15 Minute Tasks that Keep You Organized

15 minutes tasks that keep you organized

 

Would you be surprised to know that in just 15 minutes you can make a difference in your organizing?  It is true! There are many small tasks that can make it easy for us to maintain systems and processes that we have established.  Check out these small ways to make a big difference.

 

Put away items you purchased

Busy lives have a lot of items coming in. These come from Amazon subscriptions and routines purchases, as well as projects and upcoming events. Take 15 minutes to put away what you have purchased and consolidate the items. Counters and floors stay clear and your home stays organized.

 

Try on items you purchased

You run to the store for that one item to complete an outfit. Maybe you purchased more exercise clothes to add new tops and bottoms. It was easier to try on at home, you thought, than in the store. Try these on within the week of purchase to return and credit back your extra purchases.

Return items you purchased by mail

It is easy to over purchase items online. You might have purchased multiple sizes or styles or a variety of the same item. Order using one email account and print the return slip within a week of purchase. As you might already know, Amazon has a 30 day return policy. This way you don’t accidentally “own” more than you need of any item.

 

Drop off items and make returns frequently

With my planner pad, I look at the week ahead to see where I can drop off items when I am in the vicinity.  During your weekly planning, check ahead to group your errands and drop offs.  If you have noticed, there are more drop off bins for donations than ever. Drop off at one of these you pass with just a 15 minute stop.

 

Consolidate items you purchased

We are preppers! With all the uncertainty, all of us are purchasing ahead. Consolidate what you purchase and rotate your “stock” to be sure it is all kept together to know what you have.

 

Review your calendar at night

A quick review of your calendar for the night before makes your next day more predictable and you are prepared for what is ahead.

 

Check your calendar in the morning

It might seem redundant to check at night and in the morning. However, it is about being prepared. Overnight you might have remembered something to add to your calendar or thought about an extra task. Checking your planner twice a day makes for your best work.

 

Keep a master list of tasks, errands and projects

I advocate to write stuff down either digitally or on paper.  Keeping your master list clears your mind. Not everything can be done on the list, however you are keeping your thoughts for deep thinking. It saves your working memory from being over taxed.

 

 

This list of 15 minute tasks is just the beginning of small ways to stay organized. Choose one or more to keep you organized and productive.

 

15 ADHD Friendly Finance Routines

 

adhd friendly finance routines

 

Managing finances can be overwhelming.  There are monthly bills, credit card receipts, account statements, essential paperwork and automated payments. It’s not easy managing the information and tracking of all the details of how we use our funds. When we are most organized, we have a good system and routines to review our finances. These weekly, monthly and ongoing routines give you guideposts for your finances, adding up to fifteen important finance routines to help you stay organized and track where your money goes.

Weekly

  • Go through your mail weekly and shred credit card offers and other papers that have account numbers.
  • Read email and text alerts from your bank and credit card company. Act on these immediately with a call directly to the company, not responding to the alert directly in case of further fraud.

Monthly

  • Set up payment systems that work for you.  Automated bill pay is an option for your ongoing payments. If you pay by check, set a time each week or every other week to pay bills. Consistently reviewing and paying bills keeps you aware and in control of your spending and bill payments.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements online or on paper. Check all purchases, especially looking for fraud charges big or small the fraud.
  • Use a list to review automated payments. Record the day of the month, the transaction company, how it is payed and the amount.
  • Organize your financial papers by big categories and drop in paper each month. Categories include Banks and Credit Unions, Credit Cards, Investment and Retirement and Utilities and Bills. That’s correct – you only need one very large file for utilities and bills. Big categories make it easier to file.
  • Set saving goals and monitor your monthly progress. Automate your savings as income comes in so it is easier to reach your goals. Monitor this progress with a monthly meeting  to review your monthly spending on your own or with your partner. See where multiple small purchases or large purchases are derailing your savings goals.
  • Set up reminders to pay big quarterly payments such as property taxes, estimated taxes and Home Owner Association bills.

