This year has been a year of challenges and changes in our country and our community. We have the power to live every day being thankful and grateful. Gratitude is powerful and can make your life better in so many ways. It’s creating new habits that reinforce being positive, gracious, kind, thankful and grateful. Here are many simple, small ways to start or continue showing and sharing these qualities and values.
- Start your day with a daily mantra or with meditation focusing on gratitude.
- Notice the small things in your life and comment. You will increase your mindfulness and your gratitude.
- Capture photos about what you are grateful for on your smart phone. Look back to remind yourself of these moments.
- Text or email a friend or family member each day to share how much you appreciate them and why they are special to you.
- Thank people who are serving you or helping you.
- Sharing a blessing over your food with your family or companions at a meal.
- Make a note in your daily planner or bullet journal of one moment of gratitude that day.
- Have a family “huddle” before your kids head out to school and talk about what you are grateful for that day.
- Write in your gratitude journal each evening as a prelude to bedtime.
- Review your day before bedtime and acknowledge your gratitude.
I am thankful and grateful for our connection. Our work together, ideas we have shared and moments we have spent are all what makes a difference. I wish you an abundance of blessings this year and the opportunity to share how grateful you are for these blessings.
Lists are useful for making sure you have all the details covered. No need to remember every detail because you have it captured on your list. You can be more productive with a list because it keeps you moving forward with each step.
Holiday lists keep you organized during the busy holiday season. Some are lists you keep all year and some are specific to this time of year. All require updating, some at the beginning of the season and some at the end of the season.
Here is a run down of the list of holiday lists that I keep.
|What is this list
and why use it?
|How to use this list effectively||
Month to use this list
|Holiday card list||Holiday card list for friends, family and colleagues||Add names to this list all year long. Update each January with additions and deletions||October|
|Gift list||Gift list for the holiday season, includes those who receive homemade treats||Update with items purchased all year and other items in gift closet||November|
|Holiday party and dinner guest lists||List of those attending your holiday party, Thanksgiving or your holiday dinner||Invite family and friends for holiday dinners. Guests like to know they are included early so as to make other arrangements if necessary.||November|
|Menu||List of items you are making for your holiday party and/or your holiday dinner||Create menu then create grocery list||December|
|Homemade treat list||List of items you are making as holiday treats||Review recipes and purchase containers. Make treats one weekend. Delivery treat the next week.||December|
|Travel list||List of travel plans by person||Review itineraries for travel and purchase travel arrangement. Share with your holiday hosts and other family members.||October|
|Packing list||List of what to pack to travel during the holidays||List your toiletries, attire, shoes, electronics, and other travel items. Add specific items for winter and holiday travel||All year, updated before winter travel|
|Contact list||Names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of family and friends||Use for a variety of uses all year long and during holidays||All year|
As you can see I am a list lover! Here are other lists to use too!
Who hasn’t been delayed at the airport? It’s like travel by stage coach now with unexpected weather and mechanical delays. Recently with Tropical Storm Imenda, I spent 12 hours in the airport. (It was not nearly as scary as those on the road and I was happily near a bathroom.) Even before this challenge, I knew that I needed to be prepared for a potential surprise. This is true during holiday travel season with so many flights and so many travelers. Here is how I organize and prepare for travel and unexpected delays.
Travel bag requirements
I use a rolling small bag that fits under the airplane seat in front of me. I changed to the rolling bag to avoid injuring my shoulders with a heavy carry on. In my bag are several Vera Bradley pouches that keep me organized (of course!) The pouches hold what I call my “apothecary,” cords and connections, reading material, and other important items like jewelry and business documentation.
Connections are what keep us sane. Our phone and devices require charging more frequently as we use these more while in an unexpected situation. I always travel with 2 chargers and an emergency charger. (It’s the block and the cord times two.) I also use these to charge overnight at my destination. I charge once I get to the 20% low battery mode, just like filling the gas tank at the 1/4 mark.
Travel can deplete you and keeping hydrated keeps you well. I purchase a large bottle of water inside the terminal to keep hydrated before I leave the ground and in the air.
Staying on top of travel
All airlines have apps now to keep you up to date. Be sure you switch on the text message app to update you about your flights. You can view where your flight is arriving from so you know if you are on time. Bag tracking is available in case an unfortunate loss occurs (another frequent situation.).
Stay in the know
Many apps help us during these situations. These apps that give us information are priceless. These are local news station app, The Weather Channel and Flight Aware. I learned so much from each of these, tracking weather radar and flights.
