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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Happier Holidays with ADHD

happier holidays with adhd

 

The holidays add extra activities and extra stress to already busy lives.  It’s a marathon of gifts and giving, baking and sharing, and decorating and wrapping.  There’s planning and executing of lots of activities. The joy intended can often devolve into obligations.  How do we keep the happy in happy holidays?

 

On Dasher, on Dancer: Continue on self care

Keep up with your self care through the holidays. Get to bed on time.  Attend your pilates class.  Drink plenty of water. All these ways you take care of yourself keep your spirits and energy up.  These activities also keep your routine in place during this busy time.

The Twelve Days of Christmas: calendar it all

Your planner is crucial during the holiday season. Add all your invitations, special events and activities right away.  Next add in dates for cookie baking, gift shopping, decorating and other holiday related tasks.  Finally add in time to rest and rejuvenate. A calendar can be your guide for all holiday actions.

 

Silver Bells: Stick to your budget

During this gift giving season, it’s easy to justify extra gifts and purchasing.  Start with a financial plan and stick to it while you shop. It’s especially easy to overdo your purchasing online.  Make it easy to stick to your budget with a gift giving list. Homemade gifts can help you stick to your budget too.

 

Santa Claus is coming to town: Find your elves to delegate

One of the most important ways to get through a long holiday list is to delegate.  Start with small things, like purchasing cookies.  Add on a helper who can wrap.  Gather your family and ask who wants to do what job and post the list to check off. Be creative about who to delegate to and when to delegate. Delegating can be the hardest part of the holidays but the benefits of a team effort makes it worthwhile.

Dreaming of a White Christmas: Let go of perfectionism

We have an idea in our head just how perfect every part of our holiday season might be.  It could be the delicious food, the 10 foot elegantly decorated tree, or the gifts wrapped with big bows.  Think about the one thing that makes this holiday so special for you.  Host a family meeting for your family to find out and share what’s most special to them. By simplifying your holiday and prioritizing what’s most important,  you share the joy of the holiday season.

 

More tips on holiday organizing, planning and productivity here!

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Organizing: Streamlining or Unearthing Treasures

 

organizing streamlining or unearthing treasures

 

What’s organizing REALLY about?  Working together with my clients I see two different ways we work.  I also see the goals of our work in two different ways as well.  Organizing while both strategies accomplish what my clients want, each process differs slightly.  Here is my concept of organizing as letting go and organizing as unearthing treasures.

 

Organizing is streamlining and letting go.

You are overwhelmed with stuff.   Your goal is to have less, organize it and then keep your space maintained.  The first step  in your organizing project is to review what you have.  Then you assess it’s value. Do you use it or love it?  If neither applies, it’s time to eliminate this item.  As Marie Kondo says, “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” Working on having less is often the most motivating reason to get organized.

 

Organizing is unearthing treasures.

Your stuff is overwhelming you, but just culling out is not enough.  Your goal is to keep what’s most valuable to you.  Organizing can also be about finding and unearthing treasures. You can take the “treasure hunt” perspective where you sift through items to find what is most valuable to keep.  In choosing what’s most valuable, only you can be the judge.  It may be a long lost trinket or a check.  Organizing can be unearthing items that have been buried in what’s not important.

 

 

unearthing treasures

We found this treasure while working together! What treasures have you found while organizing?

 

When you unearth treasures, whether it’s financial or sentimental, you find real value in organizing.

 

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6 Ways to Pause in our Busy World

6 ways to pause in a busy world

 

I recently spoke to a group of 20 women business owners. I said, “who’s busy?”   Everyone raised their hands.  Not surprising, right?

 

There’s not much time to pause in our busy world.  At work there are tasks, projects and deadlines.  At home we focus on our family.  There’s the rush of thoughts and feelings when something went off kilter. At times we think we should forge ahead and just get on with whatever we are doing.  There’s much to think about and no time to think about it.  A pause could make a difference in your stress level, in your decision making, and in your happiness.  It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities (Kristin Armstrong). Here’s some ways to pause.

