Is this (thought)
fact or opinion?
This is the ADHD talking – just because I
have ADHD doesn’t mean it has to be this way…..I can make wise choices about
how I react…
What advice would I give a friend about this? What advice
would a trusted friend give me? What’s the bigger picture?
everything you think! Thoughts are just
Be understanding and compassionate to yourself,
rather than self-critical (see
with other problems, please visit this page the
Help page and
click on these links: Depression,
Low Self Esteem,
The brain is “plastic”, or able to
develop and change – think of it as being like a muscle. The more we stretch
and use it, the stronger and more flexible it will become.
training exercises, or using mindfulness, can help us improve our ability to
focus or hold our attention for longer periods of time, help us improve our
listening skills, make less careless mistakes etc.
Set aside a short time to just notice your
breathing. You don’t have to change your breathing in any way, just to
notice it. Noticing sensations of breathing in your chest and belly. Other
thoughts and distractions will come to mind, that’s ok. Just notice when
your attention has wandered, then gently bring your attention back to your
Mindful activity (see below for
Do any everyday activity or exercise mindfully, such as walking, eating,
showering. E.g. when washing up, notice the temperature of the water on your
hands, the sensation of the crockery, the bubbles.
Notice the sounds of the
washing up, including the bubbles! Notice any smells, notice the way your
hands and arms feel and move, and your spine and body as it supports you
Make it part of your daily routine. You
can gradually increase your meditation time every week – start small and
build up slowly.
Set a timer for 5 minutes
(increase by 5 minutes a day) and focus your concentration on one activity.
Take a 2 minute break before continuing (increase break by 2 minutes each
Memorise information such as poems, quotes, jokes or words of a new
Counting exercises: count backwards from 100 in 1s, then 3s, then 7s.
your senses – focus on each sense in turn and think about what you can see,
then hear, then touch, then smell and/or taste
Go through the alphabet
thinking of countries, towns, boy’s names etc for each letter
Visualisation exercises – Combine deep breathing with imagining successfully
doing something with the ability to maintain focus of attention (e.g. at
work or school), or successfully dealing with a difficult situation (e.g.
conflict or anxiety situation). (Use the
Attention Training exercises for children
Play music statues – freeze for 10 seconds, then gradually increase (can
take turns of parents being the statue)
Puzzles, colouring, painting etc.
May need to make a race or competition to e.g. finish first or use most
Board games – when child’s turn, pause a little more
– create a pile of assorted coins, cover with cardboard sheet, use timer.
Choose 5 coins from pile and put in sequence, asking child to look
carefully, then cover. Set the timer, and ask child to create the same
sequence. Repeat until done correctly. Increase difficulty (number of coins)
Simon Says game
Kim’s Game – memory game using tray of
objects. Remove one object each time and ask child to identify the missing
Picture puzzles – ask child to find hidden objects
for success every day
Set small achievable
goals every day
Reward yourself or tick them off at the end of the
Set goals for each problem area – break each goal down into smaller
Identify problem areas
Make a list of all
the areas in your life that need changing, perhaps using broad headings e.g.
home, work etc.
Decide which of those
problem areas on your list are the most important or most urgent. Do the
most important item first.
Problem Solving Skills
Identify the problem
problem down into smaller steps
Brainstorm possible ideas
pros and cons of each possible solution
Choose one solution that looks
most likely to help with fewest
Plan out step-by-step what
you need to do. Consider what resources or help you need.
Do each step!
Review how it went. Did you achieve your goal? What did you learn. What
could you do differently?
Use a large clock
Create more space
Identify which items are necessary and
discard or store other items
Boxes, folders, shelves, baskets etc
the front door for work or school items)
Important items – keys etc
To do – bills, homework etc
Wall calendar (or
Weekly events e.g. evening class
Appointments, exams, assignments etc
Use a whiteboard or
messages on the fridge for reminders / to do lists
Prioritise what needs
doing, when. Do the most important thing first, then the next important
Use different lists for different areas of life, or break down into smaller
Daily routine / chore chart & tick off completed activities
Check school / work bag
Deal with post,
calls etc as they come in rather than leaving for another time
Make a list of all your
weekly/monthly income, and all your expenses for the same period –
approximate as closely as you can e.g. food, fuel, divide quarterly bills by
3 (monthly) or 13 (weekly) etc. You may choose to keep receipts or a diary,
study bank statements etc. for one month to find this information.
Subtract expenditure from income to see how much is left over (or how much
of a deficit you have).
Assess how you can make savings in particular
areas, then plan how to make those savings
Write out your weekly/monthly
It can be helpful to write down your daily spending to help you
keep track. Some people find it helpful to put a weekly allowance into
separate tins (purses etc).
