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





23 replies
  1. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    I LOVE this interview! And it’s with two of my most favorite people. Your approach to coaching and organizing is just beautiful…strengths-based. And I also appreciate the honesty with which you share your own challenges around organizing and routines. You break it down to such simple terms, explaining how putting the basics in place set the tone for the day (contacts in, teeth brushed, calendar checked.) Perhaps though what struck me most was when you said, “The way your brain works is not your choice. How you respond to the way your brain works is.” So powerful!

  2. Andrea Sharb
    Andrea Sharb says:

    Thanks for your comments Linda! I like to keep things simple, because we so often spend so much of our time seemingly trying to make things more difficult for ourselves and others. As I told someone today, “Life is too short actively to make things harder.” Keep it simple, keep it positive – operating from this perspective is a choice.

  3. Sue West
    Sue West says:

    Andrea’s point is what so many people forget: “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.” It can take a long time to become aware, try out a strategy, use it long enough you know it works – and then to remember it, and remember when you might be overwhelmed ! So incredibly important, not to just to get the thing done that needs doing, but to build your confidence that you can respond in ways that fit you best. Love it – thanks to you both!

  4. Julie
    Julie says:

    Great interview Andrea and Ellen. This demonstrates how important it is for those with ADHD (and everyone else) to develop strategies that are very practical (self talk for contacts, teeth, clothes, exercise) AND the support of having the right mindset around ADHD (it is your choice and it doesn’t mean a ‘lesser life’) – beautiful. It is clear to see why you are successful with clients with this multi-pronged approach.

  5. Lisa Schlesinger
    Lisa Schlesinger says:

    I agree with Sue, to have awareness of “when you learn something that works for you” is huge! and then Andrea continues the sentence…. “it’s important to find a way to remind yourself of it, so you can continue to use it to support you” is just as essential for living with ADHD. I believe awareness around one’s discovery of how their brain works and embracing it as just that, is so important for accepting the way their brain works. My oldest son (ADHD) is a college sohpmore and is working with an organizing coach like Andrea who specalizes in ADHD and he’s discovering this for himself. I can only pray he continues to embrace the way his brain works not comparing himself with others, just accepting himself for who he is just as Andrea has done.

  6. Cameron Gott
    Cameron Gott says:

    I appreciate Andrea’s sharing that having ADHD is ‘not a sentence to a lesser life’. Accepting unique brain wiring is a starting place of a ‘different life’ – one with awareness and compassion, and without confusion and shame.

  7. Lisa Mallis
    Lisa Mallis says:

    Such a wonderful interview! Thanks Ellen for providing the platform and Andrea for sharing. ” . . . challenged when it came to managing my time and dealing with overwhelm that resulted from taking on too many shiny, new activities.” Boy does this line speak to me – both personally and professionally. I love the idea of checking your best practices each morning to help remind yourself what is a priority and what is a shiny object! FABULOUS!!!!!!

  8. leslie josel
    leslie josel says:

    Hi Ladies. Thanks so much for sharing this. I loved it. Andrea, you said something to me that was such a wake up moment in the way I work with my own son as well as my clients. The point you made about how you can forget what supports you the most is so true and so telling. It’s that underbelly that really needs to be worked on. And I appreciate you phrasing it so well. thanks!

  9. Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton
    Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton says:

    Thanks for sharing! I agree that we as a society are thoughtful and respectful of people with physical challenges. However, we tend to be judgmental of those challenges we cannot see. I loved “the way our brain works is not our choice” acknowledgement, it is a good reminder to be thoughtful about those challenges some of our clients are experiencing.

  10. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    I love that your son has embraced working with a coach! Moving beyond awareness into action makes an amazing difference. Thanks for sharing your perspective Lisa!

  11. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Practical strategies and ways to make these happen is so important for our clients! Thanks for bringing that out and connecting with us Julie!

  12. Andrea Sharb
    Andrea Sharb says:

    So great that so many of you were able to join the conversation. I know I speak for both Ellen and myself when I say that I appreciate your comments and how they highlight and build upon what is trying to be communicated through this interview. Interviews by themselves can be be interesting and informative, but sharing with each other through commenting builds community and brings an amazing richness to the process. Thank you again for taking the time to read and comment.

  13. Mary Pankiewicz
    Mary Pankiewicz says:

    Ellen what great questions to get to the heart of living and moving forward with ADD. Andrea,your open and honest answers will help others. The positive outlook you have will encourage others.

  14. Denise Lee
    Denise Lee says:

    Thank you Andrea and Ellen for this personal glimpse into Andrea’s life. I think there’s a lot of inspiration here in using the things that work for us as pillars for building our life in a powerful way.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] an ADHD Expert posting I did earlier this year for colleague Ellen Delap, I talked about “linked activities” […]

  2. […] long ago I was featured as a guest ADHD expert on Ellen Delap’s blog.  It was an honor to appear and Ellen asked some fantastic questions, one of which was “What […]

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