10 Super Simple Ways to get work-life balance when you are ADHD

10 Super simple ways to get work-life balance when you are ADHD


10 Super Simple Ways to get work life balance when you are ADHD graphic

Are you eternally trying to achieve that “work-life” balance you keep hearing about? Having enough time to focus on work, and still be able to make it to your kid’s open-house at 6:00pm? Do you find yourself answering emails at 8PM for “end of the day” deliverables in between eating your own dinner and paying bills? Now add in a little neuro-spiciness into the mix… and if you are anything like me you have a recipe for overwhelm and burnout and just generally not feeling good about your life. It is difficult to achieve work-life balance when you are adhd. The cards feel like they are stacked against you. 

The fact is, you CANT have work-life balance unless you take specific steps and set boundaries to make sure that it happens, and sometimes, you will need to give more time to work, or your family, depending on what is going on. How do you know when that is? How do you figure out how to let go of the guilt? How do you give yourself the space to do your job well when your executive functioning doesn’t work like the “neuro-normals”.

Achieving this balance isn’t impossible, in fact it’s pretty simple if you just follow a few guidelines.

For individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD), achieving work-life balance requires intentional steps and coping strategies to manage both professional and personal responsibilities effectively. This blog post discusses 10 actionable ways to create such a balance, including assessing your current situation, setting clear goals, and automating routine tasks. These strategies help reduce overwhelm and burnout, fostering a healthier lifestyle and enhancing productivity by leveraging support systems and setting practical boundaries.

I can’t do it. I have too many responsibilities. I don’t have anyone helping me. I have adult ADHD and my brain doesn’t work that way.

Sound familiar?

These thoughts are common, especially if you have high expectations for yourself as a lot of us entrepreneurs, women, and perfectionists do. We all know what this feels like when we are hyperfocusing on something at work and then forget to have dinner, or pick up our kid from soccer practice…. no? Just me?

They are definitely holding you back from having a more healthy balance between your work, your family and your “play” time (or time you spend doing something for the simple reason that you enjoy doing it).

For years I thought that climbing the corporate ladder, no matter what it took was the way to my happiness. I took minimal maternity leave with my second child, worked at 5AM and until 10PM sending emails and striving to reach that next level… when in the end it got me nowhere and ended up raising my stress level so much I had heart palpitations and adrenal fatigue. Two years after this health scare, I also found out that I was ADHD, which added a whole other level of complexity to it.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot and I really want to share it all with you, so you don’t have to learn the hard way like I did.

So settle in to learn 10 actionable ways to achieve work life balance with (or without) an ADHD brain without having a health or mental breakdown in the process.

Yes, you can have this so-called “balance”, and I’m going to show you how.

#1. Assess your current work life balance

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you spend your time doing currently and why it is that you feel your work-life balance is out of whack. If you don’t know WHERe the problem lies, it’s hard to pinpoint what needs to change in order to fix it.

You can do this in a variety of ways, including keeping a journal, getting feedback from others, visiting a therapist or health practitioner, reviewing your personal goals, or my favorite – tracking your time and what you spend your time on.

Make note of the things that you enjoy spending time on, when you feel guilty for spending time on something, or even when your skin is crawling when you are working on something that you don’t enjoy but feel like you “have” to do.

Journaling to assess work life balance goals

#2 Set clear goals around the parts of the balance that you want to change

After you have taken a look at how you currently spend your time and identified the pieces that don’t bring you joy, or effect your mental or physical health, it is time to figure out WHAT needs to change in order to get you to Emerald City (aka, work-life balance).

This is the time when you want to be brutally honest with yourself about what you can or cannot do in order to be able to breath at the end of the day… or dare we say it, sleep at night.

Be forewarned, this may mean you will disappoint individuals in your life that have counted on you… or just expected you to do certain things. This could be the teachers that you promised to be room mom for, or your neighbor that you always help them shovel their driveway. It’s not that you like them any less or want to help them any less, it’s that you have decided to not sacrifice yourself and your time to endeavors that don’t fulfill something in you.

