Category Archives: Productivity

ADHD Marbles: An analogy



You’re trying to manage all the stuff that neurotypical people are able to manage but it’s just too much. The marbles keep falling out of your hands. And everybody else is giving advice like “Why don’t you just put them in your bag?”


You lack that bag because your attention and emotions are not well regulated. The ADHD brain is either engaged and active or bored and unable to proceed. Also, executive function skills like being able to plan and work towards a future goal are compromised. It is bitterly discouraging to see people around you easily managing 150 marbles while you’re struggling to carry even 50. But the fact that you can even hold on to that many is incredible. You don’t have a bag, but you’re still trying.


It’s so much better than what you’re used to so when you FIRST start using it you feel on top of the world. Then you notice that marbles are still slowly falling out and you think “What’s the point, it’s just as bad as before.” But you have to remember it’s still worth it.

The worst thing you can do is trip over your emotions because of the marbles you’ve dropped. That’s my biggest struggle. I focus on one little thing I’ve messed up. All of a sudden I come crashing down and drop all the marbles I was able to hold just minutes before.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this but as soon as I thought of the analogy, I fixated on it (Hyper-focus perhaps?) and just had to share it. Hopefully, this helps you in some way.

Maybe HOLDING ONTO ALL YOUR MARBLES CAN BE A WAY TO EXPLAIN ADHD to yourself and people who don’t understand it.


Notes from the author: Not everyone wants/needs meds, and that’s fine! The “bag with a hole” can represent whatever coping mechanism fits you best (eg therapy). In addition, to those asking if they can “steal” this, no you can’t because I’m freely giving it to you. 😉 Do with it what you will, no credit necessary.

Editor’s note: This piece has been edited for clarity and syntax.

Found on Reddit ADHD page – Original source: u/emmeline29 on 3.8 K views in ten months 238 comments



Photo by Crissy Jarvis on Unsplash

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To the Mom with the ADHD Child

Guest post by Michele Cook


Recently I saw a post on Facebook from a frazzled mother begging for someone to tell her that her ADHD child would grow up to be a productive, well-adjusted adult.  I have ADHD.  I also have 2 boys with ADHD, so I figured I would share a little insight to help all of the moms out there pulling their hair out.

Some Reassurance

Before I get started with practical tips to help you out, I want to reassure you, your child will be okay. Having ADHD as a child is miserable, but having ADHD as an adult can actually be an asset.  As long as you learn to manage the energy and focus the energy on the good, you will be great.

As a child, you need to sit still and focus through hours of school, and then you come home and have to sit still through hours of homework and then sit through dinner.  This is a recipe for disaster for someone with ADHD.  We need to MOVE. We need breaks in our focus and we need to answer at least a few of the random questions running through our heads. Young children do not understand how to verbalize this, and they understand even less how to manage it.  This makes for frustrated teachers, frustrated parents, and frustrated children.

As an adult, your responsibilities are entirely different.  You need to be able to wear many hats, to switch focus many times a day, and to run around for most of the day.  Adults need to be able to get our work done, take care of children, keep the house in some semblance of order and make our spouse a priority.  Somewhere in there we also have to stuff in exercise and taking care of ourselves.  For some people with ADHD, this is an environment they thrive in


Most of my adult life I have had at least 2 jobs. Right now I have a full-time job as a railroad signalman. I write this blog. I just finished one book and plan on having a riding lesson journal and a mystery novel out by the end of the year.  I participate in one large mastermind group, one small mastermind and the ladies circle at my church.  Many people say “how do you get it all done?!?!”  Honestly, the answer is ADHD.  I have excess energy, the ability to switch focus quickly and I have learned how to manage my brain for maximum effectiveness.  (Well most of the time anyway!)

Real-Life Tips

My children have different degrees of ADHD. Between the three of us, we have come up with some pretty good ways to manage our ADHD. We are becoming productive members of society and students with 4.0 averages.  In full disclosure, it took me until I was 35 and back at college.  Thankfully my children figured out good strategies by their high school years.

The Homework Battle

“Sit there until it is done!” my dad bellowed at me again.  I stared down at the page. In 4 hours I had barely been able to finish 4 problems.  Guess I will be here all night, I thought with a sigh.  Then my brain went back to planning the layout of the barn I would build when I grew up.  


Some of the things that have helped one or all of us.

