ADHD Tip - 5 Tips to Help You Get Started When Your ADHD Brain Gets in Your Way

I have a confession to make. I’m sitting here (finally) writing this little article and I have had to use so many of the tools that I teach others - and it is STILL a struggle. I really don’t want to write this post. 

❌ Not because I’m not interested in it. I am very interested in the subject and in reaching out to those who are struggling.

❌ Not because I don’t think it is important. It is very important to me. 


⚠️ My brain just doesn’t want to engage. I don’t really have a good reason. I haven’t been able to figure it out yet - and I have tried. 



Maybe it is because my brain never quite got the days of the week figured out this past week because of Memorial Day, and I was a day off all week! 

Maybe because my brain is in summer mode. My kids are home full time from school for the summer, and my time to really focus is not like it was before. 

I get interrupted so many more times. My kids aren’t doing anything wrong. And, I have to be careful to keep my irritability that I feel when I’m interrupted in check and not take it out at my kids. 

Getting interrupted is so annoying because it probably took me forever to finally start whatever it was that I was working on, and being interrupted messes all of that up.

Maybe my medicine is just not working as well this week, for whatever reason. Sometimes that seems to happen.


Does this happen to you? Can you relate?

What do you do when this happens to you and your ADHD brain rebels and gets in the way of getting stuff done that you really need to do?

What did I do? Well, I used some of the tricks that I’ve talked about in this newsletter and on my website.

  • I gave myself a new deadline when I missed my normal deadline. I try to have the newsletter all set up by Saturday night at the latest. Well, I spent much of Saturday with my kids so didn’t have as much time as I normally do. And then when I sat down to write this, I just didn’t want to. My brain was tired. It was late. Etc, etc, etc. So, I gave myself permission to not do it and gave myself a new deadline of Sunday night. I also know that if I get out of the routine of sending out the newsletter each week, then it will be in danger of not ever getting done, and I just don’t want to let that happen.


  • I remembered that others will be impacted by whether I send out the newsletter or not. Even though these people (you) are not in front of me right now, I reminded myself that you exist and I don’t want to let you down. I used your potential expectations of me and the newsletter as a form of external accountability, since I am/was struggling with holding myself accountable at the moment.


  • I reminded myself that done is better than perfect. This tip is one that I can easily struggle with. So often when trying to do something, I can hear my brain telling me that I have to write the perfect article, or say the perfect thing - or it isn’t good enough, so I shouldn’t even try. Many, many times I have given in to this false narrative in my head. It just isn’t true. 


  • The most important tip that I am using to write this up is to remember that if you are having a hard time getting started, the first step is too big! What is the first step? Well, my daughter had the computer in her room, so I could at least go get that. Next step: open the computer. Then, I just kept asking myself what is the next teeny, tiniest step that I could take and could easily get it done. 


This tip is one of the most helpful things that I do in order to get started when my ADHD brain feels like it is in control.


  • Finally, when I get this done, and the newsletter all set up, the graphic made, etc, then I am going to let myself have a bowl of ice cream. Now, I know the ol’ parenting advice is to not use food as a reward - but it works for me. I don’t have to get a huge bowl, but I am wanting some right now, and if I tell myself that I can’t have it until I get this all done… well, I’m writing this, aren’t I? I guess I really want the ice cream. 


So, in summary, the ADHD tips that I find helpful as use all of the time are:

  1. Give yourself a deadline, or a new deadline if you missed the old one - and permission and grace if you missed the deadline. 
  2. Use others for external accountability - when your will power is just not there, use social media, or friends, or expectations others have of you. Your inner desire to not let others down will kick in and help you.
  3. Remind yourself that Done is Better than Perfect
  4. Remember that if you are having a hard time getting started, the first step is too big. Figure out a new smaller first step. If you still can’t get started, it is still too big, and you must go smaller. Even if it is ridiculously small - that is ok.
  5. Give yourself rewards for getting the thing done, or for getting even a step or two done. We give kids rewards for good behavior, or for doing chores. We give dogs treats for learning a new behavior. We are the same - we need rewards to.


What works for you? I'd love to hear your tips - maybe even add them to my tool box or share with others who are struggling with ADHD.

And, if you are an adult struggling with getting stuff done, I can help, either one on one, or in the new Kansas City Adult ADHD Treatment Group. Contact me to get started! 

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