ASK THE EXPERTS
Q ADHD APPS FOR MY BUSINESS I am a business owner with ADHD. Can you recommend a gadget, app, or computer program that will help me avoid being late for meetings?
Any system will fail unless you use it consistently. Some of my clients use an
old-fashioned day timer or small notebook for appointments. Whichever sys-
tem you use, make sure it is small enough to carry with you at all times. When
someone asks you if you are free, you can say, “Just one moment—let me check
The major drawback to a paper system is that you can’t set a timer to remind
you about upcoming appointments or to tell you when to leave the office to get
to an appointment on time. Another drawback is that if you lose the pad or pa-
per, there is no backup. I recommend using a calendar on a smartphone. If you
lose your phone, the calendar is backed up on your computer, and if the com-
puter crashes, the calendar is on your phone.
Remember to use your calendar for appointments only, and make a separate
“to do” list for tasks. Evernote (
evernote.com) is a popular app that works well
for many of my clients. Most smartphones have calendars that can be color-coded, which can help you identify personal appointments.
I use my iPhone for appointments. It has a search engine that works when
my brain fails. I type in the first name of the person I’m meeting with, and every
person with that name comes up. If that doesn’t work, I type in the last name,
or ask Siri. —Sandy Maynard, M.S., an ADHD coach in the Washington, D.C., area
QFORMING GOOD HABI TS I have ADHD, and I find it hard to turn
goals into habits. How long does it take for an
ADDer to do that?
It takes someone about three months to
form a habit, whether they have ADHD or
not. The best way to form a habit is to create
a “ritual”—an activity or set of activities that
you keep doing the same way.
Say you’re always losing your keys in your
house because you put them down in different places.
Create a ritual set of behaviors: 1) walk in;
2) place keys in a designated tray; and 3) hang
up your coat. At first, you may forget about
doing this and put the keys in your coat
pocket or drop them somewhere else. It’s
important that you go back and do the ritual
behavior as soon as you remember to—even
if you’re watching TV or are in bed by that
time. The act of dropping them in your holding spot will make you aware of your action
the next time you enter your house.
If you keep forgetting to perform your ritual, post reminder notes where you’re sure
to see them. —Bonnie Mincu, M. A., MBA, certified ADHD coach
QHOW CAN I KEEP M Y JOB? I love my job, and I know if I don’t do it
well, I will lose it. Still, my ADHD makes it hard
for me to stay motivated. Can you help?
We ADDers need constant, visual reminders, or we’re apt to forget why something
matters when the next bright, shiny object
grabs our attention. Try keeping a note, picture, object, or other kind of reminder in
your line of sight as you work. Make sure it
has strong appeal to your emotions.
Most ADDers need external motivation to stay on track. I mean rewards and
consequences. Here’s one way to attain it:
E Figure out a way to quantify “doing your
job well,” and make those specifics your daily goal. R Decide on a short-term reward for
meeting the daily goal. T Choose a longer-term reward for meeting the weekly goal.
U Determine consequences for missing the
goal. If you’re reward-driven (you respond
to the carrot), the consequence would be
not getting the reward. If you’re conse-quence-driven (you respond to the stick),
the consequence could be specific, like a donation to a political party you oppose. —Beth
Main, certified ADHD coach