One ADHD Family, Five Planners

 

1 adhd family 5 planners

Back to school means back to planners.  Planners are what keep families and individuals sane during the school year. It’s where we keep dates, deadlines, meetings and ideas. With ADHD, having a great planner is a must.  When I work with families, one of my first ways to make a difference is to recommend a planner.  In one family I work with, all the members know the value and are excited about using their planners.  Here’s the story of one ADHD family, five planners.

 

Mom’s traditional planner

Mom uses a traditional, month at a glance calendar.  She is working 2 part time out of the home jobs and her “family manager” mom job.  Mom loves to quilt and is a member of a quilt guild too.  Her calendar keeps her on track with where she should be on what day.  Mom like the month at a glance view to keep from being overwhelmed.

 

Big sister’s creative calendar

Big sister is starting an advanced degree. Her schedule includes a part time job and part time school.  Big sister’s calendar is customized for her routines, like cleaning her apartment, and self care, like hydration.  Big sister has a combination, daily, weekly and monthly calendar system bound together in a spiral.  She loves that all her priorities are in one place.

 

Little sister’s  Agendio planner

Little sister is starting her final college years, works a busy part time job and attends college full time.  She found a daily planner overwhelming and uses a template in Agendio to create a weekly/monthly planner.  She keeps her syllabus in her planner, as we as uses time blocking to keep up with her schedule.

 

Little brother Academic Planner

Little brother is beginning college.  While not a big fan of planners, Little sister has highy recommended this as a crticial element for colleg success.  Little brother uses order out of chaos academic planner because it’s big blocks to enter information.

 

Dad and his digital planner

Dad keeps all his information digitally.  He views it at wor on Outlook and checks his phone at home.

 

The big take away from this family is:  Use a planner that works for you and be productive!

5 Simple ADHD Time Management Tips

5 simple adhd time management tips

 

Do you feel there’s not enough time to get important work complete?  In the corporate world, a “perennial time-scarcity problem” afflicts executives all over the globe. In small businesses, owners wear many hats from marketing to providing services, which can stretch anyone and everyone.   Here’s 5  simple ADHD time management tips to help you be productive and get stuff done.

 

Write down your 3 Most Important Tasks each day.

Start your day with your 3 most important tasks.  Look at your calendar, your tasks, your projects and your goals.  Look far enough out to assess how much time you need for these.  Either written or digital, your tasks should be prioritized by your Return on Investment. Pick what has the biggest impact for your work.

Set a power hour and eliminate distractions.

Set and protect one hour during your most high focused time of day.  It’s important to know when you work best which is when you work most effortlessly and with flow.  A single distraction can set you back 20 minutes so turn off electronics, shut your door, put up a note on your cubicle or have a colleague catch distractions.  In one hour you can accomplish so much!

 

Use a timer to get started.

A timer is a great motivator for you.  Set your timer for 15 minutes to get you going.  Timers are part of the Pomodoro technique, a well-known productivity method with intervals of 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break. RescueTime is a free tool to record your time online by tracking websites and applications.  It helps you understand where you are using your time each day. It’s an automated time for your online time.

Assess the amount of time needed.

Whether it’s a task or project, a general idea of how long to accomplish will help.  There are two truths to this: that we may not know how long and work can expand to fit the time we give it.  A rough estimate, then doubled, can be a guide.  It will help you realistically project completion.

 

Time block your time.

Every task and project needs an assigned time to accomplish.  Block your work in chunks, assigned to specific times.  Scheduling is required to get stuff done. Your schedule can include routines that happen weekly at the same time.  These routines can carry you through what seems like small insignificant administrative work, work that you may have been trying to squeeze in.

 

While we can’t really manage time, what we can do is use better tools to be productive.  Choose just one of these tips to get started on making time work better for you.

 

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Back to School Rules for your ADHD Family

 

back to school rules

 

The nightly homework battle starts as soon as school opens.  It’s a daily chore to keep up with papers for both parents and kids. There’s too much to do, not enough time, and not enough rest.  The unending cycle of tension and anxiety takes  a toll quickly for families.  Here’s back to school rules for your ADHD family that can help your school year run smoother.

