Week by Week Holiday Planning

The weeks of December pass quickly! There are more activities to attend and more tasks to do as each week goes by.  Focusing on one task per week, even with all the events to attend, makes it easier to enjoy the holidays. You will have to make decisions on what is most important for your family, meaning that some tasks may not happen at all. Prioritize first, then follow this weekly plan.


Before the end of November – create your holiday calendar

Start off with your family’s holiday calendar. Holiday social schedules, school activities and religious events are all part of the fun and at the same time overwhelming.  Those with with ADHD feel stressed with all the responsibilities and multiple overlapping events. Be wise to choose which engagements are most important and put these on the calendar. For those last minute oops events, decide which take priority or if you can attend multiple events on the same day.  Prepare for the energy needed to attend, the transitions between events,  and the preparation time for you to be ready.


First week of December – decorate for the holiday

Decorating gets us in the holiday spirit. Gather on the weekend to decorate your home and tree for the holidays. Take out all the decorations, mark which ones you are using this year, and let go of what is broken and in less than good condition. Keep your perfectionism in check as  you and your family work together on this.

If you celebrate without decorating, use this time to volunteer and give back. There are many needs in your local community where you can make a difference.


Second week of December – purchase and wrap your holiday gifts

Gift giving is part of the joy of the season. Organize what you have and make a list to know what  you still need to purchase. Wrap as you go by setting up a wrapping station and place gifts under the tree as you wrap. Be prepared with tape, gift wrap, bows, tissue and gift bags. Many families are opting for the Four Gifts or the gift of experiences. Mail your gifts now to avoid the holiday rush and have these arrive on time.


Third week of December  -mail your holiday cards or bake holiday treats

Start by choosing a family photo and card. Many stores have 2 day delivery of cards. Gather the cards you have received and your contacts list to create an address list. Purchase stamps online or at local groceries or pharmacies. Enjoy watching a holiday movie while you address and stamp.


If cards are not on your list this year, use this time for baking holiday treats. Keep it simple with up to three treats to bake or make. Be prepared with holiday tins for gift giving. Invite your family to bake with you as part of holiday traditions. Bake extra goodies to serve at home.


Last week of December – preparing your meals and preparing for company

Enjoy the time together as a family and friends by preparing your meal ahead as much as you can. Do a high level cleaning of your home with a sweep through bathrooms and the kitchen. Set the table, grocery shop and meal prep.


Having just one focus every week gives you the opportunity break each task into manageable chunks and accomplish all your holiday tasks.

In honor of Thanksgiving

Wishing you an abundance of love, laughter, joy, peace, comfort and friendship this holiday season!


Favorite Quick Tips for Holiday Happiness


Thank you to my amazing clients who share so many strategies with me! My clients who have ADHD are creative and resourceful, finding ways to make the holidays fun with ADHD-friendly ways to get tasks done. Here is a list of favorite quick tips to embrace the holiday spirit!


Strategies for holiday planning

  • Family calendars and a dry erase board make it easy to see what we have planned. We ask our family what they love to do and the favorite is always driving to see Christmas lights. We do that as much as we can. All our other activities are on the calendar.
  • Use your devices like your phone and ipad to keep up with details. Create an album in your photos to screen shot activities and tickets.
  • Plan as much time without activities as with activities. Your family together time can be time at home with puzzles or board games.
  • Make a list of everything you plan to do: cooking, shopping, hosting, attending – everything. Then go back through the list and cross off 30% of it, planning for only the things which will be most meaningful and helping you to go in with more realistic expectations of how much you can accomplish.
  • Assign tasks to specific people by giving them a list. There is no doubt who does what and your kiddos will know what to do to help.

Strategies for holiday treats

  • Homemade gifts are something I love to do and give. I prepare one easy treat, usually a recipe that has three steps and three ingredients. I keep supplies on hand to be able to make treats as needed throughout the season.
  • Bake multiple holiday treats like breads and cakes well ahead of time. Label and freeze to share later in the holidays.
  • Prep before you begin! It makes all the difference, especially for us Adhd peeps who get distracted. If we know we have 25 gifts to do with all the supplies and whatnot, our brains can work more efficiently to get it done.

