Info on ADHD

Welcome to the Untapped Brilliance Blog! I am Jacqueline Sinfield the ADHD coach for Adults. On this blog you will find tons of info on ADHD. One the most common sentence I hear from clients is ‘I have so much potential but I just can’t seem to reach it’.  I wrote the ADHD book Untapped Brilliance: How to Reach Your Full Potential as an Adult with ADHD to answer that very question. Untapped Brilliance outlines simple yet highly effective, alternative ways to minimize your unwanted ADHD symptoms so that your wonderful gifts can shine brightly. When that happens, not only are you able to reach your potential, but your life also becomes way less stressful and lots more fun.

The articles here on the blog are all a reflection of my ADHD Coaching philosophy. I am really excited to share with you loads of info on ADHD, and proven strategies that are super effective in minimizing your negative aspects of ADHD so that your magnificent gifts can shine brightly and you too can reach your potential!

Don’t forget to leave questions or comments as I love hearing from you

ADHD During Transitions

LuggageGuest article by Bonnie Hutchinson

What are transitions and why does it matter?

Transitions are the “times between” – after you know something is changing but before you know how it turns out.

For example, if you’re moving to a new home, the transition time is from when you know you’ll be moving, through packing and relocating, until you feel settled in the new home.

Transition times can be triggered by something external. Moving from high school to college; changing job; illness or injury; relationships changing or ending – those are events that create big changes. During the transition, we have to let go of one reality and adjust to a new one.

Transitions can also be triggered by something internal. For example, in adolescence, the transition from childhood to adulthood triggers physical, emotional and mental changes even if nothing changes in the child’s outer world.

Why this matters is that, during times of transition, we can expect more chaos and confusion, more volatile emotions, more difficulty thinking. We often face situations that are not just out of our comfort zone but out of our competence zone – we really are out of our depth for a while.

Why it matters is that, despite the stressors, times of transition can be times of greatest creativity, when new opportunities emerge and we discover gifts and talents we didn’t know we had. The core opportunity of transition times is that we move to a new level of development.

What does this have to do with ADHD?

  1. Those of us with ADHD tendencies may experience frequent transitions. We have a tendency to flit from one thought to another and one activity to another. With the best of intentions, we may forget important things like where our keys are or that it’s time to pay the phone bill.  Because of those tendencies, we may experience more career changes, more relocations, and more crises caused by forgetfulness. All of those may create more transition times than many people experience.
  2. We may not realize we’re in a transition time.   Some of the symptoms of ADHD – forgetfulness, difficulty focussing, losing track of time – can also be indicators that we are in a transition. Since we’re used to chaos, we may not even notice that something is different. Or, if we notice more ADHD-like behaviours than usual, we may think we are regressing. In reality we may be transitioning to a new level of development and just haven’t adapted yet to our new self.
  3. Transitions may interfere with ADHD coping strategies. We all have routines that help us with ADHD tendencies – using a timer to snap us out of hyperfocus; making sure we always put the keys in a certain place; asking other people to help us organize.  In times of transition, when much is changing around and within us, we may not be able to use these routines. That can throw us off our stride.
  4. We may be more adept than others at dealing with transitions. On the flip side, we ADHD people may have an advantage during times of rapid change. Compared to people who are used to an organized life, a certain amount of disorganization and stress feels “normal” to us! We may be better equipped to roll with chaos.

Four tips if you know you’re in a transition.

  1. Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect yourself to be as good at anything as you usually are. (Don’t worry, your skills will come back.) Be even more attentive to the basics: diet, exercise, sleep, all the things you know help your ADHD symptoms.
  2. Create temporary ADHD coping strategies. Think of routines that are going to be disrupted (for example, during a move you won’t have the same place to put your keys). Then think of how you can accomplish the same purpose in a different way.
  3. Ask for help.  Ask those you trust for a little extra support when you’re in a transition time. Of course, you will provide extra support to them when they are in a transition time.
  4. Laugh.  We quirky ADHD people often have wicked senses of humour. No matter what, laughter always makes whatever is happening easier, and maybe even fun.

ADHD tendencies and transition times both come with gifts and challenges. When they happen together, it may intensify the challenge – but also the opportunity for our brilliant gifts to shine!


