An ADHD Parent’s Guide to Paper


adhd parent paper

Have you wondered how you can manage all the paper that comes into your home or office?  It’s coming in at a rate faster than you can process.  Parents have often said, “why do the teachers send so much home!” As an ADHD parent, it’s especially hard to pare down all the school work, information and extra-curricular paper work that comes in. Here’s some ways you can manage paper.

Keep less, trash more

Give yourself permission to trash, shred or recycle as much paper as possible.  Keeping as little paper as possible gives you more options to find information on the school website or online.  Find the information you need and bookmark these sites.  If possible, use the “add to calendar” feature to automatically add dates and information.  In addition, drag emails onto dates in the calendar feature of Outlook.  Create folders in Dropbox and Evernote and access these online tools instead of keeping paper.


Create a collection point

Create one spot for a collection point for all the papers. It may seem overwhelming when you see these all together, but this keeps paper from being in every room.  It also keeps important information from getting lost.  A good start is a simple basket.  Cull through this weekly to know which papers are in the basket and which you can toss.


For kids’ school art and special work, keep one basket per child.  Drop items in every day and set aside a time weekly to go over what’s in the basket. There are lots of ways to treasure what’s precious and eliminate the rest.


Automate other papers

You may already be paying bills online. But there are more options to automate.  You can add a utilities only credit card and pay a lump sum of utilities once a month. You can auto debit your utilities. You can have an online account for your medical explanation of benefits.  The more you automate any paper, the better.  It’s good to remember that most any paper that comes in your house by mail, will come again in 2 weeks!


Paper, just like laundry and your kid’s messy lunchbox, will be rough going all the time.  It’s a matter of being as decisive and routine as possible, both of which are not an ADHD parent strong suit.  However with practice, just like all other routines, paper management improves.


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Are you ready for change?

ready for change adhd


Deciding on any lifestyle change is a commitment. That change may include what you eat, what habits you have or what you organize. Others around you are offering lots of advice on how to change. What does it mean when you are ready for change?  How do you know you are ready for change?

How you know you are NOT ready for change.

  • You are not ready to change when others are coercing you.  You are being pushed in a direction to make change.  You’re using the word should or ought to to describe the change.
  • You know in your mind that change is good, but you are procrastinating on getting started.  You have underlying fears, a lack of skills or have not truly created buy in on your part.
  • You don’t have a great reason why to change.



You are ready for change when

  • More than just acknowledging that life is not going smoothly, you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  You remember the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome,”  and know what that means.  Despite how difficult it might be, you are ready to do something different.
  • You are researching how to get help to make the change and hone in on who can help.  It may take time to know who is the best to help and you are ready to talk to that person, start that program or attend a group meeting.
  • You are energized to create something or be something new. You have time, energy and focus to break out of what’s holding you back and start on a new path.
  • You have a compelling reason to create a new habit.

How do I know when I am ready for change?

I think about a compelling reason for the change.  Some of my biggest changes have come from what I think are really outstanding reasons to make a change.  From there I break that into a baby step of baby steps.   I am ready for change because I find a small way to get started on a big thing.  I encourage you to write your own list of ways you know you are ready to change.



when you have the why you can create the how

The path to change is not easy. It can be moved forward with inspiration and tenacity.  What’s your way of knowing you are ready for change?


4 Easy Ways to Organize Your ADHD Child’s Room

organize your adhd child


Summer is a great time for you and your child to work on an organizing project.  It’s when you have more time together, so together you can tackle their bedroom. It’s a project that can last beyond one day or a weekend to complete. There’s time for mixing in music and fun while you work.  It’s a partnership you and your child can work together on, collaborate and end with an organized room.  Together you can organize your adhd child’s room.


Big trash can

Start simple.  It’s typical that you can’t see the floor.  There’s more trash in our kids rooms than ever. An ample trash can helps get this contained.  Give your kids an open trash can that’s well placed for use.  When you cull out the trash, you have  a great small start to organizing.  Keeping the floor clear as a routine helps keep the room more organized in general.


Big categories

Often we over complicate and over think the organizing in our kids rooms.  Think of big categories for ADHD kids.  Resist the urge to have small bins sorted super specifically.   The common categories are media, toys and clothes. Media can be stored in a bin by game system and a notebook for each cd.  Clothes can all be hung and there can be a bin for pajamas and underwear.  Stuffed animals are easy to store in a large basket or toy box.  Keep the organization simple and labelled for you and your child to maintain order too.