Keep the goals simple, clear and achievable, start with “I will spend 1 hour a day going on a walk by myself”, or “I will leave work at 5PM every day for a month”. These goals, also known as boundaries will be the markers to abide by in order to actually balance the things.

Goals of work life balance

Read my blog on goal planning or get my Airtable goal planner.

Pro Tip: You may benefit from writing your goals down on the family calendar or even a post-it note on the mirror in the morning. Keeping it front and center makes it a priority.

#3. Create a tribe of others who are also looking for work-life balance

Did you think you had to figure out how to do this all by yourself? 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

It’s a whole lot more fun – and motivating – when you are surrounded by other people who are striving for the same thing. Community that aligns with your values can be the thing that you fall back on when your internal motivation wanes (and believe me… when you get that panicked email from your boss at 9PM or your kids wake up in the middle of the night for the 4th night in a row… your motivation will take a nosedive).

How do you find these people? Facebook groups, talking with other parents of your kids that seem to be struggling with the same things. Heck, I bet you can think of 1 or 2 other people within your work sphere that are looking to achieve a healthier work/life balance. Even if they aren’t ADHD, with the amount of stimulation in today’s world and expectation on parents, they have very similar issues that they would appreciate support on.

#4 Prioritize quick wins


One of the hardest parts about making big changes in your life is JUST getting started. This is especially true if you are neuro-spicy and have 10+ ideas in your head at the same time. Where do you start? Of all the the things on your “goals” list, what is the one that you should figure out first?

One might think they should start on the one that seems the hardest, as it may take the longest time to complete, but that is opposite of what is actually going to MOTIVATE you to keep going.

That’s why we want to start with our quick wins.

Quick wins propel us forward to the next step

Let’s say two of your goals are cleaning up your workspace or making sure you have an hour every day to do something YOU want to do.

One of those is a lot easier to achieve than the other by the simple addition of a timer and alarm.

Finding the time in an already stacked day of responsibilities is EXTREMELY hard to carve out.

However, creating a habit to create a clean workspace and keep it clean is a much simpler step by step process that can happen instantaneously.

You can:

  • Remove Unnecessary Items from your workspace
  • Organize Supplies using organizers or simply only keeping the supplies you use.
  • Develop a simple system to keep your workspace organized long-term, like labeling drawers or allocating specific spots for certain items

Hitting easy to achieve goals like this will help to propel you further and immediately promote change to your mental “overwhelmed” state.

#5 Implement Structural Changes

Now that you have some quick wins in your journey to find that balance between the work and personal life, now you can look at the changes that may require more effort but are crucial to the long-term improvement of your life (and that, my friends, is really what we are all about).

Some of these changes may include

  1. Establishing Clear boundaries within all parts of your life. Your work schedule, your family and friend obligations, or even your sleep schedule (super-important by the way)
  2. Create an effective daily routine. Routines are what you fall back on when everything else has fallen to $hit and chaos reigns. Routines will keep you healthy, even-keeled, and able to whether the storms the inevitably hit for many reasons.
  3. Visual aids for organization. Perhaps the most concrete of structural changes, visual aids don’t let the priorities fall to the wayside. You can use of Whiteboards or Bulletin Boards (like I do in my kitchen) or Digital Tools like a shared calendar, project management or task management system for all parts of your life.

#6 Enhance Focus and Productivity Skills

This is where the “rubber meets the road” so to speak. Asking someone who is ADHD to “enhance their focus and productivity skills” can be like pushing them off a cliff and telling them to fly.

You CANNOT do this if the skills are not innate. However, you can start to work on these skills in different ways regardless of what your executive functioning or adhd symptoms feel like at the start.