Strategies for gift giving

  • Santas workshop is filled with socks! The  joy of fluffy socks for everyone, including teens, can be immeasurable. I keep a stock of socks of all sorts, gift bags and tissue ready to assemble as gifts. As surprises happen, I am prepared.
  • It is easy to go down a million rabbit holes searching for holiday gifts. Order from the same vendors as much as possible and keep the receipts in a digital folder for returns.
  • Buy a stack of generic gift cards like amazon, target, or starbucks, for gifts and to keep on hand in case you forgot a gift.
  • Decide once on teacher gifts. An Amazon gift card in an envelope (labeled with the recipient’s name) attached to a movie-size box of candy makes a fabulous teacher gift!

Strategies for decorating

  • Start and finish early. We decorate the first weekend of November every year and take down our holidays right before New Year’s Eve.
  • We make an appointment with our holiday decorator early in the season to put up the treat and decorate the mantle. It saves us time and we enjoy the festive decorations longer.
  • Know when to end your decorating and start the next things on your list.

Strategies for self-care

  • Stay the course on every day routines. Try to keep your routines of sleep especially as close as possible given all the extra stuff you are doing.
  • Ask for help. Easier said that done but every little way someone or some delivery can help makes it easier.
  • Know your limits before you reach them. When you are feeling overwhelmed or over tired, state your feelings and take a break.
  • Remember the power of music and smell. Holiday favorites bring joy to the day.


Create your own list of quick tips to keep in your holiday notebook for this year and coming years.

Empowering Holiday Joy Using Lists


Lists empower holiday joy


During the holiday season, the foundation of good project management is list making. Using lists helps you prepare and prioritize for each step of the holidays.  Check out these ADHD-friendly ways to use lists effectively during the holiday season.

The Power of Lists

Lists are a powerful tool for individuals with ADHD because these help to lift cognitive load, assist with processing and prioritizing of tasks, and bring order and serenity. Lists give structure to success because you can conquer everything in manageable chunks.  Having a place to hold all the ideas rather than in your head helps you enjoy the season.


Lists empower time management

Having a list will not guarantee success during the holidays. Prioritize first what will be most important since some tasks might be aspirational rather than practical.  Use your list as a guide to how for how you conquer both big and small parts of the holiday season. Write down how much time generally you want to allocate to each task. A suggestion might be by week so to keep on the same project throughout a week’s duration. Combine your lists with your calendar and assign specific dates to specific tasks on your list. You might spend an afternoon looking up recipes and writing a shopping list, then another afternoon baking holiday treats.

Lists reduce overwhelm

The holiday season overwhelms us with the amount of tasks added to your already filled days. Using your lists, you can create daily action lists with 3 Most Important Tasks. Your list can also include the one next step, rather than the entire project. Decide what is the best way for you to chunk your list whether it is by day, task, place of the task, or whatever categories work for you.


Here are lists of lists that can help you manage your holiday season.

    • Holiday binder: a comprehensive lists of schedules, information and all the lists for the holidays
    • Gifting list: all the items you are purchasing, where these are ordered from, and receipts
    • Grocery list: all the items you are serving and making for holiday gifts, including recipes
    • Family calendar: list of all the activities for the holiday season
    • Helpers list: a list of all those you can enlist for delivery services, extra help at home, cleaning, and baby and dog sitting
    • Digital wallet: all the tickets for the performances


The joy of lists

Make your lists fun by customizing what works for you. Digital lists can include a project management tool like Trello or Notes app. Paper lists are best written with jolly gel pens and markers. If you love stickers, purchase a pack of holiday stickers to remind you of tasks. A weekly planning time also ensures you stick to your list, rather than adding more and more tasks. During that time update your list with what has been accomplished to see and feel your success.


