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Living with ADHD: 5 Tricks to Mastering Balance

Updated: Apr 12

A man juggling tasks

Do you ever feel like you're juggling balls all week long and that once you give more attention to one ball, another one drops? If this sounds familiar, you're not alone! It's a shared experience for people with ADHD.

For example, one of my clients, Abby, experienced this when she was given a work-related project due at the end of last week. She became hyperfocused on it for days in a row, and it caused other vital things to slip through the cracks. She forgot to eat her first meal until late in the afternoon, neglected her exercise routine, and completely forgot to check in with her mom, who had been sick with the flu. Abby also overlooked filling out school forms for her son, and well, you get the was a rough week!

She met her deadline, which was a big win, and although she tried her best to embrace this, she felt terrible about dropping so many other important balls in the process and was very hard on herself. "What's wrong with me?" she thought. "Why can't I stay on top of all the important things in my life like others can?

With ADHD, maintaining balance and managing everyday tasks can feel like juggling balls. Each ball represents a responsibility or commitment, and keeping them all in the air requires focus, organization, and routine. These skills are challenging for people with ADHD, and it's even more difficult to manage when an extra ball is thrown into the mix.

Unexpected changes can throw our routines into chaos and disrupt the balance we've worked hard to achieve. Our ADHD brains can become hyperfocused on a new task at the expense of dropping other responsibilities. When we lack the tools to take control, it can feel overwhelming and stressful, and lead to frustration, guilt, and self-criticism. How can individuals with ADHD maintain more balance when an extra ball is thrown into the mix?

5 Proven Strategies for Maintaining Balance

woman who has had a victory

1. Pause: ADHD brains want to go full speed ahead and what they really need is to SLOW down. Notice when you are about to take on a new project or task. This is your signal to slow down and acknowledge that this will take time and attention away from other responsibilities. Recognize that important balls are in danger of being dropped and that you will benefit from putting a system in place to set yourself up for success.

2. Break it Down: Break the project into smaller, more manageable steps. Work backward from the deadline and block off time for 1-2 steps each day on your calendar. Having a home for each step will help you feel more organized and calm, and foster positive thoughts about staying on track.

3. Prioritize Self-Care: Instead of powering through the week solely focused on your project, schedule time for self-care. Make it one of your to-do’s and block off time for it on your calendar. It may seem counterintuitive when you have so much to do, but balancing your day with exercise, fun, or connecting with friends will ultimately boost your energy, motivation, and productivity.

4. Frame Your Hyperfocus: When people with ADHD are working on their projects, they often hear a voice in their head saying, "Don't stop! You're in the zone!" They tend to listen because they can never be sure when they'll feel that wave of motivation again. But ADHDers can get so caught up that they lose track of time and forget about other commitments. 

To remedy this, many of my clients have had success putting a frame around their time by setting alarms for shorter work sessions or enlisting a friend to call them at a certain time. It has helped them stay on track and prevent other tasks from slipping through the cracks.

5. Use Visual Reminders: Reflect on how you want to feel while you tackle your new project. For example, if you want to feel responsible and on top of everything, try putting a visual cue in your physical workspace to remind you of this. It could be a meaningful picture, word, or phrase. Visual prompts help us connect to our future selves. They can pull us out of hyperfocus and help us reconnect to how we want to show up.

Next time you feel as though you’re juggling too many balls and things are spinning out of control, apply the five strategies above and tackle your tasks with confidence and peace of mind. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

You got this!

Julie Kliers ADHD Coach New York

P.S. Struggling with procrastination? Click HERE to learn easy ways to gain motivation and get started on tedious tasks.

P.P.S. To learn how coaching helps individuals with ADHD live to their full potential and feel more fulfilled, click the link for a FREE 15-minute Coaching Chat with Julie.

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