ADHD Friendly Apps for Every Day Life

adhd friendly apps

 

We all have our favorite apps for everyday life. These are our trusted resources online that help us each day. I created this list in 2016 which is still valuable today because some actions and apps are timeless.  These apps are available on your devices and your computer which make them so much more useful.

 

To manage your “to do” list and multiple projects at home and work

We all have more to do than time to do it. Having an app to capture projects, tasks, and a long list of “possibilities”  makes it easier to get stuff done. You can break tasks and projects into manageable steps with these apps. Check out Asana, Click Up, or Trello.

  • Asana helps you work with your team or family. You can coordinate and collaborate with your team using boards or lists of actions. It is a workflow that gives you context to your tasks within the projects.
  • Trello is a visual task board with “index cards” for you to view. It’s simple to set up and use. Lists are flexible and can be named with your own context. You can name the lists by the days of the week, the project, or however you think of your tasks or projects.
  • Click Up offers the option to view you in multiple ways. There are many ADHD-friendly features built into Click Up once you are more agile with this app.
  • Evernote is an app standing the test of time. This context-based app lets you create “virtual notebooks” to hold the tasks and projects. It’s the ease of use and versatility make it a long-standing favorite!
  • Notes app is easy to use.

No matter the app, it won’t do the task for you. Getting started might require “warm-up initiation” strategy. However, being organized with your tasks will save you time.

 

To manage your dates and appointments

Having an app at hand on your device or smartphone makes it easy to keep up with appointments and determine dates.

  • Google calendar is easy to use and available to sync with family. You can use several calendars and some can be hidden for only you to view. This calendar is a part of the Google Suite so it works well with Gmail.
  • Calendly helps you schedule time to work and collaborate. You send an invite and your invitee chooses what works best. This app is a great time and email saver too in making it easy to schedule.

Setting reminders and timers help you stay true to your plan. Multiple alarms help you especially transition between time blocks.

 

All those other apps that keep life simple and easy

  • LastPass is the most recommended password keeper.  Just remember one password and all others are accessible.
  • Airline apps help you travel easily. There are new features like baggage tracking, seat choices, and more evolving every time we travel.
  • Dropbox holds your files and pdf documents for easy access no matter your location.
  • iCloud backs up your data on all your devices. Be sure to turn on automated backup each evening when you charge your phone.
  • MileageIQ helps you track your mileage.

We all have favorites! I hope you will share your favorites here too so we can learn what you love and use.

 

 

 

 

How to Use Pre-Decision Making to Streamline Your Day

 

 

Every day is filled with decision after decision. Your day starts with decisions like what to wear. At work, you decide what is your most important task for work to do that day. The day ends with decisions like what’s for dinner. What if you did not have to make so many decisions each day? What if some decisions were already made by you ahead of time?

 

One of the hardest things for people with ADHD is making decisions. There are thousands of decisions to make every day which can lead to feeling overwhelmed. What if, as Bobby Powers says, you only had to make one decision and prevent making all those others? What if the one decision also prevented you from stressing more? That is what is powerful about pre-decision making.

 

What is pre-decision making?

A pre-decision is making a decision made before the decision is needed in a certain circumstance, based on ethics, principles, and goals. That decision can be brought about by a series of unfortunate events (not wearing matching shoes to work because you are deciding between two pairs) to goals (eating healthier so not stopping for fast food).

 

What can pre-decision making apply to?

Each of us has different goals we are working on and these goals require in-the-moment decisions to keep. Here are some examples you might think about for your pre-decisions.

  • Deciding to get more steps in daily, you park farther away in the parking lot.
  • Getting more meals ready for dinner, you choose to have breakfast for dinner each Friday night.
  • Making it easier to get out the door on time, you choose your attire for the night, set up lunch prep, or make coffee at night before bed.
  • Getting a good night’s rest, you charge your cell phone and devices in the kitchen in the common charging spot.

Some people might call these rules, routines, or principles to live by. In all these cases decisions were made ahead of time to meet the desired outcome.

 

How do you make a good pre-decision?

Start by thinking about which decisions you make daily over and over. Which decisions are overwhelming you? Where could you simplify life or meet a goal with a pre-decision? Now you have a motivation and a “why” behind your decision. Keep it simple with this if/then statement. Because I want to (accomplish this goal), if (specific situation happens) then I am going to (pre-determined decision.)

The pre-decision starts as soon as possible. Post this where you can see it. Share your pre-decision with others so they know why and what your decision will be. While you may not always follow your pre-decision, be sure to keep it as much as possible and more than not. If you find you are breaking it repeatedly, start with a different pre-decision that reinforces this same goal.