Breathe deeply

Maybe you haven’t thought about breathing and how it affects our brains.  When we take a deep breath and let it out slowly, we are slowing down our body mechanisms and our brain.  Controlled breathing “may be the most potent tool we have to prevent our brains from keeping us in a state of stress, and preventing subsequent damage caused by high stress levels.”  Creating a pause physiologically helps us.

Say a prayer

A client shared with me how she recites the “Serenity Prayer” when she needs a pause. Whether it’s her kids fighting or a decision to make about work,  her prayer gives her a pause and helps her focus on what’s important to you. It may be a few words or something memorized, prayer is centering and mindful.

Drink water or get a snack

It’s difficult to hydrate sufficiently.  Our bodies require more water than we think about regularly.  Pausing to drink water gives us a physical lift too. When we think of the benefit, add a sip of water as a pause.  A protein filled snack can do the same. It’s a break to fuel.

 

Make a connection

Whether it’s a smile, a hug, a text or a phone call, making a connection is a pause.  Connections yield self-confidence, empathy, empowerment and positivity.  Keep connected during a pause with tools like your phone.  A connected person is a happy person.

 

Talk a walk

Getting up and moving around is a physical and mental pause.  Getting outside in the green space does even more to give you a pause.  Taking a walk gives you time to reflect, engage, create new perspectives and go back to work ready.

Take a nap

A nap is the ultimate pause! When you are tired, your brain is stuck and you have no energy to proceed, a nap is the best way to pause.  It’s my favorite way to pause!

 

How can you create an awareness of when to pause? Is there an emotion you recognize with anger or fear? Is it a feeling like a clenched jaw or stomach pain?  Start to recognize when a pause can make what you are doing easier and more in line with your values and needs.

 

why pause

 

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12 Secrets To Better Work Life Balance

12 secrets to work life balance

 

 

Work life balance is a conversation heard around the “water cooler.” We think about how we can equalize our work and our play.  But perhaps it’s how we keep our professional life in check and prioritize our personal goals.  Recently surveys show that less than half of us are feeling that we are successful with this. A recent survey shared that 40% of men and 33.2% of women were satisfied with their work life balance. It seems this is an area where we aspire to have better strategies.  Which one of these will help you create more work life balance?

  • Write it all down, then schedule

    My favorite quote, “the biggest lie I tell myself is that I can remember it all.” When it comes to work life balance, writing it all down is the best first step. When you write it ALL down, you see where you are spending time and getting stuff done. It’s a “time audit” of where you spend your time and how in balance you are. The secret to writing it all down is to schedule your work and your play. It might be surprising but you must schedule your play time too.   Research shows that we are happier with scheduled time away from work.  Vacations and mini-vacations improve happiness, health and connections.  Write it all in to insure you are reinforcing your work life balance.

 

  • Use your one best tool (planner)

    Having a planner is the first step. But the secret to using your planner for work life balance is scheduling transition time. A busy schedule requires time to transition. It’s important to write in your transition times, like the time to travel between meetings or picking up kids.  Also write in preparation time for upcoming meetings and homework time for classes you are taking.  It’s not just the appointments that matter; it’s the time in between.

 

  • Keep the big picture prioritized

    Not sure what’s most important? While most of us think of getting all tasks checked off, prioritizing requires keeping a big picture of what 1,2 or 3 things make the most difference in our work and life.  Most of us would say our family is our priority and making money at work is a priority. The secret is to not get too bogged down with all the little tasks.  All the little tasks can be overwhelming and stressful.  Everyday make a deliberate effort at these 2 priorities in some small way.  You are on your way to balance.  Put away your perfectionism too.  It’s getting in the way of you acknowledging your successes.

 

  • Weekly planning time

    The secret to keeping calm is planning.  Your weekly planning time reinforces your values and priorities.  It’s when you take a big picture view of your week and take note of all the tasks. It really pulls together your calendar and helps you prepare for your week.  When you know what’s ahead you are ready for a successful week.  No more surprises when you have weekly planning time.

