Paying the ADHD tax is an ugly reality for ADHD adults. Especially when support structures and awareness are weak.
No, of course there’s not an actual tax on ADHD. I’m talking about the times we get hit with extra charges because of our ADHD. Late fees. Closed accounts penalty. Fines. Higher costs. Yada yada yada.
I’ve paid my share of ADHD taxes over the years. Especially before my reminder system and routines were solid.
Like the time I didn’t check my PO box for a couple of months. That meant I didn’t see the bill for the annual fee and got locked out of the box. I had to pay a hefty penalty to get my PO box back.
Or, my private ADHD coaching client Dani who forgot to renew her professional certification. Dani’s boss had to put her on unpaid leave until she got recertified.
Or Pete, the ADHD Success Club member, who procrastinated on reserving a campsite to see the total eclipse. Remember that major event a few years ago? It was on Pete’s bucket list to see one but by the time he got around to making reservations, all the campsites were gone. Pete ended up paying $200 per night to sleep on someone’s lumpy sofa to view the eclipse. (Pete is actually the one who coined the term ADHD tax for me.)
I could yada yada yada for hours on this. Most everyone with ADHD has stories about paying the ADHD tax. You do, too, don’t you?
But, wallowing in frustration over the past doesn’t help. Let’s shift into proactive mode. Let’s stage a revolt against that ADHD tax. Imagine never paying it again!
Assessing the ADHD Tax
I can think of three main sources of the ADHD tax:
Procrastination. That old I’ll do it later conversation. Pete fell for this with his eclipse campsite. He knew he wanted to go and had planned on it, yet he waited too long to act and got hit with that ADHD tax of renting an expensive spot to sleep.
Forgetfulness. Dani totally forgot she needed to renew her career certification. With no reminder notice, she had to remember on her own. This was one of those times forgetting came with a hefty ADHD tax. Two weeks without a paycheck isn’t something most of us can handle easily.
Ignoring. Getting my PO box canceled is a classic example of ignoring something I needed to do. This was different than procrastinating. I consciously decided not to check the box. Most of our time-sensitive mail is sent to our house. Without a sense of urgency, it was easy for me to ignore my PO box. I thought about it but didn’t go check. The domino effect was: I didn’t see the bill. I didn’t pay the bill. I was locked out of the PO box. It took hassle, forms, and about $100 to get it back again.
Procrastinating, forgetting, ignoring. Hallmarks of living with adult ADHD. What can you do?
Revolting Against the ADHD Tax
Your revolt against the ADHD tax begins with building a scaffolding of support. Reminders, timers, awareness, plus productivity skills.
As an adult ADHD coach, I guide my group and private clients to weave safety guards against paying the ADHD tax. The ADHD Success Club focuses on zapping procrastination, remembering stuff, and building awareness.
Paying the ADHD tax doesn’t have to be a given if you have attention deficit. But, you do need to take action. Here’s my question for you: what are you going to do to create the kind of life you want to live?
Want to learn more about the ADHD tax?
Tune in to Episode 5: The ADHD Tax (and How to Pay Less of It!) of the Kick Some ADHD podcast – a weekly podcast designed for business people with ADHD who want to succeed! Click here to listen!