Ongoing

  • Set up online access to all your accounts.
  • Consolidate when possible. Keep accounts to two banks or credit unions at most. Consolidate credit to credit cards to two cards from different companies and keep only two investment and retirement accounts.
  • Keep up with your passwords securely. Change your passwords regularly. Keep a log of your passwords.
  • Make a copy of all contents of your wallet and other cards. Carry only the credit and bank cards you need to use routinely.  Keep the remainder, such as debit cards, at home in your safe.
  • Keep a list of all financial accounts. List the name of the location (bank), account name (checking), account number and password.
  • Keep a list of closed accounts, paid off accounts for any type of loan, mortgage or credit card. If something goes wonky, you have the account to check.
  • In case of emergency, keep a solid amount of cash in your home safe. During a local emergency, you can only get $300 from an ATM.

Managing financial routines

Because consistency and routines are the hardest work for those with ADHD, set up reminders and work with a partner.  These routines are not difficult once you start with a checklist of routines. There’s technology that can help like your bank and credit card apps, Credit Karma, Mint.com, and YNAB (You Need A Budget) to help you stay on track with your financial routines. You will find that these financial routines save you extra time spent when things don’t work as they should.

Money Management: Organizing Your Money and Finances

 
financial organizing

 

We are more aware of the personal power of using our resources wisely. Those resources start with your finances and your time. Financial organizing is as important as organizing your home.  It starts with setting intentions, establishing priorities and creating goals for your funds. You want to know where you spend money and how much you spend.  All of this happens with money management and financial organizing. Try one of these five tips to get started organizing your finances.

 

Creating a money mindset

Perhaps as an adult with ADHD, disconnected utilities, insufficient funds, late payments and unpaid bills even with enough money in the bank may be constant struggles for you. Fear and overwhelm might create a road block in working on or organizing your finances. Getting organized is the first step to realizing your financial goals. These goals can be attained by a working knowledge of your finances. You can set short and long term goals by writing costs down and analyzing how to achieve these.  Set aside time each week to be aware and learn about your finances. Be specific about your goals and use these as your “why” to get organized. Share your responsibilities with a partner to work as a team.  A money mindset gives you a sense of accomplishment and command over your fears.

 

The Power of One

Keep a list of all your accounts. That includes bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit and credit unions. Many of us are unaware of just how many places have our money. From this list you can pare down to single accounts to work with and use.

As in all organizing, you want to be able to find what you have! Having just one checking account is the way to know how and where you are spending it! Having one credit card not only simplifies paying the bill during the month, it also makes you most aware of where your money is going. If you are a small business owner, you should also have one credit card and one checking account for your company. Simplifying our connection to money can make all the difference. There is a lot less paper coming in as a result too!

 

Write It Down


Writing down how and where you spend money is an enlightening experience! Just like those food logs that scare us into a lifestyle change, we can do the same for money. Keep a log of EACH item you purchase in a month. Not only will you realistically know what things cost to create a realistic budget, you will also know just how many times you are using money for “wants” rather than “needs”.

 

Ledgers can make the difference for us in keeping track of and being accountable about our funds. Use your check register all the time to record checks and debit card transactions as these occur. For bill paying, keep a ledger to record your payments to utilities, credit cards and other monthly expenses. This way you see what each bill is each month, compare the expenses of the bill each month, and be sure you paid it each month. Seeing it on paper makes money not only a currency traded, but an effective way to track your financial goals. You can also use Quicken and budgeting apps to record the payments to see annually what your expenses are and to help balance your checking account each month.

 

Automate your money management to accomplish your goals


Good routines reinforce your plan. You hear it all the time: “pay yourself first!” Set up an automatic payment from you to your savings account. It is the most painless way to get ahead on your savings. Having trouble paying your bills on time? Set up automated payments to get this done timely. You can use auto debit from your bank account or a credit card. You will still need to keep up to date on what is being paid and to whom, but the process can make a difference in getting the job done. Finish bill paying by filing all receipts into an easy access file or notebook. Automation can give you visual tools to help you see your finances.  Charts for bill paying, categorized payments, debt tracking and financial goals help you see where your money is going and where you can change your behaviors.