The holiday season will be a time of joy and connection, not stress and overwhelm by using lists effectively. Keep your lists visual and easy to see while using them. Avoid the temptation to stop using the lists, even if they are lengthy.  Use your list as a way to keep true to your holiday planning.  By harnessing the power of lists, using your customized approach to writing tasks, and building effective time management with chunking, individuals with ADHD can navigate the holiday preparations with greater ease and effectiveness.

ADHD and Holiday Preparation: Tips for a Joyous Holiday Season

adhd and holiday preparation


The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, bringing together spirituality and family. It can also be a time of stress and overwhelm for those with ADHD. There are so many more events to track and attend, lots of socializing, purchasing and organizing gift giving, food preparation, and decorating which all need to be started and completed in a short time frame. There may also be a bit of perfectionism with often accompanies executive function challenges with ADHD. With an ADHD-friendly approach to planning, you can enjoy a more relaxed and enjoyable holiday season.


Start Early: Begin with a Holiday Calendar

There is a lot of power to early planning and getting started on holiday events early. Giving yourself the extra time you need by starting early allows you to stretch out all the parts of the holiday season. Starting in early November, you can use your holiday calendar to outline all your commitments, including parties, family gatherings, and gift exchanges. With a visual strategy, you see upcoming events, where you might be overcommitted, and avoid last-minute hiccups that cause stress.  Host a family meeting for everyone to share their one favorite holiday activity to ensure it is included in this year’s events.  Post your paper calendar where everyone can see it and duplicate this information on everyone’s digital calendar. Start strong and end strong by checking this calendar every week and adding tasks to your task list.


Breaking It Down: The Art of Task Chunking

With so much to do during the holidays, it is easy to get overwhelmed and paralyzed. ADHD can make it difficult to tackle big tasks all at once. Make holiday preparation more manageable by breaking each part of holiday preparation into smaller, actionable steps. It is easier to focus on one area at a time. Segment your calendar with these chunks. A typical schedule might include one week with a single focus, such as a week for decorating, a week for gift purchasing, a week for food preparation, and a week of rest.  This approach gives you the time you need for tasks and the opportunity to focus on one thing at a time. Use this approach with all the related holiday activities as well.


Tech-Savvy Solutions

The best gift you give yourself is the gift of tech-savvy solutions. Everything you can do with your devices, such as purchase and track gifts, make calendar reminders, and take photos to include your holiday decorations. Use a simple app to capture all of this information, such as Notes or Google Drive so you know where to find your information. Make albums in your photos app to include all of this information.


The Gift of Thoughtful and Meaningful Gifting

While giving gifts is thoughtful, it can be a major stressor during the holiday season. To make it easier, create a gift-giving strategy. Think about a universal gift for families, individuals, and co-workers. Remember that finding the perfect gift is not the goal of the holiday season. Keep it simple with a single homemade treat just to let know people that you are thinking of them.


Asking for Help: Bring on the Elves

Help is all around you. It is a matter of asking and being specific about the task. Support is here with local grocery stores and delivery services. Share food preparation responsibilities with your family and friends to enjoy the time together. This is also a time to stay connected to your therapist, coach, and professional organizer who all want to support you all through the year.


Prioritizing Your Well-Being

You have a lot on your plate all year long and holidays add even more.  Holiday preparation is exhausting, especially for individuals with ADHD. Make your self-care a priority by keeping to your regular bedtime, maintaining a regular exercise routine, and time away from toxic people. Enjoy time outside to keep grounded and focused. Fill your home with the scents of the season to remind you of the joy of the holidays. Most especially this is a time of gratitude. Tap into deep-rooted gratitude with a daily record of “glimmers”.  These are small moments of connection and joy that occur each day through the holidays. These glimmers give back to you the real meaning of the season.


Holiday preparation can be challenging for anyone, but individuals with ADHD face unique hurdles in managing holiday projects. Embrace the holiday spirit, and don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Wishing you a happy and stress-free holiday season!

Baby Steps for Establishing Consistency

baby steps for establishing consistency


Throughout the Fall we are working toward creating, managing, and improving our routines. For those with ADHD, maintaining routines can be a challenge because of focus, distractions, and interest. It is not for lack of intention or motivation that gaps occur. Lack of consistency is a struggle. With strategies, it is possible to adhere more consistently to routines. Check out these ways to establish and maintain routines.


