Jul 15

Updates Coming Soon

I know this site has been a bit neglected as of late, but don’t worry, big things are coming. I mean BIG things.

Look for an updated ADD Organizer

A new ADD Planner (online, paper and offline)

And more…

Plus, more ADHD news, ADD tips and tricks, and all the good stuff we share with each other.

Apr 15

Can a Room Trigger ADD ADHD?

Sooner or later, after your diagnosis with ADD, whether it’s a long time, or right away, you’ll start to wonder what things are “you”, what things are ADD / ADHD, and what things are something else altogether.

It matters for a lot of different reasons. First, people ADD tend to be more introspective than others. Years of trying to figure out “what is wrong” will do that to you. Second, one can logically expect that things that are due to ADHD will eventually (hopefully) respond to ADD treatments, whether that is Adderall, or Vyvanse, or something else entirely. But, the things that are you, or are otherwise external, would need to be sorted out separately.

What Triggers ADHD and ADD?

add triggers adhdOf course, Attention Deficit Disorder (and the more diagnostic, if less accurate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are both likely alterations in brain chemistry. These differences in serotonin levels, or whatever, don’t necessarily come and go, so they aren’t actually triggered, per se. However, if you have had ADD for a while, you know that some things seem to make you more focused, and some things are particularly distracting.

But, what about the things that are more subtle?

Can a Room or Lighting Increase ADD and ADHD?

I’ve noticed lately that I seem to wake up tired and groggy. This is normal, and yes, I should figure out how to get more / better sleep. But, after some coffee kicks in, I tend to have gung ho type thoughts in my head: ideas I want to explore, projects to work on, dreams to pursue, that sort of thing. I get the kids ready for school, and on the drive back, things are still on track.

Then, I go down to my office. Lately, that seems to sap all the willpower from me. My time management goes to hell, my procrastination increases. I spend hours just surfing through Twitter, or reading news, or whatever, but nothing productive.

Just this afternoon, it occurred to me.

Could it be my office?

Could it be light? Should it be brighter, darker, different?

Is it the monitor?

Is it the chair?

Is it jealousy for the cat sleeping 20 hours a day in a little square pillow bed?

The truly weird part is that I’ve been thinking this all day, and yet, I haven’t tried going anywhere else. My mind rebels at the thought.

“No. I like my office. I want to be in it. I want to sit there, in that light, looking at that computer.”

I guess tonight, when I’m not in the office, I’ll setup my work to occur somewhere else to see if things go any different. If so, I’ll try some self-experimentation to see if I can isolate the issue.

Either way, I need to do something. My productivity has been absolute crap this whole week, and Friday is tomorrow.

Apr 15

Organization With ADD Getting Started

Whether you were just diagnosed with ADD / ADHD, or if you were diagnosed a long time ago, organization is an ongoing challenge. Knowing yourself and reading about your ADHD is a good start. Whether you are taking ADD medication, or trying some alternative ADD therapies, you know that medicine alone won’t change your organization and time management habits.

So, what will?

Fake It Until You Make It

If you are an adult with ADD, chances are that you have owned more than your fair share of planners, calendars and organizers in your life. You may have even looked for a specific planner for people with ADD. The truth is that an organizer or calendar is essential for time management and organization. Just because it hasn’t worked before doesn’t mean it never will.

ADD planner organizer ADHDIf you are successfully using an electronic organizer like your cell phone or Microsoft Outlook, or the like, then don’t mess with success. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

On the other hand, if you are still struggling with ADD organization and time management, I recommend getting a physical, paper calendar, organizer, or just a notebook. The reason is that you are trying to change an established habit. The best way to do that is to do something new. If you aren’t used to carrying around a planner, then starting to do so, is something new.

The catch, as you probably know, is that it won’t take right away. You’ll forget your planner at home; you’ll leave it sitting on your desk. Even worse, you’ll write things in it and then forget all about it, or you’ll forget to write important things in it in the first place. It doesn’t matter. Keep at it.

New ADHD Organization Habits

They say it takes six weeks to turn something into a habit. I don’t know if that is a solid number, but I do know that it takes time. The trick to developing an organizer, calendar, planner habit is to keep trying to use it.

Start by taking it with you. Throw it in your work bag. Carry it out and set it on the front seat of your car. Take it into a restaurant. Bring it with you to meetings. First, you might be developing nothing more than the habit of having it with you, even if you forget to read it, or write in it. But, don’t worry, that is step one.

