How to Prepay the ADHD Tax

Jesse J. Anderson

— 5 min read

How to Prepay the ADHD Tax

Hey friends,

First, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that responded to last week's email to help email providers learn that it was coming from a legit email address. Literally hundreds of you replied!

I didn't get to respond to everyone, but I did read every single email that you sent, and I'm so thankful for such an awesome and supportive community. Thank you for being amazing and thoughtful. 💙

A few years ago, I signed up for one of those really cool subscription box services. It sounded so reasonable from the start—I could log in before each month and choose which thing I wanted delivered that month, and if none of them were for me, I could skip the month's box.

Plus I get a little box of dopamine to open every month. Perfect!

You might know where this is going...

“I really need to cancel this!”

The first box was nothing special, and then I quickly forgot about the whole plan. I never logged in to check what the upcoming options were, and I never skipped a month. But a shiny new box of trinkets kept showing up on my doorstep. Trinkets I would never ever use.

And every time, I thought “I really need to cancel this!”

But I didn't.

I don't want to tell you how long this went on, but I think it might be more accurate to measure in years rather than months. Most of the boxes—many of which are still unopened—are stacked in a sad little corner in our garage.

This was yet another example of The ADHD Tax in action. The late fees, the overdraft charges (even when you actually have money, just not in the right place!), the forgotten and now expired food, the time I got a huge fine for unknowingly driving with an expired license...

While some of these are unavoidable, I've found that many of them can be prevented by prepaying the ADHD tax. I posted about this recently and got a lot of great suggestions from others.

People with ADHD often have to pay the “ADHD Tax” due to things they avoid or forget. (e.g., toss fruit that’s gone bad)

One solution = prepay the ADHD Tax. (e.g., buy more expensive precut, pre-washed fruit)

What are some other ways you can prepay the ADHD Tax?

Here are a few of my favorite responses:

I clear the dishes *before* I eat dinner. The urgency of dinner getting cold helps it go faster too. @skoda
Buying more underwear and socks so I can go longer between laundry sessions. @turbofool
Ordering groceries online and picking them up so I can be sure I don’t forget anything but mostly so I don’t add 59 items I don’t need to my cart while I browse every aisle @dacrazykatlady
Don't sign up for free subscription periods as you'll forget to cancel it. @floodology
Frozen fruits and vegetables. Canned beans and vegetables. Basically minimize the steps in preparation because the mere thought of doing all the steps exhaust me and I end up not doing at all and everything goes to waste.

Automated monthly payments.

Open shelves so I see what I have and get to use them even if they tend to make the space look cluttered. I've often discovered tons of stocks of a product stored in closed boxes or shelves that I've forgotten. @theimpossiblegarden
Delegate a LOT to freelancers.

Even if I think I can do it better, cheaper, faster.

Eventually, I will procrastinate until the last minute and do it worse. @Samarsky
Air Tags, Tiles, whatever else you can stick on something to track it. @blondealex
Make a whiteboard list of your foods and their expiration dates on your fridge bc otherwise it is too out-of-sight-out-of-mind.
Buy the biggest chunk of time available. When I renewed my car's registration, I pre-paid for the next four years. I pay double on my utilities bill if I have the cash, so there's a credit on my account to cover the payment I'm going to forget. @AmandaMcGlow

There are a ton more great responses on both Threads and Twitter, so make sure to check those out if you're looking for more ideas!

What are some ways you prepay the ADHD tax?

Stay focused,
Jesse J. Anderson

P.S. I'm going to be doing a reader survey soon, so if you have any suggestions for this newsletter, get them ready—it should go out later this week so keep your eyes open for it! Looking forward to hearing what is working well, what could be improved, and how I can continue to grow this newsletter to best support you and the rest of the community. 💙


Check out this super fun conversation I had with William Curb of the excellent ADHD podcast, Hacking Your ADHD. We talk about practical coping strategies, overcoming challenges with memory and motivation, and the importance of adapting to individual mental processes.

We also talk a bit about my journey as an author and my process for writing my book, Extra Focus: The Quick Start Guide to Adult ADHD.

Extra Focus with ADHD Jesse - Hacking Your ADHD
Hey team!I’ve got a fun episode for you this week - I’m talking with Jesse J. Anderson about his new book, Extra Focus: The Quick Start Guide to Adult ADHD. I actually got to meet Jesse in person last November at the International ADHD conference…


ADHD = feels calm under pressure

ADHD = feels pressure in the calm

(via Threads)

Hey, I wrote a book!

Extra Focus: The Quick Start Guide to Adult ADHD

Get your copy of the book