  • Get some exercise first. Sports, hiking, running, playing tag and pillow fights can all be used to burn off some energy before asking your child to concentrate.
  • Break it up.  Either by time or number of problems.  Something like complete these 15 math problems correctly and then you get 10 minutes of play.  If your kids are young (under 12) PLAY! Make it fun.  Put your socks on and see who can slide the farthest across the hardwoods, have a dance party or have a mini Top Chef challenge. Do this for a week and the homework gets done, and you all sleep better.
  • Be Okay with Movement. My youngest and I are pacers.  If we are on the phone, we are usually pacing in circles in the house somewhere. This drives my husband crazy but living in a house full of people with ADHD he has learned to accept it.  Accepting that movement is a natural part of your child’s personality will keep everyone happier.
  • Answer the QuestionsOccasionally our brain gets stuck, we have heard some strange question or seen something that piqued our interest, and we can not get it out of our heads. Help your child by teaching them to research. Books, Google, and libraries are all wonderful resources to someone with ADHD.
  • Give them a small notebook. If they are old enough to write, give them a small notebook. Tell them if they start to lose focus, write down the new topic that has invaded their brain in the notebook so they can come back to it later. Sometimes just that few minutes to take a few notes on the new topic can refocus them.

The Bedtime Battle

Similar to the homework battle, the bedtime battle can be attributed to too much energy and a brain that is still whirring like crazy. Some days they go to bed like angels, some days the demon invades.  I was a demon on more days than I would care to admit and bedtime can still be a tough thing for me and my boys.  We don’t always have the answers but here are some of the things that help us.

  • Hot tea or hot chocolate.  Both help to promote relaxation.
  • Brain DumpsGrab a journal and dump every thought that comes into your head for 15 minutes.
  • PJs right before bedPutting on PJs on right before bed gives the body a physical signal that it is time to go to bed.  This one will take a little while to work, but it will help.  So no hanging out in PJs unless it is time to go to bed.
  • Reading before bed.  Reading can be a great way to relax your child’s brain. If your child can’t read yet, read to them, if they are learning you read a page and let your child read a page.
  • Create a short routine. Remember kids with ADHD have trouble focusing, so a routine can help, but only if you keep it short.

Weighted BlanketsThis one is a new one to me but it explains why my favorite blanket is a very heavy hand crocheted blanket. There is some good research on this one so even though it isn’t something I have tried; I thought I should include it.

 Give Yourself and Your Child Grace

I am not going to lie, even if you find some great ways to help your child, there are still going to be days you want to pull your hair out.  On the bad days, give yourself and your child a little grace.  No child will be perfect every day. No parent will be perfect every day.  Give yourself a break, do the best you can and everyone will survive.

A Blessing and a Curse

ADHD has been both a blessing and a curse in my life.  It allows me to switch my focus between many things and gives me plenty of energy to get it all done.  I will never have a desk job, I will never sit through a movie without doing something else at the same time but I have learned to embrace the good and accept the bad.

 The one question I get asked more than any other is “How do you get so much done?” The answer: I have ADHD and I know how to use it.

If you have found some things to help your child manage their ADHD please leave them in the comments to help all the other moms out there facing similar issues.


About the author:  Michele Cook wears a lot of different hats in her everyday life. She is a Christian, a wife, a mom an author, and a communications specialist for an administrative company.  Her journey has not always been easy. She uses that experience to help you find your way out of the darkness and into the light – to inspire you to be the best you can be and to love yourself.

Originally posted at


Pinterest Photo: Boy in yellow shirt by Séan Gorman on Unsplash Modified on

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Homework Photo by Pedro da Silva on Unsplash





ADHD: When your emotions get in the way. January 2019 Newsletter

Sometimes ENOUGH is better than never.Welcome,

Sorry to take so long to get back to you. It has something to do with avoiding New Years’ Resolutions because I fail at those every year, trying to decide about continuing the newsletter at all and attempting to write a few articles myself. I’m not too proud to admit that it was all a bit too much for me to handle.  Feeling a number of negative emotions while trying to write about how to deal with emotional sensitivity made me feel like I’ve just been masquerading as someone with anything useful to say at all. After a number of false starts, I’m calling Enough! Therefore, you’ll get one very late newsletter now and the second about the first week of February.


