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Embrace neurodiversity: 50 tips for adults with ADHD
raine taylor - adhd coach nz

Hi, I'm Raine...

An ADHD coach & advocate. 
I'm passionate about helping other ADHD adults like you, lead fulfilling and successful lives.

Living with adult ADHD can be a challenge, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can learn to manage your symptoms and thrive. It's important to acknowledge that everyone's experience with ADHD is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.With that in mind, I've compiled 50 tips for adults with ADHD that you can try out and see what works best for you.

Managing adult ADHD is an ongoing process that requires experimentation, persistence, and a willingness to try new things. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, so be patient and open to trying new strategies for your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder until you find what works for you.

ADHD Tips for Mindset

Mindset is so critical for those of us with ADHD. A positive and strengths-based mindset that focuses on abilities, and strengths can help overcome our negativity bias. With mindset work, the same things may be happening but how you feel about them is vastly different. Mindset work can help build self-confidence and motivation, and help you become more likely to take action toward your goals.

Learning some mindfulness skills, like how to breathe (yes - breath!) can help those of us with ADHD manage emotional flooding and stress that often comes hand in hand with living with ADHD.  Reframing negative self-talk into positive language is so important. That powerful mindset shifts towards the focus on your unique strengths and abilities, such as creativity, hyper focus and problem-solving skills instead of negative traits can do wonders for your quality of life.

I'm a huge advocate for ADHD adults learning how to be more compassionate towards themselves, and it's a big part of what I help my ADHD coaching clients to develop. Ultimately a positive and strengths-based mindset can be a powerful tool in managing ADHD and living a fulfilling list.

1. Practice self-compassion and forgiveness. Critical. Like this is just so critical, I don't know what else to say except if you aren't doing this you need to start today. Start with Brene Browns' work.

2. Focus on strengths and accomplishments, not failures. Reframe 'failures' as learning opportunities. When you do something great, take a moment to really anchor that memory so you have it to draw on when you are experiencing a challenge in life.

3. Celebrate progress, not perfection. I don't do outcome-based goals (actually the word goal freaks out heaps of ADHD folks), I do habits or system-based intentions instead.

4. Don't compare yourself to others. Stay in your lane. Are you handling this life situation better than past you, but not as good as 'someone else'? Then that's amazing, you have experienced personal growth - celebrate that.

5. Seek support from family, friends, therapists, or an ADHD coach. Living with adult ADHD can be challenging, not going to lie. Having a support network is important. I love my friends that I can just say, I'm overstimulated and shutting down and I need to leave and they don't take offense. Have people in your corner who you don't have to explain/excuse yourself to all the time.

6. Embrace your ADHD. Work on accepting yourself, diagnosis, and all, and shift from seeing it as a negative to a positive.  Reframe your ADHD traits with more positive language.

7. Practice self-care. It’s so important to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Often those of us with ADHD minds are such a blur we forget to slow down and take care of ourselves. Commit to learning how to care for yourself.

8. Develop a growth mindset. Look does ADHD come with challenges, of course - I’m not going to sugar-coat that. However, a growth mindset where you view challenges and setbacks as opportunities for personal growth will serve you much better than a fixed mindset.

9. Surround yourself with positive influences. Be mindful of the people and communities you invite into your life. Are you currently surrounded by people complaining and whining? Wouldn’t it be nicer to be surrounded by people who see the best in you and try to lift you?

10. Set realistic intentions/goals. Don’t use the word goal if you don’t want to. Many ADHD folks don’t particularly like the word goal, so feel free to use intention instead.

Time Management Tips for Adults with ADHD

Do you also have 7 million alarms just to make sure you remember your appointments, and things that are on? You're not alone. Time management can be a major challenge for those of us with ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can affect the ability to plan, organize, prioritize, and complete tasks.

With consistent practice and the right tools (which will be unique to you), you can absolutely improve your time management skills. Will you be perfect? Of course not. Will it be more challenging to learn than a neurotypical - most likely. It will however be better than continuing to run around like a headless chicken everywhere.

11. Use ONE planner (or digital planner) and learn how to use it. Yes, it may take a bit of trial and error to find the system/planner that works for you. But planning is a skill, and skills can be learned.

12. Set reminders for important tasks (multiple if necessary) You can use an ADHD alarm clock, reminders or alerts on your phone, tasks on google calendar, or even a trusty kitchen timer.

13. Break down big projects into smaller, more manageable tasks (like the tiniest steps ever!).  This may require practice. Start by thinking of your end goal, then work your way backward until you know what the first step is. If the first step still feels too large, break that down into the smallest first step. Need to write an important email? The first step might be to open your computer.

14. Learn how to prioritize tasks and tackle the most important ones first. This is a skill that is challenging for many ADHD adults, it will take practice but you can learn how to prioritize tasks better.

15. Timers are adult ADHDers best friends. If you don't already use them, give them a go - it might just change your life.

Organization ADHD Tips for Adults

Doom boxes. Piles of clutter. And you can't get in your wardrobe. You are familiar with the 'floor-robe'. Organizational challenges are so common for many adults with ADHD. There are a lot of different strategies and tools that you can use, and it can all feel so overwhelming!!