 

  • Align energy and task

    I follow the Energy Project, a resource that believes that “science tells us that we perform at our best when we move regularly between expending and renewing energy.” The concept applies to how we align our energy and the task.  The secret to work life balance is that when you are working at a difficult project with high energy, then you are at your most efficient.  In addition, the Energy Project reinforces the idea of playing hard too. It’s about renewing your energy to be ready to tackle difficult projects.  It’s a secret time saver and productivity tip.

 

  • Create routines and themes (daily, weekly, or monthly)

    Developing robust routines makes for work life balance. Routines help us get stuff done regularly and consistently.  You can have Money Monday or Financial Friday when you focus only on finances that day. You might have a checklists for your morning. You might have a weekly  routine of Gym time on Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  In our home we have Gigi Friday every week where the grands come play that afternoon.  Check out what holds you accountable to your routine and why that works.

 

  • Host a Pajama Day

    We all want a day with no makeup and nothing to do.  Host a pajama day at least once a month and possibly once a week. That’s the day you stay in your pajamas and just relax.  It’s a day with no demands and no schedule.  You will be amazed how balanced you feel at the end of the day.

 

  • Intentional start to your day

    Prayer, yoga, and exercise are all intentional ways to begin your day. Starting your day in a centered, mindful way helps you maintain balance throughout the day.  Prayer helps us be grateful and mindful of our blessings.  Yoga and exercise center us in the moment, breath deeply and feel our being. Choose a mindful practice that boosts your brain and helps your work life balance.

 

  • Eat dinner with your family and have a date night with your honey

    Dinner time is our time to connect with our family and friends. Dinner is when conversations big and small take front and center.  These conversations are a break from the daily  grind.  Eat dinner with your family or friends to stay connected and in the know.  Weekly date night keeps the spark going in a relationship. Research shows when couples share an evening together there is improved communication and commitment.  A simple date night can be a walk or bike ride. Date night reinforces why you and your partner met and mingled.

 

  • Control technology

    Taking control of technology is required for work life balance. Technology is everywhere all the time.  The secret to disconnecting is setting boundaries.  No tech times include overnight, meals together or whatever you know to be one on one time.  Choose a common charging spot not in your bedroom to support restful sleep. Check your email 3 times a day to work on it and not be overwhelmed by it.  Be present and keep your tech in control.

  • Go team!

    A team approach helps everyone. Your team can be collaboratively, working together on a project.  You can delegate and share a responsibility on a task. You can have a coach who helps keep you accountable and helps you navigate your responsibilities. These are all ways to engage with others to do your best work.  How to create a team? Find resources in your area such as American Business Women’s Association, a local chapter of the industry you are in or the Chamber of Commerce.  Go online to check out additional tech tools such as Dropbox and Join Me. Attend a local conference to connect with those in your industry and learn more.

 

  • Keep it simple sweetie (your time, your space, your thoughts)

    When things get complicated, they get out of whack. It’s easy to over complicate and over think our home, work and life.  Keep it simple sweetie by doing what’s easy, what’s simple and what’s needed.  Keep in mind that the simplest answer is often the best.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to step back and assess simplicity.

 

Remember, our work and life balance starts with the choices we make.  Keeping it all in balance is a work in progress and that at times our balance needs to shift between work and life.  Keeping it in balance requires us to spin many plates at the same time.

 

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An ADHD Parent’s Guide to Paper

 

adhd parent paper

Have you wondered how you can manage all the paper that comes into your home or office?  It’s coming in at a rate faster than you can process.  Parents have often said, “why do the teachers send so much home!” As an ADHD parent, it’s especially hard to pare down all the school work, information and extra-curricular paper work that comes in. Here’s some ways you can manage paper.

Keep less, trash more

Give yourself permission to trash, shred or recycle as much paper as possible.  Keeping as little paper as possible gives you more options to find information on the school website or online.  Find the information you need and bookmark these sites.  If possible, use the “add to calendar” feature to automatically add dates and information.  In addition, drag emails onto dates in the calendar feature of Outlook.  Create folders in Dropbox and Evernote and access these online tools instead of keeping paper.

