What 8 successful ADHDers want you to know about how they get stuff done.

Whenever I'm working with my family, friends, or colleagues, they always ask me how I'm able to get so much done.

My answer: "I have ADHD."

That might sound confusing, but realistically, people with ADHD don't always have problems with attention — at least, not when we're working on something that excites us. In fact, ADHD often means that we can hyperfocus on awesome things for hours on end, although sometimes that comes at the expense of all the less-thrilling things we’re supposed to be doing. (Why wash the dishes when you can build a rocket ship out of a cardboard box and a disassembled vacuum cleaner?)

Most people with ADHD have to work 10 times harder to achieve seemingly basic organizational and time management skills — skills that other people develop naturally over time. While medication can certainly help, it doesn't do all the work by itself. As a result, we pay more conscious attention to life hacks, memory tricks, productivity shortcuts and other mental managerial systems ... because we have to.


Some say that people with ADHD are much more likely to start their own businesses, perhaps because we’re built to tackle creative and entrepreneurial challenges.

While other people don’t need to learn the same tricks that we do, they can benefit from them. In fact, I’d argue that ADHDers have some of the best advice and practices for getting stuff done — even if we don’t always listen to that advice ourselves.

GIF from "Bruce Almighty."

Here are 21 productivity tips from people with ADHD that even non-ADHDers can learn from:

1. Habits are things you get for free. So get into 'em.

Even though I’m not a natural creature of habit, I always start my day with meds, then a shower, then pants, then breakfast — otherwise I know that I’m going to forget one of those steps. Habits are essentially self-automation, which means less brainpower spent on the little things.

2. Always have a backup (or two, or three) and know where to find it.

I keep extra cables, chargers, adapters, medicine, and other things in my bag at all times. That way, whether I’m going to the grocery store or on vacation, I don’t have to worry about keeping my phone charged.

3. Reminders and alerts: love them and use them.

I even have a recurring 2 p.m. notification on my phone that says “EAT SOME LUNCH, YOU IDIOT” because, erm, I need the reminder more than I’d like to admit. (Also: IFTTT triggers to automate actions and sync between apps and accounts make life way easier.)

GIF from "Despicable Me 2."

4. Keep a calendar, and schedule in the time it takes for you to do things.

If it takes you extra time to keep a calendar or get into the headspace for a meeting? Factor that in when you’re planning your day too.

5. Pay attention to the your day's ups and downs, and use them to your advantage.

Do you get sleepy right after lunch? Then maybe don’t dive into that intense project at 1 p.m. Are you better when you answer emails in the morning and get active tasks done later? Then do that. Figure out what works for you, and follow that schedule.

6. Find your rhythm and stick with it.

Even if you’re not the slow and steady type, a regular pattern of sprint and rest can still help you reach the finish line. "Sometimes I'll start counting beats in my head to create a rhythm," says TV writer/director Hadley Klein. "It sounds crazy but for whatever reason, it helps me think through things in a different way."

7. Make a list. Check it twice. Then make another list. And another.

Graphic novelist Tyler Page says, “I keep one main to-do list on my computer in a Sticky or TextEdit file. Bigger projects get their own lists where they get broken down into smaller and smaller components. The lists also help with prioritizing — something that needs to be done right away goes on the daily to-do list."

GIF from "Monsters University."

8. “Prioritize action over accomplishment. Doing the thing.”

This one comes from Patty Carnevale, head of revenue at Man Repeller. Measuring your progress in a tangible way can help you feel even more successful, which will then give you the drive to keep going.

9. Reward yourself for your accomplishments — no matter how small.

If you're someone who needs frequent feedback to get the necessary dopamine boost, then you can fake it by sticking a carrot in front of yourself to keep you going. Alysa Auriemma, an English instructor, gives an example: “I can read that awesome online fanfic IF I get three papers graded!”

GIF from "Parks and Recreation."

10. Turn the boring parts into a game.

“I use a fitness watch which monitors how many steps I take in a day and how many flights of stairs I climb. It’s fun to make the numbers go up,” says Nalo Hopkinson, an award-winning author. She also reports her daily word count on Twitter, so that people can cheerlead her along.

11. Don't dread the boring stuff. Just get it done. It's faster that way.

Focus on the satisfaction that you’re going to feel once you’ve finished the task, instead of on the time it’ll take to get it done — which, let’s be honest, is probably less time than you think. (Of course, even though I know this works for me, it's still easier said than done.)

