Get Organized for Unexpected Air Travel Delays

 

Get organized for unexpected air travel delays

 

Who hasn’t been delayed at the airport? It’s like travel by stage coach now with unexpected weather and mechanical delays.  Recently with Tropical Storm Imenda, I spent 12 hours in the airport.  (It was not nearly as scary as those on the road and I was happily near a bathroom.) Even before this challenge, I knew that I needed to be prepared for a potential surprise. This is true during holiday travel season with so many flights and so many travelers. Here is how I organize and prepare for travel and unexpected delays.

 

Travel bag requirements

I use a rolling small bag that fits under the airplane seat in front of me. I changed to the rolling bag to avoid injuring my shoulders with a heavy carry on.  In my bag are several Vera Bradley pouches that keep me organized (of course!)  The pouches hold what I call my “apothecary,” cords and connections, reading material, and other important items like jewelry and business documentation.

 

Staying connected

Connections are what keep us sane. Our phone and devices require charging more frequently as we use these more while in an unexpected situation. I always travel with 2 chargers and an emergency charger. (It’s the block and the cord times two.)  I also use these to charge overnight at my destination.  I charge once I get to the 20% low battery mode, just like filling the gas tank at the 1/4 mark.

 

Staying hydrated

Travel can deplete you and keeping hydrated keeps you well. I purchase a large bottle of water inside the terminal to keep hydrated before I leave the ground and in the air.

 

Staying on top of travel

All airlines have apps now to keep you up to date. Be sure you switch on the text message app to update you about your flights.  You can view where your flight is arriving from so you know if you are on time. Bag tracking is available in case an unfortunate loss occurs (another frequent situation.).

 

Stay in the know

Many apps help us during these situations.   These apps that give us information are priceless.  These are local news station app, The Weather Channel and Flight Aware. I learned so much from each of these, tracking weather radar and flights.

All our family have set up the Find a Friend app so that we know where we are at all times.  For many reasons this has helped us all feel more comfortable. We know where each of us is and we can help each other maneuver home.

 

Stay comfy

Each of us has our own idea of comfy with travel. It’s a travel pillow or blanket, extra undies, special treats or downloaded music.  What makes you feel comfortable is what’s important.  I carry a protein bar or two also.  Most of my NAPO friends know my love of skittles and pashminas.  I carry both with me when I travel, as well as an extra magazine or two.

 

I hope for you blue skies and sunny destinations. In case there’s a storm in your future, you should be organized and ready to wait it out with comfort.

 

 

Hassle free Holidays for Families with ADHD

 

Hassle free holidays for families with adhd

 

Holidays are merry times for families.  For moms, dads, and family members with ADHD, there can be glitches with planning, timing, and finishing up in time for family time together. When it comes to family events, executive function limitations interfere with holidays in the ways we celebrate, the gifts we share and the time we spend with family.  Here are solutions to create hassle free holidays for families with ADHD.

 

Problem: Everything is important during the holidays. What do I do first and when do I do what? It all seems overwhelming.

Holidays can be magical and meaningful with planning. That planning starts with a calendar.  Ask your family about their special family traditions.  It’s tempting to say yes to everything, but the key take away is to limit your plans, decorating and parties. Once your family weights in, be sure all the family has access to the calendar to know the final plans and be a part of the fun.

 

Holiday plans require more time to complete. Start early on all holiday activities. It seems too early to start your holiday planning in October but it is not. For cards, take the photo in October, choose cards and have these printed in early November, and address the cards the week of Thanksgiving.    For gifts, go through your gift closet in October, finalize shopping in November, then mail presents the first week of December.  As you can see, October organizing and planning is key to holiday success. Set a deadlines for each task. A deadline will help you focus your time and energy.

 

Problem: There’s so much to do! How do I do it all?

There is no way to do it all during the holidays.  It’s also not possible to be the only family member decorating, gift giving and baking.  It’s time to look for help. Ask your family to partner with you, working in pairs to accomplish tasks. There’s many ways to get help around you.  There’s on demand delegation. You can find help with online tools to hire extra help at this time of year.  Take the semi-homemade approach and take help where you can get it from pre-cut groceries and delivery services. Ask teens who want to earn money for help with small tasks.  Be open to asking for help and accepting the “not completely perfect” solutions. When you spend extra time on a task, be sure it is valuable enough and worthy of that extra effort.

 

Problem: I can’t find the perfect gift for everyone on my list.

Find creative solutions to gift giving. Rather than many homemade gifts, choose one gift that includes an experience. Keep your gift giving for those who are especially close. Choose a small gift card for those who are service providers. Choose an organizing gift that can help you stay organized all year long. Order online in order to save time and money.  There are many ways to share the joy of gift giving.