Once you have a habit of carrying it with you, you will slowly develop a habit of using it. Maybe it will be when you have forgotten all about it, but you need a piece of paper and realize, “Wait! I have my planner right here.”

Maybe, you’ll need to remember something, or find a piece of information, and you’ll realize that you have your planner with you, and the data you need is right at your fingertips.

The key is to keep taking it with you, even if you don’t use it. Do TRY and use it, but make your focus just having it with you.

Just today, I realized that I needed a website that I had looked at but forgot all about. As a shot in the dark, I flipped through my notebook (and noticed TONS of great stuff that I forgot about. Need to remember to pull this thing out more often.) There it was, a quick note about the website, and it’s address. It saved me tons of online searching and wasted time.

The best part is, that’s one reward for my unconscious brain about the value of my notebook organizer. Enough of those, and instead of subconsciously forgetting about it all of the time, I’ll start subconsciously remembering it.

BTW, my latest notebook (not calendar, just notebook) is a Miquelrius. It has the subject sections broken out not by tabs, but by colors at the edge of the sheets. Not that I don’t have 50 other types sitting on my shelf right now. Perhaps a blog post about all my empty, and just barely started notebooks is in order :)


Mar 15

ADHD ADD Planner Take 2

It’s not uncommon for everyone, whether they have ADHD or not to start the new year with a resolution to be more organized.  At the heart of that endeavor is often a new planner or organizer.  For people with ADD-ADHD planners have a special meaning often characterized by a love / hate relationship.

By mid-year, it has probably become very clear whether or not the planner you have is the right planner for ADD-ADHD symptoms of yours.  If not, this time of year is like New Years all over again for buying organizers, planners, and calendars.

Calendar and planner makers can’t live by selling their organizers just once a year.  So, they use a variety of strategies to boost sales.  There are 18-month planners that run from July to December of the following year.  That’s July 2015 to December 2016 this year.  Then there are Academic planners, back to school planners, teacher’s planners and all other types of calendars and organizers filling the shelves at your local Target, Office Depot, Staples, Wal-mart, or other favorite store.

So, if your planner can’t handle your ADD-ADHD needs, head out and take another look at planners now.  Keep in mind what ways your current planner has not worked out for you.

Do you need more room for notes?  Do you need longer days?  Do you need a Daily ADD Planner instead of a Weekly ADD planner?  Do you need better visibility for weekend days instead of them being tucked away in a corner?

Or, stop trying to make something not made specifically for those with ADHD and ADD and keep your eyes peeled to ADDessories for our upcoming customized ADD Planners and ADHD Organizers which should be ready soon!

Aug 14

Robin Williams ADD and Mental Health

I obviously did not know Robin Williams, and as far as I know he never publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD. However, I don’t think anyone who saw his crazy, topic to topic, anything can and will pop into his head, style would be surprised. As we’ve mentioned before, ADD and depression are comorbid indicators, meaning one often goes along with the other.

I have no intention of trying to build something off of Robin Williams’ tragic death, nor will I use it as an excuse to promote anything. However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind readers of several things.

brain chemistry add adhdFirst of all, mental illness is a real medical, biological thing. That is, it is not a defect of character. You don’t have a mental illness, like ADD, because of something you did, because of something you didn’t do, or because you just aren’t trying hard enough. Even someone in wonderful circumstances, with everything life can offer at their fingertips can be depressed, have ADHD, or any other mental issues. Just because science can’t put its finger on exactly what is wrong yet, doesn’t mean it won’t eventually. Current theories of depression revolve around the body not properly producing, or overly efficiently eliminating brain chemical such as serotonin. You can’t make your brain change how it deals with chemical reactions just by getting a better attitude, and you can’t make your brain less ADD by just focusing harder.

Second, there are always going to be people who can, or won’t, accept that ADHD is real, that depression is real, or that mental illness is real. That is irrelevant. Science doesn’t care if you believe in it or not, it just is. These people apply their own personal histories as the arbiter of facts for the entire human race. That’s not only crazy, it’s incredibly self-centered. Just because you haven’t experienced it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. If it seems that ADD and depression, and other mental illnesses are more common these days it is only because medical science has learned so much in the past 30, 40, and 50 years. The human brain is hard to study because the experiments must be delicate and involve complex instruments. Even then, we are guessing that we are measuring the right things. The next 50 years will bring even more discoveries about the human brain. None of them will be less relevant just because nobody knew about them in 1955.

