Welcome to
Working with ADHD

Here you will find everything you need to know about running a successful business when you have ADHD.

If you are reading this, it’s highly likely you are creative, fun, passionate, and think-outside-the-box type of person. Although, as you are reading that impressive list, you might not be ready to embrace all of those qualities in yourself yet, because your self esteem may be a little low. [Read more...]


11 Steps to Organize Your Phone Calls, So You Can Stop Putting Them Off

11 Steps to Organize Your Phone Calls, So You Can Stop Putting Them Off: phone calls organize phone calls Marcia Hoeck making phone calls Jacqueline Sinfield hate making phone calls dread making business phone calls ADHD ADD









Do you hate making business phone calls? Because you never know how to get into them, how to stay on track when you’re on them, and how to get out of them?

Many business owners, especially those with ADHD, dread making calls to keep clients up to date, keep on top of their contractors, and keep in touch with peers and partners.

One reason you’re stuck may be your ADHD inability to shift gears and just get started, but another may be the simple dislike of talking to all those people. Yikes! It’s so easy to get off track, a few simple phone calls could take hours! And, will you really get accomplished what you want to get accomplished?

You will if you take the time to plan and organize your calls ahead of time.

Take these simple steps before you pick up the phone:

Step 1. Make a list of everyone you need to phone.

Step 2. Next to each person’s name, write the main reason you need to call them. Keep it simple, like “give project update” or “get price quote.”

Step 3. Are there other points you need to cover with certain people? Jot these reasons down under the main reason, but no more than two or three points per person per phone call.

Step 4. Now, group your calls by subject so you don’t have to bounce around and can [Read more...]

How Can I Be So Smart and Capable, and Still Get Stuck?

How Can I Be So Smart and Capable, and Still Get Stuck?: Smart but stuck Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield emotions and ADHD Dr. Thomas E. Brown ADHD ADD Did you listen in on our most recent interview with Dr.Thomas E. Brown? Once again, it was full of really interesting information. We always learn so much from him!

Dr. Brown sent both of us a copy of his newest book, “Smart But Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD,” which is packed full of great information about people just like us. It’s easy to read, too, because it’s broken up into sections based on the people Dr. Brown interviewed for his research.

If you missed this special program, or want to listen to it again, click on the link below to download the MP3:

Download our Smart But Stuck interview with Dr. Thomas E. Brown here.

or click on the player below to listen online:

We covered lots of topics, including:

• Adult onset ADHD
• Motivation, and how emotion motivates action [Read more...]

How to Deal with People Who Think ADHD Doesn’t Exist

How to Deal with People Who Think ADHD Doesnt Exist: Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield ADHD doesnt exist ADHD ADD doesnt exist ADD A few days ago I went to an event. There was lots of small talk with strangers and the inevitable questions, like, “What do you do?” I am a coach for adults with ADHD, so I say that. Usually there is a person who has an issue with ADHD. Rather than keeping that opinion to themselves, they start an attack. Even though this has been happening for 10 years, it always surprises me. Each time takes a different slant, but this time it went like this . . .

A woman thought everyone is misdiagnosed with ADHD, and all their symptoms are caused by an allergy. In her 20′s she gained a lot of weight and was unmotivated and to do anything and couldn’t think straight. After lots of research she found out that she had an allergy to something unusual. When she cut this thing out of her life, she lost the weight and regained her cognitive functioning. It wasn’t clear if she was ever diagnosed with ADHD, or if she just felt like she had a few of the symptoms. However, it was very clear that she gets argumentative and rude when she meets someone in the ADHD field. She went on and on about how ADHD doesn’t exist and that if people just knew about this allergy solution, then all the symptoms would go away.

I tried to explain that allergies can make ADHD worse, but they don’t cause it, and that ADHD doesn’t just appear in adulthood and would have been present since childhood. But she wasn’t interested in reason. She just wanted to keep talking about her opinion—which she did for a really long time.

