Category: ADD

Perfectionism, Procrastination and Organizing

perfectionism, procrastination and organizing



Perfectionism and procrastination sound like opposites but are they really? Do you set incredibly high standards for a project including lots of planning and then don’t get started because it won’t be completed to your satisfaction? Do you put off a project, thinking you will have more time or energy to do it later? More often than you think, perfectionism can be immobilizing you.  Here are some points to think about with perfectionism, procrastination and organizing.


Are you a perfectionist?

Begin by becoming aware of perfectionism in your life. Many people do not realize that they are perfectionists. A home with clutter or incomplete projects can be the home of a perfectionist! Having incredibly high standards that are impossible to reach, whether in taking care of your home, completing a project, or in any thought process, indicate perfectionism. By having the realization of perfectionism, you can begin to evaluate what this is costing you and what’s next.


Focus on balanced goals and completion

Because perfectionism is stopping us from starting, we need to focus on the goals of balance and completion. Simply put, it is that old saying, “If I can’t do it right I am not going to do it at all.” Start by asking yourself, what is “right” to you? A realistic goal balances your personal energy, time and importance of the task. You can do it well and get it done. Donna Smallin, author of Organizing Plain and Simple, notes that “done is perfect.” You can start by using Donna’s saying to help you put things in perspective, create the balance for yourself and get the job done.

Empowering self talk

Another aspect of perfectionism is rigid, black and white thinking. Either a project is perfect or a disaster! Using acknowledging, empowering self talk, including kudos of accomplishment throughout the project, leads to satisfaction with the outcome and completion. Seeing productivity, you will feel successful and feel more like completing the project. It is definitely a circle of work and success that stands out then.


Making projects manageable


We may think that a project is going to take hours and we may not have hours to work on it. It may surprise you how much less time a project takes than we imagined.  We may not start a project until everything else is perfect around it.  Break the tasks into manageable parts. Make it manageable with one or two hour time slots, only taking out a part of the project, or adding in additional resources.  As you work through your project, commit by writing in your calendar slots that take advantage of your best energy times.  You will feel successful as you move forward, instead of putting off and procrastinating.



Standards of excellence instead of perfection make a difference in starting and completing a project. Whether organizing a space or any other task, start with baby steps and practice your imperfection. Work at a comfortable pace, allow for changes as needed and review your work consistently. When others offer to assist, welcome their help and disregard their imperfections as they help you complete a project. With this process, you will be excited by the excellence you created!


Want more organizing motivation and inspiration? Join my newsletter.

ADHD Bill Paying Solutions



ADHD Bill paying solutions


It’s a struggle to pay your bills.  Anxiety, math phobia, and paperwork challenges all add up to ADHD bill paying problems.  Financial documents are a nightmare because of details, multiple steps and lack of consistency.  Not to mention those awful accruing late fees!  Try one of these ADHD bill paying solutions.


Bill paying center

  • Gather together your bills, a pencil, calculator, stamps, envelopes, checks and manilla envelopes.
  • Open the envelopes of all the bills and mark the date due on each.
  • Divide the bills to pay according to the date due and the income in your checkbook.
  • Keep your bill paying center where you see it every day.
  • Pay your bills either every day or 7 days ahead of due date.

Online bill paying

  • Set up online bill pay using your bank’s services.  You will need one bill from each utility, including your account number.
  • Open your bills each day and write the due date on the envelope.
  • Check your balance weekly.
  • Pay your bills daily and set the due date for payment according to your balance and income.


Money Management Binder

  • Set up your binder with tabbed slash pockets. Label the pockets: To be paid, January, February, March, etc.
  • Use this Monthly Bill Manager to list your bills and how you paid.


Bill Manager List

  • Place all bills in the binder as they arrive.
  • Write checks and pay online once a week. Call the day Money Monday or Financial Friday.  Set a reminder or put post it notes to help you stay on top of your weekly commitment.
  • Keep the binder in the same place all the time so you can drop in bills and keep up with your weekly payments.


Auto debits and other automatic payments

There may be some payments that happen automatically from your account.  Make a list of these payments and the amounts taken out monthly. It creates a visual reminder for you and keeps you on track with your money.

Big Bills to Pay

Even with a great system, big surprises happen.  Make a list of the big bills you pay at different times during the year.  Payments for property tax, insurance, and estimated tax payments occur at random times throughout the year.  Go back through last year’s checkbook and create a list of these expenses.  Add these to your recurring reminders.


What solutions work for your bill paying?


More bill paying ideas here!