Bonnie Hutchinson is the author of Transitions: Pathways to the Life and World Your Soul Desires. For a free excerpt from the book click here.

ADHD and Morning Anger

Woman drying her hairDo you wake up in the morning feeling angry at the world? Does everything, from your alarm clock to the smell of your toothpaste make you mad? It might be a standing joke, that you are ‘like a bear with a sore head’ in the morning, but morning anger can cause so many problems that couples split up because of it.

Some common reasons why people with ADHD experience anger in the morning are:

  1. Having a Sleep Deficit

    75% of adults with ADHD have problems sleeping. You might not be getting enough sleep or the quality isn’t good, so you don’t feel refreshed in the morning

  2. Experience Anxiety and Worry

    If you wake up and feel anxiety or worry, you are more likely to have a black mood. 50% of people with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder, so this could affect you.

  3. Feel Stressed

    Living with ADHD is stressful and if you wake up feeling stressed, it also affects your mood.

  4. All Work and No Play

    When you wake up and feel that your whole day is work with nothing to look forward to, that can make you mad. Many people with ADHD don’t feel that they deserve to have fun because they are behind with their responsibilities (housework, taxes, etc.), so their day is all work.

Not everyone who experiences these points feels anger. Some people wake up feeling sad or find it almost impossible to get out of bed.

6 suggestions to help you feel less angry in the morning:

  1. Be a Detective

    Are you angry every morning? Or just week days? If it’s just weekdays, work out if it’s a lack of good quality sleep that is making you angry, or things about your work day. Is anger in the mornings a new thing or have you been this way ever since you were a child? If it’s new, what has changed recently? When you have answers to these questions, decide what changes to your life you can make.

  2. Get Moving

    Get moving and start your day as quickly as possible. This gets you out of your head and experiencing some early wins. Have a morning checklist to work through, so you don’t have to think while your brain is still waking up. Get up, make you bed, have some breakfast, shower, get dressed, etc.

  3. Leave the House ASAP

    Some people find that the quicker they leave the house in the morning, the faster their anger evaporates. Even though you like your home, getting a change of scene and making a start on your day helps. Packing your bag the night before helps for a speedy exit.

  4. Exercise

    Exercising is excellent for your ADHD. It also helps change your mood as it floods your brain with feel good hormones. You can combine 3. and 4. by leaving the house and going to the gym.

  5. Enjoy Your Life More

    We don’t necessary need to make big changes in our lives to experience big results. Sometimes, all it takes is a perception change and your mood also shifts. The 5 minute journal is a great way to do this. Plus, it’s the perfect journal when you have ADHD, because it only takes 5 minutes!

  6. Wake Up

    Grumpiness can be connected with ‘sleep inertia’, which is a transitional phase from being asleep to awake. It can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes; although some people find it can take up to 4 hours. Experiment with a few things to see what helps you to wake up. Some people find coffee helps, others like to wake up gradually with a Full Spectrum Light Alarm Clock.

What helps  your morning anger?

Has Your Concentration Shrunk?

NewspaperHow long can you concentrate for?
Do you find you can only concentrate on something for few minutes?
Have you noticed your ability to concentrate is lot shorter than it used to be?

I get emails from readers who are concerned and a little scared that their concentration is much shorter than it use to be. They wonder if it’s something they have to live with as they get older, or even early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

It is already challenging to focus when you have ADHD, so when you feel your concentration is getting worse, it is easy to panic and wonder how you will cope with life.

Concentration isn’t a fixed commodity. It is like a muscle that increases and shrinks depending on your lifestyle. Once you have ruled out any underlying medical conditions (by visiting your doctor), it is time to look at your style of living. With a few changes, your attention will be back to its former glory.

Here are 3 common life style factors that affect concentration.

  1. Being a parent

    Responding to your children’s needs throughout the day is part of being an excellent parent. Your concentration moves rapidly from one thing to the next. This is nature’s way of keeping everyone safe and happy. You might not realize that your concentration span has shrunk until your children are older.

  2. Your job

    Sometimes your job requires that you respond quickly to the demands of others. If you work in an ER, for example. Or, there might be office rules that require you to respond quickly to a phone call or email. Even though it’s not life and death, these expectations mean that your concentration is constantly diverted.

