Managing ADHD and Navigating Life 


A woman getting distracted by her son.It seems like more people are identifying with things related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) these days. ADHD can show up in many ways for both children and adults. These can be, but are not limited to, challenges with focusing, impulsivity, organization, and memory. These things have shown up in some form throughout one’s life.

You are your own investigator! If something feels off, overwhelming, or stressful, it’s up to you to investigate and figure out WHY. 

The more we learn about ourselves, the better equipped we are to be the best version of ourselves. This also holds true for our children. Understanding yourself and your area of challenge is key. Be honest with yourself. What are some things that are harder for you or your child to manage? 

The good news is that ADHD can be managed! This takes knowing your areas of difficulty and learning how to cope with them.


Your environment can play a significant role in all this. Set yourself up for success! If organization is challenging, have a trusted person help you get organized. What does this look like for you? Making a list, having a certain spot for your things, keeping distracting items out of reach, reminders, and visuals. Once this is set up, make it a habit or expectation; this will help make the behavior more routine and easier to engage in. 

Routines help us know what needs to be done within a certain area or task. When I get home, I always put my keys in the designated key basket, my purse and jacket in the closet, and set down my water bottle in the kitchen. These things have become routine, so I no longer need to think about them. When routines are first being established we may need some reminders on what the steps are, use a sticky note, write it on your phone or whatever works for you. Learning a new behavior or routine is less complicated when we do it correctly from the start. 


Are you overwhelmed by all of the things that need attention? Breaking things down to smaller tasks or using timers can help here. Small steps over time make a big difference. Decide how much time you have to take to do one thing. Set a timer for how long you want to work on the task (10, 15, 20 minutes). Make sure you plan to minimize distractions, turn off your notifications, set your phone across the room, use headphones (if that helps), and do it when the kids are napping or when someone else is attending to them.

Take a minute to notice when you are getting off task and correct the course. Knowing how you work best is your greatest tool. Keep a running list of ways you focus best. Give yourself positive encouragement, as you would a friend when the timer goes off. 


Are you struggling with impulsivity? Acting on impulses in this modern world has gotten so much easier. If this is something you’d like to work on, take a beat of whatever it is. Give that text, email, or shopping cart time to sit there, come back to it later, and see how you still feel about it. Ask yourself what advice you would give a friend if they were in this situation. We are much gentler with our friends than we are with ourselves, which needs to change!

Know your limits and respect them! Be realistic about what you can manage in a given day, moment, or environment. Often, we try to do too much and struggle through it, leaving us exhausted at the end of the moment, activity, or day. 

Ask a trusted partner, friend, or family member to be your accountability person; let them know what you’re working on and where you’re looking to improve. Build in breaks for yourself, do some deep breathing, have some moments of reflection or meditation, and be kind to yourself! You are the only you in the world, celebrate that! ADHD

If you are experiencing features of ADHD and finding it hard to manage things, reach out to a professional near you and start getting the support you deserve!

Mary Dominguez is the founder of Dominguez Behavioral, where she coaches individuals, families, and organizations to improve their personal wellness. Mary is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She merges the science of behavior and holistic coaching practices to bring out positive change in the lives of her clients. She lives in Fairfield County with her children, husband, and dog.


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