Empowering Creative Solutions for ADHD Challenges

empowering creative solutions for ADHD

 

My clients with ADHD are brilliant and creative.  They have often found innovative solutions to some of their ADHD challenges such as being on time, managing paperwork, or eliminating tedious, boring tasks.

 

Getting to work on time

Instead of leaving late each day and driving herself, my client wanted to be eco-friendly and get to work on time.  Since she lives close to a Metro stop, she decided to ride the bus to work daily to get to work. Not only is she always on time, she has contributed to the greater good.

 

Getting dinner done

According to my client, variety is overrated for dinner! She choose to have a 2 week set of dinners that she could prepare from pantry staples each evening.  A simple meal plan made for happy family dinners.

 

Getting homework done

After school homework time can be a challenge for families.  My creative client partners with 2 other families where they rotate homework time for their daughters.  The girls rotate between homes to complete homework each afternoon. The parent in that home is available to answer questions, check online for assignments and check the girls’ planners.

 

Getting ready each morning

Make your morning easy by creating a “uniform” dress for work.  The uniform for my client is a dress.  Rather than matching tops and pants, she wears a dress every day to make it easy to get ready for work.  Peter Shankman, podcaster of Faster than Normal, wears black shirts and jeans each day. Simplify your dress to make it easy to get ready each day.

 

Keeping one simple task list

Evernote or a simple notebook are  your solution to having your list in one place.  Decide if you are going digital or paper, then keep all your tasks on one list. Having one list for my clients means that you can find all your information easily.

Working with a partner

Organizing and productivity can be isolating.  My client knew that she worked better if someone is in the same space working on a project too.  She invited her assistant in to work alongside her each day for an hour at a time to get her project completed.  She was so surprised to learn this strategy, known as body doubling, could make her work more productively.  It works!

 

What are some of the creative ways you have made a difference and made it easy to get stuff done?

 

 

More on ADHD here! 

 

 

What to do with Meeting Agendas?

 

What to do with meeting agendas?

 

If you are like most, meetings are an necessary evil of work life and volunteering.  Each meeting you are either given a paper agenda or a link online.  A well run meeting requires an agenda. It’s about preparation and communication.  But what to do with meeting agendas after the meeting has finished?

 

Meeting agenda general plan

If you meet routinely, a meeting agenda helps you keep a structure for the goals of the group.  Your agenda is the place keeper of your accomplishments, your tasks and next steps.  Having a specific file, file drawer or notebook to keep your meeting agenda, labelled with the meeting name, is generally a good idea for the duration of the project.  Be sure you create a spot to easily drop the agenda in when you return from the meeting.

 

Meeting agenda notes

If you are like most of us, your meeting agenda has next action steps noted on it.  You want to consolidate these action steps on a general capture tool, such as a notebook, task list or digital list to be sure to do the next steps before the next meeting.  Adding the actions to your actionable spot makes sense so that the meeting agenda can be stored away and you can accomplish your tasks.

 

Meeting agenda when you are the meeting leader

There’s a time line to preparing a meeting agenda before the next meeting. You will want to recap what has been accomplished, lead your meeting onto the next steps and be sure your attendees are prepared at your next meeting.  Having a digital template to save as a new meeting agenda keeps you moving forward.  You will want to share this agenda at least 24 hours in advance of the next meeting.

 

What’s best practices for your template?  Here’s what I include: name of committee meeting, date of meeting, call in or other contact information, and who is attending the meeting.  The agenda can be a simple, prioritized list of what you want to accomplish.  Be sure to begin your meeting on time and end within an hour.  Efficient meetings are where best work is accomplished.

 

What about when your comittee concludes?

There’s a definitely happiness to ending a well run, successful project!  At that time, sort through, declutter and eliminate the agendas. You might keep one of the last agendas to finalize the project and move the file to an archive location.