 

Problem:  I am worn out before the fun begins.  I want to enjoy the holidays too.

Holidaze sets in early with too much to eat and too little sleep. Holiday fun is diminished with too little self care.  Be sure to keep true to your routines during this busy time of year. It’s easy to pass on the routines when you might miss out on fun.  Routines and self care make sure that you truly enjoy your holidays.

Give yourself the gift of extra self care. Extra self care looks like an afternoon to read your favorite magazine, a soak in the tub with lavender, or an early bed time.  Extra self care pays off in being ready to have fun.

 

Hassle free holidays start with knowing where the hassles begin and how to address these ahead of time.  Knowing your options and resources make a difference for holiday times.

 

What to expect when working with a Professional Organizer when you have ADHD

adhd

 

Starting in the early 2000, I noticed my clients having similar challenges. It was usually a love hate relationship with time, paper and stuff.   That’s when I learned about ADHD.  Since that time, I have been working with clients with ADHD and helping make the changes they want in their lives.   Because of our work together, these clients have started living the life they have imagined.  What is it like for us to work together?

 

What to expect before we meet

My clients reach out through email or phone, bravely taking a first step.  It’s courageous because they have finally recognized how asking for help can make a difference. That courage comes from a deep longing to create systems and routines that have been unnatural for them.

 

When we initially talk or meet, my role is a listener. I am hearing what are the challenges.  I am not judging.  Because our work is non-judgmental, we are from the start creating a trust relationship.

 

It’s common that my clients can feel anxious about our first meeting. Perhaps it is about whether there is “hope” for a solution, or whether there will be judgement, or another feeling.  After we meet, that all changes.

 

What to expect when we meet

Our meetings begin with an assessment. It’s further talk and review of goals, expectations, and ho we will work best together.  There is a lot of verbal processing going on! My clients are talkers, who as they talk, ideas become clear.   We review the process of decluttering, organizing, and maintaining that we will work on together.

 

My clients and I establish a rhythm to our work for decluttering.  Our work always begins with “what to keep and what to let go.”  It’s a conversation at times and it’s a quick sort at times.   If my client gets stuck, at times we put something aside to talk further and at times we keep it for a while. My clients often don’t know what to let go of because it is not clear how much of an item they own.  We gather items together while we are decluttering.  In the end, I bring items to donate to facilitate decluttering.

 

As we organize, my clients and I determine categories together.  There’s grouping, there’s placing, and then there’s products to help.  Many of my clients have lots of products to help us organize. We can place these more effectively together.

 

What to expect after we meet

Organizing is a journey.  It’s not over after our series of meetings.  We discuss what maintenance looks like, how to create routines to maintain and what a maintenance visit together looks like.  These new perspectives on organizing help my clients keep organized. We talk about when we might meet again as needed.

 

What to expect

My clients have recently decided that they want to make a big change.  They have hit a point where the time has come to invest in that change on many levels.

The core of our work together is trust, education, support, and communication.  Knowing how my clients work best and sharing basic knowledge about ADHD are underpinnings of our work together.  My support and establishing a team to support my clients are part of our work together.  Communication, verbal processing, and non-judgemental discussions are elements that move our work together forward.

 

Curious about ADHD and getting organized?  Let’s connect!

 

 

Successful Team Building for your Micro or Small Business

 

successful team building for your business

 

Solopreneurs and small business owners are challenged with getting everything and anything done.  Their productivity hinges on their strengths. We can’t be good at everything!  Having a team approach to productivity makes for success.

 

  • It’s a big daunting how to start building your team.  What’s most critical is defining what your team member(s) will do.  It’s a range of possibilities.  Start with what’s not being done or what you hate to do.  Flush out a system with your new team member to create a process that works.

 

  • There are levels of delegation that make this transition easier.  Start with specific, direct actions and raise the bar to collaborating on decisions.

 

Here are some sample models that have worked for my clients. I have listed the challenges faced and how a team member made the challenge happen.

 

Calling back clients

Client leads were piling up for a small business owner.  She did not have time to return calls, discuss opportunities, or make appointments.  She was in search of a team player who could help her. Where she found help was in a recently graduated long time friend. Together they set up a process for intake.  They practiced this system for a week and added in an online calendaring system.  It was a combination of the human touch and technology that made for a successful team.