Let go of lots of toys

Our kids have lots of toys in their spaces. It’s overwhelming and too much to organize or play with.  Your child may feel every toy is special.  It can be hard to decide what to let go of, but here are some steps you can work on together.   Start letting go of toys that are for younger kids. The most important of these keepsake toys can be stored in a bin.  Decide where you will store toys and use this as a limit for toys in your home.  Your child can choose 3 toys to let go of and share with others.  Let go of 1 stuffed animal a week and have a moratorium on purchasing new stuffies.  Any way you decide, it’s a good time to release some toys.  Overall, a less cluttered environment is a positive environment.


Daily Dash time

The most organized space needs a daily pick up time. The Daily Dash gives your children time to get items back to where they go.  Talk through the day with your child and see what is the most advantageous time to pick up.  Set an alarm on their phone, write a reminder on several post it notes, schedule a family daily dash time or write out a chart of responsibilities including daily dash time. When everyone picks up, it’s a noticeable difference in your home.


This summer, one of your goals may be to be more organized. It’s important to walk through organizing and partner with your kids.  For the not naturally organized, this will take reinforcement.  Be patient and kind as you work alongside your child to help them be more organized.


More ideas here  on my Pinterest Board ADHD


ADHD Resources

adhd resources


Learning about ADHD is ongoing learning. A wide base of knowledge is available in many different formats.  Whether you are thinking about whether you have ADHD, have recently been diagnosed, or have been diagnosed for years, these are resource to live your authentic life.  This list of associations, websites, and books is just a beginning for you.  Here’s a list of some of my favorite ADHD resources.




ADDA-SR mission is provide a resource  network, support individuals impacted by ADHD and related conditions and to advocate for the development of community resources.  Local to the Houston area, ADDA-SR support groups meet throughout the community monthly. Finding support makes a difference.



The ADDA was founded to help adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) lead better lives.  ADDA offers Virtual Peer Support Groups and Workshops as well as webinars.  Learning online helps you know more about ADHD.



CHADD improves the lives of those affected by ADHD.  CHADD offers it’s Resource Directory, Parent to Parent classes and conference.  Learning from other parents about ways to support your child makes your job easier.


ADHD Coaches

The ACO is the worldwide professional membership organization for ADHD Coaches.
Whether you’re a coach, looking for help, or curious about ADHD coaching, this is the association for you.  ADHD coaching supports a well balanced, goal oriented life.




Faster Than Normal

Peter Shankman shares his tricks, secrets, and hacks for daily life both professionally and personally.  Peter finds ADHD a gift!


Dr. Hallowell

Hosted by Edward Hallowell, this is a site for sharing ADHD resources including Top 10 findings on ADHD and Top 10 Questions about ADHD.  Dr. Hallowell is a prominent authority on ADHD. offers strategies and support for adults and children.  There are free weekly webinars on a variety of topics.  ADDitudemag offers a variety of information related to school, work and home.



Smart but Scattered

The latest research on children with executive function challenges and ways to help.


Healing ADD

Neuropsychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, MD shares the multiple types of ADHD and different treatments.


ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

This book is a collaboration of Kathleen Nadeau and Judith Kohlberg.  The authors share the most effective and practical strategies from ADD experts in two important fields — professional organization and clinical psychology.


Driven to Distraction

Dr Hallowell writes about recognizing challenges from early childhood using case studies.


More Attention, Less Deficit

Written by Ari Tuckman, this book offers insights into the experiences of ADHD as well as tips to work through executive function challenges.


Learning about ADHD is a way to grow. It’s a solid support for you, your family, your friend or your co-worker.   The more you know, the more you will want to know.  Start on your journey with these resources.


Check out other tips and tricks for ADHD here on my blog too.


4 Unexpected Organizing Obstacles

obstacles to organizing



Organizing requires courage and tenacity.  With every goal we have, there are bumps in the road and obstacles we will have to face.  We often discuss the obstacles in organizing. The most frequent challenges are

  • sentimental attachments, such as gifts given with emotional attachment
  • financial obstacles, items with more value than we have used them and
  • time obstacles, just how much time do we have to organize.


It’s in addressing obstacles that we can find solutions for getting started.  These 4 obstacles to organizing may surprise you.  Which one may be holding you back?

Organizing is a more than one time activity

All too often I hear about the amazing organizing job my client did in 20XX.  It was a long project and then all of a sudden the office/home/filing system was again disorganized.  The obstacle to organizing is your perception that organizing need only happen once. Organizing changes as your life changes. Organizing requires steady commitment with a routine that reinforces your organizing.  When organizing is only a one time activity, it’s time to commit to a daily and weekly routine to stay on track.

