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In this on-demand masterclass, Eric will guide you through:

1. How to pick a single, impactful goal

2. Create an actionable plan

3. Build the habits and skills you need to succeed

With real-life examples, practical tools, and guaranteed progress for committed individuals, this session is your first step towards a more organized life.

The Neurodivergent Packing Guide (Travel Series 2024)

Most neurodivergent adults I know struggle to pack. Packing requires excellent executive functions. Think about it -- planning, organization, decision-making, working memory, and sustained attention are needed.


Plus, packing isn’t fun…at all.


Do you procrastinate packing?


Is the thought of packing overwhelming?  


Have you ever forgotten your passport?


If so, you’re not alone. Packing is a project, not a task. It requires many steps.


As a neurodivergent traveler, I developed a system to pack exactly what I need without going overboard while even remembering corded headphones for the plane.


In this article, I teach you how I do it.


When Should I Start Packing?

Packing is a project, not a “to-do” because it entails many steps. Like any project, I do the first step. 


The first step of my neurodivergent packing guide is creating a packing list.


This reduces overwhelm so I can gradually add items to my list as I think of them. 


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Use Digital Tools

Create a dedicated folder in your Notes app titled "Travel ✈️". Over time, I built out templates for different types of trips, such as "3 Day Weekender", "Snowboarding", or "Car Camping". When I use a template, I make a copy and customize it, saving me time and ensuring nothing is forgotten.


Now, before I start a new packing list, I look at my templates and ask, “Do I have a list for a similar trip?” If so, I make a copy of it and customize it. 


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Pro tip: If you realize you were missing something from your list while traveling, add it to the template. 


Now you’re ready to figure out what to pack (without overpacking). 


Plan your Outfits

The next step in my neurodivergent packing guide is planning outfits. This might be easier for me than you, but, here’s what I do. 


On the same note, I list out the days I will be traveling. I count the number of days, scroll up, and write ‘underwear’, and the number I need. 


Then, I decide how many times I will exercise (and if I have access to a washing machine), how many ‘dinner’ outfits I need, bathing suits, etc, and add them to the note. If I am not sure, I make a guess. Here’s what my note looks like at this point: 


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Afterward, I decide what to wear for each outfit. As I decide, I add the specific items to my packing list. For example, On 6/21, I am going to surf and run or do yoga. This means I will need my black bathing suit, white rash guard, one pair of running shorts, and sunscreen. I added all of those to my packing list with checkboxes. 


I repeat this action every single day of my trip. When I am done, my clothes packing list is complete. 


If planning daily outfits feels restrictive, remember, you aren't committing to wearing that exact outfit on that day. Instead, you are ensuring you bring the right clothes. No one likes running out of underwear or going to dinner in a smelly shirt.


The Neurodivergent Packing Guide

The packing list is complete! The day before my flight, I pack my suitcase and carry on using a systematic approach. No more asking myself, “Wait…did I pack that already?”


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Step 1

Open your suitcase and place it in a convenient location.

 


Step 2

Open the packing list in your Notes app.



Step 3

Grab the first item on the list and place it in your suitcase. 



Step 4

Check off the item in the Note.


 

Step 5

Repeat until every item is checked off.



This isn’t an earth-shattering system. It’s simple and practical. I tried taking shortcuts or skipping items on the list because they were in the other room. That didn't work


“I’ll grab my phone charger later” turned into, “Ughhhhh I forgot my phone charger!”. 


I’ve learned my lesson. Start from the top, and pack each item one by one. 


Pro tip: set reminders on your phone to double check your packing list the morning of your trip. Sometimes I don’t pack my toothbrush or computer charger the night before; the reminder is key.


Don’t Forget Technology and Toiletries! 

On the same note, I have separate sections for “tech” and “toiletries”. I purchase a small mesh bag and keep most of my travel-sized toiletries in there. This mesh bag lives in my suitcase. I also use a small plastic bag for airplane supplies. 


Is it just me, or is it ridiculous that airplane TVs don’t have Bluetooth? I ALWAYS forget corded headphones. Not anymore. A pair live in that plastic bag along with a small bottle of hand sanitizer. 



Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help you improve your executive function skills

We know adulting is HARD. It demands strong adult executive function skills. Luckily, we've made a LIVE course to cover the fundamentals so you can make the best of each day: Adult EF Skills 101. We are currently accepting applications!


In this course, you will:


  • Learn how to plan your priorities 🎯

  • Learn to get started (task initiate) 🔨

  • Learn how to keep things tidy 🧺

  • Learn how to find and keep a job 👩‍💻

  • Learn how to communicate effectively 🗣️

  • Learn how to budget 🤑


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About the Author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

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Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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