Really! Happy Holidays with ADHD

 

 

The joy of the holiday season can be overshadowed by chaotic, frazzled, over-committed holidays. It is tempting to enjoy all the delights of the season. Holidays can be joyful by setting up strategies for organization and time management. Now is the time to set up systems that empower you and your family throughout the holidays

 

Create a holiday notebook

Tired of reinventing your holiday activities each year? It is time to start a holiday notebook. In the notebook, create these tabbed pocket dividers with these topics:

  • Calendars for this year and the previous year’s activities including holiday traditions
  • Gift closet inventory
  • Gift list for family, friends, and work
  • Tipping list for family hair, nails, and other service providers
  • Holiday cards from prior years and for this year
  • Vendor list for holiday cards, photographer, ornament purchases, and more
  • Budget
  • Meals, menus, and recipes
  • Décor and photos from previous years’ decorating

Keeping all this information together helps you save time and energy, as well as stay organized. You may decide from year to year to discontinue one or more activities. Keep it in your notebook for future reference.

 

Host a family meeting

A family meeting brings everyone together before the holiday season. Post a family calendar for everyone to write dates of upcoming events and parties. Discuss everyone’s favorite activity and be sure that one activity is included on the calendar. Host this meeting the week of Thanksgiving to be sure you are on top of all dates.

 

Make a list and check it twice

Make a list of everyone’s activities and tasks for the holidays. Now prioritize that list. Knowing what is coming up and deciding what is most important to each family member and yourself helps us be realistic and also have fun. Add these to a calendar to see when activities and events overlap. Start early with this and host a family meeting weekly to be sure to stay on track.

 

Tracking Rudolf and Santa

We are all ordering online, tracking gifts, and praying for their arrival. Use a dedicated email address for shopping and a folder in your inbox for receipts. Having one place to look for these details saves time and keeps you organized.

 

Gifts, gifts, and gifts

Getting stuck in finding the perfect gift? Move forward with gift cards, experiences, or a small something that you especially love. There is a reason why Oprah’s favorite gifts are given. Choose a gift-giving strategy that works for you and your budget. Kids and teens love gift cards they can use as they like. Adults appreciate that little gift of self-care such as lip balm. Families love time together at a special event. Being thoughtful is what is most important, not the gift itself.

 

Holidays are for everyone, including you as head holiday merry-maker. We get over the top with activities and fatigue. Keep routines and self-care a priority to make the most of your holiday joy!

 

 

 

Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.

 

I am grateful, thankful, and blessed by all our connections this year. Wishing you an abundance of blessings this holiday season and into the new year! 

 

ADHD 2022 International Conference on ADHD

adhd2022
My work with my clients is my priority. And also my professional development, learning, and training. Continuing education and career training allow me to develop new skills, stay up-to-date on current trends, and advance our work together in sessions. It is my commitment to be on the leading edge of training for our work together.

Learning from ADHD experts

Over the last three months, I have attended seminars on ADHD and anxiety, addiction, and oppositional defiance through ADDA-SR. Last summer, I was privileged to attend the ADHD Intensive. This month I attended the International Conference on ADHD. What did I learn?
  • A strong foundation and commitment to self-care prepare you best for every other part of your work, managing your home and relationships.
  • Coaching is a positive strategy for processing information and creating strategies for home, work, and life.
  • Whether you are a child or an adult with ADHD, there are ways to make change happen when you are ready.
  • Setting strong positive boundaries helps us navigate difficult relationships. These boundaries include both options that are desirable and non-negotiable.
  • More research on ADHD is needed to help with assessments and medications for ADHD.

This information reinforces much of what I know to be true. However, taking these experts’ information to my clients is my next step with my coaching and hands-on work.

 

Collective joy in a community of learning

Conferences, Summits, and community learning are coming back after uncertain times. For me, it is a true joy to sit and listen with my colleagues in person to experts and authors. Taking notes, reading materials, and discussing information bring life to learning. I call this collective joy in that we are all together learning and engaging.

There is so much joy in meeting new colleagues and reconnecting with my peers. Time spent together in person, experiencing conferences together, discussing our work, and meeting new people bring purpose to my work. I love connecting with my colleagues who work in this specialty.

 

I am grateful for the opportunities for professional development this year and going forward. It is who I am to continue learning, seeking information, and sharing that with everyone around me.

