5 Small Starts for Emergency Preparedness

small ways to prepare for an emergency

 

September is Emergency Preparedness Month for good reason.  We have faced emergencies for many years and these seem to be more frequent and more intense. At the same time emergencies frighten and overwhelm us.  Now’s the time for us to button up our resources and start small.  Some of the simplest ways to prepare are the best and here are 5 small starts to begin.

Family contacts

Online connections are easy until the power or cell service goes out.  Create a spreadsheet of family contacts and print it out. Include in your sheet cell and home phones, email addresses, physical addresses and other contact information.  Keep this spreadsheet in a kitchen or office top drawer to access.

 

Create an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit  (EFFAK)

Finances and access to funds seem easy, like simply heading to the ATM for funds. That is not always the case in an emergency.  Begin preparing your Emergency Financial Fist Aid Kit with these instructions. Most importantly, keep $500 in cash, in dollar, five dollar, ten dollar and twenty dollar bills.  Funds are hard to access if there is no power.

 

Prep your Emergency Supply Kits

Prepare kits for all the places you will be, whether at home, at work or in the car.  Your kits should include supplies for a minimum of three days worth of food and water.  Other essentials include battery radio, flashlight, batteries, first aid, medicines and toiletries. Refresh these kits annually.

 

Family plan

Family plans can be communicated during family meetings.  Talking about the plan makes it less scary and easy to accomplish. Your family plan should include where to meet if there is a fire in your home, where to meet if a disaster happens while your kids are at school and you are at work, and where to meet if you are separated.

 

Helpful apps

If you have cell access, there are 2 helpful apps to download.

FEMA: weather alerts, safety tips and shelter information

American Red Cross: a variety of apps including personal and pet first aid, blood, and hero care

 

You and your family will have peace of mind knowing you have started preparing.

Back to School Routines for Empty Nesters

Back to School Tips for Empty Nesters

As much as we love Summer, Back to School is the time we all use to reset whether we have school age kids or not. We all need a little structure and that comes from establishing routines for self care and priorities. Our self care and priorities are part of the big picture of purpose and meaning. Back to School can be a time of reflecting, learning and boundary setting.

 

Resetting Self Care

Summer might have meant more fast food dining. It could have been too hot for outside exercise. AND maybe you have been staying up much later because it is light so late into the evening. Resetting your priorities is often resetting your self care. Take baby steps to get back to your daily routines of hydration, exercise and nutrition. First, reset your bedtime to mirror what is best for work from home or work in the office. If bedtime is a continuous struggle, look at your routines before bed.  Keep your self care goals easy to accomplish and link existing successful routines to other routines.

 

Reflecting on Priorities

Back to school time feels a lot like new year. It can be a time where we evaluate and update our priorities, balance and connections. Our work life integration is where we have a balance between our professional life and personal life. Set aside a few minutes of reflection time to create a vision of balance. Priorities result with a clear decision on how you want to spend your time after work and where you work. Resetting priorities gives us the opportunity to find meaning and connection in our lives. This is also a great time for an annual summit for you, your family and your business.

 

Back to life long learning

Life long learning and curiosity go together. There is no age limit on learning so let Back To School prompt you to begin learning something new. Reading, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube, taking a course are all ways we grow in knowledge. It is also how we thrive. Learning new skills slows cognitive aging. Now this is a good reason to continue life long learning of all types.

 

Resetting boundaries

The best part of Back To School is setting boundaries.  Remember in school when time in one class was 50 minutes. That was a great boundary for work in that content area. Boundaries add structure to your time and connections helping you adhere to your goals and priorities. If it is a struggle to set boundaries, know why you are setting a boundary to get the most benefit.

 

Back to School for Empty Nesters is an optimal time to create new opportunities, let go of what has not served you well, and get back to routines. Seize the opportunity to overhaul and create time for what is important to you.