 

Create a collection point

Create one spot for a collection point for all the papers. It may seem overwhelming when you see these all together, but this keeps paper from being in every room.  It also keeps important information from getting lost.  A good start is a simple basket.  Cull through this weekly to know which papers are in the basket and which you can toss.

 

For kids’ school art and special work, keep one basket per child.  Drop items in every day and set aside a time weekly to go over what’s in the basket. There are lots of ways to treasure what’s precious and eliminate the rest.

 

Automate other papers

You may already be paying bills online. But there are more options to automate.  You can add a utilities only credit card and pay a lump sum of utilities once a month. You can auto debit your utilities. You can have an online account for your medical explanation of benefits.  The more you automate any paper, the better.  It’s good to remember that most any paper that comes in your house by mail, will come again in 2 weeks!

 

Paper, just like laundry and your kid’s messy lunchbox, will be rough going all the time.  It’s a matter of being as decisive and routine as possible, both of which are not an ADHD parent strong suit.  However with practice, just like all other routines, paper management improves.

 

Join me on the quest to eliminate paper!  Join my newsletter here!

 

 

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Are you ready for change?

ready for change adhd

 

Deciding on any lifestyle change is a commitment. That change may include what you eat, what habits you have or what you organize. Others around you are offering lots of advice on how to change. What does it mean when you are ready for change?  How do you know you are ready for change?

How you know you are NOT ready for change.

  • You are not ready to change when others are coercing you.  You are being pushed in a direction to make change.  You’re using the word should or ought to to describe the change.
  • You know in your mind that change is good, but you are procrastinating on getting started.  You have underlying fears, a lack of skills or have not truly created buy in on your part.
  • You don’t have a great reason why to change.

 

 

You are ready for change when

  • More than just acknowledging that life is not going smoothly, you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  You remember the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome,”  and know what that means.  Despite how difficult it might be, you are ready to do something different.
  • You are researching how to get help to make the change and hone in on who can help.  It may take time to know who is the best to help and you are ready to talk to that person, start that program or attend a group meeting.
  • You are energized to create something or be something new. You have time, energy and focus to break out of what’s holding you back and start on a new path.
  • You have a compelling reason to create a new habit.

How do I know when I am ready for change?

I think about a compelling reason for the change.  Some of my biggest changes have come from what I think are really outstanding reasons to make a change.  From there I break that into a baby step of baby steps.   I am ready for change because I find a small way to get started on a big thing.  I encourage you to write your own list of ways you know you are ready to change.

 

 

when you have the why you can create the how

The path to change is not easy. It can be moved forward with inspiration and tenacity.  What’s your way of knowing you are ready for change?

 

4 Easy Ways to Organize Your ADHD Child’s Room

organize your adhd child

 

Summer is a great time for you and your child to work on an organizing project.  It’s when you have more time together, so together you can tackle their bedroom. It’s a project that can last beyond one day or a weekend to complete. There’s time for mixing in music and fun while you work.  It’s a partnership you and your child can work together on, collaborate and end with an organized room.  Together you can organize your adhd child’s room.

 

Big trash can

Start simple.  It’s typical that you can’t see the floor.  There’s more trash in our kids rooms than ever. An ample trash can helps get this contained.  Give your kids an open trash can that’s well placed for use.  When you cull out the trash, you have  a great small start to organizing.  Keeping the floor clear as a routine helps keep the room more organized in general.

 

Big categories

Often we over complicate and over think the organizing in our kids rooms.  Think of big categories for ADHD kids.  Resist the urge to have small bins sorted super specifically.   The common categories are media, toys and clothes. Media can be stored in a bin by game system and a notebook for each cd.  Clothes can all be hung and there can be a bin for pajamas and underwear.  Stuffed animals are easy to store in a large basket or toy box.  Keep the organization simple and labelled for you and your child to maintain order too.