My first article is Self-Regulation: Controlling your emotions with ADHD.  It proposes that emotions are a major factor of ADHD that affects all aspects of life for those with ADHD. Unfortunately, Emotional dysregulation is often interpreted as a lack of self-control. Self-Regulation, however, is a non-judgmental and positive way to express the necessary steps to learning to control your emotions with ADHD.” The article includes a number of strategies from experts used to get control of your ADHD.  You CAN take your life where you want rather than being swept along by unchecked feelings.

Also this month, please welcome Louise Bown, ADHD coach, advocate, and author as a new writer for us.  Rollercoasters & Egg Shells: ADHD Parent and Child Relationships is a heartfelt portrait of the many ways that oversensitive emotions, the opinion of others & the need for constant reassurance affects both parent and child.  Being diagnosed and accepting this “rollercoaster of emotions” as an important aspect of ADHD helps build personal coping strategies.  Those very skills also help avoid “walking on eggshells” with their own children.


How ADHD Causes Emotional Dysregulation – ADHD amplifies emotions due to poor connections between the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and a delayed reward system. The prefrontal cortex would normally allow you to take a deep breath and process strong emotions before responding.

Recommended for your attention:

See Thomas Brown’s  NEW Understandings of ADHD: The role of emotion for an in-depth explanation of this topic. These slides from the Burnet Seminar offer some Key Takeaways. Most of them are in a less technical language that these examples. Chemistry of motivation is modulated by complex processes resulting from amygdalar integration of idiosyncratic emotion-laden memories embedded in perceptions and various cognitive networks. Also, Working memory & focusing impairments characteristic of ADHD may impair motivation by causing emotional flooding or constricted focus.


I’m glad to finally put this newsletter away.  I have technical work ahead but tomorrow is another day. I’ve got the time, interest, and I’ve moved on from a place where doing nothing feels safer than getting something done. That’s always worth celebrating!

Until next week, take care,



Joan Jager


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7 Solid Productivity Tips for People with ADHD

Always Respect the Basics:  Sleep, exercise, and diet.


By Danielle Joy Scott

Is that To-Do list getting ridiculously long? Do you need to get some work done asap?

Don’t sweat it! You got this!

Take a deep breath and read my 7 Solid Productivity Tips for People with ADHD to help get you started.




1) Find the Right Work Environment

Evaluate your work space and be realistic with yourself; is the area you are working in conducive to getting stuff done? Is it quiet? Are you tempted to do other things? Are you being interrupted often?

A public space like a library or coffee shop, as opposed to home, can be especially helpful to minimize distractions. Some people, like myself, have a really hard time working from home (I find myself doing anything and everything except the task at hand!).

If you work in an office and are prone to interruptions, consider blocking out time in your schedule that you can close your door and focus. Perhaps put a sign on your door that states when you are available and to please not disturb you unless it is an emergency? Talk to your co-workers ahead of time so everyone understands what you are doing.

 2) Filter out Distracting Noise

The ADHD brain has a hard time filtering out information, it can pick up on every little noise or motion, making it really difficult to not get distracted.

Some non-distracting music in your headphones (like Jazz or Classical) can really help drown out the distracting background noise.

I recommend listening to something instrumental and different than what you listen to for fun and recreation.

Try sticking to the same type of music while you work, through repetition, the music will start to serve as a queue to your brain that it is work time.

 3) Pick the Right Time 

Think about the time of day that you are most productive and do your best to schedule your work during that time.

If you medicate your ADHD, odds are you are most productive a couple hours after taking your meds.

I take Adderall XR and I find that I am most “ready to work” about 2 hours after I take my meds (and after I’ve have had a cup or 2 of coffee/tea!)

 4) Long Blocks of Time Are Your Friend

When you have ADHD, just starting a task can be incredibly difficult. It can take someone with ADHD a while to get organized enough to start the task at hand.

For example, when I start work for the day, I need to make sure I have all my materials first; my coffee, a snack, my water, my notes from last time, my laptop, etc.

This “set up time” that goes into starting work is exactly why one 6 hour work session is better than two 3 hour work sessions.

Longer blocks of work time mean less startup time which means more time to work!

 5) Sometimes You Need To Start With a Treat

I love to play that motivation game where I tell myself that once I get X, Y, and Z done THEN I can take myself out for a treat.

This is great but sometimes, particularly during stressful times, I may need to engage in whatever activity de-stresses me before I can focus and get my work done.

Check in with yourself before getting started. How are you feeling? Are you going to be able to focus right now?

If you are feeling frazzled, go ahead and give yourself permission to take care of yourself first. You are better off taking some time up front to get your “head right” first rather than struggling through an uncomfortable few hours of half ass work.