Here is what I know for sure:

1) ADHD is a very hot topic—it stirs up a lot of emotions
2) People with even a little knowledge about ADHD think they are experts
3) People discuss at great length if ADHD exists, which they don’t for other conditions like cancer or Parkinson’s

4) When you are connected with ADHD—either you have it, or work with people who have it—strangers think it’s fine to have a heated debate about the topic whenever you leave your home.

When you have ADHD, life is already challenging. You really don’t need this extra stress. Plus, when people are argumentative and picking apart the validity of ADHD, it feels personal. Because ADHD is part of who you are. Which means you end up questioning everything about yourself. I don’t have ADHD, and still this encounter really upset me.

If you have an encounter like this, here’s what to do:

1) Remember that ADHD does exist

Here’s what two of the ADHD giants have to say on the matter:

“ADHD, a disorder which has [Read more...]

How to Deal with Shame and ADHD when You Run a Business

How to Deal with Shame and ADHD when You Run a Business: shame vs guilt shame and ADD Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield ADHD and shame ADHD and running a business ADHD ADD It seems crazy to think, with all the other things on your plate, that you might also be dealing with feelings of shame when running a business.

But you may—especially if you’re running a business and you have ADHD.

Feelings of shame are something Jacqui and I run into a lot with our ADHD business clients. In fact, Jacqui posted a terrific video by TED speaker Brene Brown about the difference between shame and guilt in a previous blog post. You can read what Jacqui has to say about how shame affects your business and find the TED video here.

Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior.

Shame says, “I’m not good enough,” and “Who do you think you are?

Shame can paralyze us.

This is what shame in business looks like

Take a look at how shame can creep in with a hypothetical business owner I’ll call Gary:

1.)   Gary’s business has many moving parts. It is growing, he has a lot on his plate, and he is overwhelmed.

2.)   Gary has been following our Working with ADHD articles or podcasts, and he contacts us for support or attends one of our programs for entrepreneurs with ADHD.

3.)   We begin to work together in an individually customized program, or in a group program, or at a retreat. We start to get our arms around Gary’s individual challenges, and map out a plan.

4.)   Gary is inspired and excited by the practical information we provide, and looks forward to implementing some of the simple strategies.

5.)   Back at work, procrastination or overwhelm or both set in, and Gary gets off track, losing focus. Somehow the simple strategies get lost in the weeds.

6.)   Gary feels he is breaking promises to himself and others, and is not getting the value out of his coaching investment by not following through with assignments promised to us. He begins to feel shame.

7.)   Shame builds on shame, pushing the simple strategies further and further away, until [Read more...]

Why Successful Entrepreneurs with ADHD Can Help You (even if you think they can’t)

Why Successful Entrepreneurs with ADHD Can Help You (even if you think they cant): successful people with ADHD successful people with ADD Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield famous people with ADHD famous people with ADD entrepreneurs with ADHD celebrities with ADHD ADHD ADD


When we hear that a successful, famous person has ADHD, it is helpful to us for many reasons, including:

1) It normalizes the condition . . . anyone can have ADHD.

2) It shows it’s possible to have ADHD and be successful.

3) Their stories can act as inspiration for us.

4) It validates us. We realize we aren’t alone with quirks and ‘annoyances.’

5) It gives us confidence to use our ADHD strengths.

6) It gives us HOPE!

I hadn’t understood the power of this until I had a conversation with a 9-year-old little boy. He had been diagnosed with ADHD because he was struggling in school. He hated having ADHD. It made him feel different from everyone else and he didn’t think it was fair that he had to struggle so much with things that all his friends found easy. He was so hurt—I really wanted to do something to help, so I asked a few questions. He loved sports, and the summer olympics was fresh in everyone’s mind, so I told him about Michael Phelps having ADHD.

I had never seen such a rapid change in someone’s mood. This little boy was thrilled. He knew he would be OK. In fact, he knew he was going to be more than OK, because ‘clearly’ having ADHD gave Michael Phelps the winning edge!