 

Routines reinforce your priorities

Even with automation, you need solid routines to be sure you stay on track. A monthly money meeting with yourself and your partner insures your bills are being paid and you further strategize on how you are spending money. Set this date and make it fun by meeting at a coffee house, having a special treat, and keeping the meeting short.  At that meeting review your bills and see what goals you are accomplishing. Set goals for the next quarter and the year. These meetings give you knowledge and opportunity to drive your success.

 

Get started where you have the most questions about your money. Wondering where you spend your money all month? You can start with an expense tracker app like Mint.com to automate and then review your spending. Want to be able to pay your bills on time online? Set up your bank account app for automatic bill pay. Looking ahead to save more? Automate your savings plan.  If you are struggling in this area, meet with a money manager or certified financial planner to help as your guide. Once you start, you will feel comfortable spending more time on your finances.

Back to School Tips for Meal Prepping and Planning

Back to school meal prep and planning

 

Back to school time is the time for easy family meals, simple healthy lunches, and fast breakfasts to get you all out the door. What’s behind our meal planning goals? We want to have time together to share the joy, gratitude, and struggles of the day. Healthy meals make our bodies and brains work best. However, we don’t want to be spending so much time in the kitchen alone, being solely responsible for meal planning and feeling exhausted at the end of it all.  Check out these quick, easy and simple solutions.

 

Team up

No one wants to be left in the kitchen alone. Parents feel frustrated when they make dinner and everyone moves the food around their plates. Create a family responsibility chart for cooking and clean up. Make each part fun with music and friendly conversation. Have everyone add to the online grocery list to keep everyone in on decisions. Use simple recipes everyone in your family can all cook or do meal prep together where people are mixing and chopping to make dinner.  It all comes down to finding ways to get everyone together.

Order online

There are lots of ways to order online to make meal prep easier. Start by looking in your local grocery store to order online. There are lots of pre-made salads that can be packed for lunch or eaten at home for dinner. Grocery stores offer prepped meals to simplify your cooking. Use online Costco, Amazon or Instacart subscriptions for bulky weekly purchases like toilet paper and paper towels. Meal subscription services offer variety of options. Choose what is the best fit for your needs. You can subscribe to a variety of these and place these on pause to change things up. Just make sure you order on the same day weekly and plan on the time your delivery is occurring to put away the items.

Use multipliers

Doubling up can make cooking easier.  Cook once and eat twice by double recipes and freezing the second casserole. Or cook a protein and use it in two different entrees. Sheet pan dinners make large portions with ease. One bowl meals are a hit with families using beans, rice and a protein. Multipliers give you options for multiple ways to feed your family with multiple outcomes for variety. Find one multiplier you can multiply.

 

Be pantry prepared and freezer ready

There is a lot in your pantry that makes dinner preparation easy. Easy pantry meals include canned proteins, such as tuna or chickpeas.  Group your items in your pantry together by meal to “see” ready to go, pantry raid meals. Or organize your pantry like the grocery store and pull items onto the counter that day you are preparing.

 

Organize your freezer so that you have easy meals to go from freezer to oven.  If your tight on freezer space, organize the shelves with flat containers stacked for dinner. Use a dry erase board with a list of freezer meals.

 

Sandwiches are for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner.  A variety of breads can simplify your meals. There are so many options including avocado toast, grilled cheese, nut butter toast, and more!

 

Rely on organization

Get organized and set up a team strategy for preparation. Create a routine that your family packs their own lunches and preps breakfast the night before.  A station with bins and baskets with ready to go food, stocked up weekly, will keep your meal prep running smoothly.

 

Chart your course

Family dinner charts are everywhere on pinterest. Dinner by day, dinner theme days or a dinner grid take away the decision making.  Ask your family and create a rotation meal options.  In this way, everyone is part of the decision making.

 

Remember your dinner goals and keep it simple. Pause and give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and your team when you get home. Happy times come from these dinners together.

 

 

 

 

Back to School Tips for Students with ADHD

 

Back To School Tips for Students with ADHD

Was last year’s virtual and in person school a chaotic, disorganized situation?  Was it common for your student to miss assignments, turn in papers late or not be prepared for a test?  These are some of the effects for students with ADHD. They have week executive function which interferes with their ability to organize, prioritize, and analyze.  Use these strategies for your disorganized student to create and maintain order. Most importantly, your student will get better grades this year and feel better about school success.

