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“I Hired a Virtual Assistant and It’s the Best Thing I’ve Done for My ADHD”

“It’s not fair that we struggle with ADHD. Executive dysfunction makes daily living needlessly difficult for so many of us. But if a virtual assistant is the answer to your problems and improves your quality of life, then is it really a luxury?”

business woman video calling by smartphone in hand during corona virus pandemic quarantine in flat icon design
business woman video calling by smartphone in hand during corona virus pandemic quarantine in flat icon design

If you could pay someone to be your frontal lobe, would you?

What if I told you that you could offload all the unbearable tasks your ADHD brain loves to hate — from paying bills and scheduling appointments to ordering groceries — to someone else? Or what if you had someone to nudge you along and help you complete dreaded chores like washing the dishes, folding laundry, and even preparing healthy meals?

That’s what my virtual assistant does for me. I hired her to help me with 12 hours of work every month for $100 — and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made for my ADHD. I couldn’t be more grateful to her.

Benefits of a Virtual Assistant for ADHD

I’ll be the first one to admit that hiring a virtual assistant is a privilege. Not everyone has that kind of money, and I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to afford a service that was once out of my reach.

Still, I encourage everyone with ADHD to consider hiring one. (Here is the list I used to find a virtual assistant. I eventually hired my assistant via OkayRelax.)

[Get This Free Download: 19 Ways to Meet Deadlines and Get Things Done]

My virtual assistant helps me with practically all aspects of my life, especially with tasks I’ve long struggled with due to debilitating overwhelm and executive dysfunction.

Take the task of feeding myself: I’ve gone hungry on so many occasions because I’ve forgotten to pick up groceries on the way home, or I simply didn’t feel like doing anything that required lots of executive functioning, like shopping. Even if my fridge was stocked, I’d waste money on takeout because cooking was just too much for me.

But my virtual assistant, at my request, keeps me accountable. As I chop vegetables for dinner, she’s on the phone with me, acting as a body double to ensure I finish the task. She does the same as I tackle my other chores — folding clothes, decluttering my home, you name it.

My virtual assistant helps me reach my priorities and goals, but she also takes care of many items on my to-do list herself. (Often, the tasks that take just a few minutes to accomplish are the same ones that are somehow impossible for those of us with ADHD to actualize, even if we understand the consequences of inaction.) She schedules appointments, pays my bills, orders groceries for me to pick up, and even helps me search for online coupons and discounts.

[Read: How to Delegate Your To-Do List]

Nowadays, whenever a new to-do occurs to me, I simply call or text her on the spot so she can add it to her list. I no longer worry about suddenly remembering a to-do in the most inconvenient of times and places only to end up forgetting about it.

She’s also thoughtful and takes initiative to solve problems that I didn’t think were solvable. Recently, I told her that I sometimes prefer doing my work at coffee shops because the clutter and mess in my home can get so overwhelming. The next time she prepared my shopping cart for me, she added a few items to spruce up my home and even sent me a 3-step guide to make my home office aesthetically pleasing. She has saved me tons already – including on coffee!

It’s not fair that we struggle with ADHD. Executive dysfunction makes daily living needlessly difficult for so many of us. But if a virtual assistant is the answer to your problems and improves your quality of life, then is it really a luxury?

9 Tips for Hiring and Making the Most of a Virtual Assistant

1. It’s best to hire someone in your time zone, though you may be able to find virtual assistants in other time zones who can work with your schedule (and provide services at a lower cost).

2. Spend time brainstorming all the items a virtual assistant could help you with before you publish an ISO.

3. Write a short simple job description and post it on platforms like UpWork or Fiverr. Put a FAIR compensation rate. Being cheap about it will just add friction to something that is supposed to remove friction from your life!

4. Focus on what matters. You want a virtual assistant who is reactive, action oriented, flexible, and highly adaptable to take on your tasks. Don’t focus on the superficial.

5. Don’t spend too much time interviewing candidates. Put them on a one- to two-week paid trial instead. Have a few tasks ready ahead of time, like scheduling appointments or organizing cloud files. Be ready to try a few virtual assistants.

6. Don’t overthink logistics. Trust that your virtual assistant will problem-solve and roll with the punches. I use WhatsApp exclusively to communicate with my virtual assistant, and we video call from time to time.

7. There are lots of workarounds if privacy is a concern. If you’re asking yourself…

  • “How do they ‘do’ your groceries?”
  • “Do they have access to your credit card?”
  • “Do I need to give them access to my Amazon account and emails?”

Know that you can still benefit from the help of a virtual assistant without granting them full access to your life. If you don’t want your assistant to add groceries to your virtual cart, you can ask them to send you a link to the items they found so you can add them yourself. You can also use prepaid cards if your assistant is online shopping for you. Privacy.com is a great solution, as you can assign a specific amount and vendor to a card so that it can’t be charged outside those parameters.

8. Be creative. I can hardly think of a task that can’t be delegated to an assistant. Body doubling, meal planning, car maintenance appointments, canceling a subscription, making sure you call your mom at least once a week… a virtual assistant can help make sure all of it happens!

9. Treat your virtual assistant as you would a friend. If you just want someone to obey your orders, you’re better off with AI-based apps. But since you want a human on the other side, accept their flaws and treat them as you would treat your best buddy. Your virtual assistant is a life assistant – be open-minded and vulnerable so they can understand how your ADHD brain works and how to best help you.

Virtual Assistant for ADHD: Next Steps


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3 Comments & Reviews

  1. Having a son with ADHD I’ve often thought that having an assistant, virtual or not would be well worth the money for him. If you look at the money and time lost via the “ADHD tax” you could be coming out ahead. Instead of buying new clothes when everything is dirty, invest in a laundry service. A virtual assistant to keep your schedule, so you get to appointments on time for work, to help you pay bills on time–that’s a definite money savings. Maybe even save your career or business. I’ve often wondered why this isn’t brought up more often.

  2. In the sexually sterotyped past of white men at white collar jobs with stay-at-home wives, many of the tasks referenced here were taken care of by a secretary and/or a wife (including planning and scheduling appointments, managing time/money & reminders, etc. – the executive function stuff, not just the chores.). It’s always been obvious to me that part of the reason “highly successful” men could be successful is because they had this kind of help. I believe this is true regardless of whether one has ADHD; however this kind of assistance can truly be essential for ordinary success in daily living when ADHD is involved. Sometimes we manage to get it through less formal arrangements; when that doesn’t happen, a contractual arrangement for this seems like another viable option (assuming, of course, in all situations the relationship is respectful).

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