Join my newsletter for oodles of organizing and productivity ideas.



15 ADHD Organizing Tips for 2015

adhd organizing


It’s the new year and time to put our goals into action! Get your home, work space, kids and more in order this year with these 15 ADHD organizing tips for 2015.



  • Apply the ONE in, TWO out rule.   By taking TWO items out, you are gaining on clutter build up.
  • Labeling helps everyone put away stuff.  Label kids drawers, pantry, or anywhere for items to be put back.
  • Set dates to organize. Write in your calendar a one – two hour time, every other week or once a month, you are going to organize. It keeps you committed to your goal.



  • Create a well suited work environment. A less distracting environment is one with less clutter, optimal auditory stimulation and attractive for you.  Decide what is not working in your space and spend time crafting an improved place to work.
  • Create and set up reminders that work for you. If you are highly visual, use a dry erase board and sticky notes on a window. If you are highly auditory, set alarms on your phone.
  • Use one hour power periods to accomplish your work.  Set a power period at your high energy time to get the most out of your time.



  • Partner with your kids to use their planners.  The planner should be the one spot all assignments are written so that nothing slips through the cracks.  Go online to websites, have your kids write in assignments from the class room and consolidate all assignments here.
  • Set up a homework routine with your kids.  Start early, like 4 -5 pm, for homework time. Establish a “get started procedure” like setting up the planner and books on the table.  Homework time ends when all items are back in the back pack and by the door.
  • Use apps that make learning fun.  Quizlet, StudyBlue, Free Audio Books and MindMeister make it easier to digest and incorporate new concepts and vocabulary.



  • Declutter with your kids twice a year, before birthday and holidays.   Its a reset in their rooms so that they keep decluttered.  Work for at least 15 minutes with them, and then continue without them.
  • Cherish your kids artwork with an art gallery or art book. Collect the art together for 2  weeks in a bin.   Have your child choose what to display.  Establish a gallery with frames or string and clothespins.   Take photos of the artwork and create a photo book with it.
  • Help your kids distinguish treasures. Set up a box or bin for them to keep their treasures in their closet.  When the box is full, it’s time to prioritize what is a treasure and what can be let go.


Wellness and Self care

  • Everyone needs a good bed time.  Start earlier than you think by getting ready ahead of time. No blue light for 60 minutes before bed.  Be in bed 30 minutes ahead. Set the temperature cooler in your bedroom.
  • Get out in green space.  Take a short walk, do a little meditation, and spend a little time outdoors exercising. It’s what is best for focus and clarity.  Daily exercise helps you be more productive.
  • Do something fun.  More times than not my clients share that they have no time for what they love.  Spend time being crafty, reading a magazine and doing something for YOU each week.


Learn more about ADHD


Join me on Facebook for daily doses of organizing and productivity.

Favorite Blog Posts 2014

It’s almost a wrap! The year 2015 starts this week. Thank you for your commitment to organizing and learning new tools, tips and techniques on Ellen’s Blog this year.  Here are your favorite blog posts for 2014!



organizing your add family

Organizing your ADHD family


3 steps to organize  your desk

3 Steps to Organize your Desk


14 productivity tips

14 Productivity Tips for 2014

ADHD Tips for Small Business

adhd tips for small business.


ADHD strengths are wonderful attributes for being an entrepreneur.  There are so many ways ADHD entrepreneurs are successful.   It’s the creativity, resourcefulness, and solution based thinking that lead to success.  ADHD includes a powerful set of qualities that make for ground breaking new ideas and tools.


There can be a few bumps in the road too.  Difficulties with executive function, planning and organizing can get in the way.  Here are 3 ADHD tips for business owners to maximize their success.


Planning tools make a difference

Often an ADHD small business owner will only use a planner to write in an appointment.  Use your planner as a tools to help you initiate and execute your tasks.


  • Think creatively about your planner and use color and small post it notes.  Write each task separately so you can create baby steps and keep from being overwhelmed.  If these are written on small post it or flag notes, you can move them around as needed to work.


  • Think about options for your planner. It can be 3 dry erase calendars on a prominent wall with difference color markers.  It can be a file cabinet adjacent to your desk with  post it notes. It can be a wall  you paint chalkboard paint.


post it note task list


Set a time once a weekly for reviewing what’s on your planner.  As a processing tool use it daily to write a note for your 3 Most Important Tasks.  Create a new habit by hooking this habit onto an existing habit.   It won’t happen automatically for a while, but it is a powerful change.



