ADD Consults

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Win a Galley Copy of my New Book!

Posted on September 26, 2014



Win a galley copy of my new book, “The Queen of Distraction”, but hurry- contest closes Sept. 30! At Goodreads!

QueenofDistraction Book Cover


Terry’s Top Picks to Make Life with ADD Easier

Posted on September 21, 2014

So here I lay, sick in bed with some killer virus that seems to morph from one symptom into another. Since I can’t really think of anything ADHD related in this fog minded state, I thought I’d share some products I think you’ll enjoy that will make your life easier. Enjoy- and…do not catch this awful bug!



iPhone Lanyard



Sink Caddy


Sak Purse

Terry’s Favorite Purse


Mammoth Grid

Mammoth Grid Wall Calendar


Mousepad To-Do


i cant sleep

I Can’t Sleep Journal




To Accomplish Sticky Notes



QueenofDistraction Book Cover

And of course, my book, hot off the presses: The Queen of Distraction!

ADD and Getting Stuck: How to Start, How to Stop

Posted on September 09, 2014



I know you have a roving eye- not the kind that gets you into trouble with your spouse or partner. I’m talking about the ADD roving eye:

You see a pile of laundry that’s grown taller than your 18 year old son. With every intention of getting started on this odious task, you decide that today is the day to jump in.

So you grab the laundry baskets- wait- you first scrape the various colored/shaped fabrics off the floors. Notice “floors” is plural- that’s because most likely, more than one room has clothes that never made it into a basket, bag or whatever vessel you use to get it into your laundry room.

Here’s where the trouble often begins.

ADD = distractibility

ADD = disdain of boredom

ADD= the roving eye. You know all the shiny penny and squirrel jokes? Well, they aren’t funny when it comes time to deal with tedious chores.

You finally get the laundry in the proper room and get started (we hope).

Then, the next problem hits you squarely in the face- whether it’s doing laundry, paying bills, de-cluttering a room, organizing spices, preparing for a garage sale- you fill in the blank.

What often happens is one of two things:

You either cannot really get started (“Oh, I’ll do that after I watch the Morning Show”) or…you do get started but then you can’t stop! You are so happy to be working on a project you’ve procrastinated on, that you can’t stop yourself and you end up working and working on it for hours. Before you know it, it’s February. Ok, so I’m exaggerating. A little.

What gives?

I’ll bet you didn’t know that ADD is not only about starting. We’re all familiar with that- aren’t we? Not sure? Then let me ask you this: When is the last time you cleaned the oven? Or vacuumed out the car? Or shampooed the carpet? This isn’t meant to make you feel badly; I have the same problem! It’s just we with ADD (there’s a good book title) avoid projects and chores that seem overwhelming (where do I start- vacuuming or dusting? Where does this go? Etc.).

What we don’t think about enough is how and why we end up working on a project that we cannot stop. It’s like we’ve finally fired our engines and then lost the ignition key.

There are a few reasons why stopping is hard. We already know why starting is a problem. But stopping? There’s an incredible surge of adrenalin-fueled energy that often travels with us once we finally jump in and work on something we’ve been avoiding. We say to ourselves- hey- this isn’t so bad after all! Why in the world did I avoid it all these (days/months/years/centuries). And on you go until your arms are about to fall out of their sockets (which you don’t notice because…you have ADD and you’re already on to that next box of “stuff” you haven’t seen since you moved out of your parents’ house).

More Reasons why It’s Hard to Stop

  • Your ADD sense of time might be in the wrong time zone. Mars and Venus come to mind. Kidding aside, we know that those with ADD often have a poor sense of time. One hour can feel like 10 minutes or 3 days. Once you’re up to your neck in a project that has your interest, the time flies by. Conversely, if you hate washing dishes because it’s as boring as watching wood rot, you avoid it because though in reality it only take 3 ½ minutes to do, it feels like 3 ½ months.
  • Another reason for stop issues is it keeps you from dealing with other things that are awaiting your attention. ‘What?’ you ask yourself- ‘No way am I going to pay bills right now when I have to check Facebook to see if I missed someone’s Birthday.’ (I call this Facebook Birthday Phobia). So…you avoid avoid avoid all the things that need your attention.

So, what can you do about this stop/start dilemma?

For one thing, you can use your calendar or whatever system you use daily to keep you on track. Write down your start/stop time. But don’t stop there!

Find your trusty alarms and/or timers (here are some ideas) and set them for when you must stop. In other words, use tools to help you because if we rely on ourselves, well…that doesn’t always work.

