#334: ADHD Shopping Guide (How to Buy Stuff You Truly Need)

Andrew Folts
3 min readOct 13, 2020
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October 12, 2020 — If you have a hard time making good purchase decisions as I do, it helps to follow the same process every time and keep improving it. Here’s what works for me.

I’ve bought so much dumb shit in my life.

Partly, it’s creative ADHD. I’m fascinated with new technologies and product design.

But there’s a bigger problem — which is that modern life has become one giant casino.

Brands, retailers, and YouTubers bombard us with information in order to deteriorate our self-worth, security, and general sense of reality.

When I bought fifty pounds of “hemp shell” bedding this summer (which turned out to be useless), I finally had to admit my brain needed backup

It was time to get serious about shopping.

Tip: Purchase Process

Making decisions is complicated, so I decided to analyze my major purchases and see what patterns emerged.

I turned those insights into a process — which has kept me on a three-month streak of no-regrets shopping.

Here’s how it works.

1. Priorities

Make a table in Notion. Every time you WANT something, add it to the list and reorder (if necessary) so the purchases are ranked by importance.

This way, it becomes clear when you’re de-prioritizing one thing to prioritize something else.

2. Simplify

Give every purchase a three-word solution field (problem is optional). This helps you sort your list by seeing the purpose of each item at a glance.

An example for “wool pillow”…

  • Problem: Heat disrupts sleep.
  • Solution: Wool is breathable.

3. Questions

What matters to you? Keep a checklist of questions to run through, and update it if you miss something.

  • Effort: Am I already doing the thing this will help with?
  • Returnable: Can I easily get my money back?
  • Trust: Have I had good experiences…
Andrew Folts

Author of 365 Comics. Writer, illustrator, and barefoot runner slinging minimalist hacks for creative rebels.