 6) Just Start Someplace

Prioritizing tasks is very difficult for those with ADHD. Two helpful questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out where to start are:

  • “Is there something on this list that once done will make it easier for me to do some of the other things?”
  • “Which of these tasks is giving me the most anxiety?”

These questions can help you key in on things that need to be done first.

If they still seem about “equal” to you then just start anyplace! Once you get started it’s much easier to stay with it.

7) Always Respect the Basics:  Sleep, exercise, and diet.

If you ever find yourself struggling with life, the first place you should always start is thinking about your basics.

I seriously cannot stress the importance of the basics enough. So many of us are so sleep-deprived, dehydrated, and malnourished that we truly wouldn’t even know what it feels like to not be.

 Sleep deprivation seriously deteriorates our cognitive abilities and research suggests that the active ADHD brain might actually need more sleep than a neurotypical brain (9-10 hours as opposed to 8) For more information, see the additional resources below.

 Exercise does wonders for one’s overall mood and ability to focus since it increases our brains dopamine naturally.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in our brains reward and pleasure centers. Scientists have observed that lower levels of dopamine are associated with symptoms of ADHD.

A proper diet high in protein and vegetables,  fewer carbohydrates and sweets, and possibly some nutritional supplements can also go a long way in bettering your ADHD symptoms.

There is plenty of research out there that suggests a link between ADHD and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. Deficits are noted in several vitamins and minerals like; magnesium, B-Vitamins, Iron, Zinc, and Copper.

If you want to read more about nutritional deficiencies and ADHD, check out the additional resources listed below.


About the author:  Danielle Joy Scott sold all her stuff, quit her 9-5, and moved her family to another state in the pursuit of happiness. Her goal is to inspire people just like you to LOVE their life! The Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, blogger, and wannabe chef lives in Phoenix, AZ with her guitar obsessed husband and their adorable, exhausting toddler. Check out her blog at for more tips on how to take your life to the next level.

Original Source:

Additional Resources:


  • Want to know more about ADHD and sleep problems? Check out “This is Why you’re always so Tired” from ADDitude Magazine.
  • For more about nutritional deficiencies and ADHD, check out the following posts by James Greenblatt MD, author of  “Finally Focused”:


ALSO SEE: The Role of Dietary Supplements
in Maintaining Cognitive Health
and Mental Hygiene


Photo credits

Title – Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash  Modified on

7 Solid Tips – Created on

Headphones  – Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Treat yourself –  Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Sleeping – Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


ADHD Strikes Again! Recovery

Recover emotionally and get back on track after an “ADHD attack.”

Recently I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and ashamed. And no matter how hard I  tried, I wasn’t able to break the cycle of emotion, self-judgment, and paralysis brought on an by an unintentional mistake.

Often, I am so “hard on myself” when something goes wrong that I just fall apart and neglect to use most of my strategies for coping. My routines fall apart, my memory slips,  everyday tasks, and household errands go undone. And everything I try to do fails. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, ADHD strikes again!


ADDitude Magazine explains this extreme reaction in a two-minute video. With ADHD, they say, “Even a momentary emotion can gobble up all the space in the brain just like a virus can devour a whole hard drive.”

 7 Truths about ADHD and Emotional Regulation

All too frequently, those of us with ADHD make mistakes that may well irritate or offend others. We forget, speak out of turn, fail to do something as well as we would like or lack the skills or interest in getting things started or finished. Whether the problem is small or large, an apology is often the first step in making things right again.

As Ari Tuckman, Ph.D. writes in Love Means Saying you’re Sorry, “The first step is to calm our own reaction so we can see beyond our own needs. You may not have tons of control over your ability to do all the right things at the right times, but you do have the ability to fix things afterward.” The first part of the article has good information for couples, but the second section, The Value of a Good Apology, has some great ideas for when you blow it. He suggests that you:

  • Recognize the impact on the other person.
  • Say what you will (try to) do differently in the future.
  • Make amends, if necessary.

I also found some good advice on New Life Outlook for when you offend someone.  There’s much more to the article but the basics are:

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Don’t blame yourself.
  • Talk about it.
  • Learn from past experiences.


I try to struggle through on my own, but I finally have to let go of that silly idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I reach out to my personal ADHD support team – my friends, family, coaching groups, and others for help.