 

Your Coaching Role

Organizational skills for students with ADHD do not come naturally. You are the coach partnering with your student on the basics of planning and organization.  By coaching, you are involving your student in setting up organization systems with choices and decisions. A team approach provides support and accountability. You are sharing ways to practice these skills, systems, and routines. These might be a work in progress as you both find innovative, resourceful ways to be organized and productive.

 

Organizing Skills and Systems

At the foundation of all organization is using tools for planning and productivity.

A calendar is a planning and initiating tool. Calendars offer a place to park assignments and projects. Entering all activities helps a student start to see time with a “visual record of activities” and using verbal processing is auditory processing about the details, interactions, and emotions of that record.  Calendars offer accountability because deadlines activate the ADHD brain.  Calendars come in all shapes and sizes, both online and paper. It may be hard to choose one calendar however match the needs of your student with the right fit.

Paperwork is a struggle for students with ADHD. Think about the paper that your student works with daily.  There are different “filing” systems needed for this.  A notebook is the spot for daily paperwork. Use a slash pocket for homework at the front of the notebook and one for each subject in the binder. Set up a file box for paper that does not need to be accessed daily. In the file box, color code the files to store papers by subject area. Papers are added to the file box at the end of a marking period.  This s great preparation and life skill for future paper management.

School supplies require organization. School supplies can be easily organized in a clear zipper case, a section of a backpack or in a caddy at the homework station.  Replenish supplies as these are often lost. Choose supplies the student loves because that is an incentive for being organized and keeping up with supplies.

 

Maintaining and emphasizing school success routines

Students with ADHD need a higher level of accountability on their schoolwork.  Check planners and review online assignments weekly with your student. Sit as a body double if your student is having trouble settling in and getting started.  Encourage a weekly re-organization and clean out of papers that can be stored in the file box or in an archive art container.

 

Encourage your student’s success as you continue coaching. Be patient, expect multiple first tries of new systems, and use accountability wisely to help create an organized, positive, and productive school year.

 

Back to School Tips for Students with ADHD graphic

 

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?

Taking Time for Self Care Daily

 

taking time daily for self care

 

We’re coming out of a rough time for the past year or so. Looking through the many possible celebrations this summer, I saw these that made be smile. In the first week of June there are so many things to celebrate. Some of these include National Go Barefoot Day, National Leave The Office Early Day and National Doughnut Day.  That smile brought to mind how important our daily self care is, which could be celebrating each day by running in the yard barefoot or leaving work early from time to time. With all the good things and hope that is coming together, it’s time for us to take time for joy and to prioritize self care.

 

Creating a mindset of self care

We’ve been through some anxious times.  Starting, breaking up or ending your day with self care will help. It is going to be have to be intentional and prioritized.  That means, something else will not happen that is on your list and that you will have know that this is the best way to spend that time. It means that you are setting priorities and boundaries. Self care happens when we stay true to our priorities and block distractions.

What happens when those in your family or those you work with do not understand?  It can be uncomfortable for you and them to explain that this is not selfish.  Self care is about finding meaning and purpose in what you do, not just self indulgent need. Self care promotes personal energy which is required for emotional regulation and refueling. Thinking of yourself as a leader for those around you, especially if this is misunderstood.

 

Daily self care

Daily self care can look and feel like a lot of things. Use this list of simple suggestions and to accomplish self care.

  • A protein smoothie for breakfast (available frozen at Costco, purchased by online shopping, or shipped to your home via product provider)
  • Eating healthy snacks throughout the day (accomplished by ordering online.)
  • Exercising every day, like a short walk or yoga (available on YouTube or by placing your sneakers by your bed.)
  • An evening playlist for relaxing (available on Spotify, Pandora or Alexa.)
  • Routine, same time bedtime each week night (accomplished by charging your devices in a common charging spot.)

Prompt yourself by setting up the first step to do this action. Simple planning and preparation can help you every day.  Automate what you can to provide support for your daily self care.

Remember, every day is a new day to start your self care.

We are going to have days that were over-filled and there was no self care. We start fresh every day with self care. It is there for us all the time to restart.