Third, and this is the most important. There is no need to be miserable in life. No matter what is going on with you, there are people who can help. Free counseling is available in many venues. You doctor can, and should, be a good starting off place, but if they aren’t willing to take your help to the next level, find someone who can. Talk with a friend, a stranger, a loved one, anyone. Just saying out loud that you are worried, sad, or scared can be a huge relief. You don’t have to take prescription medications, or change anything about yourself if you don’t want to, but just pretending there is nothing going on because of fear, loneliness, or doubt, is not the solution. If you are thinking of hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Hotline first at 1-800-273-8255.

Enjoy your day. There are many out there who cannot. If you are one of them, make today the day that you seek out answers.

Sep 13

ADD More Energy Less Tired

People with ADD often take medical stimulants or other prescription medications to help control their ADHD symptoms. Ironically, adults with ADD often complain of being tired or having low energy. While the various ADD medications can alleviate some of these symptoms, thanks to their stimulating effect, many times the boost can be short lived. Furthermore, for those ADDers who are currently not taking any medication or looking for alternative, natural ADD treatments, the stimulant solution offers little help.

As regular readers of this ADD tips blog know, I’m not one to really go in for pseudo-science or even limited empirical evidence. On the other hand, when I find something that helps me, I like to pass it along, just in case it would help others as well. I’ve stumbled upon something that helps with my energy in the morning and throughout the day that I wanted to share. Keep in mind that this is something that works on my ADHD and may or may not work on yours, although there is no down side if it doesn’t.

More Energy from Nutrition

When it comes to attention deficit disorder, or any other medical condition, the one almost universal constant is that better diet and nutrition, and regular exercise is helpful. While not a cure, exercise and diet make almost anything better, from diabetes, to cancer symptoms, to yes, ADD/ADHD, better nutrition and healthful exercise are always beneficial.

There is a trick to better nutrition, however, Like most folks, when I think of eating better I think about all of the things I should STOP eating. However, real nutrition comes from not just reducing the amount of junk food you eat, but also from increasing the amount of healthy things you eat. It turns out that eating more healthy stuff is actually harder for me than cutting out things. That’s because I actively dislike many healthy foods.

Stop eating nachos? Well… OK, if I must.

Eat this bowl of spinach? Eww, yuck.

Recently, however, I stumbled upon a wonderful little trick that lets me not only eat better nutrition, but do it quickly and painlessly, first thing in the morning when my nutrition needs the biggest boost.

There is a book out there, actually two books, about increasing health by reducing inflammation in the digestive track. One is called Clean, and the other is Clean Diet, I believe. (I’ll do a quick write up about them in a subsequent post.) These books greatly overreach in my opinion. However, my wife wanted to try out some of the concepts, and being a supportive husband, who frankly could stand to be in better shape, I went along.

One of the main things you do with this diet plan is to make nutritious shakes. The basic shake consists of nutrient rich leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, and so on, some coconut or almond milk, combined with protein powder, some coconut oil (for taste and fat), and some fruit like bananas, apples or berries, along with a bit of ground flax seed.If you’re doing the math, you can see some pretty nice nutrition in this combination. You can also see that to actually eat this every day would not be fun. Eating it for breakfast would be even worse. But, by blending it into a shake, you can chug it down with your morning coffee.

Here is where it gets interesting. When I was doing this diet plan I never really thought much about it. However, when I stopped I noticed a sharp drop in my energy levels in the morning. These low energy levels are the reason I pound coffee like a camel gearing up for two weeks walking across the desert. (Camels drink a lot, right?) However, the energy is never really all the way there even if my mind is racing a bit. I always blamed my ADHD. After all, if it takes a boatload of Adderall to affect this brain, how much is coffee really going to help?

Check out my review of Credit Karma here.

As it turn out, I might just need a little more in the nutrition department. I tried just the shake, and blew off everything else from the diet and the energy returned. It’s gotten so I can actually feel the difference. I find that the secret ingredient is kale (specifically baby kale). While the shakes made with spinach and other greens are good, the ones with kale seem to be particularly effective. Experiment with your own combinations and see what works for you.

