Without a doubt, the one topic that I talk about at every speaking engagement, with every client and with every colleague is my love of labels. I call myself an “over-labeller” because I know that I label inside drawers, pantries, bins and more.
My love of labels is both functional and cute. When a spot is labelled, everyone knows where an items goes. It’s easy getting your home or office reset and back to order. Everyone can help put away groceries and toys when a spot is labelled. In addition, labels set the tone of the decor. I love faux chalkboard labels to appeal to our DIYers. A simple black and white label keeps minimalists happy. A cheery label brings a smile to all of us.
Download and print labels
With Pinterest, it’s easy to find labels to download and print. Do a quick search to find what you need and print in color at home. Labels are available for every type of project.
Avery labels are available at online and at retail outlets. Run these labels through your printer to customize. Sizes and shapes of all kinds are available and self adhesive too!
Brother P Touch Label Maker
Brother P Touch label maker and labels are a simple way to add organization to your home and office. The tape is purchased separately. Tapes comes in a variety of sizes and colors. To keep it simple, I use only black lettering on white tape.
You might feel a bit of resistance to labels. Move beyond this emotion and do some labeling in one area. Test this each time you replace items back in their spots. How easy did labeling make your work? Feeling the obsession too?
Remember the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?” And so it goes with ADHD. Many newly diagnosed kids in turn have newly diagnosed ADHD parents. If you and your family have multiple generation ADHD, it is important to learn about your diagnosis and learn the next steps too.
Creating your team
Think of this diagnosis as one that includes challenges to Executive Function, a part of your brain that involves planning and processing. It is more than just attention and hyperactivity. Executive function can affect you and your child’s daily life, not just at school or work. Aspects of ADHD include transitions, getting started, organization, prioritizing, motivation, and working memory. In every day life that might be getting ready for work and school or organizing your paper work and school papers.
Getting a good team together to inform and address ADHD is critical, including professionals in the medical, counseling and coaching arena. Developing a trust relationship, putting aside judgment, and focusing on care will help you develop a plan that works for you and your family. Start with your family pediatrician or your general practitioner to know who would be a good addition to your team. Your team may include a psychiatrist, counselor, ADHD coach, and professional organizer. Be sure to add team members who are well qualified ADHD professionals.
Learning more about ADHD
There are many venues to learn about ADD. Associations such as the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (www.adda.org) and CHADD (www.chadd.org) are two of the primary first steps. These associations have online, national and local presence for you to tap into and learn about ADD. Finding a local chapter makes for camaraderie and a sense of belonging in your community.
Reading may be a top priority for you. Blogs and books offer a look into the life of families and individuals with ADD. Among the top are Terri Matlin http://www.momswithadd.com/, Tara McGillicuddy http://www.myaddblog.com/ and Arianne Benefit http://blog.neatandsimple.com/ and Laura Rolands http://myattentioncoach.com/adhd-coaching-blog/. Books include The Family ADHD Solution by Dr. Marten Bertin, Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell, or Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden.
Basic first steps
If you are looking for a few basic solutions for your family, these are a few first steps for you.
- Set up good self care with bedtimes and good nutrition for everyone in the family. Having adequate sleep and high protein meals can make a difference for everyone. Often this is the first area that families overlook.
- Take care with over scheduling for the family. Allow more transition and down time than other families. For families with ADHD, the transitions and the rush of daily life ends up tripping them up. Be sure that you are mindful of all members’ commitments. Use a family calendar, either with Google calendar or a large month at a glance calendar, posted in the kitchen where everyone can see it. Host a family “meeting” weekly to go over who is going what, who is going where and what other new “surprises” are going on this week.
- Address the stress with exercise, yoga, art, therapy and other ways to release the tension. These activities help everyone with clarity. Just being outside, taking a walk or even just a little movement can make a difference. All families have stress, but even more so with ADHD.
- Place clocks in many places throughout your home. A timer is a great investment in helping you and your child stay on task, get started and get done. Choose a clock and timer with a “clock face” in order to see time elapsing. Use it in transitional times too.
- Put into place additional help throughout the week. A daily Homework Helper can be a blessing for both parents and students. A local college student, older high schooler or other person can help your student focus and work as a partner with less stress than the parent. A cleaning service, additional driver or daily money manager can be a blessing to a parent who struggles with these aspects.
- Make a morning plan and evening routine with your family. Talk through the plan, note the obstacles, make a chart and stick with your design for smoother family times. It is always a struggle to be consistent for those with ADHD, but implement a smooth, simple plan for both the beginning and ending of the day.
Families with ADHD do best by focusing on the positive in specific, genuine ways. Remember that a hug, a smile and a pat on the back can bring about the desired behavior and most especially the emotional feeling of being understood and loved.
