Baby Steps for Better Time Management

 

Time awareness is a familiar challenge for those with ADHD. Often referred to as time blindness,  people have difficulty knowing how long a task will take, knowing how much time to allocate for transitions such as leaving for an appointment to be on time, or how long they are spending on a task. Start with baby steps in creating more time awareness to begin better time management.

 

Build data

Learn about time by building data about your use of time. Start by using a clock to time the duration of tasks at home like getting ready in the morning, winding down in the evening, or unloading the dishwasher. Clock tasks at work such as reading and responding to emails or completing a report. You are better prepared for setting up time blocks with this information.

Analyze patterns in your day to learn about your personal productivity. Learning your chronotype, when you work best during the day, helps you know when to schedule your tasks and projects. Focus on the positive and assess the situation, time, or location that prompted your success.

 

Externalize time

Using an external tool to help you become more time makes it easier to see or feel time. Add an analog clock in spots where time is lost. This type of clock, with arms that move, offers a visual reminder of time. Use a timer to hear the beginning, duration, and end of an allocated time. Set alarms and reminders to start and complete tasks. Each of these external time managers helps keep you on track.

Calendars are one of the best external tools for time management. With a place for dates, appointments, and tasks, you no longer have to remember this information. Update your calendar as information comes in and refer to your calendar all day throughout the day. Widgets make your calendar visible on the locked screen of your devices.

There are many more digital tools to help you on your journey, such as Alexa and Siri!

 

Get organized

Because of poor working memory, items can get misplaced and delay you. Be sure to have a “place for everything and everything in its place” to save time when you are ready to start a project or leave your home or office.  Have a reset time to replace items into their spots each week. Proactively being organized gives you the best opportunity to make use of the time you have.

Organize your calendar and reminders with cloud-based project management tools such as Click Up, Trello, and Asana. By integrating these, you are automating your time and task management.

 

 

Choose one of these baby steps to help you with your time awareness. Remember that time awareness is a work in progress and that you are learning as you progress.

Embracing Neurodiversity: Celebrating ADHD Awareness Month

embracing neurodiversity and adhd awareness month

 

October is ADHD Awareness Month. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of people worldwide, and this month is dedicated to raising awareness, reducing stigma, and celebrating the unique qualities and talents of individuals with ADHD. Whether you are newly diagnosed, a veteran with your diagnosis, know someone, or work with someone with ADHD, I share what ADHD is, explore the challenges, and emphasize why it is important to embrace neurodiversity.

 

About ADHD

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by executive function issues, including motivation, organization, inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These factors can significantly impact a person’s daily life.

  • Those with ADHD have difficulty organizing their belongings and their time.  Some people lose track of keys, papers, appointments, and time.
  • Time awareness is poor for those with ADHD.  They are not sure of how much time has passed, how long a task will take, or have trouble managing their time.
  • Impulsivity such as acting through thinking or interrupting others can cause unintended consequences for those with ADHD.
  • Lack of attention on tasks, following through with instructions, or staying on track impairs productivity.
  • Individuals with ADHD struggle more with procrastination due to trouble initiating tasks and sustaining effort over time.
  • Transitioning between tasks and shifting attention can interfere with time management.
  • Because of poor working memory, people with ADHD may have difficulty holding onto information in their heads, following through on multiple-step tasks, and increased frustration with multiple-step tasks.
  • Co-existing conditions of depression and anxiety impact these daily life activities.

Executive function deficits are common in ADHD, however not all individuals with ADHD experience the same challenges to the same degree.  Every person with ADHD experiences the challenges of executive function in a different way with different levels of challenge.

Embracing Neurodiversity

ADHD Awareness Month is a time to celebrate neurodiversity by recognizing that differences contribute to the depth and breadth of our world. You can share the love of neurodiversity by learning more about it and supporting those experiencing it.

Learn about ADHD, its symptoms, and the challenges individuals face. Here are some sites that help you better understand neurodiversity.