Back to School Tips for Meal Prepping and Planning

Back to school meal prep and planning

 

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

 

Team up

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

Order online

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

Use multipliers

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

 

Be pantry prepared and freezer ready

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

 

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

 

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

 

Rely on organization

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

 

Chart your course

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Back to School Tips for Students with ADHD

 

Back To School Tips for Students with ADHD

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

 

Your Coaching Role

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

 

Organizing Skills and Systems

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

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

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

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

 

Maintaining and emphasizing school success routines

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

 

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

 

Back to School Tips for Students with ADHD graphic

 

Back to School Tips for Families with ADHD

Back to school tips for families with ADHD

 

After a busy summer on the go, Back to School for families with ADHD might be either a struggle or a comfort.  Your family might have trouble transitioning from the less routine days of summer to the structure of back to school. You all might have some anxiety about the next new normal, new teachers and an overwhelming influx of dates and papers.  The best solution is getting organized for back to school.

 

Setting up planners for everyone

Parent don’t have to be the only ones with calendars.  Start Back to School with a digital planner for everyone and a visual planner for the home.  Gather all the dates ahead and front load your planners with school holidays, activities and other dates.  Share the digital planner with everyone via device.  Now set up your family meeting time and add these same dates to your visual family calendar. Give your kids options for their school digital planner with Google calendar or MyHomeworkApp. Planners help everyone be more organized and independent in their lives.

Pro tip: If your kids ask you about a date, refer them to your home and digital planners.  They learn the value of self-sufficiency this way. Keep this going by checking everyone’s planner each week at your family meeting

 

Decluttering together

Is everyone’s closet over stuffed and they still have nothing to wear? Back to School is the time to declutter and donate. Set up partners and set aside an hour to go through clothes. Immediately move those forward. Now see what is left and purchase a capsule wardrobe for fall. For kids that is 10 items (tops, bottoms, jacket, leggings) that together create a fashionable selection for school and work days.

Pro tip: Less is more. Fewer clothes mean less laundry. Keep vigilant on new purchases throughout the year. 

 

Determining study areas and school supplies

Setting up a successful homework area and access to school supplies makes homework time easier.  Most kids work best in a quiet but not secluded area. Your dining room is ideal.  Use a caddy filled with necessary supplies at that location. Fill backpacks with the same supplies for work at school. Organize a school supply area, labelled and with easy access.

Pro tip: Establish study times and routines for your family.  Start at the same time every day to maximize productivity. Check your students’ online planners offered by school. Load up back packs and move them to the landing strip or mudroom as the last step for homework. 

 

Acting as the Family Chief Operations Officer

Every team needs a Chief Operations Officer (COO) and that is you!

  • Use a command center for this job. Your command center includes your family calendar, a bulletin board for resources and invitations, and wall pockets for paper work.  Have one wall pocket for school or one for each kid.  Set up office hours to review email, purchase supplies online and stay on top of family activities.
  • A family landing strip or mud room is the hub of activities. Hooks for bags and bins for shoes keeps this area organized.
  • As a person with ADHD, remember to work as a team. Look for tasks to delegate and automate. That can be additional help like a cleaning lady or automating your Amazon deliveries.

Pro tip: Your self care will help you be more productive as the COO. Put your own oxygen mask on first and finds ways to prioritize your tasks. 

 

There’s a lot to keep in mind with the Back to School transition. Pace yourself, get everyone in bed early the week before school starts and plan extra healthy snacks on your grocery list.  You are practicing organization and that takes time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Set ADHD Friendly Dates and Deadlines

how to set adhd friendly dates and deadlines

 

Deadlines can be scary. These are the ultimate accountability when working on a task or project. You can use these to create momentum and power through to completion with a little insight into setting a date that works taking many points into account, including who is on your team, what resources are available and your work style. Check out these tips on how to set ADHD friendly dates and deadlines for your productivity.

 

Use data to create a deadline

Deadlines depend on how long a task takes and how many tasks are part of a project.  Use real time data to determine how much time is needed by using a timer or Rescue Time on your computer. Gather this data early in order to set up your project management.  With that data, determine how much time you have available and plan accordingly.  One project might take more time and require cutting back on another project. Plan accordingly to set a deadline.