 

Reconciling and creating expense reports

All those little receipts that are needed for reconciling and creating expense reports can be overwhelming and disorganized.  Getting help with routine administrative and financial tasks can help your business thrive.  After tasking this job with several different team members, a small business entrepreneur found a single outsource option. By taking a photo, she was able to send receipts to the outsource person.  After that, the business owner met weekly for a check in about the expense report.  Reports were turned in timely and the business owner was thrilled.

 

 

Billing clients

Another small business owner created a successful strategy for billing clients with technology and a team member. Using FreshBooks, the owner tasked only billing to her team member.  With automation, the client could pay online which also eliminated extra steps with banking.  A small addition of technology can pave the way.

 

Setting up a structure for teams

It’s not intuitive for small business owners to set up a structure for team work or communication.  When he started with a new company, the small business owner turned to his trusted entrepreneur guide to help him. This guide established a weekly meeting for the team, created working hours for each team member, and set up a collaborative document for them to share work.  Having a trust guide to delegate to, the small business owner could focus on his most important big picture work.

 

A highly organized business person turned her calendar over to her virtual assistant.  They collaborated through a series of google docs, email, and online calendar.  The calendar was also shared with another team member.  Having a process in place created a team calendar that worked well for getting all the details completed.

 

Finding a productive environment

A small business person struggled with how to be productive in her office. It seemed a little too noisy at the same time.  She invited her assistant to work with her on a routine basis, weekly, while she worked on a project. They worked as a body double, paralleling their work on separate projects. Having a second person in the room helped her be accountable to her own work.

 

Each of these examples of successful team building worked from resourceful, creative and committed collaborations.  Creating an effective process by everyone bringing their best efforts, strengths and skills make successful teams possible.

 

Activate Your Organizing when You have ADHD

Activate your adhd

 

Those with ADHD often feel that they know what to do, it’s more a matter of getting started.  That’s the tricky part with executive function challenges.  It’s about activating.  When you learn there are professional organizers and productivity consultants, you open up a new world to get stuff done.  With ADHD,  you feel there are ways to be more productive and create order in your world.   Here’s a list of why you can activate your organizing when you have ADHD.

 

Non judgmental partnering

Feeling a positive energy without shame is a first step in getting started. Working with a professional, you are creating a trust relationship that leaves judgement behind.  Your professional is your partner in keeping your work moving without remorse of what you are letting go.

 

Being mindful and staying on task

A professional helps you stay in the moment and on the task. Getting distracted by both internal thoughts and external actions can derail organizing for clients with ADHD.  Working together you are focused on the tasks. If you get off track, your professional is guiding you back to your work.

 

Holding the time and keeping you accountable to your goals

Setting a time to work and keeping track of time can be an executive function challenge. Executive function challenges often relate to time distortion, like how long a task can take.  It might feel like it would take forever and your professional can guide you in creating manageable chunks of work time.  By setting a date to work with your professional, you are committing and keeping accountable.

 

Helping make decisions

Getting stuck in making decisions is common for clients with ADHD.  There are many decisions back to back in organizing and it can feel overwhelming.  With your professional, when you are stuck, your professional helps you move forward with gentle questioning.

 

Calming your mind on the organizing journey

Many clients have an overlap with anxiety as well as ADHD.  It’s that feeling that professionals can help the most.  Your professional is reassuring you that you are taking the next steps, making good decisions, and moving forward with your goals.

 

These 5 reasons to get started make for great reasons to contact a professional!

Learning about ADHD, Organizing and Productivity

 

Learning about adhd

October is ADHD Awareness Month.  It’s a time to learn more about neurodiversity, that being that brains work in many different ways.

 

Every story with ADHD is a different story

I work with creative, resourceful, smart people with ADHD. They uses their strengths in different ways given their executive function weaknesses. My clients have created frameworks that help them live purposeful and productive lives. With time, paper, and stuff challenges, they look to what works for them to create solutions. These solutions often include innovative routines and habits incorporated into their days.

 

Support and team work are essential elements

Support is essential for ADHD. That can look like many different things, from professional support to help at home, from every day tasks to those that are big picture. Creating a team engages and enhances productivity. These are well established elements for ADHD success.

 

Keep learning, keep looking for solutions, keep curious

Knowing more about ADHD is important. It’s all about learning. Learning by podcast with Faster than Normal, reading books like ADD Friendly Ways to Organize, or attending the International Conference on ADHD. The more you, your family, your colleagues and teachers know, the more success in living the life you imagine.

 

A new diagnosis of ADHD brings with it the opportunity to learn about neurodiversity, organizing and productivity.  How will this new learning bring new perspectives and new options to you?  Are there ideas to share with your family on ADHD and school this year?  There’s so many ways to learn about organizing and productivity.  Here are some of my favorites!

