying a recommended life hack to only discover that it didn’t work for them, end up feeling like a failure which fuels their deep-seated belief that something is wrong with them.

But there isn’t.

The strategy they tried simply didn’t work for them because we are all beautifully unique. And because, no matter what anyone asserts, no ‘one size fits all’ life hacks actually exist.

Instead, the simple truth is a strategy that works for one person with ADHD may not work for another.

So how can you avoid ADHD life hack overwhelm?

The trick is to get to know your ADHD, your likes and dislikes as well as your strengths and challenges. And to then use this knowledge to work out which life hacks may work for you and your unique brain wiring, before giving one a go.

Additionally, it can be helpful to:

  • View other people’s life hacks as ideas to experiment with, rather than recommendations.
  • Respect your uniqueness. If you decide to give someone else’s life hack a try and find that it doesn’t work for you, don’t view yourself as a failure. Remind yourself that we are all beautifully unique and that the strategy simply didn’t suit you and your individual brain wiring, strengths, interests, etc.
  • Maintain an interest-based focus. The ADHD brain is wired for interest; therefore, strategies you personally find appealing or interesting are more likely to work for you. For example, if you love technology and playing with electronic devices you are more likely to find apps and gadgets extremely helpful. However, if you don’t you may find them overwhelming and ineffective.
  • Look after all of you. Sometimes all the life hacks in the world won’t work if you are tired, debilitated by your inner critic, anxious, or feeling defeated. Diet, exercise, sleep, rest and relaxation, your frame of mind, etc. have a huge impact on your ability to manage your ADHD.
  • Drop the need to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfection (and striving for unattainable perfection can be a slippery slope to overwhelm, depression and anxiety). Instead, accept yourself completely, be your own best friend and your own cheerleader, for there isn’t a relationship in your life that is more important, or that has more impact on your health and happiness than the one you have with yourself. Oh, and while I am at it, avoid comparing yourself to others. You deserve to feel successful on your own terms, so define your own meaning of success.
  • Understand life hacks may have a use-by date. That is, if your brain becomes bored with a life hack you are currently using, you may need to be flexible and inventive in order to reignite your interest in a task again. The need to do this will lessen (1) if you use strategies you are innately interested in or which tap into your special strengths and passions, and (2) if you keep reminding yourself why completing the task or achieving the goal is important to you.

So, all the best to you! May you find the life hacks that work for you – the ones that enable you to successfully manage your ADHD so you can thrive and live your best life.

If you have anything to add, I invite you to share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

About the author: Lou Brown is an ADHD CoachLife Coach, and blogger who is working towards ICF Accreditation with the ADD Coach Academy. Lou specializes in helping individuals with ADHD and their families understand and accept an ADHD diagnosis, as well as develop the knowledge and skills required to effectively manage the disorder using a strengths-based approach.

Her dream is a world in which every person with ADHD is understood, embraced and supported; where information and good quality treatment is easily accessible. And in which individuals with ADHD thrive and flourish, achieve their dreams, and live full and happy livesContact her through

(Photo courtesy of Supertrooper/ Modified on


Original article:

Additional Reading:

From ADD freeSources: ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time by Sue West

From Psych Central: 7 Strategies for Thriving with ADHD by Margarita Tartakovsky – Link works, but If link doesn’t go through, copy and paste:






ADHD affects everyone in the family. Here’s help

ADHD in the Family

Welcome to February,

In the Northwest, we’ve been luckier than others around the country this winter.  Although it’s been wet, our mild winter is already yielding to spring.  I’m already enjoying the hours of light lengthen each day and watching crocuses and other early bulbs emerge.

Hope good weather arrives soon for you as well.

ADHD in the Family: Working Together for Peace, Love, and Understanding

ADHD impacts everyone in the Family.  Understanding the complexity of ADHD and developing strategies for your home and personal life are important steps to coming to accept and deal with challenges.

This month, I have a mix of articles for both parents and adults. The first celebrates keeping peace in the family and love alive in your relationship.  Next is an extensive article I’ve been working on detailing the new perspectives on ADHD.  If you prefer watching videos to reading, I’ve included a few short clips that further expand on the topic. The final articles offer ideas you can tailor to fit your own needs, like using music to keep on task and decluttering your home and/or office. Hope you find some “treasures” this month.