It's OK to start small. Getting your 'things' under control can help reduce stress and quality of life. A routine, decluttering your space, and using a system for tasks and appointments can help you to stay on top of things. You can just start with one little area of your life and then move on to other things.

‍16. Create a designated workspace. If you aren't able to have a workspace that is just for work, you may consider having device/s that are just for work to help you get in the right frame of mind for what activity you are doing (mindless scrolling on socials, or work stuff)

17. Use color-coding or labeling systems. This carries a warning, figure out if you are a broad-category person or a small micro-category person. I tried to be a micro-category person, and I over-labeled. Now I embrace my much more broad categories and don't get to hung up on things.

18. Keep frequently used items in easy-to-reach places. And make sure they are EASY to put away. Often if we need or want an item we have no problem getting it out. But if it is a pain in the arse to put back, we. just. don't. do. it. And that explains why the Christmas stuff box is still sitting in my lounge in February.

19. Declutter regularly. Have a permanent 'donations' box so when you find things you want to donate you can put them in the box. When the box is full drop it off somewhere appropriate. If you won't drop off the box (guilty) consider just putting it in front of your house with a free sign, or enlist the help of your partner, friend, or family member who can manage to drop it off.

20. Use organizational tools like bins, folders, and trays. Again, proceed with caution, or you could end up with many many miscellaneous bins, folders, and trays. It may take time, but the most effective way to be more organized is for every tiny thing to have a specific home.

ADHD Tools for Adults: Diet and Exercise

Attention to one's diet and exercise can have a significant impact on an ADHD individual's mental health and overall well-being. And I know you're probably like "Raine seriously I cannot even think about improving my diet and exercise!!" And you know what I totally get it, just do what you can do, and don't beat yourself up over what you can't do.

21. Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated. I end up eating the same healthy meal for weeks as I get decision fatigue over choosing what to eat, and I drink a lot of water but I have reminders for that too. Find a system that works for you to eat a little healthier, you don't need to be perfect.

22. Limit caffeine and sugar intake. This is a challenge for many of us with ADHD. The dopamine hit is just so easy. Next time when you reach for the sugar, remember it's just your ADHD brain wanting a dopamine fix. Find some healthier activities that will give you the dopamine jolt, but aren't full of sugar or caffeine.

23. Exercise regularly. Everyone knows this, and nearly everyone struggles with this. Personally certain exercise really makes a HUGE difference to my mental well-being, mood, and ability to manage my ADHD. You don't have to do boring stuff like running, I hula hoop, roller-skate, and occasionally snowboarding (and a bunch of other fun movement stuff). Find your thing/s.

24. Practice mindfulness or meditation. I used to hate it whenever anyone said mindfulness or meditation. Like sitting here and focusing on my breathing. I am over it before one breath is done. I have finally managed a breath practice and folks.... it makes such a difference to my mental health and managing my ADHD. Learn how to pause.

25. Get enough sleep. This is critical to your well-being. And I know it's can be a challenge for those of us with ADHD. It certainly is for me, and lots of my clients. If you haven't heard of sleep hygiene start there.

Tips for the Workplace & Studying

It's important for adults in the workplace or studying to have tactics on how to deal with ADD. This will help you to use appropriate tactics and strategies to manage ADHD symptoms and work efficiently. Without these tactics, tasks can feel overwhelming and lead to stress and reduced productivity. By staying organized, managing time effectively, and reducing distractions, adults with ADHD can improve their performance and have a more successful career or academic experience. So, it's essential to find the right strategies and tactics that work for you and make them a regular part of your routine.

26. Take breaks when feeling overwhelmed. Make sure that you take breathers when you need them to regulate yourself. If you need to schedule some regular ones to make handling each day a little easier.

27. Use noise-canceling headphones or brown noise. If you struggle with sensory overload when everything is too noisy, consider using noise-canceling headphones or putting on brown noise to neutralize the sounds.

28. Minimize distractions by closing unnecessary tabs or apps. Try to have a work/study mode on your device/s. Just open the needed tabs to get your work done so you aren’t distracted by everything else available online.

29. Get enough sleep. Prioritize getting enough sleep to make handling work/study much easier.  Aim for 7-9 hours per night.

30. Celebrate your successes. Don’t get too bogged down in what you aren’t doing, and remember to celebrate the things that you do achieve. Even if it is just opening your laptop on time. Enjoying small successes helps us stay motivated.

Coping Strategies for ADHD: Learning and Memory

ADHD can mean we are more forgetful, more distracted, and have a poor working memory. Improving learning and memory can increase productivity and success, boost confidence, and reduce frustration and low self-esteem.  Investing in strategies to enhance these skills is a valuable asset for any adult with ADHD.

31. Use repetition and association to aid memory.  Those of us with ADHD can struggle with short-term memory. It may help to learn some strategies and tactics to help remember things better.

32. Take notes during meetings or lectures.  Even if you never look at them again, handwriting notes help us to remember things. You can use apps with smart pens to handwrite on devices as well if you don’t want to use paper.