 

 

ADHD Friendly Tips for Connection

adhd friendly tips for connection

 

The value of connection is priceless for all of us. During the pandemic, relationships are what kept us moving forward. For those with ADHD, connection is the solution for support. That connection includes work with colleagues, daily life with family and friends, and those around us in our environment. There are many ways to do this, and here is a short ADHD- friendly list to help you.  We know that these connections empower us and enhance our lives.

 

Double up

Make connections by doubling up on both connection and another positive activity. Take a walk or an exercise class with a friend. You are getting exercise and connecting.

Do it now

Thinking of a friend? Send a quick text just to say hello.

 

Dinner time

Work to have a regular dinner time multiple times a week and always once on the weekend. Do not worry so much about what you are serving as making sure everyone comes to the table to talk. Talk about the highs and lows of the day to know more about everyone’s emotions that day.

 

Family meeting

Family meetings promote communication and organization. Host a weekly meeting for your family to talk about calendars, responsibilities, and upcoming holidays.

 

Communicate gratitude

Sadly, and rarely, do we hear about the beauty of a friendship. Share the impact that person has on you and the strengths of that person when you connect. Being grateful moves us toward happiness. Be someone else’s cheerleader today.

 

Remember a birthday

Just a quick text or a snail mail card makes a difference for you and your connection. Keep a list of birthdays and a stash of cards to send at the beginning or end of the month for all the birthdays coming up or just passed.

Play games online

Online games connect you to others with the same interest and in the global community. Join in the games with your kiddos.

 

Join a book club

Book clubs are where people are enjoying books and connecting.

Connect through spirituality

Our communities are filled with those practicing spirituality at temples, synagogues, mosques, and churches. Reach out to those with similar paths, attend, and join a community. These foundations have many activities to connect to others regularly.

 

Use social media wisely

Connect with others on social media positively. Often there are groups to join with common interests. Set a time to sparingly join online to prevent hyperfocus.

 

Volunteer

We make connections when helping others. Volunteer and do good while connecting.

 

Connection is so important that it should be a time block on your calendar. Take time this week for one small step.

 

 

 

ADHD Friendly Tips for How to Declutter

 

Has a space become chaotic and cluttered in your home? Are you keeping a lot of unnecessary items just in case with no place to store these? Has clutter been keeping you in a funk? These are some of the challenges of ADHD and organization.  Here are some tips for how to declutter with an ADHD-friendly approach.

 

Getting ready

You have been thinking a lot about decluttering and have yet to start. It is overwhelming because you are not sure where to start or what to let go of. Start with what will create some urgency for you. That’s a deadline! Aim for an important date with a holiday, family event, or company coming. A deadline will make this task a real activity.

 

Gather your stuff together

Marie Kondo suggests gathering your same items together to be ready to declutter. I agree! Group items by category in order to see how many you have in order to make a decision on which items to keep.  Gather your stuff by category no matter where it is currently being stored. Start with a large group to gather, such as clothes, so you can make a big impact.

 

Make it fun

Organizing with a team or using an “organizing playlist” brings joy to your work. Find what is fun for you!

 

Conquering the clutter

  • Get going! Use a timer to set the amount of time you are working.
  • Make it a manageable task. Break your decluttering into chunks of work that work with your schedule. That could mean 15-minute organizing bursts too.
  • Here are twelve rules that my colleagues and I have shared about decluttering. These rules include rules for emotions such as do I love this item, physical space such as large items first, or a timeline with how recently did you wear or use the item.

 

Set up a system that works for you

Your goal should be not only to declutter but also to create a storage spot (“home”) for each category. That storage depends on your strengths. If you are a highly visual person, make sure your system plays well with your system. Lists and labels empower this strength. An auditory learner might talk through the system as it is being created. A kinesthetic learner might set up a system that includes movement and physical processes. Each of these systems amplifies the learning style and maintains the system.

 

Decluttering and editing end when it is easy to find the items in your house which make you happy.  Letting go of what is bogging you down, taking more energy, and taking time away will be your ultimate goal.

 

 

 

 

 

ADHD Friendly Tips for Successful Family Meetings

 

adhd friendly family meeting tips

 

Family meetings are a part of weekly organizing and productivity. Communicating what is coming up, preparing for activities and academics, and discussing family engagement are key reasons to be sure you host your meeting. At times the meeting gets bogged down or skipped entirely. Here are ideas on how to keep your family meeting moving forward and valuable.

