New Year’s Hopes, Not Resolutions!

Not only are we on the threshold of a New Year, but also a new decade. It’s an exciting time to look back at the last year and to welcoming in a new year. The first day of 2020 is normally a time of making resolutions.  I’m not a fan of making resolutions. So instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, why not put down some New Year’s HOPES? Hopes are different from resolutions. They are possibilities. Hopes are sort of the starting point of what you’re going to do next.
In my mini Distraction podcast on “Make New Year’s Hopes, Not Resolutions.” I encourage you to think about your hopes for 2020 and take stock for a minute to count the good things you can count, and celebrate the year that ended. Let yourself hope as big as you want or as small as you want.
My hope for all of you and my hope for myself is that in 2020, I get better at receiving love and turning it into growth, confidence, joy and all the good things that come in life.

Let’s get in the right mindset to welcome the new year and decade to come.  LISTEN NOW and take time to reflect on your hopes for 2020.

I wish you all a really, really, Happy New Year and decade to come. May you achieve your hopes for 2020.

If one of your hopes is to start doing what matters most to you in 2020, get my Top 10 Tips on managing your time, attention and energy in this Crazybusy world. You’ll learn how to take stock of what matters most to you and do what you most want to do.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily demands of this crazybusy world of ours and to lose sight of our dreams. Don’t let life pass you by without doing the things you most want to do. Whether it’s traveling to a certain destination, learning something new, or trying out a new career, chances are that with some careful planning, you can make it a reality.

Take time to remember the “festivity” of what the holiday brings.

Read Dr. Hallowell’s 2019 Happy New Year’s Message.

10 ADHD Tips To Start 2020 Off Right

People with ADHD can spend a lifetime dodging the necessity of organizing themselves. They avoid getting organized the way some people avoid going to the dentist: repeatedly postponing it as the problem gets worse and worse. The task of getting organized, one that bedevils us all, particularly vexes the ADHD mind.

As the new year approaches, I thought I’d share my top ADHD tips on performance management to help you start 2020 on the right track.

10 ADHD Tips on Performance Management*

1. External structure

Structure is the hallmark of the non-pharmacological treatment of the ADHD child. It can be equally useful with adults. Tedious to set up, once in place structure works like the walls of the bobsled slide, keeping the speedball sled from careening off the track. Make frequent use of:
  • lists
  • color-coding
  • reminders
  • notes to self
  • rituals
  • files

2. Color coding.

Mentioned above, color-coding deserves emphasis. Many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Take advantage of this by making things memorable with color: files, memoranda, texts, schedules, etc. Virtually anything in the black and white of type can be made more memorable, arresting, and therefore attention-getting with color.

3. Use pizzazz.

In keeping with tip on color coding#2, try to make your environment as peppy as you want it to be without letting it boil over.

4. Set up your environment to reward rather than deflate.

To understand what a deflating environment is, all most adult ADD’ers need do is think back to school. Now that you have the freedom of adulthood, try to set things up so that you will not constantly be reminded of your limitations.

5. Embrace challenges.

ADHD people thrive with many challenges. As long as you know they won’t all pan out, as long as you don’t get too perfectionistic and fussy, you’ll get a lot done and stay out of trouble.

6. Make deadlines.

7. Break down large tasks into small ones.

Attach deadlines to the small parts. Then, like magic, the large task will get done. This is one of the simplest and most powerful of all structuring devices. Often a large task will feel overwhelming to the person with ADHD. The mere thought of trying to perform the task makes one turn away. On the other hand, if the large task is broken down into small parts, each component may feel quite manageable.

8. Prioritize. Avoid procrastination.

When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of adult ADHD. You have to really discipline yourself to watch out for it and avoid it.

9. Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts.

Transitions are difficult for ADD’ers, and mini-breaks can help ease the transition.

10. Keep a notepad in your car, by your bed, and in your pocketbook or jacket.

You never know when a good idea will hit you, or you’ll want to remember something else, it’s a good idea to keep a notepad handy.
If you missed my Distraction episode on Taking Back Control, LISTEN HERE to learn my easy-to-follow strategies for handling life and focusing on what matters most.

Learn more about ADHD.

*Adapted from Driven to Distraction.


Today I was reminded of “festivity” when I received in the snail mail a Christmas card from a family I hadn’t heard from in ages. I don’t believe they’d sent me Christmas cards in a while, but, with my ADHD, they may well have, only I didn’t manage to take note of them. I knew them pretty well when I knew them. Well enough for them to take my sons and me skeet and pistol shooting, an exciting first for all three of us.

The family, which in addition to a mom and a dad, boasts no less than five of what were boys when I knew them, now all men. It—they—are one of the most wonderful families I’ve ever met. I lost touch with them in the way people inadvertently lose touch with people, by mistake. It was too much to keep up with, a relationship that receded, into memory as relationships not tended to, do.