    • ADDitudemag.com
    • Understood.org
    • CHADD.org
    • ADDA.com
    • ADDA-SR.org
    • Professional-Organizer.com

Support individuals with ADHD with understanding. These are some ways to offer support for yourself or others with ADHD.

    • Find a coach to support you with curiosity and accountability.
    • Chat with friends and family about how to best support you. If you are a friend or family, take the initiative to gently discuss how you can best support them.
    • Connect with ADDA-SR, ADDA, or CHADD to join a support group. Groups are offered virtually throughout the month and can be specially focused on parenting, aging, and more.
    • Join an online ADHD social media support offering suggestions and support.
    • Choose a therapist who specializes in support for those with ADHD.
    • Build a bigger team for those with ADHD to thrive with their diagnosis.

Empower those with ADHD to embrace their unique traits and talents, fostering a positive self-image.

    • There are many ways to accept an ADHD diagnosis, including the choice to take medication.
    • Through learning about strengths, embrace ways to build from these opportunities for out-of-the-box thinking, spontaneity, and passion.
    • Validate feelings about neurodiversity through empathy.

By getting to know ADHD better, and appreciating the strengths and challenges it brings, we can better encourage and support those with ADHD and other brain-based conditions.

Learn more here at ADHD Awareness Month!

Baby Steps to Boost Resilence

Baby steps to boost reslience

 

Resilience means the ability to weather challenges, recover quickly from difficulties, and the capacity to spring back into shape. In our uncertain world, we utilize this quality every day in our work, home, and life. Every day, we face tests where things take longer than expected, become more complicated, and can be frustrating. Boost your resilience through self-care by incorporating one or more of these baby steps.

 

Connect with others

Take a moment to actively seek opportunities to connect with others. Engage in small talk by asking about your colleagues’ weekend plans, inquiring about their family, or establishing common ground, such as discussing the importance of coffee to start the day. Start a new hobby or engage in a philanthropic project to find new energy and build friendships. Building camaraderie starts with these small conversations and establishes connections.

 

Plan outdoor time

Research highlights the significance of spending time outdoors. It rejuvenates our systems by providing Vitamin D, aids in disease prevention, and enhances overall well-being. Take a few minutes to step outside, whether it’s walking from the parking lot to the office or strolling around the backyard. Enjoy coffee or lemonade outside at a coffee spot. Sit outside for a few minutes every evening as the temperatures cool. Tend a container garden with fall herbs. Your time outside will benefit your sleep too.

 

Pause and express gratitude

Take a moment to reflect on one positive aspect of your day. Embrace that brief moment of joy and appreciate something that brought you happiness. Place a small souvenir from a vacation at your desk or add a photo to your screen to remind of you of your time away. Write a note to a friend, pick up a funny card to share, or text a quick thank you.

 

Escort your devices out of the bedroom

A great night’s rest without blue light or interruption makes all the difference for your productivity. Sleep well with time away from what keeps you awake.

 

Share kindness

A colleague shared how a few minutes of time on the phone about a concern helped another person do so much. She declined payment for the phone time and instead that person donated to the local food bank instead. The power of helping makes a big difference. Find a small way you can share kindness in a difficult situation. It might be acknowledging that others are doing a great job while in their own difficult situation with emotional support, bringing food to a family undergoing difficult circumstances, or letting someone ahead of you in line.

 

Choose a way to cultivate your resilience through pausing, reflecting, and taking time for self-care. Squeeze in a few minutes daily for this important skill that builds emotional resilience.

 

 

Baby Steps for Decluttering

 

We are all always on a decluttering journey. Some times we feel we are ahead of the curve however mainly we sense we are not. Likely you do not have time or energy for full on decluttering. Choose one or more of these baby steps for decluttering to keep your space organized.

 

Set a timer

In as few as 15 minutes, you can make a difference with decluttering.