 

Podcasts

One of my most favorite learning tools is learning by podcast. It’s bite size learning, while listening and doing.  Here are some of my favorites.

Faster than Normal

Getting to Good Enough

ADDitude adhd experts

The Complex

 

Books

Here’s a range of books to read about ADHD. Many are also available in audiobook.

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

Faster than Normal (yes, it’s a book too!)

ADHD Effect on Marriage

Driven to Distraction

 

Webinars and online

Easy access and always available, webinars and online resources make learning easy.

ADDitudemag.com

ADD.org

CHADD.org

 

Associations

Support looks like many different things.  In each association there are numerous ways to find support for yourself and those around you.

CHADD.org offers support groups as well as online support

ADDA-SR.org offers regional support groups, a variety of seminars and state wide conferences.

International ADHD Conference is hosted by CHADD, ADDA and ADD coaching associations. It’s a once a year ADHD event that brings together experts, research, resources and those with ADHD.

 

Whatever route you take to learn, now is the best time to investigate and invest in resources that support you. Whether you are an adult with ADHD, supporting someone with ADHD, or learning about possibilities for your child, take the leap into learning.

 

How Every Day Organizing Helps Emergency Preparedness

Good organization equals emergency preparedness

 

Being organized equals preparedness.  There’s no down side to being a little more prepared in general ways especially important when it comes to emergencies. While it feels uncomfortable to discuss emergencies of any sort, there’s comfort in knowing you have created a plan.  These little steps with connections, paper work and finances, will take a few extra minutes and give you a big benefit later.

 

Connections in case of emergency

Our family, friends and neighbors are most important during an emergency.  It’s who we rely on and support when an emergency happens.  Be sure to make a family emergency plan, include pets and neighbors. That plan should include where to re-connect and meet up after a disaster.  Have an out-of-town emergency contact also keeps everyone connected.

 

Update important documents regularly

Maybe you organized your insurance and important documents several years back immediately after a previous emergency.  Spend time each year to review insurance policies, tax documents, and life insurance policies.  Keep a current list of utility account numbers in case you are away from your home. All of this should be updated in your safe.

 

Financial Preparedness

There’s never a good time financially for an emergency. Create an emergency savings fund and keep cash on hand for emergencies. That would be a significant enough amount, such as $500. Surprisingly during a crisis you cannot access all your funds via ATM.

 

We are often busy enough and put off getting these small organizing pieces in order.  If you decide to do just one thing, add an Emergency Contact to your smart phone. There’s a way to add your medical information and then test how to open your phone.  In our family, we have Find a Friend on our iphones. This app identifies where we are just in case.  Decide on one small thing you can do or a series of small tasks to be prepared.

 

 

5 Small Starts for Emergency Preparedness

small ways to prepare for an emergency

 

September is Emergency Preparedness Month for good reason.  We have faced emergencies for many years and these seem to be more frequent and more intense. At the same time emergencies frighten and overwhelm us.  Now’s the time for us to button up our resources and start small.  Some of the simplest ways to prepare are the best and here are 5 small starts to begin.

Family contacts

Online connections are easy until the power or cell service goes out.  Create a spreadsheet of family contacts and print it out. Include in your sheet cell and home phones, email addresses, physical addresses and other contact information.  Keep this spreadsheet in a kitchen or office top drawer to access.

 

Create an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit  (EFFAK)

Finances and access to funds seem easy, like simply heading to the ATM for funds. That is not always the case in an emergency.  Begin preparing your Emergency Financial Fist Aid Kit with these instructions. Most importantly, keep $500 in cash, in dollar, five dollar, ten dollar and twenty dollar bills.  Funds are hard to access if there is no power.

 

Prep your Emergency Supply Kits

Prepare kits for all the places you will be, whether at home, at work or in the car.  Your kits should include supplies for a minimum of three days worth of food and water.  Other essentials include battery radio, flashlight, batteries, first aid, medicines and toiletries. Refresh these kits annually.

 

Family plan

Family plans can be communicated during family meetings.  Talking about the plan makes it less scary and easy to accomplish. Your family plan should include where to meet if there is a fire in your home, where to meet if a disaster happens while your kids are at school and you are at work, and where to meet if you are separated.

 

Helpful apps

If you have cell access, there are 2 helpful apps to download.

FEMA: weather alerts, safety tips and shelter information

American Red Cross: a variety of apps including personal and pet first aid, blood, and hero care

 

You and your family will have peace of mind knowing you have started preparing.