Create a consistent agenda

Every meeting needs a great agenda. That is true for your family meeting.  According to Psychology Today, here are some valuable topics.

  • What happened last week and how did it go
  • What’s happening this week and future/holiday plans
  • Old stuff that needs a family decision
  • New stuff that needs a family decision
  • Money stuff
  • Family stuff
  • Taking care of our stuff

Pro tip: If your family loses interest, shorten the agenda to three topics.

 

Keep it short

Every meeting becomes yawn-worthy when it takes too long. You, your partner, and all your family will appreciate brevity.  Know the meeting priorities, keep a high level, and use visual aids as needed for your meeting.

Pro tip: Play Beat the Clock to energize your meeting. Set the timer and keep your session ahead of schedule. Everyone will stay on track with this tip. 

 

Add interest and fun

Just the word meeting can make this time together less fun.  Shake it up with fun! Fun can mean a special dessert or a family activity that concludes the meeting.

Pro tip: Use wacky ways to add fun, including Crazy Hats or a Walk and Talk meeting. You can meet at different locations inside and outside your home. 

 

Schedule regularly

Consistent family meetings help everyone maintain consistent communication. When you host this meeting weekly, you have more up-to-date information and better communication. Find the best time to meet and meet at that time regularly.

Pro tip: You may need to try different times of the week to meet or rotate the days of the week. The goal is to meet weekly. 

 

Rotate responsibilities

Share the responsibilities of leadership with your family.  You are building leadership with your children leading the meeting. One person can be a scribe to add information to the family calendar. When you share the responsibilities, kids also have more buy-in for the meeting. Your kids enjoy the fun of being in charge. One person can be the time keeper to be sure the meeting starts and ends on time.

Pro tip: Establish a pattern to share the roles between your family so everyone knows the expectations and when roles will change. 

 

Always remember that the goal of your family meeting is to connect. No matter if you complete the agenda or have an agreement on the next family event, you are modeling and nurturing connection.

 

 

ADHD Friendly Tips for Self Care

adhd friendly tips for self care

 

Self-care is important for all of us and most especially those with ADHD.  Strategies for sleep, exercise, diet, and collaboration support and strengthen successful lifestyles. Even more so, there are other aspects of self-care that empower you. ADHD symptoms and associated stressors can be helped with attention to rejuvenation and

 

Acknowledging the value of self-care

Self-care as a sanity saver and self-preservation tool? Yes! Self-care helps us be resilient, use our energy well, and manage our emotions. Daily self-care is about practical actions that afford you more capability and capacity to focus, work, and connect. This is done best by prioritizing self-care and establishing a structure throughout the day, week and month.

Structure for daily self-care is like other routines in our lives. It can be a time block for mindfulness or exercise. Or it could be weekly meal plan deliveries. Structure and habits are foundations set into place.

If you see obstacles to self-care, it is often because of boundaries. Self-care can also be staying in and heading to bed early, asking for what you need, and asking for help. This is where knowing ourselves well plays a big role. Each of us has different needs.  Having strong boundaries helps you prioritize your time for you. Too many projects, too many activities, and too much “saying yes” means that your self-care will diminish. Feeling overwhelmed means you are in need of self-care.

 

Healthy self-care categories

Self-care extends to many areas in life and lifestyle.

  • Physical health self-care includes not only a good night’s rest, exercise, and a healthy diet. It also includes regular doctor’s visits, therapy, coaching, and possibly nutritionist visits.
  • Connection self-care includes fostering positive relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Organizational self-care includes establishing an organized environment, keeping up with finances, and maintaining good routines with laundry.

You may have good self-care established in one area and a gap in others. Focus on strengthening one area in one small way and you continue with your other areas.

 

Creating self-care strategies

As with all routines, start small in creating self-care strategies. Knowing what is best for your self-care includes learning education. You might attend a webinar about a topic before strategizing how to include it in your daily routine. Plan out your day and write a checklist that includes self-care. Start working with a coach or certified professional organizer to help you be accountable for your new routine. Make small, specific, changes with dates and timelines to reinforce your success.