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You’re cranking stuff out at work. Your completing tasks at home. Your calendar keeps you on track and your lists are serving you well. Routines are working for you. Then, all of a change happens. Summer or Christmas holidays come along. There’s a new employee at work you have to train. Your job responsibilities shift. Your routine does not exist anymore. Here’s ways to begin restarting routines.
Assess your tools
What’s going on with your planner and your lists? Have you lost your favorite mini notebook that held your lists? Did you have weekly planning time or fill in your calendar this week? Look at the tools you use and be sure you are using them wisely. If you have let these lapse, start here with restarting routines that served you well.
Improve your tools
Maybe it’s time to make a small improvement to your tools. The Japanese concept of kaizen, making small, gradual improvements, could help you with productivity. The small improvement to your tools could be learning technology. At times when we have a change it’s about learning and practice to master a new skill. It takes time to learn new technology to be agile. A small change could also be hooking a new habit to an existing well established habit. That habit might be making a list each night for the next day right before you brush your teeth. Just a tweak can help you with restarting your routines.
Automate your tools
I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. I like to “automate” when I can to save my thinking for the bigger picture. I use tools like checklists to automate. I have a checklist for activities that are new to me. It’s easy and simple to complete a task this way. There’s a checklist for things I do infrequently just so I don’t forget a step in a project. My packing checklist helps me remember all the little stuff that make a big difference when I am away (like all my electronic chargers). Another way I automate is my routines is smartphone reminders. An alert helps me remember the next step. The reminders are recurring so you keep on top of your intentions.
Take the opportunity when you are stuck and not feeling back in the groove to assess, improve and automate. While it’s uncomfortable, it’s also a time to make necessary changes that might not have happened. That when the break makes for greater productivity.
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Author Jill Jarvis contacted me to share about my business.
What does a professional organizer do? Isn’t it my job to keep my things in order? If I live in the space and have survived 15 years in my own home, why would I hire someone to help organize it? Well, it turns out that a trained professional organizer can actually provide the one thing I am always searching for–order.
A professional organizer would take these spaces and put them in order. Instead of just shoving towels in the closet, they would implement systems to help us keep things organized on a day-to-day basis.
More than this, a professional organizer can specialize in helping people stage homes, prepare for moves and in interior decorating. Hearing this got me, the very organized person, thinking about hiring a professional organizer. So I asked my community of BigKidSmallCity readers for their favorite organizers in Houston.
I am grateful to be the first on the list! Thank you Jill for honoring me!
More here on the Houston Moving Guide
Thanksgiving can be less stress and less mess. It’s all in how you organize your preparation and meal. Here are a few tips on making your day fun, festive and a fuss free Thanksgiving.
Make it easy for your and your company to help themselves. Set up a beverage station with ice, your choice of adult and kid beverages, and glasses. If it’s a cool day you may decide on a hot cider with a ladle and mugs too. Place your station in an area that will bring traffic away from the kitchen and into a gathering spot.
Take a tip from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, and have a few nibbles out before the main meal. It will keep kids and adults from being underfoot in the kitchen. A plate of fruit and cheese and a bowl or two of nuts is a great starter for the holiday meal. If anyone wanders into the kitchen, put them to work!
There’s already a lot to wash and dry, why not go with biodegradable dishware for the day? Available from LeafNFiber, these lovely plates will add to the natural decor of the day and make clean up easy.
It’s all about timing
Make a list of what’s for dinner. After this, create a time line for what goes into the oven at what time. If your list is the same each year, consider creating this in Evernote or a notebook to keep and save.
Everyone’s stress level goes down with a soundtrack. Have a guest create a playlist as a back drop for the day.
Plan ahead to keep and share leftovers. Purchase inexpensive plastic ware to give away as leftovers leave. Everyone loves this gift!
Take a trick from football and other team sports that are on television on Thanksgiving. Get your team in gear. That means everyone has a part to play or a job for dinner, clean up and other activities. There are many small jobs that can be done throughout the day, including ones specifically for your kiddos. Help everyone pitch in by giving everyone something small to do to be a part of the festivities.
What ways do you make it a fuss free Thanksgiving at your home?
Each year as we start the new year, we think of ways to make a change and improve our lives. Did you know that organizing is one of the top three goals each year? Throughout the month of January, I will be offering 31 tips to help you have Your Most Organized Year Ever. Implement just one of these tips, tools, techniques or tweaks this year.
Accountability is being willing and obligated to a task. It’ not always easy to feel or be accountable to others. It takes a trusting relationship and a perspective of learning from missteps.
There are many ways to accomplish a goal using accountability.
- Working together as a team can help you get a task accomplished. When you are accountable for your step of the project, you know you will follow through. You have team ownership.
- Just speaking out loud about a project, describing it and discussing it, can help you process your thoughts on a project. You are more prepared to complete it because you have clarified your work.
- It may be just to speak about a project out loud and it’s enough for you.
Check out all 31 Tips for Your Most Organized Year Ever.