Establish routines with ADHD in mind

Knowing how you work best is the best start.

  • Start small with adjustments to your routines. These small starts prevent being overwhelmed. A micro-step makes a difference. According to Thrive, the tiniest step forward can help you build the routines you want. A micro-step toward better productivity starts with spending 5 minutes prioritizing your to-do list each morning.
  • Establish an environment that supports your routines. Placing your medication in a place where you see it each morning supports taking your medication regularly. Walk your environment to learn ways you can make it more empowering.
  • Use reminders and leverage technology to support you. Using alarms with certain ring tones for certain tasks reminds you to initiate that routine. Use a variety of timers to remind you to start and end your routine. Make routines visual with charts and checklists placed strategically to cue your routine.

Empower time management to support routines

Time management focused on ADHD strengths helps you be more consistent in your routines.

  • Know yourself and how you work best. Do you need a set time block for a routine or do you need a workflow that includes a series of steps? In either situation, walk through your routine to be sure you have established sufficient time to start and complete your routine.
  • Account for or eliminate transition time. Transitions are difficult for those with ADHD to switch between tasks. You can factor in transition time to allow for the completion of the routine. If possible, eliminate a difficult transition to ensure your routine begins.
  • Create external support for your time management. These are both physical support and in-person support. Physical support can be a clock, a timer, a phone, or a device. Our friends and colleagues support your efforts by being team players in your routines. Those around you can remind you and help you be more consistent.


Create a strong foundation for routines with self-care

There are always times when an oops will occur in your routines. Be kind to yourself and get back on track the next day. If you find there are too many oops, look at the structure of your day to find ways to create a better scaffolding.

  • The best routines start with a great bedtime routine. Start small by creating an hour of wind downtime to get ready for bed. You will nee this time to prepare mentally to get to sleep.
  • Positive affirmations and re-focusing perspectives help keep your goals of consistency possible. “Don’t give up on the person you are becoming.” Find a mantra that supports this effort.
  • There is a fine balance between rigidity and consistency. Allow for some flow of flexibility in your schedule to accommodate unexpected events. Also, balance structure and overcommitment. When you are overly optimistic about what you can accomplish in a day, regardless of how important it all is, you will not be able to maintain your routines. Keep a positive attitude about routines and you will become more consistent.
  • Remember that consistency does not mean perfection. It might require you to create data to support your success. Find your own success number rather than 100%.


Establishing and maintaining routines will require some extra effort for individuals with ADHD. It is the hardest part of all routines. By starting small, leveraging external aids, and empowering time management for the way you think,  you will create consistent routines.  The big picture is about creating a structure that gives you ample opportunity to thrive.

Baby Steps to Add Structure to Your Work Week

Baby steps to add structure to your work week


Do you remember the structure of the school day?  There were time blocks for each subject and time for lunch and play.  As adults it can be difficult to find a pattern like this that fits for our work week. By starting small, you can create a productive structure throughout your week that makes life smoother. Here are 3 baby steps to add structure to your work week.


Theme Days

Assigning lengthy time blocks to specific topics makes it easier to be productive. A Theme Day assigns a set of certain tasks revolving around a specific area of work to a certain day. This could be Money Monday or Financial Friday. I have added Set up Sunday to my week to be sure I am ready to start the next week ready, organized, and prepared.  This strategy gives you ample time to complete the tasks, keeps you focused, and give you structure to your week.


Book end your day

Self-care happens best when scheduled. Take advantage of classes that occur twice a week to create structure. Attend the same classes for two days a week. For me, that is attending my Tuesday – Thursday 6 pm pilates class. This way I know that I have covered my exercise goals and ended each day with ample time for rest. By book ends, meaning the structuring the beginning or end of the day, I have followed Parkinson’s Law of work expands to fit the time allotted.


Incorporate routines

Routines are consistent patterns of activity that reinforce productivity and well-being. Having both start of the day and end the day routines helps create a daily structure for your week.