All our family have set up the Find a Friend app so that we know where we are at all times. For many reasons this has helped us all feel more comfortable. We know where each of us is and we can help each other maneuver home.
Each of us has our own idea of comfy with travel. It’s a travel pillow or blanket, extra undies, special treats or downloaded music. What makes you feel comfortable is what’s important. I carry a protein bar or two also. Most of my NAPO friends know my love of skittles and pashminas. I carry both with me when I travel, as well as an extra magazine or two.
I hope for you blue skies and sunny destinations. In case there’s a storm in your future, you should be organized and ready to wait it out with comfort.
Holidays are merry times for families. For moms, dads, and family members with ADHD, there can be glitches with planning, timing, and finishing up in time for family time together. When it comes to family events, executive function limitations interfere with holidays in the ways we celebrate, the gifts we share and the time we spend with family. Here are solutions to create hassle free holidays for families with ADHD.
Problem: Everything is important during the holidays. What do I do first and when do I do what? It all seems overwhelming.
Holidays can be magical and meaningful with planning. That planning starts with a calendar. Ask your family about their special family traditions. It’s tempting to say yes to everything, but the key take away is to limit your plans, decorating and parties. Once your family weights in, be sure all the family has access to the calendar to know the final plans and be a part of the fun.
Holiday plans require more time to complete. Start early on all holiday activities. It seems too early to start your holiday planning in October but it is not. For cards, take the photo in October, choose cards and have these printed in early November, and address the cards the week of Thanksgiving. For gifts, go through your gift closet in October, finalize shopping in November, then mail presents the first week of December. As you can see, October organizing and planning is key to holiday success. Set a deadlines for each task. A deadline will help you focus your time and energy.
Problem: There’s so much to do! How do I do it all?
There is no way to do it all during the holidays. It’s also not possible to be the only family member decorating, gift giving and baking. It’s time to look for help. Ask your family to partner with you, working in pairs to accomplish tasks. There’s many ways to get help around you. There’s on demand delegation. You can find help with online tools to hire extra help at this time of year. Take the semi-homemade approach and take help where you can get it from pre-cut groceries and delivery services. Ask teens who want to earn money for help with small tasks. Be open to asking for help and accepting the “not completely perfect” solutions. When you spend extra time on a task, be sure it is valuable enough and worthy of that extra effort.
Problem: I can’t find the perfect gift for everyone on my list.
Find creative solutions to gift giving. Rather than many homemade gifts, choose one gift that includes an experience. Keep your gift giving for those who are especially close. Choose a small gift card for those who are service providers. Choose an organizing gift that can help you stay organized all year long. Order online in order to save time and money. There are many ways to share the joy of gift giving.
Problem: I am worn out before the fun begins. I want to enjoy the holidays too.
Holidaze sets in early with too much to eat and too little sleep. Holiday fun is diminished with too little self care. Be sure to keep true to your routines during this busy time of year. It’s easy to pass on the routines when you might miss out on fun. Routines and self care make sure that you truly enjoy your holidays.
Give yourself the gift of extra self care. Extra self care looks like an afternoon to read your favorite magazine, a soak in the tub with lavender, or an early bed time. Extra self care pays off in being ready to have fun.
Hassle free holidays start with knowing where the hassles begin and how to address these ahead of time. Knowing your options and resources make a difference for holiday times.
Starting in the early 2000, I noticed my clients having similar challenges. It was usually a love hate relationship with time, paper and stuff. That’s when I learned about ADHD. Since that time, I have been working with clients with ADHD and helping make the changes they want in their lives. Because of our work together, these clients have started living the life they have imagined. What is it like for us to work together?
What to expect before we meet
My clients reach out through email or phone, bravely taking a first step. It’s courageous because they have finally recognized how asking for help can make a difference. That courage comes from a deep longing to create systems and routines that have been unnatural for them.
When we initially talk or meet, my role is a listener. I am hearing what are the challenges. I am not judging. Because our work is non-judgmental, we are from the start creating a trust relationship.
It’s common that my clients can feel anxious about our first meeting. Perhaps it is about whether there is “hope” for a solution, or whether there will be judgement, or another feeling. After we meet, that all changes.
What to expect when we meet
Our meetings begin with an assessment. It’s further talk and review of goals, expectations, and ho we will work best together. There is a lot of verbal processing going on! My clients are talkers, who as they talk, ideas become clear. We review the process of decluttering, organizing, and maintaining that we will work on together.