"Being a member of a family with ADHD can be exhausting, nerve-wracking and absolutely frustrating. And I think what I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything. Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished."How I Fixed my ADHD Husband by ADHD coach Linda Walker

“What I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything.” “Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished.” (Note: Duane Gordon is the current President of ADHD for Adults)  

ADHD Grows Up: New Perspectives on ADHD

by Joan Jager

Attention problems, Hyperactivity and Distraction symptoms for diagnosis in childhood are just the tip of the iceberg. Many aspects of ADHD, especially in adults, are now better defined as developmentally delayed Executive functions and poor emotional control. Coexisting conditions or comorbidities further compound the issue.

This realization has been slowly changing how we understand ADHD and its expression throughout the lifespan(Article features a number of videos for further information. )

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Kids with ADHD by Charles Carpenter

Music helps with many challenges of kids with ADHD. Studying music can teach listening skills, patience and the ability to pick up on cues. Music can not only get one’s brain moving, but it also helps with psychical coordination.

18-5-minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering your Mess  by Leo Babauta

Out of clutter comes simplicity.  Baby steps are important. Start with just five minutes. Sure, five minutes will barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Celebrate!


Take care of yourself and each other,

Joan Jager

ADD  – On Pinterest and Facebook


Photo credits:

Newsletter Title: (Photo courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhoto Facebook) Modified on Canva 

Crocuses (Photo courtesy of kookai_nak/

How I Fixed my Husband (Linda Walker with her husband Duane Gordon from Modified on Canva

ADHD Grows Up (Photo downloaded from Facebook – Credit unknown)

Music Theory for Kids with ADHD (Photo courtesy of Debspoon/

18 Five-Minute De-cluttering Tips (Photo by Idea go/

18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess

Tackle your mess 5-minutes at a time.By Leo Babauta


Do you share my ideal of having an uncluttered home or workplace, but don’t know where to start?

When your home is filled with clutter, trying to tackle a mountain of stuff can be quite overwhelming.

So here’s my advice: start with just five minutes. Baby steps are important. Sure, five minutes will barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Celebrate when you’ve made that start!

Then take another five minutes tomorrow…and another the next day. Before you know it, you’ll have cleared a whole closet or a room and then half your house and then … who knows? Perhaps your house will be even more uncluttered than mine before long. We’ll have a challenge!

For those who are overwhelmed by their clutter, here are some great ways to get started, five minutes at a time.

