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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Demand Delegating

on demand delegation

 

Do you often with you had 25 hours in the day, 6 hands or could clone yourself?  It’s often that we are faced with more to do than we have time, skills, resources or energy.  Delegating is a solution for you!  With so many resources on the internet, there’s lots of options to delegate on demand.  Technology offers many options with tools of many kinds.  With all our daily tasks, using delegation can add time to you day.

Successful delegation

What are the keys to successfully delegating? Use your strengths wisely and know where you don’t have skill. Delegate when you have a small incremental task that you especially dislike and do not do well.  It’s also good to delegate when you are not your best at consistency or routines.  You can take advantage of automation for this reason.

Delegate bill paying

Online bill pay is the most frequently used system for delegating. Paying from your bank allows you to use one, consolidated online location for payment.

 

Delegate passwords

In the complex world we live in, everything has a password. Online security is most important. It’s also frustrating as we attempt to access our accounts.  Using a secure password is critical for your safety. While there are many data breaches going on, an online password keeper gives you access to your passwords from any device. Choose one password to access your password keeper.

 

Delegate your To Do List

There are many apps to capture your ideas. There are many Artificial Intelligence capture tools in our world.  The easist to use is your iphone Siri. Siri can capture your thoughts verbally and add them to lists and dates for you.  Next easiest is Google Home and Alexa.  No more worries about forgetting and working memory with these devices.

 

Delegate adminstrative tasks

Administrative tasks, including forms, filing, and more, can often fall to the bottom of your list.  There’s help with online virtual assistants who are skilled at scheduling, research, expenses and data entry (to name just a few areas). Assess what your needs are and connect one of these many options.

 

Delegate errands and tasks

Online grocery and other shopping is just a click away now. Delivery can be set up with your specific schedule. Amazon will deliver supplies with a schedule through the subscription services.  No more running out of toilet paper or paper towels now! With a Subscription List, you have a supply that arrives without fail. Making dinner is much easier with an online grocer list. Repeat the list weekly on the same day to be sure you always have milk at home.

 

More tips here on Productivity! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Organizing Obsession: Carts

My organizing obsession carts

 

My love of carts has me extolling their use on my blog! Carts can add an extra storage space for stuff and papers. It’s rolls to where you are to work. It adds an extra space for your papers.

 

rolling file cart

The rolling file cart gives you options for accessible file storage.  Highly visual, you can see your files so that it’s easy to remember your filing system set up.  A file cart with storage below adds easy access to frequently used office supplies or tools.

 

utility cart

A cute utility cart adds storage for a craft room, office or classroom. Three tiers of storage gives you much more access to supplies.  It adds pizzazz to your space depending on the color you choose.  There’s so many uses and ways to organize.

 

 

An accent cart can add storage and decor to any room in your home. Often it’s a great spot for either keepsakes to display or to add function in a serving piece.   The fun of adding a cart in your main rooms is to add one more bit of whimsy, style and function to a space.

 

What are your favorite carts and where do you use them?  I love learning about your organizing obsession.  Don’t miss out on my other favorite organizing products!

How to Simplify Back to School Transition

 

Back to school transition

 

Back. to. school. It’s time when we reset, organize, plan and set new routines.  It’s a transition from lots of free time to structure and deadlines.  Maybe transition is more difficult for you and your family?  We can simplify this transition with these tips.

 

Simple calendars and planners

Families + school time = dates and deadlines. Make it easy for you and your family and a calendar everyone can access. Google calendar is available on all devices to connect families to what’s due when, what needs to be purchased, and when will the parents be available.  Encourage your family to all populate the calendar during your family meeting.

 

Simple labels

Stuff gets lost and families don’t know where stuff goes. Make it easy with a label.  Label school binders, devices, lunch boxes and clothes. Label your pantry where lunch fixings are found.

 

Simple bedtime routines

The age old question of preparation for a shift in bedtimes. Parent ask, “do we start a week out with earlier bedtime or just have the kids crash the first week of school from exhaustion?” Only you know the kiddos in your home best. Take care of yourself with your own earlier bedtime the week before school starts. If you are well rested, everything will be better!

 

Simple laundry

Whittle down the loads this year with fewer clothes for everyone. Laundry and closet organizing work best with less.  How many items for each of you?  Start with just 7 sets of clothes that coordinate through a capsule wardrobe. It will save money and time!

 

Simple mornings

  • Family has been getting up later and later all summer. This transition is one of the biggest!  Getting up on time for school starts with everyone having an alarm clock.  Be sure these are set correctly the first few weeks of school, then practice getting up just a smidge earlier than you think.  Make morning simple by getting lunch and what you are wearing together the night before.
  • Place analog clocks in transition spots throughout your home. An analog clock helps you see time elapsing and helps you be on time.  Clocks are best in bathrooms, bedrooms, and by the exit and entry doors.
  • Use music to keep everyone energized and positive.  A morning playlist can be played at a low volume.

 

All transitions take time.  Celebrate the first day of school success!   Give yourself the opportunity to create a positive transition by scheduling less on the first weekends school is open. This extra time translates to more rest and more time like summer with less structure.  Keep spirits and energy high with family fun bike rides, ice cream sundae parties or family game night. Expect a few tears and set aside time to acknowledge the toughness of the first few weeks of school because of this transition.

 

More ideas on ADHD here in my newsletter.

Professional Organizers’ Favorite Planners

professional organizers' favorite planners

 

My clients and my colleagues are often searching for the perfect planner.  There’s a range of options for all of us, from digital to paper.   I polled my colleagues to help you determine what planners are most popular and why!

 

Planner requirements

What helps you determine the planner you choose?

  • Ability to quickly assess and add appointments
  • Agility in adding information to your planner
  • Size and portability
  • Attractive cover and interior pages

 

Here’s the responses

MaryJo: I’m a 100% digital calendar. I can color code and set reminders. I don’t leave home without my phone so I always have my calendar.

 

Melony: I’m old school. Franklin Covey Classic, ring bound 5.5×8.5, leather zip planner with lots of pockets.

 

Michelle: I have Erin Condren, Life Planner vertical layout this year. I like the format but it is so bulky.

 

Judy: The planner I love is the discbound planner with inserts (happy planner). I use the Louis Vuitton Monogram cover to hold everything together. I love this style of planner because you can customize it to your liking.

 

Me: I love the planner pad and love Outlook reminders. I have a hybrid system that works for me. I am visual so a paper planner lets me see it all and easily write in appointments. I have a few pockets for papers and use a binder clip to keep a pad of paper in the front.

 

Whatever your system, remember to have a weekly planning time with your planner and task list. It’s time to schedule your tasks and check on appointments.

 

More on planners and time management here!