  3. Multi-tasking

    People with ADHD love to multi-task. It feels exciting and stimulating. However, multi-tasking isn’t good for you. Your IQ drops, you are less productive (even though you don’t realize it). When you multi-task, your attention is rapidly moving from one thing to the next; which means you only need to concentrate for short periods of time.

5 ways to improve your concentration

  1. Take an Omega 3 supplement every day

    It helps with all cognitive functions, such as attention and memory. Watch how Omega 3 helped Elliot.

  2. Have protein for breakfast every day

    Protein is turned into amino acids; which is, in turn, made into neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain that allow you to focus and concentrate.

  3. Make sleep a priority

    Because lack of sleep affects your ability to concentrate, learn everything you can about how to sleep very well when you have ADHD.

  4. Learn a martial art

    Martial Arts are fabulous if you have ADHD and want to improve your concentration. It is because they combine the use of cognitive functions like focus, concentration and memory with physical movement.

  5. Single-Task
    Switch off your phone, close down all the open windows on your computer, and give one task all your attention. Start by concentrating on one thing for 10 minutes at a time and gradually build up to 30 minutes.  It will feel very strange at first, but when you get to 30 minutes, you will feel like a winner!

ADHD and Emotional Eating and More!

Jacqui on about.comHere is a roundup of my latest 6 articles on as their ADD and ADHD Expert. This month has a health and fitness theme. You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you!

ADHD and Emotional Eating

Food is something we comfort ourselves with when we are faced with an emotional challenge, like stress, sadness, anxiety or boredom. Here are 6 ADHD friendly ways to put you back in control.

Click here to read the full article.

ADHD and Weight

Did you know that if have ADHD you are more likely to be overweight or obese than your non-ADHD peers? Here are 6 do’s and dont’s to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Click here to read the full article.

How to Enjoy Exercise When You Are Living with ADHD

How to go from avoiding exercise to loving it? Here are 6 ADHD friendly strategies.

Click here to read the full article.

ADHD-Friendly Ways to Eat More Vegetables

If you are living with ADHD, it is easy forget about long-term health and focus on getting through today. Here are 10 ADHD-friendly tips to eating 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

Click here to read the full article.

6 Reasons Why Martial Arts Are Good for ADHD

Because exercise is so important in the management of ADHD, finding a form of exercise you enjoy is essential. Here are 6 reasons why practicing Martial Arts is beneficial when you have ADHD.

Click here to read the full article.

6 ADHD-Friendly Tips to Get More Sleep

Getting enough sleep can be a daily battle when you have ADHD. Unfortunately, the less sleep you have, the worse your ADHD symptoms are. Here are six ADHD-friendly tips to getting more sleep.

Click here to read the full article.

Women and ADHD

ADHD Success Plan For Women EventWhen you mention ADHD or ADD, usually the first image that pops into a person’s head is an 8 year old  boy.  The general population doesn’t realize that adults (both men and women) have ADHD too.

Women with ADHD have a unique set of challenges.

For example:

  • Traditional ‘female’ tasks like grocery shopping, laundry and having a tidy home are very challenging when you have ADHD. This can cause you to feel bad about yourself.
  • Hormone changes make ADHD symptoms worse, both monthly and over the life span.
  • The average woman doesn’t realize she has ADHD until later in life.

However it’s not all doom and gloom!

When you learn how ADHD affects you AND what actions you can take, you feel validated and empowered!

My friend and colleague, Dr. Kari Miller, ADHD Coach, is offering a FREE 4-day online event – and I’m one of the speakers!  It’s called the:

ADHD Success Plan For Women Event!
November 9 – 12, 2015

21 Leading Experts Share Proven Techniques to help Women Find Hope, Unlock Their Potential, and Get Stuff Done!

I want you to be my guest! You can reserve your space by clicking here.

In this FREE online event, you’ll hear how to manage ADHD so your true gifts shine through.
You’ll leave behind any shame and regret and move to a bright, successful, self-confident future.
You’ll learn how to set yourself up to finish what you start and feel the pride of seeing your great ideas through from start to finish!