My clients and I establish a rhythm to our work for decluttering. Our work always begins with “what to keep and what to let go.” It’s a conversation at times and it’s a quick sort at times. If my client gets stuck, at times we put something aside to talk further and at times we keep it for a while. My clients often don’t know what to let go of because it is not clear how much of an item they own. We gather items together while we are decluttering. In the end, I bring items to donate to facilitate decluttering.
As we organize, my clients and I determine categories together. There’s grouping, there’s placing, and then there’s products to help. Many of my clients have lots of products to help us organize. We can place these more effectively together.
What to expect after we meet
Organizing is a journey. It’s not over after our series of meetings. We discuss what maintenance looks like, how to create routines to maintain and what a maintenance visit together looks like. These new perspectives on organizing help my clients keep organized. We talk about when we might meet again as needed.
What to expect
My clients have recently decided that they want to make a big change. They have hit a point where the time has come to invest in that change on many levels.
The core of our work together is trust, education, support, and communication. Knowing how my clients work best and sharing basic knowledge about ADHD are underpinnings of our work together. My support and establishing a team to support my clients are part of our work together. Communication, verbal processing, and non-judgemental discussions are elements that move our work together forward.
Curious about ADHD and getting organized? Let’s connect!
Solopreneurs and small business owners are challenged with getting everything and anything done. Their productivity hinges on their strengths. We can’t be good at everything! Having a team approach to productivity makes for success.
- It’s a big daunting how to start building your team. What’s most critical is defining what your team member(s) will do. It’s a range of possibilities. Start with what’s not being done or what you hate to do. Flush out a system with your new team member to create a process that works.
- There are levels of delegation that make this transition easier. Start with specific, direct actions and raise the bar to collaborating on decisions.
Here are some sample models that have worked for my clients. I have listed the challenges faced and how a team member made the challenge happen.
Calling back clients
Client leads were piling up for a small business owner. She did not have time to return calls, discuss opportunities, or make appointments. She was in search of a team player who could help her. Where she found help was in a recently graduated long time friend. Together they set up a process for intake. They practiced this system for a week and added in an online calendaring system. It was a combination of the human touch and technology that made for a successful team.
Reconciling and creating expense reports
All those little receipts that are needed for reconciling and creating expense reports can be overwhelming and disorganized. Getting help with routine administrative and financial tasks can help your business thrive. After tasking this job with several different team members, a small business entrepreneur found a single outsource option. By taking a photo, she was able to send receipts to the outsource person. After that, the business owner met weekly for a check in about the expense report. Reports were turned in timely and the business owner was thrilled.
Another small business owner created a successful strategy for billing clients with technology and a team member. Using FreshBooks, the owner tasked only billing to her team member. With automation, the client could pay online which also eliminated extra steps with banking. A small addition of technology can pave the way.
Setting up a structure for teams
It’s not intuitive for small business owners to set up a structure for team work or communication. When he started with a new company, the small business owner turned to his trusted entrepreneur guide to help him. This guide established a weekly meeting for the team, created working hours for each team member, and set up a collaborative document for them to share work. Having a trust guide to delegate to, the small business owner could focus on his most important big picture work.
A highly organized business person turned her calendar over to her virtual assistant. They collaborated through a series of google docs, email, and online calendar. The calendar was also shared with another team member. Having a process in place created a team calendar that worked well for getting all the details completed.
Finding a productive environment
A small business person struggled with how to be productive in her office. It seemed a little too noisy at the same time. She invited her assistant to work with her on a routine basis, weekly, while she worked on a project. They worked as a body double, paralleling their work on separate projects. Having a second person in the room helped her be accountable to her own work.
Each of these examples of successful team building worked from resourceful, creative and committed collaborations. Creating an effective process by everyone bringing their best efforts, strengths and skills make successful teams possible.
Those with ADHD often feel that they know what to do, it’s more a matter of getting started. That’s the tricky part with executive function challenges. It’s about activating. When you learn there are professional organizers and productivity consultants, you open up a new world to get stuff done. With ADHD, you feel there are ways to be more productive and create order in your world. Here’s a list of why you can activate your organizing when you have ADHD.
Non judgmental partnering
Feeling a positive energy without shame is a first step in getting started. Working with a professional, you are creating a trust relationship that leaves judgement behind. Your professional is your partner in keeping your work moving without remorse of what you are letting go.