 

What pre-decisions will do is save you time, energy, money, and most especially stress. If you find yourself making the same small or large decisions over and over, it is time for pre-decisionmaking.

 

 

How to Build A New Habit (when consistency is so hard)

how to build a new habit

 

Habits and routines are the building blocks of life. Our lifestyle is all the habits we do each day. What if you thought of your new habit as just one new daily lifestyle change that you do over and over? Here are 7 strategies to build your new habit and successfully keep these habits going, especially if you are challenged with ADHD.

 

Know your Why

Before you even thought of the new habit, you already knew your “why” to make it a habit. It came from a place of frustration and at the same time empowerment. Having that “why” in front of you every day will help you see the change that you want. Your why can be any powerful statement. Make it visual so that every day you see your motivation.

 

Hold your Focus

Changing only one habit at a time creates success. Too many changes, just like too many decisions, keeps you from being aware of your new habit. Make that one new habit the one and only, most interesting, and more valuable change you are making. Keep to one change to your lifestyle to make that change stick.

 

Be specific

Make your habit as specific as possible to avoid decision making. That habit is a defined action. Instead of a habit of getting a better night’s sleep, make your habit getting in bed at 11 pm or placing your technology devices in their chargers at 10 pm. Decide on these actions before putting your habit into place. By processing the steps and the anchor to your new habit, you eliminate decisions at the time.

 

Use Micro-steps

According to Thrive Global, we undermine new habits by not starting small enough. Micro-steps, small, incremental, science-backed actions can have both immediate and long-lasting benefits to the way we live our lives. a micro-step is the smallest action you would take to accomplish a goal. If you want to eat healthier and lose weight, add in one vegetable at each meal. It could be carrot sticks that are pre-cut from your grocery store. That small action is going to make a big difference over time.

 

Make it easy

Whenever there is an obstacle or an extra step, your new habit is blocked. Make your new habit easy by thinking through the obstacles. Then add in what makes it easy to accomplish. If losing weight is your goal, a new habit of walking more would help you reach your goal. If you keep your sneakers in your car, you are likely to take a walk right after work. If you have to go home to change, you might not take a walk.

 

Keep track

Since habits are a series of single actions, tracking keeps you moving forward. Rather than break the chain of success, you are motivated to keep going forward. Gather data as you track. There are many apps for this. Just like our smart watches and 10k steps, we want to know our daily success.

 

Keep it realistic

Keep your perfectionism in check and keep your new habit in sight. Use the first days of your new habit to learn more about your and your habit. What worked and what didn’t? What does success look like this week and next?

 

Changing and sticking with a habit can be done with ADHD friendly strategies that work with how you think and how you get things done. Remember that new habits are a work in progress. If something does not go as you planned, start again with a new actionable behavior.

Virtual Organizing Series: Get Organized Today!

Get Organized TODAY!

 

Overwhelmed and paralyzed by clutter? Too many decisions about what to keep and not sure where to keep it? Join Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap in a 3 session virtual series Get Organized Today. Ellen will share tips on decluttering, creating a home for all your stuff, and how to keep your spaces maintained.

The Virtual Series meets on Tuesdays from 12 -1 pm, June 14, 21, and 28.

  • The fee to attend all 3 is $100.
  • Sessions are one hour and meetings are virtual on zoom.
  • Sessions include instructional time and Q&A.
  • Limited to 10 members.

Session 1 Declutter your space

Struggling to get started? Not sure what to keep? Postponing your organizing? Get answers to your questions on decluttering your stuff & get started on your project today.

Session 2 Create a home base

To prevent clutter, everything needs a home base. Learn basic concepts of organizing and move forward with your organizing project.

Session 3 Maintain an organized space

You have tried before and now you want to be sure your space stays organized. Learn routines that keep your space well organized.

 

Register by June 1st

Questions and Registration

281-360-3928,

edelap@professional-organizer.com

 

This series is a fundraiser for ADDA-SR
www.adda-sr.org

How to Get Unstuck (and stop procrastinating)

how to get unstuck

 

No matter the project, we all get stuck at some time. That might be procrastination to start a project or getting stuck midway. Here are ADHD-friendly ways to help you move forward with any task or project.

 

Make it fun

As Mary Poppins says, in every job there must be done there is an element of fun. Be creative and use a playlist matching your energy to your music to energize and interest you. Make your task a game with “beat the timer.” Track your progress with a chart or checklist. The more fun something is, the more likely you are going to make it happen.