Healthy ADD Energy Shake Tips

  • Use plenty of liquid. The difference between a juicer and a blender is pulp. Unfortunately, when making these kinds of shakes, the pulp is all the good stuff. That means this drink will not be smooth or pulp free. I said it was easy, not that it was yummy. I don’t like these shakes per se, but for just a few minutes of effort, the result it worth it. The more liquid you use, the thinner, and more drinkable your shakes will be.
  • If you really don’t like the pulp, don’t use apples. Apples seem to resist blending the most of any fruit.
  • If you don’t like the taste, add bananas. Bananas flavor is apparently pretty powerful. Throw a banana in your shake and most of the taste will be banana.
  • Chug – this isn’t for pleasure. The taste isn’t phenomenal and the thickness isn’t fun either. But, if you chug your shake, you can be done with it in just a few seconds and go back to drinking your morning coffee.
  • You’ll need a decent blender. — The gold standard in blenders is the Vitamix. However, at around $400, that’s the same price as a new TV. While a different blender will be louder and maybe not as perfect, it will do just fine as long as it isn’t some $40 Target blender. I shelled out for a Ninja blender which means that there is something in my kitchen named Ninja, and it does a nice enough job whacking all of this nutrition together.

Try out the shake idea with your favorite recipes and let me know what you find works (or doesn’t) for you.

Mar 13

ADD Cell Phone Status

I think I’ll turn this into an ADD infographic later, but for now, so I don’t forget it, here is the ADHD cellphone status sheet in text format.

add cell phone adhd graphic

Cell Phone Status – Not Expecting Call

  • Location: Laying around somewhere, probably with my keys… or wallet.
  • Ringer: Still on silent from when I turned it off in that meeting two days ago. (Becoming vaguely aware of the fact that no one has called in a while.)
  • Charge: Probably still has battery. I haven’t called anyone in a while.
  • Concern Level: I’ll look at it eventually. If it was important, they would have emailed, or messaged, or Skyped, or posted on Facebook. I should check Tumblr just in case.

Cell Phone Status – Expecting a Call

  • Location: Sitting on desk right next to me. Wait, better double-check. Yep, there it is. Is it ringing?
  • Ringer: Deafening. Hopefully the neighbor’s baby isn’t asleep when someone calls.
  • Charge: 100%, and still plugged in. I hope it lasts long enough…
  • Concern Level: Hyper-vigilant. I’ve checked the ringer four times in the last hour. I keep looking at it just to see if it lights up just in case the speaker went out after the last call. I’ve tested it by calling my voicemail, and by calling my cell from another phone. Maybe I should test it again.

Here’s a link to a post about Credit Karma.

If you can’t tell, I’m expecting a call today.

Hope your day is full of adventure and success.

Mar 13

Little ADD Tricks

Sometimes, all it takes is a little tweak to make your life with ADD more successful and easier to manage. Unfortunately, we ADDers often spend all of our time looking for those big life adjustments. While it is true that having ADHD can require big lifestyle changes, the little day-to-day things that get lost are actually the ones that can have the greatest immediate impact on our lives.

Small ADHD Tricks and Adjustments

As you go through your day, think about little things you could do to help you remember, focus, and manage your daily life just a little better. Today’s tip from yours truly is on the tip of my brain because I’m heading to the grocery store.

add-tips-tricks graphicOf course, no ADDer gets through the grocery store without some distraction. I find a list to be very helpful. I actually have two lists. One list contains the ingredients that I need for the meals I’ve planned out. The other list contains all of those little lifestyle things that you end up needing, things like batteries, shampoo, coffee filters, and so on. The second list, I keep on a whiteboard in the kitchen where I can write those things down right away so I don’t forget them between when I think of it, and when I end up with a piece of paper. I just take a picture of the list on the whiteboard when I head out. That way, whether I end up at Target or Safeway, or whatever, I can be sure to remember the toilet paper.

Today’s ADD trick is about coupons. I have one of those educational coupon books you buy from your kids as a fundraiser at school. Some of the most valuable coupons in the book are for $5 off of groceries. Each one is good for a certain two month time period. The problem is that I always forget to use them. First, I leave them at home. Then, when I finally put them in my wallet, I forget to give it to the cashier. After a while, I forget it is even in my wallet at all, and I find it months later after it is already expired.