My motto for all my clients is to build a bigger team first. Find an exercise class to join or switch up exercise classes to keep engaged. Meal plan and prep with one of your family or bring in meal prep boxes. Build a care team of physician, psychiatrist, a coach, and other assistants.  Each member of your team helps reinforce your goals and care. Your team offers support with positive encouragement and loving accountability.

 

Practicing self-care and self-compassion

Creating new routines can take from 21 days to 254 days, much longer than what we think should happen.

Being graceful with yourself as you take on new self-care means giving self-compassion. Not only is building self-care a lengthy process, but it can also evaporate as quickly. Keep the momentum going by keeping it simple. Complex self-care requires a lot of juggling. Freshen up self-care by changing up exercise and diet. Know the value of taking time off to reset. It is not easy but worth the effort.

ADHD Friendly Solutions to Productivity Challenges

 

adhd friendly solutions to productivity challenges

 

It is common for people with ADHD can have productivity challenges. It is hard to get started, stay focused, and complete tasks. Depending on the challenge, there is an ADHD Friendly solution to your productivity obstacle.

 

Challenge: Having trouble getting started

Executive function challenges can prevent you from starting a task. Initiating a task requires a “warm-up” to the task. It could be using a timer that is set for 15 minutes, organizing the stuff or space you are working or reviewing materials for the task.  Writing a note where you left off helps start up the next work session.

 

Challenge: Gathering too much information for a project

Many people are “information seekers” and love researching information. Often that leads to more information than needed for a project and disorganized information that is hard to use. If you are a paper person, write the information on note cards or post-it notes to organize later. Evernote works well for digital people to gather information in “notebooks.” Call this information into your messages and dictate it verbally to capture it. Set a guideline for how much information you need, such as how many websites to visit or sources to quote. With a “rule” in place, it is easier to gather less data.

 

Challenge: Getting distracted while working on a project.

External and internal distractions are part of the lives of everyone with ADHD. Make a plan for yourself to lessen distractions. Make a list of quick finish tasks to feel the joy of finishing a project. Establish a power period for deep work at your best time of day. Matching your chronotype to your work lowers distractibility. For external distractions, use headphones while working or move to the quietest space at work.

 

Challenge: Getting bored with the project while in the middle of it

When projects drag on, there are many updates or details, or project scope changes, the thrill, and interest in a project can wane. Reclaim your interest by checking “why” you are investing time and energy in the project. That “why” can be something related to the greater good too.

 

Challenge: Not prioritizing your To-Do List

The best list is a prioritized list! Knowing the most important tasks for that day helps you feel accomplished. For those with impulsivity, it’s tempting to jump right in!  Many people with ADHD use urgency as a prioritization tool. Take a bigger look at your list for the week and the day and color code or number your priorities. Remember, the only task you can count on working on in any day is the first task of the day.

 

Challenge: Scheduling a task and ignoring it

The reminder chimes and you ignore it, over and over again. A better strategy is to schedule mindfully and match your task with a time block. Give yourself ample time in your block to get started and do a deep dive into the work. Time blocks should also match your best times to work.

 

Challenge: Finishing a project late

Those with ADHD lack time awareness and do not know how long it takes to complete a task or project. Overestimate the time it takes to complete a project. Work backward from the due date to set intervals for project progress.

 

Challenge: Being overwhelmed by a project

Overwhelming projects are a part of home and work life. Just thinking about these may be paralyzing because of the planning, executing, and doing the work itself. Use sticky notes or a mind map to jot down all the parts of the project. Then write in who can help with each step. Make a note of which steps have deadlines. Keep these notes in a notebook for reference as the project moves forward. Write only the first steps on your To Do list. Adding in help makes the project more fun.

 

Challenge: Too much paper around

People with ADHD have a love/hate relationship with paper. Highly visual people like to see information in print, rather than digitally. Kinesthetic modality people like to write notes to keep information and to keep focused. Printing often feels like the right step to not lose information. Set up rules for paper management. That might be never open junk mail or keep all paper in a basket rather than on your desk. Paper management systems include a command center or file cart near your workspace to keep the paper organized.

 

Being intentional about your ADHD -productivity challenges is a starting point. Productivity may occur more in spurts than seamlessly. Choose one of these optons to find your own solution for your best workflow.

Incorporating Essentialism Into Your Standards

 

Essentialism

 

 Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.

 

Are you looking for a strategy to help you do less and own less but you are not a minimalist?  I have found that Essentialism works for me! It gives me the opportunity to do what I love and own what I love.