  • Walk around your home with a trash bag and remove all the trash.
  • Review papers that have built up around your house, then shred or recycle.
  • Do a reset. Put away laundry and place items back in their homes.

Find a small spot

Start small and build momentum.

  • Declutter one drawer at a time. Toss, donate and categorize your small space.
  • Use a shopping bag to let go right away of what is unused or less loved. Drop that bag off each week.
  • Practice the “one in, two out rule” as new items come into your space.

Say no to one activity, event or commitment

Your time and calendar are cluttered too.

  • Add self-care to your calendar with exercise, doctor’s appointments and time with friends.
  • Know how much time to allocate to tasks, projects and transitions. Use white space between time blocks to give yourself wiggle room.
  • Add in preparation time, dedicated to being sure you are ready for fun.

Enlist your team

There is power in numbers. Add more team members to declutter.

  • Choose an organizing playlist and include your family in decluttering.
  • Call a local charity to pick up your donations.
  • Hire a certified professional organizer or coach to speed up the process.

Empower your editing

Your mindset empowers your decluttering.

  • Establish a mantra for living with less. Gretchen Rubin’s mantra is outer order inspires inner calm. Write out your mantra to keep you on track with editing.
  • Follow a rule for living. Peter Shankman’s rules include only black clothes in his closet to keep his attire simple. Create simple, effective rules for your living space.

Stay away from swiping

Clutter comes in quickly from online purchases.

  • Pause before purchasing. Give yourself 24 hours before purchasing items online.
  • Remember the adage, when something seems too good to be true, it generally is.
  • Make returns quickly when a purchase is not a good fit. Drop off items at your local USPS, UPS or other location within a week of delivery. You save money this way also.
  • Less coming in means less to declutter later. It is hard to remember to shop your own closet, review your school supplies and find what you need in your home.

 

Using quick and easy decluttering strategies will help you enjoy your space!

Turning Over a New Leaf: ADHD Friendly Fall Decluttering Strategies

 

adhd friendly fall decluttering strategies

 

As the Fall begins, the energy of the season moves us forward to declutter our space. For those with ADHD, the idea and action of editing might feel overwhelming. With the right strategies, you can turn that energy into momentum. Here are some practical methods that are tailored to ADHD minds to bring clarity and organization to your spaces.

 

Understanding the challenges that come with ADHD

Decluttering can be especially challenging due to difficulties with decision-making, sequencing, and sustained attention. In addition, challenges with initiation and perfectionism may make it more difficult to start or finish decluttering in your space. These strategies are curated to align with these challenges.

 

Fall decluttering strategies

Set yourself up for success with these tips.

  • Set small goals for your work.  Rather than decluttering an entire home, start with smaller areas to work. You can focus on one drawer, one shelf, or a small surface.  Starting small will help you have a shorter time to work, making it easier to maintain focus. You will have fewer decisions to make in a smaller area. These small successes will boost your motivation and confidence.
  • Use a timer to keep on task. With the Pomodoro Technique, you can set a timer for 20 minutes and declutter. Then you can take a 5-minute break. Alternate work and breaks for 3 segments. The timer will help you maintain attention and focus.
  • Sort by categories. Using context can make a difference in knowing what to keep and how many to keep. Sorting into categories makes decision-making easier.  You can sort by season, and decluttering from the summer knowing what you have used or what is ready to go. You can tackle books one day, clothes another day and kitchen items another day. It is easier to make decisions.
  • Ask a friend to be your clutter buddy. As your clutter buddy, they are working as a body double with you.

 

Fall maintenance strategies

Keep your space organized with these strategies.

  • Make it as easy as possible to maintain your space with simple rules. Use the five-minute rule to put away items ASAP. This prevents clutter from building up and becoming overwhelming.
  • As items come in, use a two-out and one-in rule. Adopt the rule that for every item that comes in, two items leave.
  • Remember that easy maintenance prevents stress. Resetting your space every Sunday is prepping for a successful week.
  • Every item needs a home. Before you purchase, review what you have and know what you need. Never shop without a list so you know what you need.
  • Make it a team effort. Work with your family or bring in a helper to get stuff back to its home. Outsourcing assistance makes it easier to maintain your space.