Get a grip on paper

Being overrun and overwhelmed by paper can be paralyzing to an entrepreneur.  Take back control of your paper by cutting back on it first.


  • Print as little as possible.  Ruthlessly eliminate all paper that will not immediate at to your bottom line with a return on investment.  Write notes in an arc spiral or use Evernote.   Scan in what comes to you in paper form.  Choose what is going to work best considering the amount of paper.  As you can see, this takes a diligently and ongoing attack on paper from all directions.


  • Choose a paper system that works with your strengths. A command center can be placed on your desk or adjacent to it.  An accordion file is a tool with 7 or 13 pockets that can travel with you between locations.


  • Whatever the tool, be sure to label the slots.  With a label only what belongs in the slot gets in the slot. It also helps you stay focused and keep you from being overwhelmed.  No slot for that paper, it’s off to the shredder or recycle.


Focus on your strengths

No one is good at everything.  Entrepreneurs needs to wear many hats. This may sound like a conflict for ADHD entrepreneurs, but it’s a call to action for automation and delegation.  There are many small ways to start.


  • Automation is using technology tools to their best advantage.  It can be an autoresponder when a client contacts your website. It can be downloading financial information from the bank to Quickbooks.  It can be an app on your smart phone that adds contacts to Outlook.  Look for small or large ways to automate processes in your business.


  • Delegation is sharing a responsibility with a colleague or employee.  Know what can only be done by you. The rest can be delegated in small bites.    The biggest challenge is often the first step of asking for help.  Think of this step as taking on a partnership, rather than giving away the ship.  As you share the task, you build in accountability for the actions you will perform, as well as get additional help with technology, marketing skills or organizational tasks.


There’s more you can share about your own tips for business.  Share one here!


Learn more about ADHD on my pinterest board.


Get a monthly boost of productivity and organizing. Join my newsletter.

ADHD and Motivation

ADHD and motivation


You find it hard to get started on a project, hard to finish up and tough to stay on task.  ADHD and executive function deficits create challenges for motivation. It can feel discouraging, frustrating and overwhelming.  At a recent conference for the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, speakers shared ways to get motivated despite the obstacles. There are lots of small ways ADHD and motivation can make a daily difference for you.


Russell Barkley is author of  Taking Charge of Adult ADHD.  This speaker suggested using external cues to help you get motivated and stay on track.  External cues can include post it notes or check lists with tasks spelled out.  Social accountability like a study buddy or coach can help you lower or eliminate distractions as well as keep you positive about your work.  These external cues help you become more successful at any task.



Denslow Brown and Karen Boutelle shared the value of coaching for motivation.  Denslow is the creator of Coach Approach for Organizers, which I have participated in.   Her coach training focuses on the collaborative partnership with the ADHD client and coach.  Karen Boutelle from Landmark College demonstrated using coaching to facilitate motivation for students.  Both speakers shared coaching strategies in helping a client move forward with their goals.


Struggling with getting started?  Here are a few practical ways to get going.

  • Set a timer for 15 minutes.  For 5 minutes, assess what you have accomplished.  Reset the timer for another 15 minutes, twice more.  You have accomplished a lot!
  • Find an ADHD coach to work with you.
  • Clear your space for clarity.  Keep your desk clear of extra papers and office supplies in order to keep clear about your work.
  • Partner with a colleague or family member. Having someone to help with decisions and work together makes the project get off the ground.  Your partner also acts as a body double to help lend you energy to get going.
  • Find a way to add positive accountability to your day.  Send a quick email sharing what you accomplished that day.  Text someone sharing the news of conquering a difficult task.  Make a phone call on your way home to tell someone about an accomplishment.
  • Add a dash of fun to your work.  It can be a quirky element (like writing with a pink marker), some music (your Pandora work station you create) or something silly (perhaps a crazy hat or fluffy boa).  No one wants to miss out on fun, right?


What are ways you are getting motivated?


Each week on Facebook I share tips and tricks for ADHD.  Like my page and click “get notifications.


Join my newsletter for a monthly dose of productivity and organizing.

Back to School for Your ADHD Family

Back to School for your ADHD Family


The start of a new school year can be empowering and difficult.  It brings the promise of a new teacher and a fresh start, as well as the fear of previous challenges.  For your ADHD family, back to school is a new beginning each and every year.


Clean slate

Back to school for your ADHD family is a great clean slate. It’s about starting off with fresh energy.  There’s excitement in collaborating with a new teacher.  Start your year off with a family meeting about the successes from last year. What worked well? What didn’t?  Starting off with a successful, solutions oriented perspective will make this the best year for your family.