 

You might be wondering, does this apply to conference materials as well?  Conference materials are becoming more digital, rather than paper based.  Generally it’s a best practice to pull the materials you will use to save in either paper files or electronically by topic.  I suggest keeping these materials for 2 years to see if you use the materials.  After this, it’s time to delete or recyle.

 

More ideas on paper management here!

4 Strategies to Increase Productivity

 

There are strategies that can help you increase productivity. These are handy acronyms and mantras that help you remember what to do to be more productive.  It’s remembering and applying these strategies that help you get more done.

 

WSD Write stuff down

The most productive person is the one who uses a calendar and a list.  It’s in capturing this information, writing stuff down, that we know what to do and what is the deadline. Capture tools can be analog or digital, in a notebook, in Evernote or on a dry erase board. Regardless of your tool, wrtie stuff down to be more productive.

Plan your work and work your plan

With your planner and list, set aside a weekly planning time to plan your work and work your plan.  When I say plan your work, that’s when you add times and actions to your calendar. It’s more than just meeting dates, it’s work periods.  Let’s say you have taxes to complete. You set up 9 – 10 am on Monday through Thursday to work on chunks of your taxes.  You work your plan by staying true to the plan you set up.   For every task or project you want to complete, you have set a time to do the work.  Even if you don’t know how long a task or project will take, you set an amount of time to work on it.

 

FOCUS Follow One Course Until Successful

There’s compelling research for single focus.  With focus, you work on only one task at a time. Your success depends on it.

 

MITs Most important tasks

There’s lots to do and never enough time to complete all your tasks. That’s why prioritizing is critical.  That’s where MITs come into play.  Set up your Most Important Tasks each day, week and month so that you prioritize deadlines and importance.  Working on an unimportant task can be productive procastination, however delays your success.

 

These four handy sayings will carry you forward with productivity. If you need a reset for productivity, start with a great night’s sleep, a 5 minute stretch and be ready to hydrate.  These essential basics will hold you in good stead!

 

More productivity tips here!

Too much to do

too much to do time management for the overwhelmed

 

We greet each other daily with how are you and the common response is busy. Too often we find ourselves too busy with too much to do.  At times we underestimate how much time a task will take, how many responsibilities we have and generally overwhelmed.  Here are some first steps to take to move from from too much to do.

 

Triage first

When we are overwhelmed, we are often paralyzed. This means that we accomplish nothing. Start first with deep breaths to physically respond with more oxygen.  Take a minute to get a drink of water or walk for a few minutes. Then start with triage.  Triage is sorting the most important and most urgent from the general.  If there’s a looming deadline, your taxes are due,  you have a speech tomorrow, you can tell immediately that these need attention.  What you don’t want to do is check out facebook, go through email to check off the easy responses, or sit staring into space.  Triage and make a list of what is most important. Keep your list to 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs)

 

Focus on one thing

It’s tempting to multi task to get more done. Research shows how ineffective this can be.  Clear everything off your desk and leave just the one task you are focusing on to work.  Be ruthless about the electronic distractions, like the computer, phone or device, and stay on target with your one task.  Keep on target and set a timer for when you are going to switch to your next task.

 

Take time to simplify

The real solution for simplifying your schedule is to prioritize and evaluation. There are many good reasons to participate in an activity, solutions to challenges and connections for us to make. Find the best reasons and the best connections for yourself.  It may be difficult to let go when you have already found something or someone new.  Set aside time for yourself to know what is most important, learn to say no, and let go.

 

Think about gratitude, being in the moment and self care

When you are overcommitted with too much to do, you feel stressed. Over the long haul this builds and builds.  You are resentful, unhappy, and tired.  Let your gratitude and self care be the prompt for letting go of too much to do.  As you think of the joy you feel when you are at home more, getting in bed early, taking care of your responsibilites without rushing. you will quicky see the bonus of saying no and letting go.  What you are you letting go of today and not have too much to do?

 

More ideas on being being organized and productive, join my newsletter!