33. Use visual aids like diagrams or mind maps. These can help visual processors to learn and remember the details of new things better. Coggle is a a mind map app I like to use, its free for up to 3 mindmaps.

‍34. Get hands-on experience with new concepts. Just hearing something sometimes isn’t enough to learn how to do it. Practical experience is helpful to improve and remember the steps.

35. Break down complex information into simpler terms. Either do it yourself or get someone to help you break complex information into bite-size chunks that are easier to remember and understand.

ADHD Adult Help for Task Completion

Finding task-completion strategies that work for you as an individual is so important. These are just a few ideas to get you started. When you are using task completion tactics that work for you and your ADHD it will make it easier to focus, stay organized, and complete tasks on time. Finding your personal blend of task completion tips will help you feel more confident to tackle new challenges.

36. Use a "Do Not Disturb" sign or app. You can tape a sign to the back of your chair or your office door. And some apps you can set to be not disturbed. This will help stop you from getting taken off tasks by interruptions.

37. Complete an enjoyable task first thing in the morning, this is directly opposite the advice given for neurotypicals - ‘do the most difficult tasks in the morning’. Why? Because ADHDer’s need dopamine and getting the engine running first thing helps you create momentum to be able to do other tasks. Punishing yourself first thing isn’t likely to work.

38. Use positive self-talk to boost motivation. So cheesy sounding I know…. but is beating yourself up by repeating how useless you are at getting things done serving you? Switch it up and give yourself a ‘pat on the back’ every time you complete a task, and speak nicely to yourself.

39. Set smaller tasks. Sometimes those of us with ADHD set goals or tasks that are simply so big they feel overwhelming. So big we end up paralyzed and do nothing. A way to combat this is to set smaller more realistic tasks. Getting going is often the hardest part.

40. Use visual aids to help motivate you. Checklist, whiteboard, a task tracking app. Use whatever works for you to get things done.  Find whatever tool that gives you a little dopamine hit when you tick off the task.

ADHD Friendly Technology Tips & Ideas

Technology can be a great friend to those with ADHD, but it can also be a challenging foe. By utilizing the right tips and strategies, however, you can make technology work for you and improve your productivity, focus, and overall success. Whether it's setting reminders, using time-tracking apps, or blocking distracting websites, these tips are just a starting place.

41. Use productivity apps like Trello or Evernote. Find the one that works for you. I love Trello, if you’re not familiar it's a virtual sticky note app. Google calender is also pretty useful.

42. Utilize digital reminders and notifications. But remember to turn off the ones that are just distracting. I only have notifications for important meetings and tasks. I don’t use notifications for getting messages or social media.

43. Use voice-to-text software for typing. Some ADHD adults don’t like typing and they prefer to speak their thoughts instead. Google docs have a free speech-to-text feature.

44. Use ad-blockers to minimize distractions online. The internet is already a major distraction and time sucks. Ad-blockers just help reduce the noise a little bit.

45. Unsubscribe from unnecessary email lists. If you find you're just not getting any value from it, or the person sends too much sales stuff. Unsubscribe. Including it from my list if you're not getting value from it, if you are unfamiliar with my list - I send info about adhd adults & neuro-diversity, you can sign up here if you want.

ADHD Adult Coping: Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation can be challenging, particularly for adults with ADHD. These tips provide a starting point for your ongoing journey of learning how to manage your emotions effectively. Keep in mind that progress is more important than perfection, and with consistent effort, you can develop the skills you need to regulate your emotions and thrive in your personal and professional life.

46. Learn how to recognize your emotions. This might not be easy, but it is worth it. The first step is just awareness. When you notice your feeling 'different', stop and check in with yourself and notice: where am I feeling this in my body? What feeling is it? (you can use a feelings wheel or similar to help you name the feeling).

47. Identify triggers for emotional dysregulation.  Especially if you are one of the many ADHDers who also have sensory processing disorder, you likely have situations/things that can trigger you to become emotionally dysregulated.  As an adult, it is your responsibility to learn what these are and create a plan to manage yourself when you feel the signs coming. Have an exit plan, so you can find somewhere to decompress and regulate your emotions.

48. Practice deep breathing or grounding exercises. If you are anything like me you, really, really resisted anyone telling you to ‘slow down’ or ‘breathe’. I am here to humbly tell you if you don’t have breath work as part of your routine. You need to add it.

49. Seek therapy, counseling, or coaching if needed. Sometimes you just need a bit of extra support to make a plan.

50. Allow time for hobbies or leisure activities. Sometimes we get so caught up in the whirlwind of living with adult ADHD that we forget to slow down and enjoy life. You need these moments of doing what you enjoy as an ADHD person, they will help your mental health, your emotional regulation, and your overall quality of life.

Wrap up of the 50 tips for ADHD adults

ADHD can be a challenging condition for adults to manage, but with knowledge of ADHD, you can find strategies and techniques that work for you as an individual.  Some of these 50 tips for ADHD adults will be useful to you, some will not. Managing ADHD is an ongoing process, and there can be a lot of trial and error. By taking small steps each day you can live life on your terms, with a better quality of life.


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