Grab your seat here.

Check out this rock-star line up of speakers:

Tana Amen (Amen Clinics) – Healing Your Mind With Food
Dr. Ari Tuckman – The Psychology of Medication: Make Well-Informed, Well-Thought-Out Choices
Dr. Lidia Zylowska – Living Mindfully with ADHD: Lessons from Meditation in Daily Life
Zoe Kessler – Late Bloomers: How to Thrive After a Late-in-Life ADHD Diagnosis
Linda Anderson – Healthy Body–Healthy Brain; What You Can Do to Feel and Think Better (with ADHD)
Dr. Billi Bittan – ADHD Wisdom Across the Generations: Like Mother, Like Daughter, Like Granddaughter
Jeff Copper – The Impact of ADHD on Sports and Exercise
Casey Dixon – AIM-ing for Goals the ADHD Way
Lynne Edris – The Missing Piece: The Importance of Your Values
Rick Green – Taming The Emotional Tornado
Dr. Regina Lark – Organized and Uncluttered – Knowledge is Power (Or To Thine Own Self Be True)!
Shell Mendelson – Defining a Clear Career or Business Direction
Bonnie Mincu – Develop a Time Sense: ADD Myths and Mysteries about Time
Shelley Mitchell – How to Go From Crazy-Busy and ADD-ish to Wildly Productive
Dr. Mary Lou Rane – Perception is Everything!  How to Change Your Life by Biochemically Changing Your Limited Beliefs
Dr. Sarah Reiff-Hekking – I Know What to Do, I’m Just Not Doing It: 5 Steps to Bust Through Procrastination and Overwhelm
Linda Larson Schlitz – From “Mess to Success” – Building a Path from Suicidal Addict to Legacy of Hope
Dr. Richard Shames – The Hidden Thyroid Connections to ADD and ADHD
Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster – Can You Still Be a Good Mom (or Dad) if you Have ADHD?
Dr. Kari Miller – Your Next Steps: Putting This All Together Into a Plan of Action!

And I’ll be there too!
Jacqueline Sinfield – How to Sleep Really Well When You Have ADHD!
Join me and get your Success Plan in motion!  Click here to reserve your spot.

Catch you November 9-12!

Grab your seat now, now, NOW!


P.S.  Share this amazing event with your friends – right after you get your seat!!!

ADHD and Grocery Shopping

ADHD Grocery ShoppingHave you seen the movie Hurt Locker? It’s a about a bomb-disposal unit doing a tour of duty in Baghdad.

There is a scene in the movie where the main character, SFC William James is back home in the US and he is in the grocery store. He is completely overwhelmed with choice, the aisle of products look incredibly long and he doesn’t know what to put in his shopping basket. This scene depicts what many people with ADHD experience in the grocery store.

Like the character in the movie, you are probably super talented in your career, yet picking up basic household items is challenging. It makes you feel bad about yourself because shopping is ‘supposed’ to be easy.

Does this sound familiar?

Going food shopping can feel overwhelming because there are so many choices, it can also make you feel over-stimulated and anxious. In order to get out of the store as quickly as possible, you might find you throw more items into your cart than you can eat or you could under buy, so you don’t have complete meals.

Here are 9 tips to help make grocery shopping as painless as possible.

1.  Plan Your Meals

One of the keys to being a successful grocery shopper is knowing what you need to buy before you enter the store. Trying to decide what to eat as you are walking around the store, is a recipe (pardon the pun) for overwhelm and anxiety. The night before you go shopping, plan your meals for the week. If that feels overwhelming, head here for an easy way to do your meal planning.

2.  Have a Shopping List

Never, ever, go to a store without a list. Even if you are only going to pick up 3 things, write them down. This helps with impulse purchases and also avoids forgetting what you went for.

3.  Be Loyal

When you find product you like, keep using it! For example, if you enjoy using ‘Dawn’ the dish washing detergent, every time you run out, replace it with another bottle of Dawn. You don’t have to go through the daunting task of deciding which detergent is best, comparing prices or reading the labels every time you buy dish washing detergent. You do the research once and if you are happy with the product, there is no reason to do that again in the near future.