 

 

ADHD and Team Support

Creating an ADHD support team

 

As an organizing coach, I’ve noticed an important element for my clients.  My clients need a “boost”to get tasks done, such as an extra set of hands.  They need Vitamin C, called that by Edward Hallowell, the C representing connection.  At times my clients stumble when they don’t know a skill or technology gets too complicated. At times they need to verbally process information, create a plan or help getting started.  All of these pieces add up to adding an element called support.

 

What do you mean by support?

Support can appear like many different things. It can be physical support with extra help to accomplish something. Think of it as someone on the end of the furniture you are moving.  Support can also mean being body double, where someone is in a space alongside you, doing a parallel activity or sitting quietly.  Support can mean adding more players to your team, like a therapist, house cleaner, or administrative assistant.  When working together, we process what kind of team members can support you best.

 

Why do brain based conditions like ADHD especially need support?

All of us need support.  Brain based conditions especially need support with planning and executing. Executive function is weak in the ADHD brain.  Time management and paper management need boosting with the ADHD brain.  With ADHD, there are many projects with many open items.  Often an assistant prioritizes these projects. For these reasons, having a team in place can amplify what you want to accomplish.

 

Emotional support is important.  An organizer coach, ADHD coach, or therapist can play a role in emotional support. Emotions are intense and can affect every day living.  Normalizing these emotions and processing emotions are part of working as a team.

Are you reluctant to ask for support?

Without a doubt, many of us have had experiences that have left us vulnerable to ask for support. It might have been unintentional however has left us feeling that we can’t ask for help.  There’s no shame in being vulnerable, as noted by Brene Brown. It’s in that moment we can benefit the most from creating our best team.

 

What are some ways to find support?

  • Find a clutter buddy or paper partner to help you declutter. Your partner tethers you to the task by keeping you in the space you are working in. Having a partner means you are committing to what you intend to accomplish.  A partner is there when you are stuck with a decision.
  • Ask a friend to be a body double. That’s a person who works in the same space you are working, however on their own task or project. By virtue of that person being in the space, you’re benefitting from energy and connection.
  • Virtual support is available online for you.  CHADD offers classes for yourself, for you as a parents, for teachers and others.  You can volunteer and support others as well.
  • Look for an ADHD therapist, Organizer Coach or ADHD coach specifically trained for working with brain based conditions.
  • Support can look like many different things. It can be your housecleaner, your nanny, or your baby sitter. It can also look like your bible study group at church or your pilates class. Look around and see who is available for you.

I find support in creating a team for my work and home. I walk with a partner, go to pilates weekly, have a helper at home and collaborate with my colleagues. Not only is teamwork and support help me run my business, it makes my work and life more fun!

 

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Bring Spring

Bring spring

 

It’s been an extra long winter for us in Houston this year. With real snow, cold temps and dreary rain, we’re ready to bring spring. When we think of spring we think of fresh.  Bring spring into your home by freshening up and organizing.  Getting organized is the best way to get out the old and start fresh.  This short list of areas in your home will help you bring spring into your domain.

 

Entry

The entry is where everyone drops everything as they enter.  It’s probably currently a collection of gloves, scarves, and boots.  Match it all up and get it back to it’s long term storage solution, which is best the back of an auxiliary closet in your home.

 

Guest room

Has your guest room become a dumping ground for returns, extra holiday wrapping paper or things you have yet to decide on?  It’s time to spend time clearing this space out, freshing up the bed linens and getting this room back to a welcoming space for friends and relatives.

 

Laundry room

One of the busiest and most neglected rooms in your home is your laundry room.  Have winter linens, single socks or just too many clothes gotten stuck in here?  Dig out with a few minutes of donating or distributing what’s stuck and reclaim efficiency here.