ADD Tip for Coupons

Fortunately, a little ADHD tip occurred to me not too long ago. I always use the same credit card to pay for my groceries. This is both habit and it helps with money management. Now, when I remember the coupon and head to the store, I fold it around the card I use to pay. That way, I CAN’T forget it. It is in the way when I go to pay.

The result?

I actually use the $5 off coupon every two months and end up saving $30 over the course of the year, more than offsetting the $10 I paid for the coupon book. Everything else in there ends up just being money saving gravy!

What little tips do you use in your daily life?

Mar 13

ADHD Study Suggests Higher Suicide Rate in Adults

A recent study published in Pediatrics has a couple of potentially interesting conclusions. The first conclusion is that ADD from childhood often persists into adulthood. That isn’t news to anyone who reads this website, but you know me, I like my knowledge backed up by published science. The researchers used a sample of 5,700+ children associated with the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and found 367 were diagnosed with ADHD as children. They then followed up with that same pool as adults when they were approximately 29 years old. 232 of the original pool allowed access to their medical records.

ADHD Continues into Adulthood

The researchers found that approximately 30 percent of the adults who were diagnosed with ADD as children continue to have ADD as adults. In other words, about a third of children diagnosed with ADHD as kids will still have ADHD as adults. That isn’t new information. Most of us ADDers on here know all too well that ADD doesn’t necessarily go away once you turn 18 years old, despite the fact that health insurance companies like to stop covering it then.

The percentage is a new confirmation of just how many adults who had ADD as kids end up with it in adulthood as well.

ADD May Have Higher Suicide Risk and Other Risks

Another interesting tidbit of this particular study is statistically valid finding of a higher incidence of suicide in the population of people diagnosed with ADD as children. Before anyone goes and freaks out, the raw numbers aren’t quite as scary. Out of the 367 people in the study who were diagnosed with ADHD as children, three of them had committed suicide by the time the study was done. In contrast, 7 people in the larger pool of nearly 5,000 non-ADD participants committed suicide. While statistically relevant, it does NOT suggest that people with ADHD are doomed in anyway.

new add research graphicAlso not new information, was the finding that people diagnosed with ADHD have a higher incidence of other mental health issues. Called co-morbid indicators for ADD, these other mental health issues most commonly included depression and alcoholism.

What was new information for me was that these higher incidences of metal health problems were also indicated for the population that had ADD as children, but did not continue to have ADD as adults. This may feed into the thought that ADD is a smaller subset of a larger, as of yet, not understood mechanism acting within the brain.

As always, the key is to get the help you need when you need it and then adjust your life accordingly. There is always plenty to enjoy in life no matter who you are. Play to your strengths, and pursue your interests. You’ll still forget stuff and leave important things laying around, but you’ll have plenty of fun along the way.

Feb 13

Forgetting While Doing

Sometimes, it can be difficult to convey just how extreme the distractibility of ADD / ADHD can be. The best way, of course, is to related concrete ADD examples. Unfortunately, they don’t always spring to mind upon command. Today, my mind was kind enough to produce and example for me :)

Getting Distracted While Getting Started

forgot what I started graphicToday, I was sitting in the library reading a programming book when a thought occurred to me. The timing was fortuitous, because I wanted to pick up some books on the topic. I finished reading to a break on the page, placed a bookmark, pulled out my library card, logged into the catalog computer, and… nothing.

I couldn’t remember what the thought was that had prompted this course of action. I sat there and tried to remember. I re-opened the book to see if looking at the page would re-trigger the thought. I re-read the page I was on to see if that jogged anything.


No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t remember what it was I wanted to get those books about. Whatever it was, was important enough to get me to stop what I was doing. Since I was interested in the material I was reading, that means it carried some weight, or I would have kept reading and tried to remember it for later. But, try as I might, I can’t pull the thought back up. I’m sure it will occur to me later, hopefully, I be able to better remember it then.

The point is that while executing the tasks required to carry out a deliberate function, my mind got so caught up in the mechanics of getting ready to search for the necessary books, that it lost track of what it was I was wanting to look for. It is the difficulties of this kind of distraction that makes things like writing it down, or leaving yourself a voicemail, insufficient solutions.

For whatever it is worth, I’m not currently taking my Adderall. It’s things like this that I wonder if the ADD medication helps, and not the “bigger” things that maybe are easier to notice.