 

Establish Micro-Steps

According to Thrive Global, being productive is “less about giant leaps and more about small steps” called micro-steps. Determine the smallest, or minimum, next step you can take to keep momentum going. It is about moving the needle just a little bit.

 

Set milestones

Milestones give you a deadline and a detail for your work. You can establish these milestones with a chart, a date in your planner, or a detail or of the task itself. Be specific and actionable about your milestone so you know you have finished. Each milestone you accomplish, whether it is a quantity of time or a detail of the project gives you confidence you are moving forward and assures you of completion.

 

Let’s get physical

Getting a drink of water or taking a 5 minute walk outside can get you moving forward. These physical activities and self care give you a short break to refresh. You will think more clearly and be ready to resume your task.

 

Talk it out

Determining a process or making a decision can be best accomplished by talking it out with a friend or colleague. Talking through a task or project with someone can give you a new perspective and new strategy to go about that activity. Look for a processing partner who has a skill in that area or has successfully accomplished this task.

 

Get focused

Distractions keep us from getting started and moving forward. Eliminate technology distractions by silencing notifications. Do a brain dump and write a out your internal thoughts and distractions to focus on the task at hand. Use a time block to keep focused on just this task or project to keep on track.

 

No matter if it is about starting or completing a task or project, have handy your list of what works for you to get unstuck.

 

Financial Apps Make Organizing Your Finances Easy

 

financial organizing

Getting organized with your financial information can feel like climbing Mount Everest and the side of the mountain is quick sand. There is alot to look up at, the peak seems far off and there is consistently sliding back and forth. Money brings with it many emotions too. Check out these many automated tools that will help you gain control and get organized with your finances.

 

Cyber security first

We are all aware of the online dangers, phone and text scams, and dark web. Every account needs a strong, unique password. LastPass offers online security for you with easy access. If you are more of a paper person, use a paper address book listing the user name, password, and security questions. If you receive any kind of request about purchasing or payments, go directly to the source of payment. This is a time to be overly cautious.

 

Bill paying

Solutions: Many of us have been using automated bill paying online for a long time. The easiest way to pay is using your bank app and adding account information. You can pay directly from the bank to the vendor. The next easiest payment plan is with your credit card. Keep a list of automated payments, the vendor account numbers in case there is a gap in payment. Maybe you want to know more about your spending and how much you spend on different categories.  Quicken offers online bill pay with a tracking dashboard. This tools helps you analyze and strategize about your money.

Solutions: There are always random bills that need to be paid that arrive in the mail. There are quarterly payments for taxes too. Establish a command center where mail is opened and bills are paid. Set aside a weekly or bi-monthly time to pay bills. Keep your check book here with envelopes and stamps to efficiently pay with paper.

Routines: Set aside a weekly time to open mail and pay bills. Check your bank and credit card balances weekly or monthly to be sure all bills are paid and the amounts of payment.

 

Budgeting

Solution: There are two favorite budgeting tools Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB). Both offer you consolidation of information to make financial decisions. You will need this tool to analyze where and what you are spending.

Routine: Review your spending monthly, quarterly or annually with a strategic planning meeting. With your consolidated information you can make good decisions on your next financial steps.

 

Credit

Solution: Your credit score helps lenders decide whether to give you a mortgage, credit card or other line of credit as well as the interest amount you will pay. The score is an assessment of you are a credit risk at the time of application. This score goes up and down monthly as you pay bills, get new credit and pay off loans. A good credit score saves you money, gives you options for better loan rates, and more. Credit Karma offers you a free monthly view of your credit score. Many banks offer this as service. 

Routine: Review your credit score annually or before a major purchase.

 

Taxes

Solution: Gather your paper or digital documents in January, February and March. Follow these instructions here. Can’t find your most important tax papers? Look online for your property tax payments and mortgage interest expense.  It’s easy to locate these records on your mortgage or banking websites. Medical expenses are easy to track online at your medical provider’s website.

Routine: At the beginning of February, mark your calendar for a 2 hour tax session with yourself! Go through your checkbook, bank statement and files to find important items to copy for accounting purposes. Three weeks later, mark another 2 hour tax session to wrap up those loose ends and file your documents in your master file. If you use an accountant, you are ready to send in your papers.  If you file yourself, break your filing sessions into manageable chunks like 2 hour sessions too!  You can always break these sessions into one hour segments too.  Most importantly marking these on your calendar commits you to work.