 

Master closet

Winter has about concluded. Now is the perfect time to let go of the winter clothes not worn.   Since this was one of our more serious winters, if you did not wear a heavy sweater, pants or other garments, it’s the time to donate what you are avoiding wearing. It’s a quick scan of what you have not worn, dropping the items into a shopping bag, and then off to your car to bring them to donate.

Dont forget your home away from home, Your Car

Your car has collected not only trash but lots of random books, clothes and other stuff this winter.  It’s time to run by the car wash for an interior cleaning.  Taking care of our valuable asset will also make us feel like we took an extra step of care.

 

Just like you, I am ready to bring spring into my home, office, and car!  Take time this weekend to welcome spring, get organized and enjoy your refreshed spaces!

 

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Get ahead of the game

 

Get ahead Get organized Be productive

When I talk about getting organized, I hear back that getting ahead is the equivalent of getting organized. By getting ahead, it’s about being proactive, anticipating and being prepared. Being organized often means being in control, and getting and staying ahead of the game is just how to do so.

 

Getting ahead of the game at home

Just what does getting ahead of the game at home look like? This can take many forms in your home.  It’s creating a meal plan, shopping and getting dinner done on Sunday to be ready for the week.  It can be prepping the night before so you are ready to conquer the day.  You may choose to get up early, take quiet time or exercise alone, so you can be ahead of getting your kiddos up. You can choose what means getting ahead to you as you know specifically what matters most in being proactive and organized.

 

Getting ahead of the game at work

At work, getting ahead means anticipating the day and the work you will accomplish.  A first step is setting your day up for success with a proactive calendar.  Having a power hour will help you prioritize and manage your day, so you can accomplish what is most important early in the day. Anticipate where distractions and interruptions occur so you can maximize  your time to do your work.

 

Getting ahead of the game in taking care of yourself

Article after article talks about sleep and it’s importance in our daily functioning.  Often I hear, “l’ll catch up on sleep later.”  There’s conflicting research on whether you can catch up on sleep debt, although it’s not wise.   Stay ahead of the game with prioritizing sleep, exercise and good nutrition.  Rather than sleep less, underschedule your time to be sure you can complete what you commit to.  Review your schedule to assess and see what you can release to free up time to add in exercise.  Make a simple meal plan and grocery list for food that even your grandmother can name the ingredients.  Be sure you have added time into your calendar for your self care.

What’s the real benefit of getting ahead of the game? It’s about your confidence to conquer what’s next. You are going to feel accomplished and prepared. Isn’t that the best feeling in the world?

 

More ways to get and stay ahead here!  Join my newsletter!

How to Host an Annual Summit for your Family or Business

Annual summit and strategic planning

Each year as the new year begins, thoughts turn to how can I make this year better. We think about goals and habits. Have you thought about an annual summit that takes a big picture view of your family, work and life?  A summit is a strategic,high level conversation that brings together all the parts of your work.

 

Wrap up last year

Start with a summary of last year. Assess what went well and what still needs work.  This wrap includes what happened and what did not, as well as assessing if what happened really does still need to happen.  Be sure to congratulate yourself on your successes, acknowledge what you are grateful for and to whom you are grateful.

 

Dig deep for your Purpose

Before you embark on your new goals, define what is your purpose.  What gets you up in the morning? What brings a smile? What’s your core value(s)?  Getting this defined first gives you direction and meaning to your summit.  If you are working with a partner or team, it’s a time you can collaborate to define your purpose.  It can be a simple, single statement.

 

What do you want more of in your life or business?

There are many areas of your life and work you may want to change. Here’s a start for you. It could  be your health, more fun, connection to family and friends, a better or different career, more money or a closer walk with God.  As you review each area, think about what you want and why you want it.

 

Who is on your team?

One of the biggest supports in accomplishing your goals each year is your team.  These are your trusted advisors, your friends you have coffee with, your family and partner who make you laugh, and any others you know you can count on.  On this list you may realize there are some who are not supporting you and you are ready to let that door close.  Knowing who is with you as you start the year keeps you movinng forward.