Start your day with a prioritized list of tasks each day. If you need a warm up to get started, organize the materials that are needed for each task then jump in.


End the day by closing down your station. Make a note of where you ended on your work. Re-prioritize your list for the next day. Place materials and resources back, clear your space, and push in your chair.

You will be relieved at the end of the day and excited at the start of the day with these new rituals that add structure to your week.


Empower horizontal time blocks

As you review your daily time blocks, add one horizontal time block at your most productive time slot. This power period at the same time each day throughout the week gives you time to do your most challenging and valuable work at your best time each day. Set this time block for projects that require deep thought. As a result your productivity will soar from dedicating this structure to your week.


Organizing your day with structure gives you a natural rhythm which offers powerful work flow. Add one of these baby steps to structure to your week this week.


Baby Steps for Better Time Management


Time awareness is a familiar challenge for those with ADHD. Often referred to as time blindness,  people have difficulty knowing how long a task will take, knowing how much time to allocate for transitions such as leaving for an appointment to be on time, or how long they are spending on a task. Start with baby steps in creating more time awareness to begin better time management.


Build data

Learn about time by building data about your use of time. Start by using a clock to time the duration of tasks at home like getting ready in the morning, winding down in the evening, or unloading the dishwasher. Clock tasks at work such as reading and responding to emails or completing a report. You are better prepared for setting up time blocks with this information.

Analyze patterns in your day to learn about your personal productivity. Learning your chronotype, when you work best during the day, helps you know when to schedule your tasks and projects. Focus on the positive and assess the situation, time, or location that prompted your success.


Externalize time

Using an external tool to help you become more time makes it easier to see or feel time. Add an analog clock in spots where time is lost. This type of clock, with arms that move, offers a visual reminder of time. Use a timer to hear the beginning, duration, and end of an allocated time. Set alarms and reminders to start and complete tasks. Each of these external time managers helps keep you on track.

Calendars are one of the best external tools for time management. With a place for dates, appointments, and tasks, you no longer have to remember this information. Update your calendar as information comes in and refer to your calendar all day throughout the day. Widgets make your calendar visible on the locked screen of your devices.

There are many more digital tools to help you on your journey, such as Alexa and Siri!


Get organized

Because of poor working memory, items can get misplaced and delay you. Be sure to have a “place for everything and everything in its place” to save time when you are ready to start a project or leave your home or office.  Have a reset time to replace items into their spots each week. Proactively being organized gives you the best opportunity to make use of the time you have.

Organize your calendar and reminders with cloud-based project management tools such as Click Up, Trello, and Asana. By integrating these, you are automating your time and task management.



Choose one of these baby steps to help you with your time awareness. Remember that time awareness is a work in progress and that you are learning as you progress.

Embracing Neurodiversity: Celebrating ADHD Awareness Month

embracing neurodiversity and adhd awareness month


October is ADHD Awareness Month. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of people worldwide, and this month is dedicated to raising awareness, reducing stigma, and celebrating the unique qualities and talents of individuals with ADHD. Whether you are newly diagnosed, a veteran with your diagnosis, know someone, or work with someone with ADHD, I share what ADHD is, explore the challenges, and emphasize why it is important to embrace neurodiversity.


About ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by executive function issues, including motivation, organization, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These factors can significantly impact a person’s daily life.

  • Those with ADHD have difficulty organizing their belongings and their time.  Some people lose track of keys, papers, appointments, and time.
  • Time awareness is poor for those with ADHD.  They are not sure of how much time has passed, how long a task will take, or have trouble managing their time.
  • Impulsivity such as acting through thinking or interrupting others can cause unintended consequences for those with ADHD.
  • Lack of attention on tasks, following through with instructions, or staying on track impairs productivity.
  • Individuals with ADHD struggle more with procrastination due to trouble initiating tasks and sustaining effort over time.
  • Transitioning between tasks and shifting attention can interfere with time management.
  • Because of poor working memory, people with ADHD may have difficulty holding onto information in their heads, following through on multiple-step tasks, and increased frustration with multiple-step tasks.
  • Co-existing conditions of depression and anxiety impact these daily life activities.