 

Bringing it all together

Make your financial organizing a priority with a weekly or bi-monthly review of your automated tools. Dig deep and think what you want to know about your spending and your goals. Create a dashboard with the information you want to know. Use your financial planning time to feel confident about your financial success. Add bookmarks to access each site easily and your ready!

 

 

 

 

How to Impress Your Accountant with Your Tax Preparation

organize your taxes

 

Tax documents have started to arrive and it’s time for us to organize these pieces of paper or digital information. Even though the filing deadline is still a little ways off, and even though taxes are scary, it’s better to start to get organized now.  What do you need to bring to your tax preparer to be ready to file?  There are specific documents that are required and how you organize these can impress your accountant or bookkeeper and save you money in fees.

 

Gather your documents

As paper statements arrive in the mail, be sure to place these in a Taxes 2021 folder. Organize this information in paper or digital folders as you collect the documents according to Income and Deductions.

Income

Income documents confirm the money you received during the previous year. These include:

  • W-2 forms (Statement from your employer that includes how much you were paid, deductions for medical and social security.)
  • 1099 forms (Form 1099-Misc for contract work, Form1099-INT for interest, Form 1099-DIV for dividends and Form 1099-B for broker-handled transactions.)
  • Next year income from Venmo and Square will be included.

Deductions

Documents that help reduce your taxes are known as deductions. You will need to gather the information for this documentation, which may take time. Break this into chunks to make it easier to gather this information.

  • Property taxes paid by you or your escrow account
  • Mortgage interest on Form 1098
  • Charitable donations with receipts from those entities
  • Retirement account contributions up to a set limit. Look for these forms with your January statement
  • Educational expenses which are on a form 1098-T
  • Medical bills if they total more than 7.5% of adjusted gross income for most taxpayers
  • State and local taxes and sales tax which the IRS provides tables with average amounts you can claim.

Credits are similar to deductions.  Currently the primary credit is the Child Tax Credit for each child in your family

Keep a record of the estimated taxes paid for this year. Those are quarterly payments made to adjust for additional income throughout the year. As you pay these electronically or by check, record that date and amount paid.

 

Shortcuts for tax preparation

There are shortcuts to gather this information.

  • You can also gather this information online in your investment, mortgage, and online appraisal district accounts.
  • Use one check book register each year and record the information as you write the check. Highlight in your favorite color to be sure you see these.
  • Keep all tax papers all year long in a folder marked Taxes 20XX in your command center in the office or kitchen.
  • Scan receipts to a digital folder all year long. Keep this folder on your computer.
  • Take a picture with your smart phone and create a photo album of Tax Receipts 20XX
  • Set appointments with yourself the last weekend of January, February and March to set aside time for tax preparation.
  • Ask your doctors and pharmacy for payment records for the entire year.
  • Partner with another family member as you organize your documentation. Your college and adult kids will need this preparation for their own taxes.
  • Use a tax preparation check list.

Now that you have all the data you need, use file folders for each segment of information.

  • Your information, including name, address and social security numbers
  • Income
  • Deductions
  • Credits
  • Estimated taxes

 

You are ready to go to your accountant or tax preparer with everything you need and you are guaranteed to impress!

Three Small Spots to Organize to Keep You Ahead

keep ahead of the game

 

Do you think about big organizing goals and not so much about the little spaces that need organizing? Here are three small organizing spots that will make your life more organized and productive, and most importantly help your peace of mind.

 

Your purse, satchel or man bag

What you carry with you should give you peace of mind to know you have what you need when you need it. Often your bag becomes where everything goes without order to it at all.

  • Divide your bag into useful categories and use organizing products to keep the categories together.  Use a wallet for money, a zipper case for medicine and makeup, and a glass case to protect your glasses. A small Ziploc can hold your receipts until you trash these or move them to your command center.
  • Pare down to essentials in your bag. The less you carry, the less weight on your shoulders. Remember that carrying papers back and forth may not be necessary if you can find that information online.
  • If you are carrying important documents or check books just so as not to lose these, purchase a small safe to keep at home and store these documents.

Once week clear out all the debris, paper and other items to keep your bag organized.

 

Your contacts in your devices

Communication with home and work is key in this new era of work from home and the uncertainty of daily life.

  • Sync your contacts across all your devices including your computer so that you can access these from anywhere. Being automated saves you time.
  • Determine a consistent approach to entering contacts. That includes entering the contact’s name, the company name, and the work of that business. You can enter multiple data to be sure you can find the information.  An example of that is Ellen Delap, Professional-Organizer.com, professional organizer. Or Professional Organizer, Ellen Delap. Choose the easiest way for you to find what you need.
  • Use your device automation to add contacts from email.  It’s the easiest way to add information and it takes just a few minutes.

