Back to School Tips for Families with ADHD

Back to school tips for families with ADHD

 

After a busy summer on the go, Back to School for families with ADHD might be either a struggle or a comfort.  Your family might have trouble transitioning from the less routine days of summer to the structure of back to school. You all might have some anxiety about the next new normal, new teachers and an overwhelming influx of dates and papers.  The best solution is getting organized for back to school.

 

Setting up planners for everyone

Parent don’t have to be the only ones with calendars.  Start Back to School with a digital planner for everyone and a visual planner for the home.  Gather all the dates ahead and front load your planners with school holidays, activities and other dates.  Share the digital planner with everyone via device.  Now set up your family meeting time and add these same dates to your visual family calendar. Give your kids options for their school digital planner with Google calendar or MyHomeworkApp. Planners help everyone be more organized and independent in their lives.

Pro tip: If your kids ask you about a date, refer them to your home and digital planners.  They learn the value of self-sufficiency this way. Keep this going by checking everyone’s planner each week at your family meeting

 

Decluttering together

Is everyone’s closet over stuffed and they still have nothing to wear? Back to School is the time to declutter and donate. Set up partners and set aside an hour to go through clothes. Immediately move those forward. Now see what is left and purchase a capsule wardrobe for fall. For kids that is 10 items (tops, bottoms, jacket, leggings) that together create a fashionable selection for school and work days.

Pro tip: Less is more. Fewer clothes mean less laundry. Keep vigilant on new purchases throughout the year. 

 

Determining study areas and school supplies

Setting up a successful homework area and access to school supplies makes homework time easier.  Most kids work best in a quiet but not secluded area. Your dining room is ideal.  Use a caddy filled with necessary supplies at that location. Fill backpacks with the same supplies for work at school. Organize a school supply area, labelled and with easy access.

Pro tip: Establish study times and routines for your family.  Start at the same time every day to maximize productivity. Check your students’ online planners offered by school. Load up back packs and move them to the landing strip or mudroom as the last step for homework. 

 

Acting as the Family Chief Operations Officer

Every team needs a Chief Operations Officer (COO) and that is you!

  • Use a command center for this job. Your command center includes your family calendar, a bulletin board for resources and invitations, and wall pockets for paper work.  Have one wall pocket for school or one for each kid.  Set up office hours to review email, purchase supplies online and stay on top of family activities.
  • A family landing strip or mud room is the hub of activities. Hooks for bags and bins for shoes keeps this area organized.
  • As a person with ADHD, remember to work as a team. Look for tasks to delegate and automate. That can be additional help like a cleaning lady or automating your Amazon deliveries.

Pro tip: Your self care will help you be more productive as the COO. Put your own oxygen mask on first and finds ways to prioritize your tasks. 

 

There’s a lot to keep in mind with the Back to School transition. Pace yourself, get everyone in bed early the week before school starts and plan extra healthy snacks on your grocery list.  You are practicing organization and that takes time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Set ADHD Friendly Dates and Deadlines

how to set adhd friendly dates and deadlines

 

Deadlines can be scary. These are the ultimate accountability when working on a task or project. You can use these to create momentum and power through to completion with a little insight into setting a date that works taking many points into account, including who is on your team, what resources are available and your work style. Check out these tips on how to set ADHD friendly dates and deadlines for your productivity.

 

Use data to create a deadline

Deadlines depend on how long a task takes and how many tasks are part of a project.  Use real time data to determine how much time is needed by using a timer or Rescue Time on your computer. Gather this data early in order to set up your project management.  With that data, determine how much time you have available and plan accordingly.  One project might take more time and require cutting back on another project. Plan accordingly to set a deadline.

 

Process dates and deadlines with visual tools

We process information with a variety of time management tools. These include a month at a glance planner, a week at a glance planner, and a categorized list of tasks. Use the tools that help you best “see” the needs of your project and when the outcome works best. When finished, be sure to post your work in segments with dates where you can see these at a glance.

 

Untangle the decisions on your project

Your list may be a tangled maze of decisions depending on a sequence of decisions.  In order to simplify the deadline, list details in order of decision or use a mind map to intertwine decisions. Getting clarity on the sequence and creating a sequence of smaller deadlines helps you complete the project.

 

Work backwards to set a date

You may be given a deadline for a project instead of choosing a deadline  You can work backwards to determine the sequence of tasks to complete this on time and the segments to work on.

 

Outsource part of your work

It may be that you can outsource some of the small tasks in your work.  Can a colleague supply data or write up a section for your work? There are lots of creative in person and online tech tools to help you delegate too.

 

Work with a body double

Working in parallel can help you overcome paralysis.  Setting a deadline while body doubling can help you come to a conclusion. That body double can also be a person from FocusMate, a tech tool that partners you up for productivity.

 

Frame your outcome

While working on a project, the goal can become fuzzy.  Be sure to go back and clarify the required outcome. If you are not clear, you will spend more time unnecessarily. Finishing on time is one of the most important objectives too.

 

Check out which tool you want to use to help you set the deadlines for your next task or project. After you practice, review what worked for you!

 

How a Pause Can Help

how a pause can help those with adhd

Life moving too fast? Stuff happening all around and you are feeling out of control?  Ready to hit reset?  There’s a lot of power in a pause. A pause is a simple time out and a break in the action.

 

The Power of the Pause

In a recent Houston Chronicle article, author Marci Sharp talked about “Pausing gives us the opportunity to choose how we want to show up, to stay present and connected, and it’s reliably settling.”  A pause can help us pull back, reset our direction, keep us from regret in a situation, and be more intentional and conscious in any outcome.