Executive function deficits are common in ADHD, however not all individuals with ADHD experience the same challenges to the same degree.  Every person with ADHD experiences the challenges of executive function in a different way with different levels of challenge.

Embracing Neurodiversity

ADHD Awareness Month is a time to celebrate neurodiversity by recognizing that differences contribute to the depth and breadth of our world. You can share the love of neurodiversity by learning more about it and supporting those experiencing it.

Learn about ADHD, its symptoms, and the challenges individuals face. Here are some sites that help you better understand neurodiversity.

    • ADDitudemag.com
    • Understood.org
    • CHADD.org
    • ADDA.com
    • ADDA-SR.org
    • Professional-Organizer.com

Support individuals with ADHD with understanding. These are some ways to offer support for yourself or others with ADHD.

    • Find a coach to support you with curiosity and accountability.
    • Chat with friends and family about how to best support you. If you are a friend or family, take the initiative to gently discuss how you can best support them.
    • Connect with ADDA-SR, ADDA, or CHADD to join a support group. Groups are offered virtually throughout the month and can be specially focused on parenting, aging, and more.
    • Join an online ADHD social media support offering suggestions and support.
    • Choose a therapist who specializes in support for those with ADHD.
    • Build a bigger team for those with ADHD to thrive with their diagnosis.

Empower those with ADHD to embrace their unique traits and talents, fostering a positive self-image.

    • There are many ways to accept an ADHD diagnosis, including the choice to take medication.
    • Through learning about strengths, embrace ways to build from these opportunities for out-of-the-box thinking, spontaneity, and passion.
    • Validate feelings about neurodiversity through empathy.

By getting to know ADHD better, and appreciating the strengths and challenges it brings, we can better encourage and support those with ADHD and other brain-based conditions.

Learn more here at ADHD Awareness Month!

Baby Steps to Boost Resilence

Baby steps to boost reslience


Resilience means the ability to weather challenges, recover quickly from difficulties, and the capacity to spring back into shape. In our uncertain world, we utilize this quality every day in our work, home, and life. Every day, we face tests where things take longer than expected, become more complicated, and can be frustrating. Boost your resilience through self-care by incorporating one or more of these baby steps.


Connect with others

Take a moment to actively seek opportunities to connect with others. Engage in small talk by asking about your colleagues’ weekend plans, inquiring about their family, or establishing common ground, such as discussing the importance of coffee to start the day. Start a new hobby or engage in a philanthropic project to find new energy and build friendships. Building camaraderie starts with these small conversations and establishes connections.


Plan outdoor time

Research highlights the significance of spending time outdoors. It rejuvenates our systems by providing Vitamin D, aids in disease prevention, and enhances overall well-being. Take a few minutes to step outside, whether it’s walking from the parking lot to the office or strolling around the backyard. Enjoy coffee or lemonade outside at a coffee spot. Sit outside for a few minutes every evening as the temperatures cool. Tend a container garden with fall herbs. Your time outside will benefit your sleep too.


Pause and express gratitude

Take a moment to reflect on one positive aspect of your day. Embrace that brief moment of joy and appreciate something that brought you happiness. Place a small souvenir from a vacation at your desk or add a photo to your screen to remind of you of your time away. Write a note to a friend, pick up a funny card to share, or text a quick thank you.


Escort your devices out of the bedroom

A great night’s rest without blue light or interruption makes all the difference for your productivity. Sleep well with time away from what keeps you awake.


Share kindness

A colleague shared how a few minutes of time on the phone about a concern helped another person do so much. She declined payment for the phone time and instead that person donated to the local food bank instead. The power of helping makes a big difference. Find a small way you can share kindness in a difficult situation. It might be acknowledging that others are doing a great job while in their own difficult situation with emotional support, bringing food to a family undergoing difficult circumstances, or letting someone ahead of you in line.


Choose a way to cultivate your resilience through pausing, reflecting, and taking time for self-care. Squeeze in a few minutes daily for this important skill that builds emotional resilience.