4.  1 Weekly Shop

Get into the habit of going shopping once a week. If possible, go on the same day of the week, every week. This means that going food shopping never becomes a giant task, it stays manageable.

5.  Favourite Shop

Have a favourite shop and always shop there. You will get to know where your items are located and this saves time and mental confusion. Also, because you are seeing the same products every week, you won’t be tempted to buy novelty items.


6.  Internet Shopping

Internet shopping for groceries might sound strange, but it can revolutionize your shopping experience. It is a particularly good option if you experience anxiety in stores, because you do it all from your own home. It is also great if you are prone to impulse shopping, or don’t have a car as everything is delivered to your home.

7.  On-Going List

If you run out of an item in the week, jot it down straight away. It’s easy to think say, ‘oh, I will remember that’, but life is busy and stressful without having to remember that you ran out of chili powder 5 days ago. Keep a shopping list handy; it could be a notebook on the fridge or an app like ‘Our Groceries’ on your phone.

8.  Don’t Be a Perfectionist

Some people try to be the ‘perfect shopper’. However, this places a lot of pressure on yourself, and makes shopping even more stressful. It’s ok if you do forget something! The suggestions here will help you purchase your supplies for the week. Nevertheless, if you do forget something, just add it to your list for the next week.

9.  Time Yourself

Some people worry about how long it takes them to shop for groceries. They feel it takes them longer than anyone else. Comparisons aren’t helpful because they just make us feel bad about yourselves. Still, just for fun, time yourself to see how long it takes to do a weekly shop. It probably takes you a lot less time than you think, but it just feels longer because its stressful.

How do you make your grocery shopping  painless?

7 Tips for a Productive Day. The ADHD friendly way. And More!

Jacqui on about.comHere is a roundup of my latest 6 articles on as their ADD and ADHD Expert. You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you!

7 Tips for a Productive Day. The ADHD friendly way.

Many ADHD characteristics can work against productivity. However, with a few changes you can be productive every day. Here are 7 ADHD friendly tips to help you.
5 Tips to Breaking the ADHD Procrastination Cycle

People with ADHD experience higher levels of procrastination than the rest of the population. Here are 5 steps to break the procrastination cycle.

10 Steps to Making Decisions Easily

Many adults with ADHD feel they aren’t good decision makers. Decisions are part of everyday life, so making them is a good skill to develop. Here are 10 ADHD friendly suggestions to making decisions.

5 Compelling Reasons to Start Batching Your Tasks

When you group similar tasks together you increase productivity. There are many benefits to batching your activities when you have ADHD. Here are 5 of them!

How to Maintain Your Boundaries When You Have ADHD

Healthy boundaries, help you feel safe, happy physically healthy and respected. Here are 6 suggestions to help you maintain your own boundaries when you have ADHD

How to Respect People’s Boundaries

Common ADHD characteristics can mean respecting people’s boundaries is difficult for adults with ADHD. Here are 5 tip to help.

How to Stop Impulse Spending

urban-438393_640Most people have experienced making an impulsive purchase in their lifetime –that ‘spur of the moment’ decision to buy something completely unplanned.  However, the number of impulsive purchases increases a lot  when you have ADHD. Impulsivity is a core characteristic of ADHD after all!  That doesn’t mean you can’t limit impulsive spending. Here are 6 tips:

1) Treat your ADHD.

One of the reasons people with ADHD enjoy shopping is because of dopamine. When people make a purchase they get a shot of dopamine. Because your brain has less dopamine than  non-ADDers, that dopamine shot feels extra good. Humans like to do things that make them feel good, so impulse shopping continues. However, when you are treating your ADHD, dopamine levels are increased and self-medicating behaviours, such as shopping, don’t seem so compelling.

2) Know your shopping style

People have different shopping styles. When you are clear what your style is, you can match it with an effective solution to limit your purchases.

a) Big shopping sprees.

If you go on big shopping sprees and shop till you drop,  take a certain amount of cash with you on your trip. Leave all your credit and debit cards at home. This makes it physically impossible for you to over spend.

b) Big ticket items

If your impulsive spending is on big ticket items such as a boat, create two  safety nets. Have a personal rule that before spending $500 or more, you talk it over with a person you trust and you wait seven nights before buying it.

c) Small items

If you spend your money on small items like  books or magazines, it can be hard to change because it’s easy to justify. After all, it’s ‘just $20.’ However, create a personal rule that you only buy what is on a pre-written list (see number 5).