12. The more you let things pile up, the easier it gets to ignore them.

Find a way to keep it fresh. I’m a compulsive inbox zeroer because the longer that little red notification bubble sits there on my phone, the more inclined I am to ignore it. So I mark all my emails as "read," then use an IFTTT trigger to remind me later of things that actually require a follow-up or my attention.

GIF from "Community."

13. If things slip your mind, visual cues can help.

You know that mantra, "Out of sight, out of mind?" For people with ADHD, that's pretty literal — to a fault. So it helps to stick things right in our own faces so that we can't miss them. “When I was in college, I taped a postcard to my apartment door with the times I needed to leave by to make it to morning classes on time,” says Rebecca Eisenberg, Upworthy’s senior editor.

14. Work with your brain, not against it.

Do you tend to lose your keys in the bathroom? Then make a new home for them in the bathroom, where you’re already inclined to leave them. That way, they’re always there. Don't fight your instincts. Use their momentum to your advantage. And on that note…

15. Embrace your idiosyncrasies and find a way to make them work for you.

Everyone’s brain is different. A lot of ADHDers need to figure out on our own what works for us, rather than having someone tell us what’s the “right” way to do things. For example: If someone else leaves me a list of instructions or things to do that's organized by their mind, it only makes me frustrated and confused. I have to create my own to-do lists in my own way — even if it does take more time.

GIF from "Adventure Time."

16. Take a break. Move around. Do a little dance.

Movement helps your brain work better. As tempting as it is to put the emphasis on measurable actions, it’s just as important to not do things and give yourself a chance to breathe. Sometimes a little distance can give you a lot of new perspective.

I use a portable adjustable standing desk and a pair of bluetooth headphones so that I can basically dance in place and write at the same time. My wife thinks I'm weird, but it works.

17. Know when to call it a day.

It’s important to accept when you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns. Don't be afraid to give your brain a rest, and come back to it fresh the next day. This'll save you time in the long run too — because the more you power through your exhaustion, the longer it'll take to recover.

18. Identity your flaws and strengths, and communicate them to others.

"My colleagues know that in exchange for tolerating all the things I do that make me less reliable, they get a guy who can think outside the box, that can create on the fly, that can wear many hats at once," says Upworthy's fearless editor-at-large, Adam Mordecai.

"They also know that if they want something from me, I'm far likelier to get it done if they ping me immediately on chat rather than on email. Let your peeps know how to get the most out of you."

19. Keep your eye on the prize, but forgive yourself — and others.

Everyone’s fighting their own uphill battles, and you're not going to get anything done if you're too busy beating yourself up. (You’re not going to help anyone else be more productive if you externalize it and pick on them either.)

GIF from the SAG Awards.

20. Set your goals, but stay flexible.

Maybe you didn’t get as much done today as you had hoped, but that’s OK. Regroup, come up with a new strategy, and try to figure out what went wrong so you can do it better next time. Which brings me to the last, and perhaps most important, lesson:

21. “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

This is actually a quote from Samuel Beckett, but it also makes for an excellent productivity mantra. The bad parts and failures are inevitable, and you’ll never overcome them all. But that’s OK. Accept it, learn from it, and keep going anyway.

But you do have a brain. So use it. GIF from "The Wizard of Oz."

ADHDers understand one thing better than most people: Success is not a stationary target.

There's no "one weird trick" that will actually bring you any closer to success.

Instead, the best we can hope for is to embrace ourselves for all our strengths and weaknesses, and keep finding things to work toward. Perhaps that's a new business endeavor, 15 simultaneous hobbies, or simply remembering to put your underwear on before your pants.

If that last part is a measurable indication, then for me, today was an extraordinary success.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

via The BC Cancer Foundation

Testicular cancer typically affects men between the ages of 16 and 44 and is the most common solid tumor to occur in men of this age group. These tumors grow rapidly and can double in size in just 10 to 30 days.

The disease is potentially fatal if not discovered early and accounts for about 11%-13% of all cancer deaths of men between the ages of 15-35. An estimated 9,60 people were diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020, resulting in around 440 deaths.

So it's incredibly important for people with testicles to check themselves regularly.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.