School supplies

There are many ways to set up binders and accordion files for your child.  There are many different school supplies.  Rely on your school district supply list and check your own supplies.  Coach your child to set up a binder system and school supplies that work for him/her.  A homework folder or pocket in the binder where all homework comes and returns makes it easy to keep up with this paper.  The best systems are the most simple.


School and Homework routines

One of the hardest parts of school is homework routines.  It’s all about consistency.  Set a time for homework to start and finish after school. Starting after a snack and short break makes it easier to complete homework.  Set up a homework spot with an additional set of supplies for your child.  Partner with your child to prioritize the daily assignments, working in small time slots. Using a timer can be a bonus for getting started and working without distractions.


A critical element for all routines is good rest.  Set bedtimes for parents and kids.  Start early getting to bed, eliminating blue screens at least an hour before bedtime.  Have a charging station in a public spot for all electronics in the home.  A good night’s rest is a great way to be sure everyone is working at their full potential.


Set up a landing strip where kids backpacks, your purse, and possibly shoes are housed.  There’s no scrambling in the morning when there’s only one spot.  Clean out backpacks and purses weekly.


Team communication

Parents, teachers and counselors working as a team is the best for everyone.  If your child has a 504 plan or IEP, review that early in the year.  Frequent communication by email helps everyone work together.  Start the year off with an email to your child’s teachers sharing his/her strengths and noting where help is needed most.   Establishing a trust relationship takes time, but working as a team is best for your child.


Gathering a team of resources is an asset. Your child can benefit from work with a counselor, professional organizer or homework buddy.  In having a team you can learn and share what works with each professional.


Check out my pinterest boards for more ideas for students and ADHD


Join my newsletter for a monthly dose of organizing tips, tricks and tools.






Make Your Biz Bigger, Brighter, Bolder and Better: ADHD Resources

Small business organzing and productivity


Resources and education make the difference.  The more you know, the more solutions you can find.  Included below are some of my favorite ADHD resources for books, websites, blogs and people to follow.

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize by Kathleen Nadeau and Judith Kohlberg
Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell
Healing ADD: 6 Types of ADD by Daniel Amen
Taking Charge of Your ADHD by Russell Barkley
More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD by Ari Tuckman

Websites (lots of webinars, blogs, and more on here) (resources listed here) (chapters listed here)

Podcasts webinars

People to follow
Ari Tuckman
Laura Rolands
Andrea Sharb


A special thank you to our product sponsors!





Meet the ADHD Expert Laura Rolands

Laura Rolands


Throughout the month of December, I am honored and grateful to share posts by ADHD experts.  In this series of  Meet the ADHD Expert, our experts are sharing their thoughts about ADHD.  Let me introduce guest blogger Laura Rolands.



Laura Rolands of is an ADHD Coach who helps adults with ADHD/ADD pay attention, improve their time management skills and increase productivity.  Her clients include students, adult and organizations looking for help with time management, productivity, organization, procrastination and other challenges related to ADD or ADHD.  Register for Laura’s free time management guide on her website at and listen to her radio show archives at


What was your first experience with ADHD?

I first learned about ADHD when talking with teachers at my child’s schools about attention challenges that we didn’t know how to resolve at the time.  It was a frustrating experience in the beginning, but we worked together to develop strategies that have helped my child succeed.  In reality, I saw ADHD, however for years in my work as a Human Resources professional.  I just didn’t know how to recognize it at the time.


What was is one thing you want everyone to know about ADHD?

While it can happen, ADHD challenges do not typically go away with age. New challenges can present themselves later in life after the structure provided by parents is no longer applicable.  Being aware of this can help the adults with ADHD to identify and develop strategies to assist them personally and professionally.  Taking proactive action can also help build self-confidence.


What is your best tip for ADHD?

Be on the lookout for overcommitment and learn how to say no.  ADHD can cause impulsivity that can lead to a calendar and to do list that is literally overflowing. Learn to say “no” to gain positive control over your commitments and schedule.  Follow these skill-building steps:

  • Identify situations where you make impulsive decisions to accept new projects or tasks..
  • Rehearse saying “no” before entering the situation.  For example, saying, “No thanks, I just can’t add anything new to my plate right now.”  Avoid long explanations; they leave too much open to debate with the requestor.
  • Practice your statement five times before entering the situation.
  • Evaluate your progress and praise yourself to celebrate success.

It takes daily practice to build this skill.  Start practicing today to “no” into a positive!