 

Back to school successful systems

Set up stations in your home which as dedicated to what’s important.  A specific “home” for items keeps them easy to access and keeps your home uncluttered.

  • Have a landing spot near the door for charging devices, hanging keys, and hosting backpacks.  This is where all these items go at the beginning and end of the day.
  • Create a command center, which is an action spot for papers.  A simple command center includes either wall pockets, a desk top sorter or baskets for papers. Kids drop papers here and it’s where the mail goes.
  • Centralize school and office supplies.  Pull all the supplies together and see what you have.  Now it’s time to go shopping!  Contain and label the supplies so everyone can use these.
  • Decide on a homework station or stations.  Research shows that kids can benefit from more than one location for homework.  Be sure these stations are as distraction free as possible.  Set up supplies to travel to each station. The dining room is an excellent spot for a homework station since it’s just a few steps away from the action in your home and there’s few visual distractions.

To get started setting up your successful systems, start with the command center.  Assign a spot for this center, decide what system is going to fit best in that location, and set up the station with labels.  Next, work on your supplies.  Finally, set up your landing spot and then decide on the homework station.  It will take you an hour or two to set up each system.

 

Back to school rules

  1. Wake up. Be awesome.  Go to bed. Have a morning and evening routine.  At your family meeting, create a list of what is a great start to the day including what it takes to head off to school and work.  Discuss each individuals role, as well as how long each responsibility will take.  Set a time for everyone to get up, with an alarm clock.  Some parents choose to get up earlier in order to get more done first.  For the evening routine, start with a set time to begin and end homework. A good start begins with a snack and a good end is when all the papers are packed away and the backpack is in the landing strip with all technology plugged in.   A chart can reinforce these decisions so everyone knows the agreements for the day.
  2. Plan your work and work your plan.  Everyone must have and use a planner. No matter the grade in school, everyone needs a planner.  It’s where all assignments, family events and other information is written. An additional family calendar, located centrally or digitally, can also keep everyone on track.  A completed planner includes notes about every class, including a note saying “no homework.” Using a planner may require some incentives and regular accountability. It’s the one rule that must always be reinforced regularly. More ADHD homework rules here from parents in the homework trenches.
  3. Be the best we can be. Host a family meeting once a week.  Family communication and collaboration is what life is all about and here’s where it happens.  A family meeting gives everyone a chance to share what’s gong on, what’s coming up, and share family values.  Sharing why school is important, what’s behind all that work, and other values helps you and your kids connect. Start with a complement. move on to the calendar and end with fun.
  4. TEAM – together we accomplish more. Partner with your kiddos to help them accomplish goals. Set standards that can be accomplished together.  Track the successes and use “not successes” as learning opportunities by reflecting back with your child what has happened.  Be available as a body double, in their space while they do homework and work alongside them. Create a reminder system to add to, check off and complete homework.  The partnership you build will have long lasting positive impact on your kiddos self esteem and successes.

Back to school rules for your ADHD family

 

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I am an Organizer Coach now!

I am an organizer coach

I have always valued education because furthering my skills makes a difference for my clients.  My clients are the reason I continue to learn new ways to help them let go, streamline and keep their intentions daily in their lives. Completing my Coach Approach training is one way for me to empower my clients with their home, work and life goals.  I am an Organizer Coach who works one on one with clients to empower your change and goals.

 

For the past year, and several years before, I have been taking classes via phone, working on skills in small groups, and completing a curriculum to become an Organizer Coach.  My classes and reading have included learning about modalities, using new tools to help my clients such as a values and needs assessment, and learning more about ADHD, depression and anxiety. Throughout the year I have coached or been coached in 3 different small groups to practice my skills and learn what it is like to be coached.

 

How do these new skills help you, my client?