The lack of “flow” in your space

Just like the balance we aspire to with home and work, organizing has a flow to it as well.  The flow of items in should match the flow of items out.  When more items come in or stuff has no movement, it becomes clutter.  Being aware of this flow as an element for organizing makes it easier to let go of items and not bring as much. When you are organizing, have a hiatus on purchasing. It’s much easier to let go of items and create a balance in your home as you are creating an organized space. As  you continue your organizing journey, think  of natural maintenance factors to maintain your flow.  For some people, one in and one out is a good strategy. For some people a seasonal decluttering makes a difference. Decide what works best for you to create a flow of items in and out.


Analysis paralysis

While a certain amount of complexity is required for organizing, at times you might experience analysis paralysis.  This is when you over think the organizing possibilities. It might be that you are researching too many solutions to your organizing challenges.  It might be that you have not decided how detailed your categories for filing should be. Your obstacle to organizing is the myriad of details.  When you pare down the number of organizing options, it’s easier to get started and also complete your organizing.  Another strategy is to apply the mantra, Keep it simple sweetie. The simpler the strategy the easier it is to get organized.


Clutter Blindness

You may not have realized how much clutter has accumulated as you go about your daily life. Your life is busy and you have a lot going on.  It’s not until there is a transition that you realize how much has become clutter in  your home or office. Once aware, it can be overwhelming and difficult.  Focus on the big picture rather than negative self talk.  Remove this obstacle to organizing with a plan.  Start with a plan that breaks your organizing into manageable chunks for you to accomplish.  It’s all about using baby steps to create an organized home or office.


There are valuable lessons learned as we move around these obstacles. These life lessons can apply to other challenges we have as well.  What are the obstacles you have seen as you organize? Thoughts that gave you pause as you decluttered? I look forward to hearing your ideas.


More ideas on getting organized in my monthly newsletter! Sign up here!

How to Add Routines to your Schedule

routines and schedules

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

Remember those days in kindergarten when your day was brimming with consistency? You knew the day began with Circle Time, followed by Center Time, then Recess and Snack. With each day you anticipated what was expected and you worked hard at each activity. Having a schedule helps us be more productive with our time and energized in our efforts. There are many ways to implement structure in our day.


Routines, structure or patterns

“Pattern Planning” is a system recommend by Doctors John Ratey and Ned Hallowell in the book, ADD Friendly Ways to Organize by Judith Kohlberg and Kathleen Nadeau. Begin with the baby steps of your big goals and then create a pattern for the day with these. This includes a regular wake up time, breakfast, exercise, morning and afternoon work times, dinner preparation and bedtime routine for the evening. This simplified pattern includes all aspects of your life.

  • For families, this is especially important in creating a positive beginning and end to the day. Decide what is most important and then add the steps to incorporate this. Decide what time you need to be out the door, and work backwards allowing plenty of time to get ready and add 10 extra minutes just in case! Create organization around the structure of the day, including a “landing strip” to place and grab back packs to head out the door. An evening routine adds time for homework, pick up, and bedtime routines.
  • For work creating a structure to your week keeps you productive.  If you assign a major theme to each day, you are sure to keep each goal moving forward. If you assign administrative tasks to the same time each day, you keep these from building up.


Does consistency lead to boredom?

Add fun to the routines with a new dimension such as music, variety, or partnering.

  • Add music with a play list or a pandora station just for that routine.
  • Add variety in the way you go about the routine, starting and ending with the same task or alternating the start and finish.
  • Create different partnerships for your routine.  It may be different people, a class or a timer that are your start and stop mechanisms.
  • Make it fun and wacky!

It is important to remember that “structure” is not about rigidity, it is about consistency. The pattern should be followed more frequently than not because the schedule honors your priorities rather than your distractions.


Writing out your perfect routine

Get started by writing out your “perfect” schedule in a grid, allowing for appropriate time to do each step. There is power in writing.  There’s power in a check list.  Block in times with an arrow for your activities. Post it in a place you will see it regularly and use a timer to help you remember.


Your perfect routine may revolve around one activity being the puzzle piece. That center puzzle piece can make the difference.  That’s when other activities fall into place because you have accomplished one task first. If you read, meditate or exercise first in the morning, your other routines may work better as a result. If you do your first Most Important Task early in the day, the rest of the day works better.