Regardless of our natural skillsets, being able to be a functioning member of society is important. Because in the end, people need people. We have so many many gifts to share with the world. Being able to problem solve on the spot, being calm in otherwise chaotic circumstances and having ideas an the motivation to come through on those ideas in hyperfocused ways that is not possible for the neuro-typical… but executive functioning? We gotta work on. <3

The following are just a few way to help promote productivity and focus that I find most helpful in my life:

  1. Mindfullness practice and meditation. I use the CALM app to incorporate meditation and mindfulness techniques into my day as well as play ambient or binural music with Amazon Music or Calm while I need to recharge and do my focused work. It improves my focus and helps me get into “flow” quicker than if I was in dead silence. There is even clinical studies on this. Sometimes just sitting quiety for 30 seconds and practicing deep breathing is enough to get me out of my head and be present in the moment.
  2. Engage in physical activity. Regular physical activity is well-documented to improve both mental and physical health. For those with ADHD, it’s particularly effective as it can increase neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, which are crucial in attention and thinking processes.
  • Take a brisk walk, jump rope for 10 minutes, do something to get the heart pumping and the sweat glands activating. This is helpful for focus AS well as depression or low dopamine in general.
  • I take a 2 mile walk every single morning with my dog (who loves to appear in my social media as my best work partner), and it’s when I get my most ideas and motivation to focus on what will bring me closer to my goals.

#7 Adjust and Delegate

We can’t do it all. It’s just fact. If there are only 24 hours in a day, and 8 are meant for rest, another 8 for work, at least 8 for traveling, shopping, preparing food and cleaning… you really don’t have that much time for your personal life.

Delegating your tasks

Enter delegation. There are SO many various tasks that are on your plate that you probably don’t have to do. Honestly. So many women take the burden of household manager, as well as primary parent and breadwinner. Our fore-mothers paved the way for us to have it all, and damned if we aren’t going to do it all, right?

Wrong. This is a script for becoming a crazy woman, burnt out and worst of all, sick.

Our foremothers would want us to do what fulfills OUR hearts… whether that’s taking your adhd child to yet another psychologist or running your own company to show your kids what women ARE capable of.

So to do this, we need to delegate some of those tasks to others. It could be administrative tasks and keeping the ball rolling at your business, or sending your kids to aftercare after school even though you are home working.

  • Identify Delegable Tasks: Review your responsibilities and identify tasks that can be performed by others. Look for tasks that are time-consuming but don’t necessarily require your expertise or tasks where others can benefit from the experience as a learning opportunity. Look outside the obvious paid help. Your husband may be the one who could do the grocery shopping… or your kids be the ones to put the dishes away.
  • Choose the Right Person: When delegating, especially when it’s someone you hire, it’s important to choose individuals whose skills and experience match the task. Clearly communicate your expectations, deadlines, and any necessary details to ensure the task is completed effectively.
  • Provide Proper Training: Ensure that the people you delegate tasks to have the necessary skills and training to complete them. This might involve spending some amount of time teaching or mentoring, but the initial investment will pay off in the long run.

#8 Just Say No to non-priority requests

Saying no is crucial to protecting your time and energy for tasks that align with your personal and professional goals. Go back to those goals that you set for yourself in item #2. If you are asked to do something that doesn’t align with those goals…. well, you know what to do!

Of course, you will need to be professional when dealing with clients and team members, but how you hold your boundaries and say no will reflect what others can get away with, whether they are team members OR your clients. Be the example.

Just say no and hold boundaries

Here are some steps to be able find out which requests are non-priority and how to handle them.

  • Evaluate the Request: Whenever you receive a request, take the time to evaluate its importance and urgency. Ask yourself whether it aligns with your current priorities and goals. (See step 2)
  • Be Clear and Polite: When saying no, be clear and straightforward, but also polite. Express gratitude for being considered and briefly explain why you cannot accommodate the request if necessary.
  • Offer Alternatives: If possible, suggest alternatives. For example, if you can’t take on a project, recommend someone else or propose a time when you might be available.
  • Practice Regularly: Saying no can be challenging, especially if you’re used to saying yes to everything. Practice in low-stakes situations to build your confidence.