Pay bills online or via regular payments
(direct debit or standing order)
Online banking helps reduce need to
check through paperwork to balance books
Set up notifications on your
bank account so you receive a message when your balance falls to a certain
Many companies or banks offer “non paper” billing to help reduce
Create one folder/box for receipts. Once a month, sort them into
recycling or put those you need to keep in an envelope and label with the
Manage impulse spending
Use cash only – leave cheque book or cards at home
Use only one credit card (destroy/cancel all
Use a shopping list and stick to it
Use a calculator (on your phone) to tally your purchases on the go
Reduce online spending
Set a daily budget
Write down your spending (diagram for visual
Use only one payment method for online purchases
Change account settings on websites e.g.
remove option for “one click” purchases
Remove shopping apps from your phone
Sell items to make money and pay the income into one account (e.g.
particular paypal account for ebay selling). Then use only that account for
arrive 10-15 minutes early and set reminders to leave on time
Use a watch
or other timer and set reminders and alarms – perhaps 30 minutes before
planned departure, 10 mins before planned departure, at time of planned
If you have a smartphone, you can make use of the calendar app
Say no to
others or check diary before committing yourself!
Allow more time than
you think you’ll need - add ten minutes to every appointment or task that
you think will need 30 minutes (add 20 minutes for every hour)
thing at a time
Set an hourly reminder on your phone
to let you know about the passing of time (if you have a tendency to lose
time and get caught up in one thing)
Start by timing activities to see how long you need for
each one, then make a schedule for every day.
Set times for certain
activities e.g. chores, shopping, meals, getting up or going to bed
with mail and email every day – set aside a 10 minutes or so.
Act on it (e.g. pay bills)
Delete or shred it
File it (if
appropriate / once actioned)
Limit time on eg. Computer
(set an hourly alarm to remind you of the passing of time)
a filing system
Different folders for different types of documents
Use labels or
Make time for fun or relaxation
alone and with friends/family
Hobbies or interests
Use weekly planner:
Planner PDF or BACE
weekly planner PDF
Nature as Therapy
Make a work place at home to minimise disturbances
Desk facing the wall
Clear desk of clutter
Set up voice mail to answer
Turn mobile phone to silent and put it in a drawer
others know you don’t want to be disturbed
Write down any ideas or
thoughts you don’t want to forget, but haven’t got time for right now. Keep
a notebook or pad on your desk (or with you).
If attending a large
meeting or conference, aim to sit near the speaker and away from people who
you know might distract you
Take a break at an appropriate time. Move
around – walk or jump on the spot. Activity increases our ability to focus.
Be attentive and polite
important communication to check you have heard correctly
down / make notes (carry a note bad or use your mobile phone)
in your diary/calendar as soon as you hear about them
listening skills to help you reallly listen to others talking
interrupt others (practise if necessary)
Use appropriate eye contact
Ask questions rather than talking about whatever comes to mind
Ask for a
copy of any materials e.g. presentation handouts, meeting agenda
SELF CARE - Positive Steps to Wellbeing
Make sure you get
Create a quiet bed
Go to bed (and get up) at the same time every day
caffeine late in the day
Exercise every day and spend time outdoors
Schedule in fun, enjoyment and relaxation every
Eat healthily, including:
meals and often
Avoid too much sugar or caffeine (which can increase symptoms)
Learn to say no! Don’t take on too much.
(See Assertiveness & Saying No)
Where my attention is
What I'm doing.
Think: "I am walking", "I am sitting",
am breathing", then notice those sensations in your body
What now? How
shall I continue? Doing or Being?
for Busy People leaflet
MINDFULNESS FOR BUSY PEOPLE
activity to do mindfully throughout the day, for one,
two or five minutes. For example: Drink a cup of
tea. Walk. Wash the dishes.
you are doing, be in that moment, right now. See,
hear, smell, touch, feel, breathe.
notice whenever other thoughts and sensations come to
mind, then re-focus on your chosen mindful activity.
patient and compassionate with yourself.
- rather than judge good or bad, pleasant or
It is as
Flows. Nothing is fixed.
STRESS & DISTRESS
skill to incorporate many strategies
- just pause for a moment
Take a breath
- one slow deep breath
- there's the
again. My body and mind is reacting to the
thoughts and distressing
- this is just the anxiety
talking. Don't believe everything you think!
Let's stick with the facts - these thoughts are just
These feelings are normal -
it's just the body's alarm system doing its job, when it
doesn't need to. These feelings will pass.
Proceed - What can I
do right now?
I can use these strategies:
Where can I put my focus of attention right
& mindful activity).
What else can I do that would help me
tolerate these thoughts and feelings without
reacting to them?
Complete your own
ADHD guide by Carol Vivyan & Naomi Cottam
Print or save this page as PDF
for Busy People leaflet
Self Help Books
You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!
Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
The Adult ADHD Tool Kit
Mastering Your Adult ADHD: A Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Program Client Workbook
Taking Charge of Adult ADHD