Add a bit to your existing routine

One of the most successful ways to create a routine is to add a new routine to an existing routine. You may think you have no routines. However there is always something small you can build on.  If you want to do more exercise as a routine, add it on by going to a gym on the way home. If you want to build in better nutrition habit, add in one item to your existing grocery run.  Just adding in one small change to an existing routine makes it easier to find success.



A routine adds efficiency and effectiveness to our day by helping us focus on a specific activity. But more importantly, consistency makes for peace of mind and positive energy and of course we all want that!


More ideas on productivity here on my newsletter!

Why can’t I do this myself?

why cant I do this myself


It’s a sentence I hear from many clients.


Why can’t I do this myself?


What’s behind this question?


It takes a new way of thinking to accept help at times.


Recently I heard of a perspective shift from a client.  As a single entrepreneur woman, she had a lot on her plate. She also had her cats to think of.  In thinking about how she was trying to do it all herself, she reflected on some tv shows from her youth. There was the Courtship of Eddie’s Father with Mrs. Livingston, there was the show Hazel and there was the Brady Bunch with Alice. It was an aha moment as she realized she needed help!


It takes awareness to reach this new perspective and reach out for help.

It takes courage to accept help in your personal space. It’s about a trusting relationship.  It’s about knowing that there is no judgement in working with someone.


It’s acknowledging your need for help is not a lack of your skill or lack of determination.  The most commitment need help too.


It’s acknowledging that your brain works in a certain way. It’s knowing that having someone else in the space helps your brain work best, helps you process in a way that works best for you and helps get the job you started finished.


It’s in finding who is a good fit for your team.


There are lots of potential members of your team. It’s  your counselor, Stephen Minister, professional organizer and coach who create all the different successes.  Finding the fit of many different people who can help you is what’s important.


There are many answers to why can’t I do this myself.  There may be more than a single reason. Find what works for you and you can move forward with whatever task you are doing.


More ideas and resources for your team here.

How to Rock being an ADHD Parent

adhd parent


Being a mom or dad is a tough job.  Being an ADHD parent requires more.  Keeping your home organized and beautiful, your children on track with school and well behaved, and prioritizing your own well being are a lot for those with executive function challenges.  Here are some tips to rock your parenting job.


Declutter your home

It’s all too much sometimes with all the clothes, toys, electronics and stuff. It’s hard to get control of stuff in your home.  Having less to organize makes it easier to find homes for your stuff.

  • Minimize the clutter by bringing in as little as you can.  Be sure it’s something you must acquire before you purchase it.
  • Assign a function to each room in your home so that you know what belongs in that space.  At times the most difficult task in an ADHD home is where does something belong. It belongs in the space it is going to be used.
  • If you already have too much, set aside an hour once a week to let go of what is unused currently.  Declutter decisively by deciding if you have used it in the last 6 months. If not, be brutal and bring it to a donation spot that afternoon.  You may have one regret for every 10 bags of donations, but it’s a small price to pay for clarity and organization in your home.

 Paper plan

Paper is a major enemy for ADHD parents. There’s too much coming in from the mail and school.  Here’s a simple plan that helps.

  • Open your mail over the recycling bin every day. Keep only what is required not potential papers such as service providers, coupons, or any other just in case papers.
  • Pay bills online through your bank.  Place the bills in a box marked for the year.
  • Set up a command center for your kids’ papers.  Drop in papers regularly and once a month talk about the papers with your kids.  Discretely let go of what’s not “precious.”  Move these remaining papers to a portfolio or make a photo book.



adhd parent


Post important dates to your family calendar

Our busy families have lots of commitments.  Keep track of them with a family calendar.

  • A paper month at a glance calendar can hang by the refrigerator.  Keep a basket or bulletin board for invitations, directions or other date related papers.
  • Try online calendars like Google or Cozi to keep dates digitally, but print a copy for posting in your home.
  • Remember to pencil in white space. Back to back commitments make life stressed.  Down time gives everyone time to recuperate and refresh.  It also gives you time to prioritize and evaluate.


Landing strip at your door

It’s easy to be late because of lost keys, homework, shoes or other last minute stuff.  Create a landing strip at your door with hooks, baskets, a bench and a analog clock.  It’s a spot to drop items as you come and go from the house.


landing strip

Photo from


The most organized and productive ADHD parents recognize the value of a good night’s rest.  With all these great tips in place, making sure you get to bed earlier than you think will help you rock being an ADHD parent.