#9 Declutter regularly

As a mom of 2 boys, husband of a collector and adhd myself, this one is possibly the one practice to achieve work-life balance that I MUST do often or I am just plain overwhelmed with the sight of everything. Even though, many individuals with ADHD MUST have things within sight in order to even remember they exist (I lose my keys and phone on a regular basis), having too many things can have the opposite effect.

Which one feels better?

Cluttered versus tidy room

Regular decluttering of both work and living spaces is a highly effective way to minimize distractions and stress, ultimately enhancing your focus and productivity on the THING THAT MATTER. Visual clutter can significantly increase cognitive overload and distractibility… and ultimately shutting down.

Make decluttering your physical space a weekly habit, or even daily habit.

One of the ways I like to think about it is to prepare the space for the next time it will be used.

This means the dishes should be washed and put away prior to leaving it for the night, or your office desk cleared of post-it notes and random pens and put in a place they belong.

Invest in organizational tools to help keep the clutter put where it belongs and if it’s something you really don’t use, donate or throw them away.

#10 Automate wherever possible

Now that you have good systems to help your time management and you have delegated what is possible and decluttered your workspace, it’s time to automate.

Cute robot automating tasks

By reducing the time and effort spent on routine activities in work and your home-life, automation allows you to focus more on complex tasks that require critical thinking and creativity which is what we need as adhd entreprenuers. There are a variety of ways that these types of things can be automated, below is just a short list of ideas to start.

  • Bill Payments: 💵 Automate your bill payments using online banking services. This not only saves time but also helps avoid late payments and penalties.
  • Email Management: Use email automation tools to sort incoming emails, send automatic replies, or manage subscription lists. This can help keep your inbox organized without manual intervention.
  • Data Entry and Reporting: Automate data collection and report generation to save time and improve accuracy. Check out my blog on using Airtable for this here. Use software that integrates data from various sources and compiles reports according to your specifications.
  • Social Media Management: Schedule posts and manage social media interactions using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite. This helps maintain an active online presence without needing to be constantly online.
  • Inventory Management: Use automated systems to track inventory levels, reorder products, and manage suppliers, which is particularly useful in retail and manufacturing settings.

Many of these types of automations I implement for my clients with my team. We save our clients at least 12 hours a week by setting up the systems and the automations that do the work FOR them and allow them to revel in their zone of genius. (Find out more here)

How to Implement Task Automation

  • Identify Repetitive Tasks: Start by identifying tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming. These might include administrative duties, regular communications, or data management.
  • Choose the Right Tools: Select automation tools that fit your specific needs. Consider factors like cost, ease of use, and integration with other systems you currently use.
  • Set Up and Customize: Set up your automation tools according to your specific needs. Many tools offer customization options, so you can tailor them to perform exactly as needed.
  • Test and Adjust: Before fully implementing an automated process, test it to ensure it works as expected. Be prepared to make adjustments as necessary.
  • Train Relevant Users: If the automation tools impact other team members, make sure they are trained on how to use the tools effectively and understand the changes to their workflow.

There you have it! 

10 actual achievable steps to take to allow yourself to have a much better work/life balance. Starting with the big goals, the things you want to achieve in life will guide all of the “actionable” steps to take to get to that ultimate “balance” may mean makng some hard decisions. However, in the end, the work is worth it.

If you like what you have read here, or want more help achieving this balance in your work or in your life, check out my productvitiy workbook or look into my Simplify & Conquer service where we walk through your business processes in 90 minutes and you get personalized actionable steps to reduce the chaos and simplify your systems.

Some more helpful blog posts are

And finally, if you are interested in purchasing any of my ClickUp or Airtable Templates, designed to take you from neuro-spicy overwhelm to organized kick-ass busienss owner, check out everything here on my EVERYTHING page.

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