3) Know why you go shopping

Is it because you need something? Or is it because you had a bad day and want a reward or a pick me up? If it’s the latter, don’t go shopping! When you are in this frame of mind you are much more likely to spend more than you intended. This is where the name retail therapy came from. Instead, think of other ways to reward yourself after a bad day.

4) Create a budget

Budgets aren’t a punishment! They empower you and provide you with a framework and structure. Budgets allow you to pre-plan how you spend your money, which means you purchase things that are important to you. Head here to learn how to create an ADHD friendly budget.

5) Make shopping lists

Never go shopping without a list. Plan what you are going to buy while you are at home away from temptation. Then stick to the plan! Don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list. If you notice something nice while you are shopping, don’t buy it. Instead tell yourself that you will come back another day when it’s been added to your list.

6) Keep your receipts

Even with the best intentions, impulsive purchases might happen. If they do, don’t feel bad. You can employ a damage limitation strategy and return the items. What stops many people with ADHD from doing this is they misplace the receipts. From now on keep all your receipts even for items that you had planned to buy. Dedicate a special place in your purse or wallet so you know where they will be in case you need them.

What things do you do to limit impulsive shopping?

How to Avoid Fights About Housework

lego-568039_640Do you and your partner frequently argue about housework? You aren’t alone: it’s one of the most common things couples fight over when one of them has ADHD.

To the person without ADHD, when you don’t make the bed, clean the bath, do the laundry, etc., they think:

1) You don’t care about them or your home together

2) You are being lazy or

3) You are purposely trying to annoy them.

In fact it’s none of those reasons! When you have ADHD, it doesn’t matter how much you love your spouse, or having a clean home; housework is boring and overwhelming and so very hard to ‘make yourself’ do it.

However, don’t despair…here are 5 tips to avoid arguing about housework!

1) What is their ‘thing’?

Usually the non-ADHD spouse has one thing that really bugs them. They don’t mind having piles of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor or dust bunnies everywhere BUT there is one thing that really annoys them and causes tons of fights. For example:

‘If he would just remember to take out the trash, I wouldn’t mind doing everything else.’

‘If she could just keep the sink empty, so it’s not the first thing I see when I walk through the front door, I could cope with the rest.’

‘I know housework is hard for her, but if she could just empty the cat litter every day…’

Now when clients tell me they have fights about housework with their spouses, I ask, ‘What is their one thing?’ As you are reading this, I bet you know straight away what it is. If you aren’t sure, start to notice what they say during the fights. They will have a thing!

This is your first focus. It will probably only take a few minutes of your time and yet it has a big ripple effect on the relationship. The partner then feels you do love them after all.

2) Create a list

Sit down together and write a comprehensive list of all the tasks that need to be done daily and weekly. Or download the housework lists at the bottom of this article. Next split the list into tasks that you will do and tasks they will do. One of the reasons why ADHDers feel so overwhelmed by housework is that they don’t know what exactly to do. This list helps remove some of that overwhelm.

When you are picking your tasks, where at all possible, pick the ones that are easy for you to do.

3) Don’t do housework at the same time

You and your partner don’t need to do housework at the same time! Many couples feel that they should both be working at the same time. However this can lead to arguments.  One person wants to watch cartoons and the other one wants to get the housework done. This is another benefit of the housework list. You can both do it at times that work for you. No one needs to feel guilty or that they are being taken advantage of.

4) Don’t compare times

You might find that it takes you longer to do household tasks. This is something spouses can’t quite understand. Don’t compare times. It’s not a race and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t as competent. You just have different styles of doing things.

5) Get a cleaner.

This might sound like cheating, however, if you can afford to, hire a cleaner.  You can still use these tips for daily maintenance, but the cleaner will take care of the deep-down cleaning. This takes the pressure off both you and your partner.

What do you and your partner do to avoid fighting about housework?

Looking for some housework checklists? Just enter your name and email address below for access.