 

Not so much power from a pause

Pausing can be especially unnatural for those with ADHD. It’s hard to stop and transitions are difficult. After starting a task, hyperfocus can kick in with an intense period of focus. If you practice the Pomodoro Method, a short pause can be not so helpful in that getting back to work could be difficult.  During a pause you could get distracted and move onto a different, more interesting project or other diversion. A pause is not always the answer for productivity.

 

Pause for emotion regulation

A pause for emotional regulation can help you be your best self.  With a pause, you can identify the emotion you are feeling and choose your response to that feeling. The pause gives you time for awareness and the opportunity to act with a desired emotion and action accordingly. When emotions are ramping up, pay attention and name that emotion. Naming an emotion can be the pause itself.

 

Pause for impulsivity

Creating a break before acting impulsively can prevent regret. Impulsive actions often lead to negative consequences. Use your intuition and self-talk  to create awareness of your impulsivity. Do you remember a time that a pause would have prevented a situation? Inserting a moment to remember a consequence can create an improved response and decision.

 

Pause for processing

Information comes at us quickly, from many sources, at a rate we may need to pause to understand all that is being shared. Having time to process information helps us better understand and more fully integrate information for us to learn.

 

Pause for communication

Active listening helps us communicate effectively.  That is to listening and then repeating back what we hear in a positive way with a partner or colleague to insure we and they are heard. As often as we or our partner feel that they have not been heard, this pause for communication is a powerful positive connection. Give yourself and your partner ample time in your pause. It will help the flow of conversation and engagement.

 

When you use the power of the pause consistently, you are not only using the tool to help with challenges of ADHD.   You are moving forward with emotional intelligence, consistent responses and improved communication.

 

ADHD Friendly Time Awareness Tools

 

adhd friendly time awareness tools

Time awareness is an intuitive sense of how time is passing. For some of us, that’s a built in sense of time passing. For some of us, time varies when we do something we love and something we hate.  Review these analog and digital tools that can help you build your time awareness and help you track your time.

 

TimeTimer

This innovative tool displays time as a red disc that gets smaller as time elapses. It is available as an app and a product.

 

On-Core Time Master

On-Core Time Master simplifies the process by having an app handy on your iPhone or iPod Touch, ready at all times, for you to track your time. You can quickly start tracking time with a few taps on the screen.

 

Pomodoro Tomato Timer

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo for a more productive way to work and study. The technique is alternating work and break times for a series of three work sessions.

RescueTime

Rescue Time is a  desktop app, browser extension, and mobile app that tracks where you spend your time. From the reports you can see exactly where your time goes and block distractions that keep you from being productive.

Alexa and Siri

Use “Routines” (under main menu) to set Alexa to play on whatever hours you schedule. Use audible clock for a variety of sounds.

Apple watch

A variety of settings on your watch help you.  You can set an auditory reminder every 15, 30 or 60 minutes. There are different watch faces, displays, reminders, timer and alarms.

Timer on your phone

Set a timer to help you get started and finish a task.

Month at a glance planner

Use this planner to process and plan dates and deadlines.

 

Analog clock

An analog clock helps you visually assess time moving.

 

What tools can you recommend for time awareness?

3 Tips to Maximize Your Vacation While You Are Away

 

3 tips to maximize your vacation while you are away

 

You finally are away on your well deserved vacation.  Congrats on prioritizing your self care in taking time away!  You prepped your colleagues at work and your pet sitter is managing the home front. Now is the time to maximize your time away. No matter where you go or what your plan is, your vacation should provide a change of daily life, a boost to your wellness and self care and a way to make a memory for yourself and your family to reflect on through the next year or beyond.

 

Start with a digital detox

We have been glued to our screens for a long while now. Every day seemed to bring new complex situations. This vacation could be the perfect time for a digital detox.  The reasons are clear that we need time to be present and in the moment with those with us on vacation, as well as time to just sit. Create a common charging spot for your devices and place them in this area each morning and night. Be intentional about your time on vacation. Choose activities that engage you and fulfill your spirit. In the evening set up card games or family games.  You will return to your job more productive.

 

Be intentional and organized about time away

Break your trip into segments that work for your energy level.  There are options for everyone during vacation.

  • New experiences, new connections and learning are exciting and engaging. Decide what kind of experience you want to have while you are on vacation.  Think about hobbies and interests you may not have time for at home.  Consider finding local adventures like zip lining or mindfulness opportunities like yoga. You can find cooking lessons or try new cuisine while away.  Choosing something out of your every day experience that brings you energy and joy.
  • Choose the time you spend with family. We are excited to see family that we have not seen in a while. It can be exhilarating and exhausting. When you feel ready to take a break, spend the time on your own regrouping. Set aside times during the day that you can be together and apart.
  • Maybe this year vacation is all about peace and quiet. Many of us are depleted of energy and motivation after this difficult year.  Intentionally choose to sit and relax. Choose a beautiful view to sit and be quiet. Take a walk in silence to start or end your day. Head to bed extra early while away to gain on your sleep schedule. Being on the go can leave you exhausted after your vacation.

Give yourself re-entry time

A rushed re-entry into real life can take away from your most relaxing vacation. Give yourself the opportunity to easy back into work and life.

  • Bring back a little keepsake, a photo or something to keep your vacation in mind all summer.  That photo can be placed where you see it daily, especially on your phone screen.
  • Get back earlier than you might think. This will give you time to catch up on laundry and meals at home.
  • Start by making a list of what needs to be done, prioritize your list and make a plan. Not everything needs to be done the first day or week back.
  • Allow for time at work for catching up on email. Share responses that acknowledge receipt and time to get back into work flow.
  • Give yourself breaks when you return to work. Conversations with colleagues when you start the day, a walk in the middle of the day, and a recap of productivity at the end of the day make it easier.

 

The pay off to your productivity is huge if you have truly spent your time away regrouping, resetting and refreshing.