  1. Designate a spot for incoming papers. Papers often account for a lot of our clutter. This is because we put them in different spots — on the counter, on the table, on our desk, in a drawer, on top of our dresser, in our car. No wonder we can’t find anything! Designate an in-box tray or spot in your home (or at your office, for that matter) and don’t put down papers anywhere but that spot. Got mail? Put it in the inbox. Got school papers? Put it in the inbox. Receipts, warranties, manuals, notices, flyers? In the inbox! This one little change can really transform your paperwork.
  2. Start clearing a starting zone. What you want to do is clear one area. This is your no-clutter zone. It can be a counter, or your kitchen table, or the three-foot perimeter around your couch. Wherever you start, make a rule: nothing can be placed there that’s not actually in use. Everything must be put away. Once you have that clutter-free zone, keep it that way! Now, each day, slowly expand your no-clutter zone until it envelopes the whole house! Unfortunately, the neighbors don’t seem to like it when you try to expand the no-clutter zone to their house and start hauling away their unused exercise equipment and torn underwear when they’re not at home. Some people don’t appreciate simplicity, I guess.
  3. Clear off a counter. You want to get your house so that all flat spaces are clear of clutter. Maybe they have a toaster on them, maybe a decorative candle, but not a lot of clutter. So start with one counter. Clear off everything possible, except maybe one or two essential things. Have a blender you haven’t used since jazzercise was all the rage? Put it in the cupboard! Clear off all papers and all the other junk you’ve been tossing on the counter too.
  4. Pick a shelf. Now that you’ve done a counter, try a shelf. It doesn’t matter what shelf. Could be a shelf in a closet, or on a bookshelf. Don’t tackle the whole bookshelf — just one shelf. Clear all non-essential things and leave it looking neat and clutter-free.
  5. Schedule a decluttering weekend. Maybe you don’t feel like doing a huge decluttering session right now. But if you take the time to schedule it for later this month, you can clear your schedule, and if you have a family, get them involved too. The more hands pitching in, the better. Get boxes and trash bags ready, and plan a trip to a charity to drop off donated items. You might not get the entire house decluttered during the weekend, but you’ll probably make great progress.
  6. Pick up 5 things, and find places for them. These should be things that you actually use, but that you just seem to put anywhere, because they don’t have good places. If you don’t know exactly where things belong, you have to designate a good spot. Take a minute to think it through — where would be a good spot? Then always put those things in those spots when you’re done using them. Do this for everything in your home, a few things at a time.
  7. Spend a few minutes visualizing the room. When I’m decluttering, I like to take a moment to take a look at a room and think about how I want it to look. What are the essential pieces of furniture? What doesn’t belong in the room but has just gravitated there? What is on the floor (hint: only furniture and rugs belong there) and what is on the other flat surfaces? Once I’ve visualized how the room will look uncluttered, and figured out what is essential, I get rid of the rest.
  8. Create a “maybe” box. Sometimes when you’re going through a pile of stuff, you know exactly what to keep (the stuff you love and use) and what to trash or donate. But then there’s the stuff you don’t use, but think you might want it or need it someday. You can’t bear to get rid of that stuff! So, create a “maybe” box, and put this stuff there. Then store the box somewhere hidden, out of the way. Put a note on your calendar six months from now to look in the box. Then pull it out, six months later, and see if it’s anything you really needed. Usually, you can just dump the whole box, because you never needed that stuff.
  9. Put a load in your car for charity. If you’ve decluttered a bunch of stuff, you might have a “to donate” pile that’s just taking up space in a corner of your room. Take a few minutes to box it up and put it in your trunk. Then tomorrow, drop it off.
  10. Create a 30-day list. The problem with decluttering is that we can declutter our butts off (don’t actually try that — it’s painful) but it just comes back because we buy more stuff. So fight that tendency by nipping it in the bud: don’t buy the stuff in the first place. Take a minute to create a 30-day list and every time you want to buy something that’s not absolutely necessary put it on the list with the date it was added to the list. Make a rule never to buy anything (except necessities) unless they’ve been on the list for 30 days. Often you’ll lose the urge to buy the stuff and you’ll save yourself a lot of money and clutter.
  11. Teach your kids where things belong. This only applies to the parents among us, of course, but if you teach your kids where things go, and start teaching them the habit of putting them there, you’ll go a long way to keeping your house uncluttered. Of course, they won’t learn the habit overnight, so you’ll have to be very patient with them and just keep teaching them until they’ve got it. And better yet, set the example for them and get into the habit yourself.
  12. Set up some simple folders. Sometimes our papers pile up high because we don’t have good places to put them. Create some simple folders with labels for your major bills and similar paperwork. Put them in one spot. Your system doesn’t have to be complete, but keep some extra folders and labels in case you need to quickly create a new file.
  13. Learn to file quickly. Once you’ve created your simple filing system, you just need to learn to use it regularly. Take a handful of papers from your pile, or your inbox, and go through them one at a time, starting from the top paper and working down. Make quick decisions: trash them, file them immediately, or make a note of the action required and put them in an “action” file. Don’t put anything back on the pile, and don’t put them anywhere but in a folder (and no cheating “to be filed” folders!) or in the trash/recycling bin.
  14. Pull out some clothes you don’t wear. As you’re getting ready for work and going through your closet for something to wear, spend a few minutes pulling out ones you haven’t worn in a few months. If they’re seasonal clothes, store them in a box. Get rid of the rest. Do this a little at a time until your closet (and then your drawers) only contains stuff you actually wear.
  15. Clear out your medicine cabinet. If you don’t have one spot for medicines, create one now. Go through everything for the outdated medicines, the stuff you’ll never use again, the dirty-looking bandages, the creams that you’ve found you’re allergic to, the ointments that never had an effect on your energy or your eye wrinkles. Simplify to the essential.
  16. Pull everything out of a drawer. Just take the drawer out and empty it on a table. Then sort the drawer into three piles: 1) stuff that really should go in the drawer; 2) stuff that belongs elsewhere; 3) stuff to get rid of. Clean the drawer out nice, then put the stuff in the first pile back neatly and orderly. Deal with the other piles immediately!
  17. Learn to love the uncluttered look. Once you’ve got an area decluttered, you should take the time to enjoy that look. It’s a lovely look. Make that your standard! Learn to hate clutter! Then catch clutter and kill it wherever it crops up.
  18. Have a conversation with your SO or roommate. Sometimes the problem isn’t just with us, it’s with the person or people we live with. An uncluttered home is the result of a shared philosophy of simplicity of all the people living in the house. If you take a few minutes to explain that you really want to have an uncluttered house and that you could use their help, you can go a long way to getting to that point. Try to be persuasive and encouraging rather than nagging and negative. (Read more about living with a pack rat on Zen Habits)


“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

About the author: Posts by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits are in the public domain. He shares much of his work, so reward him by buying his eBooks or signing up for a workshop.  Original article – April 3rd, 2008 OR 


(Photo courtesy of idea go/ Modified on Canva






9 Ways to Get Organized with Minimal Effort

By Donna Smallin Kuper

If you want a cleaner, happier home, stop wishing you had a magic wand and become the magic wand!