Being mindful and staying on task
A professional helps you stay in the moment and on the task. Getting distracted by both internal thoughts and external actions can derail organizing for clients with ADHD. Working together you are focused on the tasks. If you get off track, your professional is guiding you back to your work.
Holding the time and keeping you accountable to your goals
Setting a time to work and keeping track of time can be an executive function challenge. Executive function challenges often relate to time distortion, like how long a task can take. It might feel like it would take forever and your professional can guide you in creating manageable chunks of work time. By setting a date to work with your professional, you are committing and keeping accountable.
Helping make decisions
Getting stuck in making decisions is common for clients with ADHD. There are many decisions back to back in organizing and it can feel overwhelming. With your professional, when you are stuck, your professional helps you move forward with gentle questioning.
Calming your mind on the organizing journey
Many clients have an overlap with anxiety as well as ADHD. It’s that feeling that professionals can help the most. Your professional is reassuring you that you are taking the next steps, making good decisions, and moving forward with your goals.
These 5 reasons to get started make for great reasons to contact a professional!
October is ADHD Awareness Month. It’s a time to learn more about neurodiversity, that being that brains work in many different ways.
Every story with ADHD is a different story
I work with creative, resourceful, smart people with ADHD. They uses their strengths in different ways given their executive function weaknesses. My clients have created frameworks that help them live purposeful and productive lives. With time, paper, and stuff challenges, they look to what works for them to create solutions. These solutions often include innovative routines and habits incorporated into their days.
Support and team work are essential elements
Support is essential for ADHD. That can look like many different things, from professional support to help at home, from every day tasks to those that are big picture. Creating a team engages and enhances productivity. These are well established elements for ADHD success.
Keep learning, keep looking for solutions, keep curious
Knowing more about ADHD is important. It’s all about learning. Learning by podcast with Faster than Normal, reading books like ADD Friendly Ways to Organize, or attending the International Conference on ADHD. The more you, your family, your colleagues and teachers know, the more success in living the life you imagine.
A new diagnosis of ADHD brings with it the opportunity to learn about neurodiversity, organizing and productivity. How will this new learning bring new perspectives and new options to you? Are there ideas to share with your family on ADHD and school this year? There’s so many ways to learn about organizing and productivity. Here are some of my favorites!
One of my most favorite learning tools is learning by podcast. It’s bite size learning, while listening and doing. Here are some of my favorites.
Here’s a range of books to read about ADHD. Many are also available in audiobook.
ADD Friendly Ways to Organize
Faster than Normal (yes, it’s a book too!)
ADHD Effect on Marriage
Driven to Distraction
Webinars and online
Easy access and always available, webinars and online resources make learning easy.
Support looks like many different things. In each association there are numerous ways to find support for yourself and those around you.
CHADD.org offers support groups as well as online support
ADDA-SR.org offers regional support groups, a variety of seminars and state wide conferences.
International ADHD Conference is hosted by CHADD, ADDA and ADD coaching associations. It’s a once a year ADHD event that brings together experts, research, resources and those with ADHD.
Whatever route you take to learn, now is the best time to investigate and invest in resources that support you. Whether you are an adult with ADHD, supporting someone with ADHD, or learning about possibilities for your child, take the leap into learning.
Being organized equals preparedness. There’s no down side to being a little more prepared in general ways especially important when it comes to emergencies. While it feels uncomfortable to discuss emergencies of any sort, there’s comfort in knowing you have created a plan. These little steps with connections, paper work and finances, will take a few extra minutes and give you a big benefit later.
Connections in case of emergency
Our family, friends and neighbors are most important during an emergency. It’s who we rely on and support when an emergency happens. Be sure to make a family emergency plan, include pets and neighbors. That plan should include where to re-connect and meet up after a disaster. Have an out-of-town emergency contact also keeps everyone connected.
Update important documents regularly
Maybe you organized your insurance and important documents several years back immediately after a previous emergency. Spend time each year to review insurance policies, tax documents, and life insurance policies. Keep a current list of utility account numbers in case you are away from your home. All of this should be updated in your safe.
There’s never a good time financially for an emergency. Create an emergency savings fund and keep cash on hand for emergencies. That would be a significant enough amount, such as $500. Surprisingly during a crisis you cannot access all your funds via ATM.
We are often busy enough and put off getting these small organizing pieces in order. If you decide to do just one thing, add an Emergency Contact to your smart phone. There’s a way to add your medical information and then test how to open your phone. In our family, we have Find a Friend on our iphones. This app identifies where we are just in case. Decide on one small thing you can do or a series of small tasks to be prepared.