What A Christmas Card Can Do

But the Christmas card brought it all back as if we’d just put away the pistols and were piling into the car, all together. On the card there was a resplendent photo from the wedding of one of the boys, now a man. Gathered all together in one brilliant and jubilant shot were 17 people: mom, dad, the five sons, and the bride, four additional women, be they wives of the men or girlfriends I couldn’t tell. But they’d been prolific, as five children also populated the photo, ranging from what appeared to be about five years old to what seemed five months.

They were all beautiful, in the best sense of that word, full of beauty, both inner as well as outer. I am not being polite when I say that mom and dad looked exactly as I remember them, not having aged a day. All their children and grandchildren and daughters-in-law, all their flowers, formal attire, and gorgeous gowns and dresses popped out of the card like an organ peal of love.


When I looked at the card, the word that came to my mind was “festivity”. What a festive event that wedding must have been. What a festival of all-things-good that family has turned life into, not only for them, but for their friends, their businesses, their community, their schools, and just about everyone they touch.

I kicked myself for having lost touch with them, and as I noticed the return address on the card, I determined to write to them asap. Of course, I don’t know what’s been going on with them in the years since I knew them, what difficulties they may have faced, what losses endured, what sadness, what grief. But, knowing them, they have turned whatever hardship into connection, generosity, and growth.

“Silent Night”

As Christmas draws nigh, I thought of “Silent Night,” the venerable carol we all know and sing, at least those of us who celebrate Christmas, but I also thought of the literal silent night, the night that descends upon the people who have:

  • no family,
  • who have nary a friend,
  • who have no Christmas goose or plum pudding or
  • anything that matters much at all.

I thought of that silent night, what I could do to make it better for all of those people. I’m sure you who read this newsletter often have the same thought.  How can we include in our share those who have little.

What Can We Do To Make It Better For All People

Short of grand gestures—like practicing the radical philanthropy prophets like Jesus prescribed—we can do, well, we can do what we can do. I don’t know about you, but I always fall pitifully short of that bar. There is so much more that I could do. I don’t want to beat myself up for not doing it. Since I know that won’t help anyone. Although, I want to prod myself this year maybe into doing a bit more.

For some reason seeing that family I’d lost touch with, seeing them on that card in full festivity, so to speak, gave me a shot of love. Even more so it was a big hypodermic to get me off my butt and reaching out. Because that’s the least I can do, and when I do that, more follows, almost always.

My Wish For All Of You

My wish for all of you is that you find festivity in this season, that you reach out, that you all follow whatever spirit moves you to a place closer to love in the silent night that surrounds us all.

Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D.

Read Dr. Hallowell’s January 1, 2020 message on New Year’s Hopes, Not Resolutions.

and his blog post on All I want for Christmas

ADHD Holiday Survival Guide

Dr. Hallowell’s ADHD Holiday Survival Guide. Although people with ADHD love the intensity and excitement of the holidays, I know from experience that for someone with ADHD, stress this time of year can quickly multiply and create the perfect storm. When the ADHD brain is on overload, things can become overwhelming. Between juggling work, holiday parties, tons of lists, chaos with kids and unpredictable surprises along the way, it’s enough to send even the calmest person into a panic.

The holiday season is a never ending cycle of to-do lists that never get done, juggling acts that falter and expectations that fall short. So it’s easier to become angry, frustrated and say things you don’t mean. That’s why it’s especially important for someone with ADHD to have plenty of structure this time of the year so they can take control of the chaos around them.

So I’m offering the following tips to help cross out some of those items on your holiday to do list and ease the holiday headache for adults with ADHD and anyone else trying to remain sane in this crazybusy world:


1. Shop smart and shop early.  Last minute shopping is a big no.  There’s too much pressure.  So start as early as possible.

2. Make a list of people you need to buy for. Don’t buy too many gifts for each person.  That will keep the process from becoming too daunting.

3. Create a schedule of social events and don’t over schedule.  Leave time between engagements to gather your thoughts. Transitions are difficult for ADDers. Remember it’s okay to decline an invitation and you don’t need to offer any excuses. That will help you stay on task.

4. Prioritize rather than procrastinate. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective and can become paralyzed.  Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Then go on to the second and the third task. Don’t stop. Procrastination is one of he hallmarks of adult ADHD. You have to really discipline yourself to watch out for it and avoid it.

5.  Make deadlines.

6. Get enough rest.  That will help you stay focused.

7. Recharge your batteries.  Take a nap, watch TV, meditate. Something calm, restful, at ease.

7. Carve out time to exercise or have some quiet time to yourself.  Exercise helps you work off excess energy and aggression in a positive way and calms the body.  The downtime; i.e., take a nap, watch TV, meditate, will help you recharge your batteries when you’re in crunch time.

8. Keep up with your regimen during the holidays and be vigilant about it.

The holidays are not the time to try something new.  They are the time to stick with what’s tried and true.  That will help ensure that you’re at your best this holiday season and you enjoy yourself.

Remember to take time and savor the joy of the moment.

Read more about ADHD.

Get tips on How to Take Back Control of Your Crazybusy life here.

Happy Holidays!!!