The Wall of Awful an interview with Brendan Mahan M.Ed., MS., is about the emotional toll that negative thoughts and repeated failure have on your ability to take risks and initiate tasks. He says, “Staring at the Wall sets us up for being overwhelmed by the emotions it represents; causing us to freeze and accomplish nothing. Going around leads to avoidance.” He offers a number of tips on overcoming this “Wall” in the podcast as well on his site, ADHD Essentials. TWO 6-MINUTE VIDEOS from See in ADHD: Why is it so hard to do something that should be easy? How to do something that should be easy? 

Why Is It So Hard to Do Something That Should Be Easy?

I also found Surefire Strategies That Don’t Work for ADHD – And Some That Do by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. that helped me get through to the other side of “Awful.”  One suggestion from David Giwerc is to “Be self-compassionate. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Try being more understanding and kind. Remember that you’re not less intelligent or capable than others. You have unique brain wiring. Focus on your strengths and on finding strategies that work for you.


Our guest author this month is Brandon Butler. He shares with us a healthy, natural way to cope with life’s daily challenges that you may not have thought of in Five Ways Dogs can help those with Mental Disorders. Ned Hallowell agrees with Brandon, saying, “I often urge people to start with a dog.  Dogs are the world’s best givers of love.” ~ Psychology Today

We do not have a dog but have really enjoyed dog-sitting for many of the reasons Brandon mentions. Zoey is a great visitor and gets me outside to walk and collect a few smiles” – my favorite reason for walking.  This connection helps me exercise daily,  one of my most effective coping strategies.

Please leave me a comment if you TOO struggle with emotional overwhelm. What are some of your tricks?

Joan Jager

Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash – Modified on






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





ADHD at Home and Work: 46 Small Steps to Save Time

Working with Executive Functioning ChallengesGuest post by Sue West

Below is my ever-growing “simple ways to save time” list. These are small, mostly easy ways to save time. No big overhauls. Small things to simplify.

Working with Executive Functioning Challenges:

