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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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.