Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

The Least You Need To Know

What do I need to know about ADHD?

Like many adults diagnosed with ADHD many years ago, I learned about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by reading books

Okay, skimming books.

I have to tell you, there was far less information, but I was overwhelmed by what there was.

And because the research is ongoing, today there’s even more to learn.

In fact, there’s always more for me to learn… And some things I’ve had to unlearn because of new research and discoveries.

Today it’s almost impossible not to feel overwhelmed by Blogs, Podcasts, E-Books, videos, and more.

Where to start?

So I sat down to write this blog about information overload, and the first draft was huge.

I was trying to help people deal with overwhelm… and it was overwhelming. (A common problem for me. No wonder I married an editor.)

Then I had the unexpected presence of mind to ask, “What’s the minimum that I want people to know?”

And here it is:

Rather than try to learn everything you can before deciding what to do about your ADHD, ask, “What is the minimum I need to know to move forward?” Find out what you need to know, and move forward. Then ask, “Okay, what’s the minimum I need to know now?”

Even the ADHD Doctors earned their degrees on lecture at a time.


Don’t wait to learn everything before you start developing your ‘treatment plan.’ And if you don’t like the implication that you need a ‘treatment’ because it’s not an illness, just call it your Arsenal of Strategies.

Or your Tool Box. Your personal Bag of Tricks.

Even before I was fully diagnosed I was experimenting with ADHD strategies and finding which ones helped me. And I’ve keep adding new tools and strategies, and discarding ones that no longer work for me.

We have a video full of strategies. We have a book that outlines how ADHD shows up in adults. And we have a video package if you’re struggling to overcome fear, stigma, or other people’s opinions.

When I was diagnosed around 2001, the books about ADHD tended to be all-inclusive.

You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy!? by Kate Kelly & Peggy Ramundo was the first, followed by Hallowell & Ratey’s Driven To Distraction.

Others followed. Each of this epic works began with an explanation of what ADHD is, the costs, how it impacts every area of life, and then offered strategies for home, parenting, work, relationships, organizing, time management, women’s issues…

Now there are books that specialize on ADHD and relationships, medication, medication, women’s issues, getting organized, managing finances…

We went through the same transition with our videos.

Our first program, ADD & Loving It?! was created to be an introduction to the subject, to show the range of ways this disorder truly ruins lives, and some of the key strategies for succeeding despite having this challenge. (Or as some would suggest, thanks to this mindset.)

Since then, we’ve made videos on Careers, College, School, Parenting, Disclosing, Dealing with Stigma, Relationships, Tools & Strategies…

Which matters to you right now?  What’s the biggest issue you’re facing?  What’s causing the most pain? Start there. Focus on that.


We can be so enthusiastic it’s easy to want to change everything, now, this instant, all at once.

Been there. Done that. And didn’t manage it. No one does.

Find out what is stopping you now, and address that. As you move forward, you’ll learn what you need along the way.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there. If you get derailed, disheartened, or stuck, don’t make a big deal out of it.

Figure out what’s stopping you, deal with it, and move forward. Get out of neutral, or reverse, and into forward.

No, that’s not all. But that’s all you need to know to move forward.

Develop your Bag of Tricks as you go. Always be open to trying new things, and if a new strategy works better than the one you’ve been using, use it instead.


Let me assure you, with the exception of exercise, mindfulness, and some of the organizing strategies, whatever tools you use to move forward may stop working.

The staircase in a building that gets you from the first floor to the second floor is an awesome asset if you’re on the first floor and you do in fact want to go up to that second floor.

Once you arrive on the second floor, that tool, that flight of steps is not going to help with your next goal… the third floor. It doesn’t mean that first flight of steps weren’t great, or important, or crucial… It’s just that you’re in a different place.


It’s kind of life, well, if you’re building the frame of your new house having hammers, circular saws, and plumb lines is great.

Whereas having wire cutters, a keyhole saw, and screwdrivers will be more helpful when it comes time to put in the wiring.

A drywall knife will be a better tool when it comes time to finish the interior. And when you’re ready to paint the walls, a brush and rollers… Okay, right, you get where I’m going with this.

Obviously, the point I’m making is that some tools will stop working, or you’ll no longer need them, because your situation changes.

You’ve mastered one of your challenges—perhaps you’re are finally managing your anger and mood swings.

Great! Now you’re wanting to finally find a job you love. Or find a partner in life. Or, well, whatever it is you want next. Use tools that work. For as long as they work.

And when your situation changes next year or the year after you may be wanting well, ya just might need one of those strategies again, because you’re back on the ground floor of a new challenge in your life, and wanting to move up.



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  1. diamondr August 28, 2016 at 1:06 am

    Hey Rick, -am not trying to be cute, curt or passive-agressive, general smarty pants, so here goes: Good to know! Seriously, this is great info to know ahead of time, and this article was very timely for me personally.
    P.S. Uh, Jimi, is there a way to increase the .25 font for the online viewing pleasure? Thanks!

  2. brett August 29, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Great blog, Rick. And, as usual… right on the money! Definitely share-worthy! Jennie and i often reference your work and TotallyADD.com on our podcast, The ADD Couple. Keep the awesome work happening!

  3. donsense September 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Rick not to emphasize a point too much but your website and your videos have been a treasurechest of info and possible solutions for me. They have guided me too many other sources and authors and at least one support group. when are you coming to Winnipeg, at last count there were almost 20, 000 undiagnosed and 10,000 deniers here. Think how much good an appearance could do.
    Oh and I have attempted to reread this but its much too amall for my 20 20 Vision Could you put a magnifying glass tool on your website say tripling the size so I can read it. Or make all the pages available in Mobile format, and make the link to that larger type in a big enough type that we can see it .

  4. donsense September 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Please look at the IPAD (DropBox link at end) image of this page.
    I would switch to the mobile version, but the link to that is that almost invisible (on a full size Ipad ) LINK at the extreme bottom left center of the page . Somehow Even if that was triple the size of the Link font I don’t think we could see it (mellow yellow on a white background) And on a Android or Apple Phone it will be invisible.
    As to those who read things on their phones Next time you take the Go Train or a bus, check out the number of those scrolling through their phones and not Texting. They are not all playing games.
    In summary if you cant code your site to automatically come up in the appropriate size. Please, For ALL pages, even ones that dont have links,
    Please ;
    Move the link to the top of the page.
    Increase the size and color to stand out,
    We will be forever thankful, and will not give up in annoyance ( unlike some, many ADDers have a Low Frustration Tolerance)

  5. Rick November 21, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Hi donsense (Great name)
    Thanks for letting us know what is working and not working for you. It’s kind of timely as we got some suggestions from the head of a large Learning Disability group about what works for people with Learning Disabilities like Dyslexia. (I kept asking the designers of the earlier versions to make the text larger and darker. And we now have learned that light text on a dark background is difficult for most people. Including me.)
    Anyway, we’re making changes as we speak. (Or rather, as I type.)
    Our programmer Duane has seen your email and he’ll make some changes.
    When we started TotallyADD.come everyone was accessing it from computers… and then tablets… and now of course the majority of people are using smart phones. And trying to keep the system up to date is expensive. We’re trying to keep up, there’s so many things we want to do! It’s all a matter of time and money.

  6. ladygogo February 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I’ve bought 3 of you’re videos. the last one was the download – e version.
    Life long learning! That was my mantra even before I knew I had ADHD. Now I think it’s one bit reason why I managed to develop some okay strategies along the way. But yeah, once I was diagnosed, and started figuring out how it was messing with me, then I got way better strategies.
    Where where you when I was 15! LOL

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