Here are 9 super-easy things you can do that will have you feeling more organized in no time. Ready? The quicker you get started, the sooner you’ll be done. It really doesn’t matter where you start.

  • Start somewhere, anywhere. I’ve always said that the hardest part of getting organized is getting started. It really doesn’t matter where you start. Maybe start with the most visible stuff. For example, clear the floor in your bedroom or the counter tops in your kitchen. Or start with something small like a purse or junk drawer.


  • Break large projects into mini-projects. Get organized one drawer, one shelf, one space at a time. Make a point to keep your project small enough to finish in 15-30 minutes max.


  • Example #1: To declutter your closet, move the clothes you love and wear to one end of the clothes rod. Then, working for just 15 minutes at a time or by the yard on your closet rod, try on each item. If it fits and makes you feel fabulous, hang it back up with other keepers. Once that’s done, go through your shoes and then your purses and accessories. Or tackle the floor and then the shelves.


  • Example #2: Go through papers one pile at a time. Flip the pile over and you’ll find the oldest stuff at the bottom, a lot of which may now be outdated and easy to toss/shred. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and keep going until the timer stops.


  • Declutter in short bursts. You don’t have to give up your entire weekend to get organized. Look for opportunities to do a little decluttering here and there throughout the day. For example:


  • When you file a document, do a quick search in the folder for papers that are outdated.
  • While you’re waiting for a pot of water to boil, straighten up your pantry.
  • While watching television, take advantage of commercial breaks to sort through a pile of papers, fold laundry, or declutter a drawer that you remove from its cabinet before sitting down.
  • Take five minutes every night to pick up and put away items that belong elsewhere and generally tidy up. To get into the habit of doing this, do it right after something you always do- like brushing your teeth.


  • Stop fighting with your stuff. Does this sound like you? You try to get organized by putting things where you think they should go. And you find yourself repeatedly putting away the same things. Solution: Create a home for those things where they “want” to live.


Example: Set a decorative box or basket on the end of your kitchen counter to be a drop box for the mail and other items such as your cell phone, purse, sunglasses, and keys that always end up there.


  • Get “appy.” Use apps like OfferUp to quickly sell items you no longer love or use. Use an app like Paprika to digitally store and organize your recipes. Look for other ways to minimize paper such as paperless statements for your bank and credit card accounts and apps like Shoeboxed for storing digital images of receipts. (A free D-I-Y version is available.)


  • Act as if you are organized. – and you will become more organized. Do organized people just set things down anywhere? No, they put them away. It only takes a few moments to unload that shopping bag or hang up your coat. The trick is training yourself to do it! It’s a habit that your future self with thank you for.


  • Let go of perfect. Done is perfect. You don’t have to have a perfectly organized pantry to reap the benefits of organizing. You also don’t have to find the perfect recipient for every item that leaves your home. Donate everything to one charity and let them do what they do best.


Start somewhere, anywhere. Let go of perfect.Be grateful for all that you have – It’s more than enough.


  • Practice gratitude. Be grateful for all you have – It’s more than enough. Remember that the most important things in life are not things. No amount of things can ever replace the people we love and it’s that love that makes a home a home.


  • Get free support. Join the Unclutter Facebook page for free organizing support! (Link works.) You can ask questions and get help anytime you need it from me as well as other members – people like you who want to live a less cluttered life. It’s a private group so all posts can be seen only by members.


About the author: Organizing and cleaning expert, Donna Smallin Kuper, aka The One-Minute Organizer.  Donna is the author of a dozen best selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Her newest book is Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness. LINK WORKS)

Original article:

Contact Donna through


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6 Steps to Survive ADHD Overwhelm – Learn to Plan Your Day

Today's hectic world puts tremendous pressure to perform on everyone, but if you have ADHD the pressure is magnified several times over.By Sarah Jane Keyser

Like many people today, do you find life overwhelming? Is getting through one day an exhausting marathon? Does your day include kids to be picked up, doctor’s appointments, bills to be paid, and dry cleaning to be retrieved? Are you afraid to open envelopes for fear of seeing the negative bank balances and the unpaid bills? Are you afraid of wasting time and money on impulsive flings every time you go shopping? It all adds up to a paralyzing sense of doom called overwhelm.