Being Organized and Prepared For A Family Emergency

organized and prepared for a family emergency

 

Family emergencies strike unfortunately routinely, from a broken arm to a heart attack. Family health crises are among the most stressful for all of us.   The best way to face an emergency is by being organized and prepared.  Your lists will be what you rely on for information. These preparations can help you create the best plan prior to when an emergency happens.

 

Your Medical Health List

Each doctor you meet requests a list of health challenges, presciptions and supplments.  Make this list easy to access by keeping it digitally in your Notes app, Evernote, or other smart phone app. The list can be shared with a family member in case of emergency.  For health challenges, list the year and what happened (surgery, treatment).  For presciptions and supplements, list the item, what that is treating, and the dosage. If you have a paper list, you can take a photo to keep in your phone as well.

 

Your Medical Plan and Doctor List

With frequent changes to medical plans and doctors, keep a list of your specialists, their phone numbers and their specialty in your smart phone contacts.  Track your annual visits by making appointments that coincide with a birthday, a season (fall, winter, spring summer) or another significant milestone to remind you.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in keeping on track with annual visits to medical and dental professionals.   Your own health care is as important as those in your family.

 

Ongoing health concerns

  • Organizing your medical records is an important step for chronic illness. Keep a notebook to bring to your doctor’s office to keep current discussions and treatments.  You will want to refer to this regularly with notes and updates.  Organize your medical history in a file folder, by doctor or illness.

 

  • Organizing your medications is one part of your ongoing health concerns. Fill day of the week, time of day pill organizers and set alarms to remind you to take medication. Place pills at the point of where they are taken, such as by your bed in the evening or in the kitchen for morning.

 

  • When it comes to the many facets of an ongoing illness, share responsibility with family members.  When my mom faced her illness, my responsibility was health care and my sister took on financial responsibilities. Confer weekly on these responsibilities so everyone is up to date.  You can also create a google sheet to share information with family. Coordination is key to family communication.

 

Support for you and your family

Be ready for ongoing support for yourself and your self care. Friends and family will ask how they can help and be sure to give everyone a small responsibility. It can include setting up a Care Calendar for meals and transportation. Having someone attend the appointments can be helpful in capturing notes and keeping strong during the treatments. That support can be as small as dropping off a gallon of milk to being a listener when you are sad, anxious and afraid.

 

Take good care of yourself with good sleep and good nutrition. Get in bed on time and eat regular, balanced meals.  It’s easy to get off track with both of these during a crisis.

 

Family emergencies are part of life transitions. We age and life happens. Our family ages and abilities diminish.  Be organized and prepared to meet these transitions with positive actions.

Emergency Preparedness: Lessons Learned

emergency preparedness lessons learned

 

A little under 2 years ago, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast.  Our community Kingwood, Texas suffered great losses. From loss comes lessons! It’s where we learn that we can help others too.  Here are several lessons learned on emergency preparedness that help you.

 

Protecting your home and finances

Most of our community suffered catastrophic losses. Flood insurance can help the financial loss.  Flood insurance is offered through a national program. It’s affordable compared to the losses you might incur in a flood.  Having this insurance helped many with replacement and rebuilding.  Check with your insurance agent to learn about coverage. Flood insurance must be in place for 30 days before using the coverage.

 

Now is the time to create your home inventory.  Your inventory can be a digital version. A video of your home is the least you can do on your smart phone.  Walk around your home identifying the items and where and when you purchased, and other significant information. HomeZada offers a digital inventory version you can complete in segments to protect your belongings in case of loss. Having this inventory saves you time and also helps you in case of loss.

 

Protecting your pets and family

There’s all types of emotional responses to catastrophe.  Many families experienced post traumatic stress after this flood.   Keep this in mind, all the while when your family appears unaffected.  Seeking support through community groups can help.  Many families were sharing their losses and thoughts through religous related affiliations.  A community event called Rainaxiety helped those deeply affected.  Seek out support as you find yourself struggling.

 

Preparing documentation for emergencies is the best step.  There are documents to prepare and keep ready for when you leave.  These documents can be gathered in a water proof safe, kept in a closet at home.  It’s easiest to organize these with labelled ziplocks.  If you have not been able to locate these, check online on ways to replace these documents now. Vital records will be needed for each of your family in case of an emergency.

 

Every day medical emergencies happen. Bike accidents, car accidents, and falling off a ladder are all things to be prepared for as much as major catastrophes.  Be sure you have your insurance in your car and in your wallet for these situations.

 

It’s the emergence of hope and community that are at work in an emergency. Those in our community rallied to help each other.   Be open to accepting help and giving help in these emergency situation. We are here to help each other.  That is the greatest blessing I learned during these difficult times.