  1.  Please, stop trying to “keep it all in your head.” Write it ALL down. Keep a list, use a notebook or planner to hold everything. Keep a calendar and schedule your day’s tasks and appointments.
  2. Break up anything you work on into 5 to 15-minute tasks. Great to slip into those slivers of time during the day. Easier to start/not procrastinate. Greater positive feelings of accomplishment which feeds motivation.
  3. Create your day’s plan, even on the weekend.
  4. Appointments: Choose your best time, not theirs. Ask for what you need.
  5. Look at your week as a puzzle. Sometimes, the pieces need to be moved around, made smaller or turned a different way. Especially if something big has happened, look at what you can drop, simplify, or move to a later date. A little planning makes life simpler.
  6. Know your strengths and talents well. If it’s not your strength, it will take more time. You may benefit from hiring an organizing or productivity coach to help you discover your best way to work with your strengths rather than always struggling with your challenges.
  7. Consciously decide whether everything on your to-do list deserves your time and attention. If you don’t do a task, what happens and what would you have more time for instead? Could you do a better job at …. ? Delegate, swap or share at home and at work. It doesn’t have to be permanent.
  8. Learn how to delegate well and without guilt. You’re teaching others to do what you already know how to do OR you’re giving away work someone else is really good at and would enjoy working on with you. At home and at work. We can’t be good at everything. We are imperfectly perfect.
  9. Duplicates are wise, sometimes. Pens. Keys. Wastebaskets. Certain books. Flashlights. Glasses. So you don’t have to look or return to the house.
  10. Decide faster and with less information. Make this question a habit when you sense you’re acting slowly and using up time. What else do I need to know to decide?
  11. Beat Procrastination. Decide now… or choose a time later, maybe with help, to make the decision. It also helps to decide on the first step and just begin.
  12. Don’t use evenings to make difficult decisions. Your brain is likely tired out.
  13. For home: Do less:  You may choose to lower your standards a little.  Set up simple routines to cover basic necessities, like dishes, laundry and picking up. There’s no shame in getting help for your least favorite chores. You might be surprised at how reasonable some of these services are because our culture is changing. A housekeeper may be just what you need.  Try the grocery service delivery or the packaged meal concept. It doesn’t need to be every week, though it can be. Think of the hours you could save.
  14. Declutter, 15 minutes at a time.
  15. Know what IS important. This will help you limit time wasters. You’ll get pulled into what’s important, where you really want to spend the time.
  16. Use a launch/landing pad at home, for leaving and coming into your home. Put things there, as you think of them, which need to leave the house. It eliminates extra trips when you forget something. (For help developing your own Launchpad, see hazel Thornton’s  Six Organizing Systems Everyone Needs.)
  17. Set out clothes night before. Make the lunch(es), too.
  18. Teach kids chores; they will need these life skills before you know it. Start with one chore and choose the child who is most likely to latch on to this and work it, together.
  19. Buy fewer clothes. Know your colors. Decide if you spend less time shopping on the internet or at stores. Less clothing means less time on laundry, too.
  20. See how your time is really being used. Use the notes or reminders on your phone to keep track. Try tracking every email you send or phone call you make… Just one day is revealing.
  21. Share household responsibilities equally between you and your spouse.
  22. Multi-task in smart ways: walk the dog for your exercise; dog walk with your kids for more family time, etc.
  23. Do things right the first time. Fewer redo’s means saved time.
  24. Finances: Make the bigger decisions based on what you value most. To make it easier, take ONE step towards what you want. If your priority is your children, for example, can you cut back on work hours, change your scheduled time to begin or end your day, or perhaps consider a less demanding job? Talk to someone to figure it out financially.
  25. Know your business expenses and household expenses. Create a “what to spend on” plan together [and therefore, what is not a priority for spending]. Without some limits, you may not have money for what is coming up and might be more important.
  26. Determine a usual or average monthly expense amount. This means choices are done ahead and less emotionally. Less discussion time about where you’re spending your money.
  27. Money: Buy less. Walk around the store once more before actually purchasing. If shopping virtually, leave some items in your virtual shopping cart, walk away and come back in another day.
  28. Buy fewer clothes. Know your colors. Decide if you spend less time shopping on the internet or at stores. Less clothing means less time on laundry, too.
  29. Limit dinners out. Some nights are for cooking bigger dinners and others with evening activities can be for simple meals. Make enough for leftovers. Plan ahead even if it’s just a few days. Stop the last minute evening grocery store trips.
  30. Time: Use your timer and clocks everywhere (at home/at work) for a better sense of time passing and the value of your time. That will save you time.
  31. Get up 15 minutes earlier or go to bed 15 minutes later.
  32. Get up at the same time daily. It gives your body a better sense of time, which will follow you during your day.
  33. Leave for work 15 minutes or more earlier. Set a timer to get yourself out on time.
  34. Limit online time. See how much time you’re online and compare it to other things you say you want to do.
  35. For work: Set a clear scope for any project you work on. Keep it small and simple. Test it. Use feedback; you’ll waste less time creating something people may not want and expectations are clearer.
  36. Limit the amount of time you spend on projects. Set a timer. A time limit lessens the perfectionism demons. Set the time ahead… this is worth x amount of my time.
  37. Group together similar kinds of work, e.g., writing vs. emails vs. phone calls. Same skill, single tasking =more productive and efficient time use.
  38. Set your alarm for about 45 minutes before you’d like to leave for the day. Use that time to wind down, wrap up things, and review the plan for the next day. [Not to finish tasks.]
  39. Clear communication and expectations mean fewer difficult conversations crop up later. Get clearer and more direct in what you say and write.
  40. If more than a couple of emails go back and forth on the same topic, pick up the phone. It’s faster to meet sometimes.
  41. Write simpler emails. The more you write, the more you draw in the other person with longer answers.
  42. Use fewer “cc” people who might pop in and add more to the conversation. If they need to know, they can be in the “to” line. But that decision will limit how many are on the message.
  43. Read email a few times a day. Otherwise, shut it down. Turn off the beeps and notifications. They interrupt your mind and pull you off track; that takes up extra time to get back to where you were.
  44. If it is a task you do often, write down the steps next time as you’re doing it. Can you create a template? Delegate it? Simplify it?
  45. Self-care: Exercise, movement, meditation. Even a few minutes a day will exercise your brain and give you clarity. And that saves time.
  46. Find a hobby. Rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit to be more efficient.

Guest post by Susan Fay West, Certified Organizer Coach®, ADHD Coach, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, and
President, Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Click to find out more at my website and blog here. 603.554.1948 (office)      603.765.9267 (cell)

She also has a self-coaching workbook, Change your Habits: ADHD Style ($18, soon to be on Kindle as well)

Article originally published as 46 Small Steps to Save Time 

(Photo courtesy of twobee/ Modified on