 

Establish a time line

Adding your goals to your calendar together creates the plan for your year.  Break your goals or habits into manageable pieces and incorporate these by month or week.  Having a plan and following it means your goals become reality.

 

Create a metric to assess your work

How will you know what you have accomplished in this year’s plan? You want a checklist with dates to assess what you are doing, when it is getting finished and what’s left to do.  Your metric can be written in a notebook or kept digitally in evernote.  Your plan can be checked off or crossed out, just so you celebrate the successes throughout the year.

 

It’s easy for us to forget how important seeing the big picture is. The details can bog us down.  Your annual summit can be held at the beginning, middle or end of the year.

 

 

 

Snow Day

 

Snow Day

On January 15, we were treated to a rare delight in southeast Texas. It was snow!  It was snow that started as the pinging noise of sleet and continued in fluffy white flakes through the afternoon.  The weather gave us a rare snow day in Houston.  Now the decisions of how to spend a day at home.

 

Snow Day as Work Day

In a completely unscientific Facebook poll, most of us opted for getting ahead and getting organized.  Posts ranged from paperwork (so unfun!) to organizing closets.  Most of us took the day to get ahead on projects we had let lag.  That was me as well!  I loved having a productive day.  It seemed far less difficult that other days to be productive since it was “free day.”  For those who chose a work day, I congratulate you on your organizing and productivity!

 

Snow Day as Fun Day

Half way through the “blizzard”, it was time for me to spend time out and about. I could not resist the opportunity.  Having time outside was a great way for me to think about the kids running and dashing, the real reason we identify as a snow day.  I remember just how important an unscheduled day makes me. It builds my energy and engages me in more thinking. For those who chose a fun day, I congratulate you on seizing the moment for fun!

 

Snow Day as Possibility Day

We may not have the specific opportunity for a snow day for a while, however you can think about the possibilities. I love the idea of planning a snow day!  What could your snow day bring to you? Could you invent a snow day for yourself, keeping you and your kiddos thinking?  What would the possibilities be?  I encourage you to set aside an annual snow day to rejuvenate and relax.

 

Learn more about the  possibilities here!

 

30 Things to Declutter in 30 Days Winter Edition

30 things to declutter in winter

 

Winter brings us time to be indoors and work on our home or office.  It’s a great time to declutter because we realize how much we have and how much we use.  There’s many items that are easy to declutter once we decide that they are well used and ready to move on.  Here’s the winter edition of 30 things to declutter in 30 days.

 

1. Single mittens or gloves

2. Kids’ winter coats that have been outgrown

3. The extra zip in lining of a coat you never zip in

4. Too tight long underwear

5. Turtle neck shirts that are too hot to wear

6. Itchy sweaters

7.  Single slippers or slippers that are beyond repair or use

8. Extra flannel sheets

9. Winter boots that are too small

10. Extra wire or plastic hangers

11. Extra cans of soup or other pantry items

12. Recycling that has built up

13. Extra linens that overload your closet

14. Smalll appliances that have been replaced with a newer model

15. Excessive grocery paper or plastic bags

16. Snowpants that are too small

17. Hoodie attachment you don’t attach

18. Summer clothes you did not wear last summer

19. Stained or torn hoodies or sweatshirts

20. Makeup over a year old

21. Cough or cold medicine that has expired

22. Pots or pans that are scratched, stained or ruined

23. Mugs you seldom or never use

24. Mismatched glasses

25. Too many plastic cups

26. Broken pairs of glasses and sunglasses

27. Freezer foods past their prime

28. Almost empty bottles of cleaning products

29. Extra boxes that are taking up space

30.  Electronics to recycle

 

That’s our round up for this month! Now you are in the decluttering habit! Make this last by taking one category a day to the next step, whether it’s to donate, sell, gift, or trash.  It’s keeping items leaving your home or office that makes for a better organized home or office.

 

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