  • Are you stuck and can’t get started? Coaching supports awareness, action and learning.  Your new awareness will lead you into action.  Getting started and finishing up are often holding back my clients until we work together.  Learning comes from perspectives at your success.  Overall, coaching supports maintaining the change you have created.
  • Need a trusted coach to listen to you?  I believe in the strengths of my clients. You bring thoughts and ideas and my listening brings focus to our work. Your values, needs and strengths are all a part of our work together.
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and paralyzed?  Your strengths are the foundation of organizing in your home, work and life. It’s easier to maintain the systems you establish by working from your strengths.
  • Do you struggle with ADHD or anxiety?  Brain based conditions, such as ADHD and anxiety, can impact your executive function and your goals. Our work together will move you forward as you create new awareness and learning.
  • Have you created support for your efforts?  Essential structures, such as self awareness, support and education are the baseline for your life.  Together we investigate how these essential structures support your organizing goals.

 

It’s been a busy year with training through Coach Approach, a coaching skills training program designed specifically for organizers.   I want to thank my trainers Denslow Brown and Cameron Gott, as well as my colleagues in training with me.

 

 

3 ADHD Productivity Tips

3 adhd productivity tips

 

ADHD and other brain based conditions impact productivity. It’s the quest to “get stuff done.” You start and are interrupted by other people, social media or the thoughts in your head.  With so much going on in your head, it’s difficult to focus. With each distraction, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus.  It can be hard to get started on a task or to go back to a task the next day.  All of these aspects of executive function interfere with productivity.  Here’s help to address distractions and productivity.

Task batching

Task batching is multiplying the same task or do the same task repeatedly in a sequence. It’s when you bake 4 banana breads instead of 2, write 12 blog posts correlating to your themed blog calendar, or make 4 calls back to back.  The reason task batching helps is you have gotten past getting started and now you are in the flow of getting a task done.  You minimize distractions with staying focused on one task or series of tasks.  A few of my favorite task batching ideas are to answer email 3 times a day, block times of the day to respond to phone calls, or do your marketing on the same morning each week.  Task batch with any action by doing these together at the same, established time.

 

Chunk your task

Do you have items like this on your list: do taxes, send newsletter, or write a book?  Each of these tasks is a multiple step project requiring many small tasks for completion. Splitting these tasks into smaller chunks, or even micro-chunks, can help you get stuff done.  Start by capturing your task on a list.  Write the next step for the task and a completion date.  Write this as a series of steps and check these off as you accomplish each. Another option is Trello, an online task management tool, to break down a project to make it more manageable. A mindmap can help too.  Breaking a task into smaller, manageable, chunks helps you accomplish more.

 

Write it down when interrupted or the at the end of the day

You are about to finish up your day and you are in the middle of your work.  Write down where you are and what you are doing.  Writing this down helps you start back up where you left off and gives you a frame of reference for your work. If you are in the middle of your work and you are interrupted by a phone call or colleague, use a post it note to write down where you are.  It’s not surprising that these notes not only save time, and also keep you at a high pace of action.

 

These 3 options are small ways to be more productive. Here’s a daily tool for productivity!

 

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When Organizing is NOT Enough

Declutter first, then organize

 

 

Organizing is on every one’s mind these days. If only I had time, or I need to be, or best of all, I SHOULD get organized. The thought is that if I organize what I have, I can find it and use it.  You may have tried organizing, re-organizing and then re-organizing again.  By trying different strategies,  you realize that you are not having the success at finding what you need and having access to what you want.  Being organized with all your stuff is not the solution. It’s not enough to be more organized. It’s time to make a decision about what you have ( or what has you.). That’s when organizing is not enough.

 

Breaking through Just. In. Case

What’s holding you back from letting go? It’s a moment you need to come to terms with. Is it a financial, emotional, sentimental mindset. This is the motivation factor behind Marie Kondo’s Magic of Tidying Up. If you own something, it should bring you joy. Are you ready to accept that an items needs to go if it is not serving you or bringing you joy? Can you see a real spot for this item or imagine a specific way to use it? Dig deep and see what has a hold on you to hold onto your stuff. If you need motivation, it’s time to talk through your reluctance with others and get support. Blogs,books and podcasts give you new ideas and new ways to think about your stuff.  There’s no amount of organizing that can make up for necessary decluttering.

 

Getting stuff out to the universe.

Getting stuff out is a big step in your organizing journey. You have decluttered but your stuff sits in your car or on a step in your home for too long. All of a sudden you find yourself going back into those bags. Here’s where a team approach can really help. Find online resources who come to you or answer the call to leave items on your doorstep. Find a clutter buddy who also needs to drop off donations.  Use an app such as OfferUp, LetGo, or Freecycle.org to let go of your items.