 

Process dates and deadlines with visual tools

We process information with a variety of time management tools. These include a month at a glance planner, a week at a glance planner, and a categorized list of tasks. Use the tools that help you best “see” the needs of your project and when the outcome works best. When finished, be sure to post your work in segments with dates where you can see these at a glance.

 

Untangle the decisions on your project

Your list may be a tangled maze of decisions depending on a sequence of decisions.  In order to simplify the deadline, list details in order of decision or use a mind map to intertwine decisions. Getting clarity on the sequence and creating a sequence of smaller deadlines helps you complete the project.

 

Work backwards to set a date

You may be given a deadline for a project instead of choosing a deadline  You can work backwards to determine the sequence of tasks to complete this on time and the segments to work on.

 

Outsource part of your work

It may be that you can outsource some of the small tasks in your work.  Can a colleague supply data or write up a section for your work? There are lots of creative in person and online tech tools to help you delegate too.

 

Work with a body double

Working in parallel can help you overcome paralysis.  Setting a deadline while body doubling can help you come to a conclusion. That body double can also be a person from FocusMate, a tech tool that partners you up for productivity.

 

Frame your outcome

While working on a project, the goal can become fuzzy.  Be sure to go back and clarify the required outcome. If you are not clear, you will spend more time unnecessarily. Finishing on time is one of the most important objectives too.

 

Check out which tool you want to use to help you set the deadlines for your next task or project. After you practice, review what worked for you!

 

How a Pause Can Help

how a pause can help those with adhd

Life moving too fast? Stuff happening all around and you are feeling out of control?  Ready to hit reset?  There’s a lot of power in a pause. A pause is a simple time out and a break in the action.

 

The Power of the Pause

In a recent Houston Chronicle article, author Marci Sharp talked about “Pausing gives us the opportunity to choose how we want to show up, to stay present and connected, and it’s reliably settling.”  A pause can help us pull back, reset our direction, keep us from regret in a situation, and be more intentional and conscious in any outcome.

 

Not so much power from a pause

Pausing can be especially unnatural for those with ADHD. It’s hard to stop and transitions are difficult. After starting a task, hyperfocus can kick in with an intense period of focus. If you practice the Pomodoro Method, a short pause can be not so helpful in that getting back to work could be difficult.  During a pause you could get distracted and move onto a different, more interesting project or other diversion. A pause is not always the answer for productivity.

 

Pause for emotion regulation

A pause for emotional regulation can help you be your best self.  With a pause, you can identify the emotion you are feeling and choose your response to that feeling. The pause gives you time for awareness and the opportunity to act with a desired emotion and action accordingly. When emotions are ramping up, pay attention and name that emotion. Naming an emotion can be the pause itself.

 

Pause for impulsivity

Creating a break before acting impulsively can prevent regret. Impulsive actions often lead to negative consequences. Use your intuition and self-talk  to create awareness of your impulsivity. Do you remember a time that a pause would have prevented a situation? Inserting a moment to remember a consequence can create an improved response and decision.

 

Pause for processing

Information comes at us quickly, from many sources, at a rate we may need to pause to understand all that is being shared. Having time to process information helps us better understand and more fully integrate information for us to learn.

 

Pause for communication

Active listening helps us communicate effectively.  That is to listening and then repeating back what we hear in a positive way with a partner or colleague to insure we and they are heard. As often as we or our partner feel that they have not been heard, this pause for communication is a powerful positive connection. Give yourself and your partner ample time in your pause. It will help the flow of conversation and engagement.

 

When you use the power of the pause consistently, you are not only using the tool to help with challenges of ADHD.   You are moving forward with emotional intelligence, consistent responses and improved communication.

 

ADHD Friendly Time Awareness Tools

 

adhd friendly time awareness tools

Time awareness is an intuitive sense of how time is passing. For some of us, that’s a built in sense of time passing. For some of us, time varies when we do something we love and something we hate.  Review these analog and digital tools that can help you build your time awareness and help you track your time.

 

TimeTimer

This innovative tool displays time as a red disc that gets smaller as time elapses. It is available as an app and a product.