Also, start a to-do list of things you want to work on. List them in order of priority/importance and then gauge the amount of time it’ll take to complete (I often suggest you add in extra time to account for disruptions (don’t you HATE that once you’ve gotten going?), breaks (please remember to eat) and other hidden obstacles.

You can do it! You can learn to start/stop and become a pulsating chore machine! But if you still need help, a great resource is my Queens of Distraction group, which I know you’ve been getting lots of announcements about (sorry). As a loyal reader and since you’ve made it all the way to here, I am offering an extension of my incredibly ridiculous reduced rates one more week for you only.

So if you want my help and the support of other women with ADHD- and you want to learn how to jump in and get things done, join today while you can and while there’s still room (only a few spots are left).

Then we can start/stop our chores together!

Do you have some tips on how to start/stop? Share them in the Comment Section below.

My New Book! The Queen of Distraction!

Posted on September 03, 2014


It’s happening October 1, but you can order yours now. Announcing: my new book, The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus, and Get More Done.

Foreword by Sari Solden, endorsements from Dr. Ned Hallowell, Dr. Russell Barkley, Dr. Russell Ramsay, Dr. Patricia Quinn and more.

Get your copy before everyone else HERE.


7 Days Left To De-Clutter with Me At Special Rates

Posted on September 01, 2014


                       04012014_matlen 018

The Queens of Distraction Labor Day Special!



I’m Terry Matlen, the Queen of Distraction and here are 3 reasons to read this. Do you want to:

  • Kick clutter to the curb?
  • See the surface of your tables again?
  • Get started on your projects and start feeling good about yourself?

Come hang out with me in a secret, private room with other women with ADD, who “get” your challenges and are there to offer support.

We meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to get a handle on what is driving you CRAZY. It’s all about taking charge and finally making that decision to dive in. Be a part of this special group- we hold each other accountable but with compassion and understanding. Because we “get” it!

 Register now at our special holiday rates! But hurry- this won’t last!  

If you’re ready to GET THINGS DONE with fun and support of others with ADD in a fast paced action-based “no looking back” system that works, then this is the group for you.  We’re also open 24/7 for peer support.

Are you ready to:

Tackle your clutter
Kill the procrastinating demon
File and organize your papers
In two words: Get Organized?

Come connect with other women with ADHD and feel safe, accepted and understood.

Register today HERE and feel the relief of getting your life back under control. 
Welcome home!

Questions? Email me at  


I Am Not An “ADDer”

Posted on August 21, 2014



Huh? Did that get your attention?

I have a personal pet peeve that I would like to share with you. Many adults with ADHD like to refer to themselves (and others with ADHD) as being an “ADDer.” Now, I may and probably will get some flack over this statement, but let me explain.

ADHD is only part of who I am. I am a woman who happens to have ADHD. I’m a mother with ADHD. I’m a clinician with ADHD. I parent a (grown) child with ADHD. We are not “ADDers” any more than we are “depressionERs” or “bipolars.”

Why does this irritate me? Well, for a number of reasons. First, I don’t want ADHD to define who I am. ADHD is just part of who and what I am, just like having brown eyes, being right handed and standing 5’8″ tall.

Second, being an “ADDer” sounds trendy or like one belongs to a clique or privileged crowd that is by membership only. Ok, so I’m exaggerating. Many of you would probably say if given a choice, you’d rather hand in your membership card. Or maybe not, but that is for another post.

My gripe with this cute acronym is that ADHD is anything but sweet for many who struggle with hyperactivity, impulsivity or distractibility, among other symptoms of ADHD. For most, it’s no fun having electricity shut off because you’ve forgotten to pay the electric bill. Or perhaps you know very well that the payment is due, but you just can’t….get yourself to… sit down long enough to write out a check. Instead, you procrastinate.

There is often a lifetime of other pains and failures, like broken marriages and relationships that fell apart due to ADHD symptoms that run amok. There is the chronic sense of underachievement, knowing that intelligence isn’t the issue, it’s knowing how to use it.We see our children struggling in school, socially challenged, bullied and for many, behaviorally out of control. Are they ADDers? Or are they children with a significant neurobiological impairment that, if not treated appropriately, can cause a lifetime of struggles? Why make this altered DSM term sound so…cute? To me, it only diminishes the intensity of the challenges people with ADHD face.