 

Declutter regularly.

We know the culprits – a birthday, holiday, shopping trip or big event coming up. We know more is about to come in. Take this time as prime time to declutter. What we also know that decluttering is ongoing that is needed as routinely as brushing our teeth. Write in time on your calendar to commit to organizing.  Check here for answers to your decluttering questions.

The same applies to our paperwork. I have frequently heard, “I organized that file in 2010 and never looked in there again.” Get information on what to keep and how long to keep it. Then set up a daily triage, weekly admin time and annual file maintenance reminder on your calendar.

 

It’s a whole new way of thinking about organizing. When you know organizing is not enough, it’s a perspective change that changes everything about what you own. Your stuff no longer owns you. So long, saiyonara, and toodles!

 

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Feeling stuck? Here’s how to get started organizing!

Feelng stuck? Here's how to get started organizing

Feeling stuck?   Have personal paralysis? Are you procrastinating?  It’s common when it comes to organizing.  It can be overwhelming and difficult to get started organizing, especially if you have a brain based condition such as ADHD. Making decisions, creating a plan, and initiating are all challenges that interfere with getting started.  There are ways to get unstuck and get started organizing.

 

Set a date and a time to organize

Setting a date, that is an appointment with yourself, gets you started organizing.  It’s just like all other appointments. It is on the calendar, your time is reserved, and you are committed.  Choose a time that is good with respect to low distractions and high energy level. Plan on 1 -2 hours to work on this project. If you still feel overwhelmed, start with the smallest amount of time.  When you work for 15 minutes, you know you have accomplished a baby step.  Like any appointment, even if it’s easy to procrastinate, follow through with your date.

Get support for your efforts

Support is critical to getting started with an organizing project.  According to a recent NAPO survey, the a major reason for not getting organized is not asking for help.  Both support and help making it easier whenever you start any project, whether it’s exercise, nutrition, or any lifestyle change. When you know that you are not getting started, look around for support.  Support can look like a friend who cheers  you on and shares how hard it can be to make decisions.  That person can have the role of a clutter buddy.  It can be a team to work with so there are many hands to do the work.  You can find support in a professional organizer, coach, or therapist who help you define new perspectives, create a plan and support you in your work.

 

Have a compelling reason

A personal, specific reason to get organized gets you started.  It’s the WHY of getting started.  Why will being organized make a BIG difference in your life?  The word compelling is critical because the more important this reason is, the easier it is to get started.  Your compelling reason could be emotional well being and less stress, but why that makes a difference every day will help you get moving. It’s powerful emotional and mental starting point for you.  I invite you to share your compelling reason here, to share it with the universe, and get started organizing today!

 

 

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The Secret of How a Reset Helps You be More Organized

reset your home, office and life

 

Days and weeks take a toll on our organization and productivity. We work hard and play hard. Some times our organization suffers because we are too busy.  That’s why a reset can make a difference.

 

What’s a reset?

By definition a reset is when you get back to your baseline, get started fresh and get back in order.  It is typically a verb that shows the action of placing back. It means to move (something) back to an original place or position. However, let’s think of it as noun to help you restore order.

 

When do I reset?

It’s a best practice to reset daily and weekly.  A daily reset is getting your bags emptied and reorganized, your kids’ backpacks uncluttered, and  your clothes in a hamper or hung up.  Each evening take 5 minutes (with your family) to reset your home. That is to restore order to important bags, spaces and spots to have a fresh start for the next day. A list can help you be sure you reset all the areas that are important to you.

 

Make your your week starts with a weekly home reset ion Sunday. It’s your preparation for having a great week.  Take 30 minutes to check your calendar for the week so you know what’s ahead..

 

A weekly office reset is best on Friday.  At this time you are most in touch with your projects and tasks. Capture information, get your desk back in order, create files for loose papers and tidy up your space at this time.

 

What else is behind a reset?

In the book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains small changes in behavior and the impact. With a reset, you are applying the science of change to your life in a way that can make every day better. Life with new habits requires reminders and practice. Build in support for this new habit with baby steps, attaching your reset to an existing habit, and acknowledging how important can be for you.