What is your morning like?

Mornings are relatively long at my house with the first alarm sounding at 5:10am and the last person leaving the house around 7:45am.  There are 4 of us who wake up, get ready and head to work and school at various times.  Mornings are rarely hectic though and I am thankful that my kids get out of bed without too much prodding.


Stay connected to Laura







Meet the ADHD Expert Andrea Sharb

Throughout the month of December, I am honored and grateful to share posts by ADHD experts.  In this series of  Meet the ADHD Expert, our experts are sharing their thoughts about ADHD.  Let me introduce guest blogger Andrea Sharb.


Andrea Sharb


Andrea Sharb, ACC®, CPO-CD®, COC®, and CPO® is owner of S.O.S.~Sharb Organizing Solutions, LLC and a trainer for the Coach Approach for Organizers.   Since 2006, Andrea has specialized in Helping Others Overcome Overwhelm™.  Her most rewarding work is with chronically disorganized clients, especially Adults with ADHD or those who wonder if they have ADHD. She also works with individuals who want to gain better control over their physical space, time or life.  A certified coach, her approach, is grounded in helping clients raise their awareness around how their challenges are impacting them.  With awareness raised she assists them in creating strategies for a more organized, productive and fulfilling life.  She then supports her clients in the implementation of those strategies.  Her goal is to not only teach her clients techniques for clearing the clutter from their lives, but to empower them to make changes leading to a more organized lifestyle.  In addition to working with organizing clients, she provides mentor-coaching services to professional organizers.


What was your first experience with ADHD?

I first became aware of ADHD in my work as a professional organizer.  What I noticed most was how I identified personally with many of the struggles of my ADHD clients.  I had always been good at organizing physical spaces. But, was challenged when it came to managing my time and dealing with overwhelm that resulted from taking on too many shiny, new activities.  As I learned more about ADHD, in order to better serve my ADHD clients, I began to suspect I was dealing with ADHD myself.  I was formally diagnosed with combined type ADHD a few years ago.


What was is one thing you want everyone to know about ADHD?

What I most want people to know is that ADHD is not a sentence to a lesser life.  Change is possible, but it takes building awareness about your ADHD and your strengths, designing actions and developing accountability around those actions, and creating supportive systems. An ADHD coach can serve as a guide in all of these areas.

What is your best tip for ADHD?

When you learn something that works for you, it’s important to find a way to remind yourself of it, so you can continue to use it to support you.  Unfortunately ADHD often results in us forgetting what supports us most.  Document what works best for you on a list of best practices, and review it regularly.


What is your morning like? 

Great question Ellen!  I’d love to be able to tell you my mornings are well ordered, but they tend to be a little inconsistent depending upon whether I have an early morning appointment.  If I have an early morning appointment, the external accountability makes all the difference in motivating me through what needs to be accomplished before I leave.  If my first appointment isn’t until later in the morning, things get a little more challenging.   Early morning appointment or not, there are some constants:  Before I even get out of bed I review my best practices on my iPad and check my calendar for the day.  If my first appointment is a little later in the morning I also clear the email that filled my inbox over night.


The next step is dealing with what I call my linked activities:  putting in contacts, brushing teeth and getting dressed for exercise.  No matter what the day, these tasks almost always seem tough to tackle.  Putting in the contacts is easiest, because being able to see has the biggest payoff.  From there it is a matter of talking myself into doing just one more thing.  “Ok, contacts are in, all you need to do now is brush your teeth.”  “Alright, all you need to do now is get dressed and put your hair up.”  There is a lot of self-talk going on in my house in the morning.


If I have an early morning appointment, I head straight to the treadmill.  Exercise shifts my brain into gear and can make all the difference in how my day goes.  I do a lot of my professional reading while I’m on the treadmill because reading becomes so much easier for me when I’m moving.  (My husband will tell you that if I read while sitting in a chair I tend to fall asleep, which isn’t terribly conducive to learning.)


A later morning appointment can result in procrastination around exercise, so I’ll usually end up working backwards from the time I have to leave and calculating the latest time that I can get on the treadmill.  Setting a timer for this time and placing it in another room makes all the difference when it comes to transitioning me to the treadmill.


After exercise, breakfast and a shower, it’s time to start the day.


Anything else you want to share? 

Just to say thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers and to pass along the following: The way your brain works is not your choice. How you respond to the way your brain works is.  What choices will you make with respect to your ADHD and overcoming your own overwhelm?


Stay connected to Andrea





Ringbinder theme by Themocracy