 

On-Core Time Master

On-Core Time Master simplifies the process by having an app handy on your iPhone or iPod Touch, ready at all times, for you to track your time. You can quickly start tracking time with a few taps on the screen.

 

Pomodoro Tomato Timer

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique created by Francesco Cirillo for a more productive way to work and study. The technique is alternating work and break times for a series of three work sessions.

RescueTime

Rescue Time is a  desktop app, browser extension, and mobile app that tracks where you spend your time. From the reports you can see exactly where your time goes and block distractions that keep you from being productive.

Alexa and Siri

Use “Routines” (under main menu) to set Alexa to play on whatever hours you schedule. Use audible clock for a variety of sounds.

Apple watch

A variety of settings on your watch help you.  You can set an auditory reminder every 15, 30 or 60 minutes. There are different watch faces, displays, reminders, timer and alarms.

Timer on your phone

Set a timer to help you get started and finish a task.

Month at a glance planner

Use this planner to process and plan dates and deadlines.

 

Analog clock

An analog clock helps you visually assess time moving.

 

What tools can you recommend for time awareness?

3 Tips to Maximize Your Vacation While You Are Away

 

3 tips to maximize your vacation while you are away

 

You finally are away on your well deserved vacation.  Congrats on prioritizing your self care in taking time away!  You prepped your colleagues at work and your pet sitter is managing the home front. Now is the time to maximize your time away. No matter where you go or what your plan is, your vacation should provide a change of daily life, a boost to your wellness and self care and a way to make a memory for yourself and your family to reflect on through the next year or beyond.

 

Start with a digital detox

We have been glued to our screens for a long while now. Every day seemed to bring new complex situations. This vacation could be the perfect time for a digital detox.  The reasons are clear that we need time to be present and in the moment with those with us on vacation, as well as time to just sit. Create a common charging spot for your devices and place them in this area each morning and night. Be intentional about your time on vacation. Choose activities that engage you and fulfill your spirit. In the evening set up card games or family games.  You will return to your job more productive.

 

Be intentional and organized about time away

Break your trip into segments that work for your energy level.  There are options for everyone during vacation.

  • New experiences, new connections and learning are exciting and engaging. Decide what kind of experience you want to have while you are on vacation.  Think about hobbies and interests you may not have time for at home.  Consider finding local adventures like zip lining or mindfulness opportunities like yoga. You can find cooking lessons or try new cuisine while away.  Choosing something out of your every day experience that brings you energy and joy.
  • Choose the time you spend with family. We are excited to see family that we have not seen in a while. It can be exhilarating and exhausting. When you feel ready to take a break, spend the time on your own regrouping. Set aside times during the day that you can be together and apart.
  • Maybe this year vacation is all about peace and quiet. Many of us are depleted of energy and motivation after this difficult year.  Intentionally choose to sit and relax. Choose a beautiful view to sit and be quiet. Take a walk in silence to start or end your day. Head to bed extra early while away to gain on your sleep schedule. Being on the go can leave you exhausted after your vacation.

Give yourself re-entry time

A rushed re-entry into real life can take away from your most relaxing vacation. Give yourself the opportunity to easy back into work and life.

  • Bring back a little keepsake, a photo or something to keep your vacation in mind all summer.  That photo can be placed where you see it daily, especially on your phone screen.
  • Get back earlier than you might think. This will give you time to catch up on laundry and meals at home.
  • Start by making a list of what needs to be done, prioritize your list and make a plan. Not everything needs to be done the first day or week back.
  • Allow for time at work for catching up on email. Share responses that acknowledge receipt and time to get back into work flow.
  • Give yourself breaks when you return to work. Conversations with colleagues when you start the day, a walk in the middle of the day, and a recap of productivity at the end of the day make it easier.

 

The pay off to your productivity is huge if you have truly spent your time away regrouping, resetting and refreshing.

Taking Time for Self Care Daily

 

taking time daily for self care

 

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

 

Creating a mindset of self care

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

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

 

Daily self care

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

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

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

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

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