 

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Using Your Strengths to be More Productive

Using your Strengths to be more Productive

 

I recently completed Coach Approach for Organizers coaching class named Strength Based Coaching.  I have always thought about using your strengths to maximize productivity and organizing.  A strength based effort felt right, much more so than focusing on weaknesses.  Strengths capitalize on success, while weaknesses may make us feel like we are not capable. While learning, I thought of my clients and how they focus on strengths to get more done.  Here’s 4 ways to use your strengths to be more productive.

 

How do I know my strengths?

When you look back at your schooling, what did you find worked well to learn?  Did you see it, hear it, do it, talk about it, write about it, think it through or just feel it was right?  There are many modalities we use to learn with and those are the same strengths we use as adults.    Look back and reflect on what was easiest for you.  Whether it’s learning new technology like a smart phone  or learning new tasks at work, we are always learning. For me, I learned that I am a visual and tactile learner. I like to see information to learn it and write out information to solidify my learning.  I use my cognitive modality to create frameworks and systems to incorporate learning.

 

How do I use these strengths for planning?

The debate continues for paper or digital planners.  Look to your strengths to help you decide what works for you.  A paper planner works well for visual and tactile learners.  You can easily see all the details on paper and write in your dates and tasks.  A digital planner works well for auditory learners.  Auditory reminders make it easier for auditory learners.  For verbal processors, that being people who like to speak to process, setting up a family or work meeting helps.  Verbal processors are talking through the upcoming dates and plans.  Setting a consistent date, like every Sunday evening, commits you to planning as well.  Think through the ways you can use your strengths to determine your planning tools.

 

How do I use my strengths for maintaining a task list?

There’s oodles of choices for list making.  With a visual or tactile strength, a basic notebook can help you get started.  Post it notes can be an option for kinesthetic modality.  You write one task on one note, post them, and then tear them up once completed. If you are an auditory learner, using reminder chimes help you get tasks done.  If you a cognitive processor, one who thinks through the options,  you want to categorize your list.  It’s easier to be productive with a framework. A verbal processor will want to talk through the list as it is created. For cognitive processors who like a framework, establishing a system for tasks is just what’s needed.  We can all approach tasks differently using our strengths to be successful.

 

How do I use my strengths for organizing?

An organized person is a productive person.  Getting organized is a basic step for being more productive.  What does organized look or feel like to you? That’s the key!  Organized is different for each of us. For those who are visual, it can be a minimal environment with few distractions or a lovely aesthetic.  For auditory strengths, you might have classical music in the background.  Based on the kinesthetic strength, you may want a standing desk.  Keeping aware of your modality helps you maintain your organized space too.

What about all these other things I am not getting done?

When your productivity is lagging despite using your strengths, delegating and collaborating are options. Find an assistant , team member or colleague who has strengths that match your weaknesses.  When you delegate, start with a small, specific, deadline driven task.  When you collaborate, be sure everyone knows their specific job and when it is due.  Keep your deadlines short so you can communicate and stay on track.

 

I have not shared all the modalities we explored. To learn more, check out Denslow Brown’s book, The Processing Modalities Guide. I know it will create curiosity and interest for you.

 

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Healthy and Organized: Setting up for Success Getting Dinner on the Table

ADD and ADHD Healthy and Organized

 

Setting up for Success

Getting Organized to Get Dinner on the Table

 Register at www.adda-sr.org

Saturday, January 28, 2017

9:00 – 11:45

Memorial Drive UMC, The Gate

13194 Memorial Dr    Houston, TX 77079

 

Is your new year challenge to eat a healthier diet or have dinner together more often? Do you struggle with how to organize your pantry or kitchen? What about foods that help or hinder the symptoms of ADHD and related disorders? Can supplements help?

 

Join Certified Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap to learn about healthy food options, supplements, meal and grocery planning, organizing your kitchen and pantry and better family routines.

 

Often the biggest challenges we face in the new year are our goals for health, wellness and organizing.  Take a first step in creating new ways to meet your goals with this event. Leave the class with new tools and tips for wellness, as well as new perspectives on getting dinner on the table.

 

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