We aren’t that much different from that 9-year-old little boy. Even though as adults we try to be cool and pretend that celebrities don’t influence us, they do! (We live in a celebrity-centric world.) Famous ADHD entrepreneurs can inspire us with their stories of struggle and victory. They show us that using their gifts (often the ones that non ADHDers want you to get rid!) is how they became successful, and their success paves the way so you know success is possible for you, too.

There are some famous ADHD entrepreneurs that get [Read more...]

Five Ways to Follow Through and Get Things Finished

Five Ways to Follow Through and Get Things Finished: productivity Marcia Hoeck maintain focus Jacqueline Sinfield get things finished follow through focus delegation delegate ADHD ADD

When we did our ADHD and business survey in November, over 70% of you ranked “follow through” as what you wanted help with the most. Getting better at following through is not an easy, overnight fix—it’s very individual, it takes knowing yourself and your ADHD, and it takes commitment.

Here are five tips that will help you to follow through:

#1. First, understand the elements of your business that can only be done by you. Take these on as your responsibility, and, if at all possible, delegate the rest.

You’ve got a lot on your plate, and you’re getting new ideas all the time. Too many times, you get hung up on the boring things—no wonder you can’t get them finished! Your brain isn’t wired to do the admin stuff of your business or to chase down details, so if you can (and it’s probably more possible than you think it is), get someone else to do these things so you can focus on your genius work.

#2. Notice what lights a fire under you and gets you to finish things, and find a way to purposefully work those things into your project for planned accountability.

Some things really work to clear your head and get you to focus and wrap up projects, and others just don’t. So, what gets you moving?

• Impending important deadlines

• Set-in-stone client meetings

• Getting paid—as in, you get paid as soon as it’s finished

• A deadline for something public, like speaking

• Presentations and reports

• Going on vacation—getting everything off of your desk before you go

• Being reminded by someone else, to keep you on track


Once you know what it is that lights a fire under you, find ways to make it happen in your schedule. For example, when I have [Read more...]

Why Healthy Boundaries are Important When You are Working with ADHD

Why Healthy Boundaries are Important When You are Working with ADHD: working with ADHD setting boundaries personal boundaries Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield boundaries at work boundaries and ADHD ADHD ADD


In order to have a successful business when you have ADHD, it is vital to create strong personal boundaries. Boundaries are rules you set for yourself, based on your values and priorities.

Some boundaries are automatically in place without you having to be consciously aware of them. For example, if a stranger stands too close to you, you instinctively step away in order to create a physical space that you are comfortable with.

However, not all boundaries are that easy! Sometimes you don’t know what your boundaries are, so you can’t enforce them. Because healthy boundaries are so important for you to feel happy and be successful, it’s worth spending a little time and reflect what is happening now and what you need to do to strengthen your boundaries.

Here is a list of areas where it’s important to have healthy boundaries:

• Physical space
• Mental
• Emotional
• Time
• Physical body
• Sexual
• Material

How to find your boundaries

If you aren’t sure what your boundaries are now, start to [Read more...]

Focus Your Time Management

Focus Your Time Management: time management tools time management time blocking productivity Marcia Hoeck focus ADHD ADD I saw a statistic recently that the average person wastes fully one-third of their work day . . . one-third! And that’s before you take into consideration that the remaining two-thirds can’t be entirely billable or income producing. Once you do get focused on work, a good portion of that remaining time you don’t waste will be allocated to administrative tasks and marketing your business, things that don’t directly bring in revenue.

Scary, huh?

And that’s for the average person. Think about what that statistic would be for the average ADHDer! We’re business owners — we can’t afford to waste this much time.

That’s why it’s so important to plan up-front and be proactive about your time and productivity, and not let it get away from you. Once you drift off into Time-Wasting-Land, those minutes go by really fast.

So what’s the best way to focus your time management and stop wasting so much time?