Today’s hectic world puts tremendous pressure to perform on everyone, but if you have ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) the pressure is magnified several times over.

Here are some ways ADHD contributes to that desperate feeling.

Number one is poor organization. It is now recognized that ADHD often presents as chronic disorganization. If you have ADHD, you have difficulty sequencing actions (or papers thus the unmanageable piles). Difficulty organizing the events of the day is just one example.

The second problem is an elastic sense of time. You have difficulty estimating how long tasks will take adding to the problem of planning the day.

The third is what I call the slipping clutch or the getting-started syndrome. When you do fix a time to do a task it still doesn’t get done because you can not start. Instead, you get sucked into the internet or the TV or another low priority activity.

Finally, the lack of boundaries makes it difficult for you to say “no”, so you have too many things to do. Poor boundaries also mean that you absorb more than your share of emotional overload; other people’s problems swamp your brain and make it difficult to think coolly about what needs doing.

Take these 6 steps to plan your day and beat overwhelm.

  1. Stop. Recognize that overwhelm has captured your brain and is interfering with your ability to plan and get things done. Take a minute to observe how you are feeling. Take several deep breaths into the abdomen and exhale slowly.
  2. Listen to your self-talk. Change negatives to positives: tell yourself “you can do it”. Talk out loud to yourself at each step as though you were explaining to another person what you need to do.
  3. Make a list of the tasks you need to do, estimate the time needed including travel or set up time. Then weigh the importance and urgency of each task. Could some items wait until tomorrow or next week?
  4. Consider what help you can get. Could a husband or a friend pick up the kids?
  5. Plan the day. Group tasks according to location. If you have to go out, consider the time of day.  If you must drive during busy times of the day, allow for extra travel time.
  6. Write out the day’s route map and put it in your purse or place it where you can’t forget it. Now you are ready to go. Go!

Still having difficulty? A coach or coaching program can help you stay on track.


“Image courtesy of StuartMiles/” Modified on Canva

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Coaching Key to ADDPermission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.

*** About Sarah Jane *** Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy. The Newfield Network’s graduate coaching programme “Mastery in Coaching” and a programme “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC. She is an American living in Switzerland who coaches in French and English by telephone

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20 Tools to Enhance your Memory

20 Tools to Enhance your MemoryBy ADD coach Marla Cummins

(Note: Many links return to other articles by Marla Cummins on her site.)

For adults with ADHD, not being able to remember your intentions is what can sometimes get in the way of following through.

I know from plenty of personal experience with forgetting everything from the mundane to the important, it can be really frustrating.

But, rather than berate yourself because you think you should have a better memory, you can adopt workarounds to help you remember what you need and minimize your frustration.

Below I’ve curated a lengthy list of possible options you can apply to the various situations in your life. And, if you can think of more, please share below.

Short Term and Long Term Memory

First, a little bit about why you may have such a hard time remembering information at the time you need it.

One reason is that short term (working) memory is often weak in adults with ADHD.

  • That is, you may not hold information long enough to follow through on it. So, you say to yourself, “I need to drop off that folder at Joe’s office before I leave.” Then you turn around to get your jacket, pack up and forget about the folder. All within the span of a few minutes!
  • Because you do not hold onto information long enough it also does not enter your long term memory. So, it is lost to you until Bill says to you, “Hey, Lisa, I didn’t get that email you said you would send when I saw you in the hall yesterday.”

Challenges with long term memory are also common for adults with ADHD.

  • This can mean that you have difficulty remembering your intention to do something in the future. So, as you are leaving the office you have this nagging feeling you are supposed to do something before going home. Not until you get home do you remember you were supposed to pick up the take-out!
  • Also, you may have difficulty recalling information when you need it. You go to the meeting and can’t remember all the details of the report you want to share.

Bottom line. Your memory, like mine, may be more like Swiss Cheese than a trap door. That is ok, as long as you use some of the methods below to help you remember what you need when you need it.

Remembering What You Want

    1. Paper-Based Task Managers– If you are looking for a comprehensive paper-based system to manage your to-dos, try the Planner Pad.