For years, parents, advocates, educators, clinicians, researchers and even organizations like CHADD, worked hard to prove that yes, ADHD does exist and it should be considered a true disability so that people can be protected by law whether at school or at work. They prevailed and ADHD was coined a disability that is now covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

On the bright side and yes, I do think there is one, ADHD is by far not a death sentence. Those of us touched by ADHD often feel that there are ADHD traits we would never trade in. There is much talk about ADHD and creativity, sensitivity, empathy, “out of the box” thinking, and more. But are those traits BECAUSE of our ADHD or are they in spite of it?

At any rate, if you wonder why I don’t use the term “ADDer”, it’s because I don’t take this whole thing lightly. I’ve heard too many stories and seen too many tears shed by those who are touched by ADHD and I just can’t bring myself to call any of these folks “ADDers.”

PS Looks like someone else shares my feelings on this. See Dr. Oren Mason’s post at

What’s your take? Do you agree? Disagree? Please post your thoughts below, in the comment section.


When Even the ADD Experts Get Thrown for a Loop

Posted on August 18, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.43.02 AM


Even experts with ADHD can still struggle with disorganization and clutter.

Listen to Eric Tivers from interview me at the ADDA conference. Find out what strategies I use to tame my ADHD and what still throws me for a loop.
Listen HERE

Breezing into Summer with ADHD: Make the Transition Easier

Posted on August 02, 2014

2014 AttentionMagCover

Read my article, Breezing into Summer with ADHD: Make the Transition Easier, in the latest edition of CHADD’s ATTENTION Magazine (Summer 2014). Just click on the link below:

2014 AttentionMagArticle

Want to read the entire magazine? Join CHADD at! This fabulous magazine is available to all members (there’s also a digital version).



I Lied. The Real Truth About ADHD and Packing

Posted on July 30, 2014



In my last newsletter, I shared my “Super Duper Packing Tips for ADHD Travelers”, which was prompted by getting myself prepared for the upcoming ADDA conference.

Well, friends, my own advice blew up in my face. And I’m here to tell you all about it. Because if it happened to me, it can, will and probably has…happened to you.

Even with all the strategies I use to help tame my own ADD, it can still (and often does) backfire. After all, I’m only human. And so are you. And no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we understand about our ADD, it can still trip us up. Big time.

Though I started packing and planning for the conference 2 ½ weeks before I was to depart, and had started running lists of what to pack and what needed to be done before I left, I still made a real mess of things.

Here’s my story, which I shared with my attendees at my ADDA session:

  1. Though I picked out outfits weeks ahead of time, I needed to cull back on how much to pack. Did I really need 6 or 7 outfits for a 4-day event? I couldn’t figure it out! What blouse could I wear with another pair of slacks so that I could eliminate having to pack extra outfits? Which purse would work with all outfits? Which shoes? Try as I might, I couldn’t do it, partly because I can’t visualize things in my head (want proof? introduce yourself to me and ask me in 10 minutes how I met you- let alone what your name is).
  1. I didn’t take into account that I also had to get my younger daughter prepared for overnight camp. She had to be dropped off exactly one day before I had to leave for the airport. That meant, preparing two people for travel.
  1. As I knocked off one “to – do” item from my list, I added 10 more. Umm…I don’t know why there always seems to be more, not less work to be done with a strategy like that.
  1. I decided at the last minute to make a major tweak for my conference presentation. That was simply…dumb.

So what did I do?

The biggest help of all was asking my older daughter, Miss Logical Thinker, to help me figure out the outfits. It took her 2 ½ minutes to see that an entire outfit could be eliminated, along with a pair of shoes and a purse. This was magical thinking in my eyes, and I jokingly suggested she must be adopted. Actually, she is adopted, which made us both laugh, making this awful chore just a little less painful. She single handedly transformed my heap of fabric into logical, attractive outfits.

Once that was figured out, she cheerfully suggested we pack everything up while she was there to help. And I cheerfully agreed (secretly relieved beyond words to have her force me to get this part done).

So…I began to pack my stuff. That is, until she shrieked at me: “MOM, WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING??” I looked at her, surprised and truthfully, with my startle response, I jumped about 3 inches off the ground.

“NOW what am I doing wrong, Kate?”

“Mom! That is NOT how you pack a suitcase.”

It looked right to me! I folded things as best I could (a first clue that I was indeed doing it all wrong) before throwing, er…placing them in the suitcase. She grabbed my clothes away and began folding them neatly, in delicate 5-point patterns, more beautiful that a Sushi dinner set for 12 ambassadors. By the time she was done (40 seconds), my suitcase looked like a work of art.

