“Don’t Break the Chain” for ADDers

In our call last week about executive functions, we shared lots of tips on how to improve yours. In today’s article, I wanted to go into more detail about a strategy I shared that helps with the executive functions such as motivation, activation, and starting, giving attention to, and finishing a task.

This tip comes from comedian Jerry Seinfeld! Jerry realized he came up with his best jokes when he spent time writing every day. However, he found that difficult, so he created a simple system that would motivate him to spend one hour every day writing.

Put a calendar on your wall

On the days he wrote, he put red cross on a “year at a glance” wall calendar. After a few crosses, he became motivated to see the calendar fill with red. He didn’t want to break the chain of crosses, so he kept writing. Jerry found this to be so successful, he told lots of people about it, and it now has a life of its own. It’s called “Don’t Break the Chain.”

“Don’t Break the Chain” is very effective for adults with ADHD because it places emphasis on habits. When you have created a habit, you no longer have to rely on motivation or internal effort to start and keep going on a task. Instead, you just automatically perform the task because it’s something you do every day.

It also creates self confidence because you can trust yourself to get the important things done.

Below are some tips to get started:

1.) What one action a day would make a huge difference in your life? Jerry’s was writing, what is yours?

2.) Print out your calendar http://budurl.com/8lpk.

3.) Post it on your wall and put a red pen nearby.

4.) You can use this method for more than one area of your life. However, for the best success rate, start with one and you can add another after a month.

5.) Good luck . . . and remember, don’t break the chain!


  1. Hi Marcia and Jacqueline,

    I can identify with the habit thing, if I do a task every day at the same time then I find it easy to continue but when there is a break as in taking a holiday or down time due to illness, I find it very difficult to get back into the routine. The calendar is a great idea!


  2. Hi Val
    Glad you like the idea of the calendar. Its so fun as you watch it fill up with red crosses!
    Thanks for your feedback

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