Spend a few minutes every day entering information as you receive it in email, in text, or from scraps of paper.

 

Your self care, morning and evening supplies

Getting ready for the day and your night time routine can be much easier when you are organized.  Many times we have too many supplies in these areas to be able to get ready quickly.

  • Gather together what you use every morning and evening. You can store these in a caddy under your sink area or attractive tray on your countertop.
  • Store loose items like cotton balls and qtips in attractive containers for easy access.
  • Have a trash can that is very easy to access.
  • Edit ruthlessly. Toss out items that are six months old and unused. Share your partially used items with friends or colleagues.
  • Save the deep dive into bathroom organizing for a longer session. Keep everything else off the countertop.

Tidying your stuff daily gives you extra time to get ready and get to bed every day.

 

Each of these small organizing projects should take 15 minutes or less a day. Keep it simple and get it done.

Starting the Year with Productive Processes

start the year with productive processes.

 

Almost every task we do routinely can be improved with creating a process. A process it the standard way to do that task, whether it is laundry or email.  These systems and processes are a lot like automation. Doing these repeatedly the same way with the same steps makes for efficiency.

 

Why are processes important, especially in uncertain times? If you focus on processes you use every day, you are always going to feel in control and productive.  Implementing processes is one way of creating and providing consistency. Being consistent is especially difficult for those with ADHD. A process works like a checklist to be sure the right tasks, get done in the right order by the team.

Where you can use processes for those with ADHD.

  • Home: laundry and teaching your family how to use the washer and dry, and how to fold and hang.
  • Home: cleaning any area of your home, how to clean and when to clean.
  • Work: client intake and follow up with an intake form, entry into a CRM, and initial deposit for work.
  • Work: wrap up your work day with a list for tomorrow, closing down your computer and clearing your desk.
  • Home and Work: processing paperwork to determine what to take action on, what to file and how often to file.

Any important home or work responsibility should have a process to complete it.

Starting processes for those with ADHD

  • Begin with one important process that might not be working for you. Identify the steps. Now you have a standard operating procedure which you can share with your team.
  • Start documenting your process and make your documentation visual. Think about a video, chart, graphic or symbols that help you stay on track with the process.
  • Post your process where you can see it.
  • There is always room for improvement. Work through  your process for 2 weeks and tweak as needed. Think about how you can simplify the process too.

 

If processes are sounding a lot like routines, you are right! A routine is a consistent pattern of activity. The best routines are built from processes that work well. Changing the name and perspective on routines can make this easier to accomplish.

 

 

Start the Year with Connection

 

 

starting the year with connections

 

Referred to by Dr. Edward Hallowell as Vitamin C (Connection), being supported and connected makes all the difference for our well being. Research shows that social connection improves physical health, strengthens our immune system and leads to overall longevity. It is easy to lose track of connections with the demands of family and work. Give connections the time and attention needed with these strategies to start the new year.

 

Finding and keeping Connections for ADHD Brains

Feeling overwhelmed creates a barrier between you and friends. It might be difficult to be consistently in contact with friends. Also, sadness and anxiety could have a role in your relationships. All these impact your connections with friends and family.

  • Being inattentive to a friend or family member can be hurtful. Be present, listen and mirror back conversations to show you are tuned in and present.
  • Notice if you are interrupting during conversations and pause before interjecting a story.
  • Set time aside to be with friends with making plans and writing it on your calendar.
  • Following through with commitments is an important part of any relationship. Use your best tools to be sure you are on time, at the right location, to meet and spent time together.

Quick and easy tips for ADHD Brains

  • Keep a list of birthdays in your planner to send a quick happy birthday text to friends and family.
  • Call to check in if you have a moment between meetings or when you are driving between appointments.
  • Share a quote, article or meme in a text to a friend.
  • Offer a sincere compliment to a colleague in a meeting.
  • Share a podcast you love.
  • Write a quick note and mail a card sharing how much you are thinking of that person.

Maintaining friendships and relationships

  • Communication is important. Find a way to stay in contact that suits both you and your friend.
  • Keep a healthy sense of boundaries in your relationships. Know when you have spent too much time together and need a short break.
  • Your self care is always a high priority. If your friendships prevent this, reassess the commitment.

 

Creating and maintaining meaningful relationships are well worth the effort and the time.