Their web site is oudated but don’t be discouraged. See this article about why to use it.

  1. Electronic Task Managers You may opt for an electronic system to manage your to-dos. These range from the simple, like Remember The Milk,   to the more comprehensive like OmnifocusNozbeToodledo or, Todoist.


  1. Put It Where You Can Do Something About It– For example, when you have books to return to the library, clothes to donate, etc. put them in the car where you can see them. That way you can take care of them when you are out and about. Could save you an extra trip.


  1. Just Do It!– If a task is going to take you less than 2 minutes (literally), it may be worth it to just do it rather than trying to figure out how you are going to remember to do it later. Of course, you want to be careful that doing that task doesn’t take you away from what your primary intention in the moment.


  1. Put It In Your Calendar– You calendar contains the hard landscape of your life. A commitment for a specific day and/or time should go in your calendar. Right away. Even if it is tentative, put it in your calendar and mark it as “tentative” until you can confirm it. That way you will not double-book.

You can find more tips on using your calendar here.


  1. Post It Where You Can See It– Maybe you want daily reminders of how you want to be or what you want to achieve. Whether it is a quote, list or vision board to visually illustrate your hopes and dreams, post it in a prominent place where you are most likely to see it regularly.


  1. Tie It To Another Habit– It is always easier to remember to do something if you can tie it to an already well-established habit. For example, if you are trying to remember to take your meds, put them by your toothbrush.


  1. A Plain Piece Of White Paper– I’ll admit this isn’t the most environmentally sound option. But it is one I use every day. Write the 3-5 tasks you are committed doing each day on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it (middle of your desk, taped to your monitor, on the wall, etc).


  1. Weekly Review– To offset the pull of immediate gratification, the weekly review is the time when you assess where you are vis -a- vis your projects and goals in your various areas of focus, as well as plan the next action steps. By doing this on a weekly basis you can be confident you are remembering your important stuff and time is not just slipping away.


  1. Post A List– When you notice you are out of something, immediately put it on a list that you leave on your fridge or another easily accessible place. That way you won’t worry about trying to remember it when you get around to creating your grocery/errand list.


  1. Read It Later!– We all know what a “time suck” the internet can be. And it may be that you are pulled to reading something immediately because you don’t think you will remember to read it later. Try an application like Instapaper or Pocket  to save articles you come across. And then you can refocus on your original intention.


  1. Electronic Notebook– An electronic notebook, like OneNote or EverNote,  is a great place to keep track of and remember all of your random ideas from project planning to lists.


  1. Send Yourself A Message– When you are out and about and something suddenly comes to mind, rather than assume you will remember it later, call, text or email yourself a message. But don’t wait. You know those ideas can be fleeting. Well, at least for me…


  1. Set An Alarm– Use an alarm to remind yourself of appointments. Since transitions can be a challenge, you may want to set two alarms. The first alarm will remind you to stop what you are doing and get ready. The second will be the reminder that it is time to go!

I suggest you don’t use alarms to remind yourself of tasks unless you are committed to doing it at a fixed time. Because, if the reminder goes off when you can’t do anything about it, you will learn to ignore those alarms. And they will just become background noise…


  1. Wake up and Reminder Services – You may tend to ignore your alarm, but I’ll bet you find it hard to ignore a phone ringing. Telephone reminder services like Wakeupland can help get you out of bed or to your appointments on time.


  1. Tracking – At the beginning just remembering the habits you are trying to build can be the hardest part to following through on them. Tracking your progress is a good way to remember.

And an app, like Beeminder, (link works or copy and paste: may be the extra support you need. As you track your goals, they will plot your progress on a yellow brick road and if you go off track they take your money!


  1. Meeting Notes– Taking notes during meetings will help you pay attention as well as have the information you need for later. Just as important is reviewing and taking action on your notes soon after.


  1. ADHD Coach– If you are working with an ADHD Coach, take advantage of the accountability support as you are trying to build new habits and makes changes.


  1. Launching Pad– Create a launching pad by the door where you put everything (purse, briefcase, etc.) you need for the next day. You could carve out a small space or use a small table for your launching pad.


  1. Put Your Keys In The Refrigerator– To remember your lunch put your keys with it in the refrigerator.

Share Your Tips

How do you get out of your head and remember what you need when you need it?


By Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD. Original article posted at

“Image courtesy of Gualberto107/” – Modified on

Black and white photo by Photo by Sneaky Elbow on Unsplash – Modified on


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