 

What is essentialism?

I have been a  proponent of essentialism for a while now. Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is about prioritizing, which is knowing who, what and why something is essential. “The Way of the Essentialist involves doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution.”  I read this many years ago and it has stayed with me.  I find that drilling down to essentialism keeps me purposeful, intentional, and productive.

 

What does essentialism have to do with our next steps?

Before COVID-19, we have to admit we were on a hamster wheel with an endless list of actions and endless opportunities to purchase. Now we know what it feels like to do less.  It gives us the opportunity to be selective about what we are doing, who we are with, and what choices we can make.  We can regain control of our choices to use our time and energy to make a difference. Even more, after time has passed since COVID, we want to live intentionally and purposefully.

 

Where can we apply this concept?

Wonder where I apply the concept of Essentialism? It starts with what is in my home and what I own. I consider what is essential to my work and self-care. For me what is essential is a limited number of work clothes and play clothes. Limiting these helps me save time and money. Digging deep into my core values, I know that it is essential for me to spend time with family and stay connected to friends. My calendar reflects these essentials. I love that I can define these elements and stay true to my purpose in what I own and what I do.

Here is an example of where I have used Essentialism for myself. A product comes to mind that will make my life easier. I sit with that idea for a day, thinking about how essential that is to my daily life. I research the cost and prioritize the improvement it might make. I purchase it with intention and when it arrives I place it where it will be used frequently. It is now essential to what I do each day. I have deemed this item absolutely essential to my well-being and the order of my life. That item might be a new keurig pod flavor or a new bag to travel. The process works well for every purchase and every new activity in my life.

 

Where can I learn more?

Learning about Essentialism and its role in others’ lives helps you evaluate for yourself. Check out this podcast to learn more and be inspired.

5 Tips for an Easy, Organized and Productive Fall

fall organizing

 

Summer is wrapping up and fall weather is coming soon! While we are all hoping for an early dip in the temperature, we can get started organizing for fall. Here is a short list of 5 spots to tackle for fall organizing. Getting organized now will save you time this fall when you are busy with activities, sports, and more.

 

Edit summer items then bring in fall attire.

The end of the season is the best time to edit and declutter. What has not been worn this season is ready to consign or donate. Edit out bathing suits, shorts, dresses and pants so that you have less to store and more space for fall clothing. Once you have decluttered, bring in seasonal attire gradually with heavier clothing added in November. If you have not already gifted yourself with slim line hangers, now is a great time to switch up. An organized closet helps you get ready easily every day.

 

Refresh your pantry.

Fall brings more structure to our days and to our meal planning. Start meal planning with pantry-made meals that make dinner easy to get on the table. Pantry meals include beans, pasta, rice, and ramen. Refresh your pantry with staples, organize your snacks into bins, and decant your flour for upcoming baking. Labeling your pantry makes it easy for everyone to find items and put away groceries.

 

Update your medicine and first aid supplies.

Before fall allergies hit and while COVID continues, update your medicines and first aid supplies. Review your expired prescriptions and recycle these at a local pharmacy. Categorize your supplies by use so you can easily find what you need. Using 3-tier small drawer storage, you can group like items together and label the drawer.

 

Sharpen up your landing strip.

Busy people need a place for stuff to come and go from the house. That includes backpacks, bags, incoming packages, and returns.  Sharpen up your landing strip with hooks for bags and a bench for packages, with baskets below for shoes. Not only is it easier to get those packages out the door, everyone is ready to go and can grab their bags.

 

Get ahead for the holidays.

Look ahead to the holidays and lessen your stress by organizing spaces in your home and holiday supplies.

  • Start now by decluttering your guest room so it is “company ready” by the time the holidays arrive. Let go of additional supplies from finished projects and distribute items to where they belong.
  • Donate kids’ toys now to make room for upcoming gifts. Your kiddos will play more with a smaller number of toys and appreciate the new gifts. If there are unopened toys, donate those for upcoming holiday toy drives.
  • Check out your Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving, and Holiday decorations. It is time to let go of extra decorations that clutter the attic or basement. Rearrange decoration bins by holiday and label what is stored in each. You will especially appreciate this when you are setting up for each holiday.

 

Taking a proactive approach to your fall organizing helps you be ready for all the fun that is coming soon!