Just do this one thing

I’ve heard this one thing credited by highly effective people and management consultants as one of the most important actions successful people take. (Not just successful ADHDers, successful people do this.)

It’s worked for me for over 30 years, so I like it a lot. And I stumbled upon it myself, before I even knew other people did it.

This is it: Schedule every part of each day ahead of time

It’s easy to do. The hard part — like so many things for ADHDers — is actually doing it.

Take these steps to make it happen:

1. Save 15 to 20 minutes at the end of every day just for this

Once this becomes a habit for you, you’ll look forward to it. It’s a wonderful time to clear your head and calm your anxiety about what’s coming up next. Making time to schedule the next day is an extremely satisfying way to pull everything back down to earth and end the day.

2. Decide what you’ll do for just the next day

During this end-of-day time, make a list of just the tasks and meetings for the next day. If you’re not going to do it tomorrow, it doesn’t go on this list.

3. Block these things on your calendar

After you know what these tasks, meetings, and obligations are, go one step [Read more...]

ADHD and Brain Fog

ADHD and Brain Fog: Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield how to get out of brain fog brain fog in business brain fog ADHD and brain fog ADHD ADD brain fog ADD Whoever thought of the term “brain fog” did an excellent job at describing that feeling where you can’t seem to get your ADHD brain into working mode. Marcia describes it as being “mired in mud”. I describe it as having cotton wool in your brain — how do you describe it?

It’s that feeling of  not being able to get your brain to wake up and into gear so you can do what is important for your business. It’s frustrating and can lead you to feel like your brain has a life of its own. However don’t despair! Here are some actions you can take to put you back in control.

If you get brain fog, here’s what to do


1) Run up and down the stairs, take the dog for a very brisk walk, or if you have time, head to the gym. The physical movement gets some of the feel-good chemicals released into your brain, including the all-important dopamine. The quicker you move, the better.

2) Drink a big glass of water. Boring, I know!  But there is a good chance you are dehydrated and the brain doesn’t think clearly when it is. Keep drinking water throughout the day to keep the brain fog at bay.

3) Have a cup of coffee. This isn’t such a healthy option, so I recommend doing the others first . . . but a cup of coffee will help stimulate your brain.

4) Check out Marcia’s suggestions [Read more...]

Our Focus, Control, and Balance Retreat was Powerful, Validating, and Motivating

Our Focus, Control, and Balance Retreat was Powerful, Validating, and Motivating: Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield Focus Control and Balance ADHD in business ADHD business workshop ADHD business retreat ADHD business coach ADHD ADD business retreat ADD business coach ADD Whew! Jacqui and I are back from our Focus, Control, and Balance Retreat in San Diego, and it was an intense three days.

We love totally immersing ourselves in the issues faced by business people with ADHD, and for the second time (we held our first retreat in May 2013), we know with absolute certainty that these retreats attract the most sincere, interesting, intelligent, creative, open, passionate, and fun people we’ve met anywhere.

There were several themes that rang true and strong this first week of December — themes that kept cropping up for us and holding special meaning. For some, they were breakthroughs. For some, ahas. And for others, reminders of things learned before but resisted, or put aside.

Theme 1: ValidationOur Focus, Control, and Balance Retreat was Powerful, Validating, and Motivating: Marcia Hoeck Jacqueline Sinfield Focus Control and Balance ADHD in business ADHD business workshop ADHD business retreat ADHD business coach ADHD ADD business retreat ADD business coach ADD

Some of us felt powerful validation. Either because someone else noticed and gave us credit for something we had not given ourselves credit for, or because we were finally in a room where we could release the tension in our shoulders and talk about things that others can’t know and don’t understand.

Theme 2: Turning points

Some of us are at turning points — and we got to a place where we could peek around the corner. The support of the group gave us the strength, and the permission, to open our eyes.

Theme 3: Talking points

Some of us found words, or the sparks of words, to ground us; to give us something to hold onto when the [Read more...]