ADHD Apps and Tools

adhd apps and tools


There’s so much new technology that can make life easier to manage.  Take advantage of apps that work across many devices to consolidate information and make tasks easier. Check out these simple to use apps in different categories.

To keep a note

Evernote is the most popular of all apps to keep information.  Create “notebooks” to categorize your information and “tag” it to find it later.

More than a list, Toodledo is the place to write notes, customize lists, and create recurring events.

Love paper?  There’s nothing better than the Arc notebook available at Staples. The unusual, customizable design makes this the place to write notes, organize your thoughts, or keep a list. It’s available in sizes and designs that make you smile too.


The most important part of writing stuff down is that you no longer have to take energy from doing a project to remember other stuff. 


To keep a budget

Mint helps you pull all your financial information together. It helps you create a budget and know how you are spending your money.

EveryDollar is a free budget tool recommended by Dave Ramsey.

Getting in touch with your money is a very powerful feeling.


To keep dates

BlueSky Week at a glance calendars help you organized your year. A week at a glance view creates a streamlined week to plan and execute what needs to be done.

Planner pad calendar consolidates your lists and your appointments. You can categorize lists, prioritize tasks and pull together details of your life.

Cozi is a simple, effective online tools for calendars and tasks. Manage tasks, keep appointments, and create a calendar that brings everything and everyone together.

Having a trusted tool for dates makes it easy to keep from double booking or feeling stressed to remember dates.

To keep information

Dropbox  is a service that keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.  It’s the best way to work on information on different devices at different locations. It’s also a great way to share photos with family and friends or collaborate on a project with colleagues.

Google Docs is an easy way to share documents, spreadsheets and other information on multiple devices and with others.  Part of google, it’s powerful enough to keep information backed up too while collaborating with others.

Never feel like you have lost a file again!

To manage time

TimeTimer is for everyone who wants to manage time better.  It shows the passage of time and helps you assess how much time you have to complete a task. It helps you get tasks complete.

Analog clock or watch is easier for our brain to connect to the movement and duration of time.

Time is on your side when you manage time.


To maintain wellness

Fitbit tracks your activities, sleep and weight to help keep you accountable.  How much you rest and how much you exercise are contributing factors in wellness.  There are wrist and body fitbits for your needs.

Pandora is your personal radio where you set stations.  If you are motivated by music to get things done, you will enjoy having different stations for different types of activities including organizing!

Wellness is key to all of our lives.


adhd apps and tools


What apps do you use? I have my own list of favorites, as well as student apps and financial apps.   I’d love to learn what works for you!  These ADHD apps and tools make the most of using technology wisely and help us all live well.

How to Make Habits Stick



Some of us are creatures of great routine and some of us are not. When it’s hard to make habits stick, it’s easy to get discouraged.  We label ourselves as unable to create or stick with habits.  With ADHD, it’s especially hard to create and stick to habits or routines.  Habits are not always about being more disciplined.  Habits are about finding ways to incorporate small changes that add up.  How do you make habits stick? Here are 5 ways to make habits more consistent in your life.


Find your habit success first

Surprisingly most people don’t know what habits are sticking. Start with that awareness. Do you consistently do any one thing? It can be something so small you don’t recognize it.  It can be a personal hygiene routine like brushing your teeth, a family activity like attending church or a time topic like being on time routinely.  Once you know one habit is working, it’s a great way to start a new habit.


Start a small actionable habit

Over and over we hear it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  Research shows it is actually longer. However, often we are trying to tackle more than one habit at a time.  Start with something small and specific that you can accomplish.  Find one small part of a new habit you want to create and work just on that small piece.


Hook your habit

Now that you know about a successful habit, it’s time to hook onto this. This means you are doing this new habit just after your existing habit. This way you have the bonus of starting off with success. It’s a powerful way to see change.


Start today

There’s no time like the present. As Nike says, “Just Do It.”  Starting today means you are committing to change.  End procrastination by saying that today is the day. Start right now.


Hold yourself accountable

There are two sides to creating new habits, both procrastination and perfectionism.  We give ourselves the option to just start tomorrow and procrastinate.  We give ourselves permission to call it quits because we haven’t done the task perfectly day in and day out.  Acknowledge both of these and be committed for a 3 month time.  Be accountable with data with apps that help.  Announce your intention to your best friend and have them support you in a loving way.  Create a chart you check off daily to see progress.  If you miss a day, get back on the wagon right away.




How to make habits stick? Try just one of these tricks or tools for at least a month and see what happens!