Below is Kate packing and at the top, you can see the final product: my neatly arranged suitcase. I could frame this- not just because she’s my daughter, but because it could be used as a visual cue of how a suitcase should/could look. Like a template, of sorts.



So what’s my point? It doesn’t matter who you are or how great your planning strategies might be, your ADD will sometimes give you a big kick in the pants. And when it does, well, just call your daughter or son, spouse/partner or best friend, and have them lend you a hand.

What works for you when it’s time to pack for a trip? 

Share your ideas in the Comment section below.

6 Super Duper Packing Tips for ADHD Travelers

Posted on July 15, 2014



Next week, I’m heading to Orlando for the ADDA conference (you can still register HERE), where I’ll be presenting on “The Secret Lives of Women with ADHD.”

It’s an exciting time to re-connect with old friends, make new friends, network, but most of all, to be with my “tribe”- adults with ADHD. This is the only place in the world where we can be with hundreds of other adults, forgetting names, losing keys, wallets and phones, stumbling and knocking into things…without a single person batting an eye or saying something hurtful. It’s a time to rejuvenate, to laugh (and sometimes cry), sharing our ADHD stories- good and bad.

Of course, it’s also a time to learn all about the latest research and treatment and there are tons and tons of sessions that offer tremendous resources and tips for everyday issues of living with ADHD.

Though you may not be able to attend this year, I do hope you start saving for next year, because it truly is a life altering experience.

ADHD doesn’t go away, but it can be tamed. In fact, my ADHD comes out in full force when I plan my ADDA trip or traveling in general. It can take me a solid week to get everything together: materials for my session, papers printed, child care, pet sitting, etc., but…the hardest thing for me to manage is the dreaded packing.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

It taps into all of our ADHD challenges: planning, procrastinating, prioritizing, making decisions, and all the rest. As an ADDA family “member” (I was on the board for years and still serve on the professional advisory board), I’m involved in many activities. That calls for oh, about 100 outfits to figure out and pack.

I wish I had a simple solution to offer you- it’s rarely an easy task for us- but here are some tips that have helped me; maybe they will help you, as well, as you head out for a summer vacation.

  1. Keep Records of Past Outfits

For every travel excursion, I keep a record of what I wore, what the occasion was, location and season. This way, I can go back and get ideas for future outfits without having to start from square one. You can even take a photo of each outfit- or even you in the outfit.


  1. Essentials

Keep a file on your computer of essentials you need to bring with you, ie medications, toiletries, etc. If you tend to travel a lot, keep a small bag already packed with duplicate items so you can just toss it– or even keep- in your suitcase.


  1. First Things First

Pack items you cannot travel without: eyeglasses/contacts, medications, travel documents.


  1. Choosing Outfits

Open a computer file (or jot down on paper, if you prefer), listing your itinerary, leaving space to write in your outfits. Yours might look like this:


-   Friday night dinner

Navy suit/white blouse/red flats/pearl necklace


-   Saturday daytime sightseeing

Jeans/white tshirt/long sleeve white blouse


-   Saturday night wedding

Black chiffon dress/patent heels/silver purse/silver necklace


Start with the most important outfit. For example, in this case, it’s probably the dress for the wedding. By starting with the most important (or stressful) outfit choice, you will immediately begin to calm down once that decision is off your plate. As you go through your closet and your outfit files, begin to write in the other various outfits you need to pack. Remember to write down everything: shoes, purse, accessories. Be sure to try on everything, to make sure it’s clean and not in need of any mending or alterations.


  1. Simplify

Try to simplify. In my case, I’m all about black and white. So I tend to pack one or two black/white or other neutral outfits, then add different colored blouses to go with them, trying to find tops that can work with each outfit.


  1. Stop Agonizing

Remind yourself that in most cases, if you forget something, you can find what you need at your destination.




-       Upon your return, analyze what you would have done differently and add that to your notes. Did you pack too many things? Not enough? Wrong shoes?

-       I’m finding that a lot of people have the same laptop computer as me and during airport screening, it’s easy for someone to accidentally take your computer off the conveyer belt. Purchase a removable decal to identify your computer.

-       What is it with black/ugly luggage? To make yours stand out so it’s easy to find, apply a strip of brightly colored duct tape on each side.


How about you? What tips can you share for your fellow ADD travelers? Please share in the Comment section below.