 

Let go of lots of toys

Our kids have lots of toys in their spaces. It’s overwhelming and too much to organize or play with.  Your child may feel every toy is special.  It can be hard to decide what to let go of, but here are some steps you can work on together.   Start letting go of toys that are for younger kids. The most important of these keepsake toys can be stored in a bin.  Decide where you will store toys and use this as a limit for toys in your home.  Your child can choose 3 toys to let go of and share with others.  Let go of 1 stuffed animal a week and have a moratorium on purchasing new stuffies.  Any way you decide, it’s a good time to release some toys.  Overall, a less cluttered environment is a positive environment.

 

Daily Dash time

The most organized space needs a daily pick up time. The Daily Dash gives your children time to get items back to where they go.  Talk through the day with your child and see what is the most advantageous time to pick up.  Set an alarm on their phone, write a reminder on several post it notes, schedule a family daily dash time or write out a chart of responsibilities including daily dash time. When everyone picks up, it’s a noticeable difference in your home.

 

This summer, one of your goals may be to be more organized. It’s important to walk through organizing and partner with your kids.  For the not naturally organized, this will take reinforcement.  Be patient and kind as you work alongside your child to help them be more organized.

 

More ideas here  on my Pinterest Board ADHD

 

ADHD Resources

adhd resources

 

Learning about ADHD is ongoing learning. A wide base of knowledge is available in many different formats.  Whether you are thinking about whether you have ADHD, have recently been diagnosed, or have been diagnosed for years, these are resource to live your authentic life.  This list of associations, websites, and books is just a beginning for you.  Here’s a list of some of my favorite ADHD resources.

 

Associations

ADDA-SR

ADDA-SR mission is provide a resource  network, support individuals impacted by ADHD and related conditions and to advocate for the development of community resources.  Local to the Houston area, ADDA-SR support groups meet throughout the community monthly. Finding support makes a difference.

 

ADDA

The ADDA was founded to help adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) lead better lives.  ADDA offers Virtual Peer Support Groups and Workshops as well as webinars.  Learning online helps you know more about ADHD.

 

CHADD

CHADD improves the lives of those affected by ADHD.  CHADD offers it’s Resource Directory, Parent to Parent classes and conference.  Learning from other parents about ways to support your child makes your job easier.

 

ADHD Coaches

The ACO is the worldwide professional membership organization for ADHD Coaches.
Whether you’re a coach, looking for help, or curious about ADHD coaching, this is the association for you.  ADHD coaching supports a well balanced, goal oriented life.

 

Websites

 

Faster Than Normal

Peter Shankman shares his tricks, secrets, and hacks for daily life both professionally and personally.  Peter finds ADHD a gift!

 

Dr. Hallowell

Hosted by Edward Hallowell, this is a site for sharing ADHD resources including Top 10 findings on ADHD and Top 10 Questions about ADHD.  Dr. Hallowell is a prominent authority on ADHD.

 

ADDitudemag.com

ADDitudemag.com offers strategies and support for adults and children.  There are free weekly webinars on a variety of topics.  ADDitudemag offers a variety of information related to school, work and home.

 

Books

Smart but Scattered

The latest research on children with executive function challenges and ways to help.

 

Healing ADD

Neuropsychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, MD shares the multiple types of ADHD and different treatments.

 

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

This book is a collaboration of Kathleen Nadeau and Judith Kohlberg.  The authors share the most effective and practical strategies from ADD experts in two important fields — professional organization and clinical psychology.

 

Driven to Distraction

Dr Hallowell writes about recognizing challenges from early childhood using case studies.

 

More Attention, Less Deficit

Written by Ari Tuckman, this book offers insights into the experiences of ADHD as well as tips to work through executive function challenges.

 

Learning about ADHD is a way to grow. It’s a solid support for you, your family, your friend or your co-worker.   The more you know, the more you will want to know.  Start on your journey with these resources.

 

Check out other tips and tricks for ADHD here on my blog too.