Embracing the energy of Fall with decluttering can be manageable by tailoring your strengths to your work. As you clear the clutter, you will find that your mental clarity and focus also improve.

 

4 Ways a Professional Organizer Offers a Fresh Start

4 ways a certified professional organizer gives you a fresh start

 

Your home may be more or less organized.  You may be able to find most of the papers you need and the stuff you use.  But you may feel that there is still room for improvement. If this sounds like you, and you are ready to get your space more organized, it is time to bring in a certified professional organizer to give you a fresh start. Just like you would enlist a trainer or nutritionist to help with fitness or wellness challenges, hiring a certified professional organizer helps you define and update your organizing with a fresh perspective. Here are four reasons why.

Objectivity

You have seen your stuff many times. You may be too close to your stuff or too detailed to have objectivity about your space and your stuff. A certified professional organizer brings in no judgment, only questions to help you with your clarity in a space. Having someone new view your space, you have the opportunity to step back and gain objectivity as well.

 

New perspective

You may be stuck in how you do your organizing. It might be you don’t know where to start or where to go next with your organizing. A certified professional organizer can offer new ideas and strategies on how to approach your work and your stuff.  Gathering a new perspective offers an opportunity for positive change in systems and routines.

Efficiency

Life is busy! We want to move through our organizing quickly and efficiently. A certified professional organizer will help you be efficient and effective in your project. As your partner in organizing, you can be assured that work will progress at a pace that works well for you.

 

Project management and completion

Something that might have seemed easy and simple to begin with, can become more complicated. Moving might include bringing items from multiple locations. You might need to dedicate time to family and work, instead of organizing. A certified professional organizer will bring in project management skills that pull together resources, details, deadlines, and finances. With this assistance, you can work best on the project.

 

Are you ready for a positive change that brings a fresh perspective and a fresh start?  Hire a certified professional organizer to help you!

4 Ways that Working with a Certified Professional Organizer Supports You and Your Goals

4 ways that a certified professional organizer supports you and your goals

 

There are possible times you might have felt overwhelmed by clutter, decisions, and stress in your home or at work. That feeling of being overwhelmed can keep you from setting goals, starting your projects, and getting started on tasks. You might feel like you lack direction.  That’s when you benefit most from hiring a certified professional organizer.  A professional organizer helps you create and maintain systems and routines for home, work, and life.

 

Support for your organizing

Being organized saves you time, money, and stress. A certified professional organizer is a partner in helping you sort and declutter efficiently.  Immediately you know what you have and how to find it. There is no more purchase duplication because you can’t find what you have. You have not wasted time and energy looking for something because it has a home and you can find it. Being organized gives you confidence and control.

Support for your productivity

Being productive gives us back time to do what we love. Working with a certified professional organizer boosts your focus. By identifying distractions and causes of procrastination, and creating a workflow with effective tools, your output improves. Starting a workflow that includes breaking down tasks, projects, and goals into chunks creates manageable deadlines and deliverables. You feel more productive, creative, and in charge.

 

Support for your financial goals

The first step is to identify how to streamline your processes, eliminate waste, and evaluate resources. They can also help you set up systems for managing your bills, receipts, taxes, and budget so that you can avoid late fees, penalties, and stress. By saving time and money, you can free up more resources for your wellness and happiness goals.

 

Support for your well-being

As your other areas improve in life, your overall health, well-being, and emotional wellness improve. Your sense of work-life integration changes, as well as time to pursue what you love and spend time with those you cherish. Establishing healthy boundaries and self-care routines in your day improves your quality of life. With time blocking and Weekly Planning, you are able to prioritize what is most important and follow through consistently. A certified professional organizer can help you establish routines for healthy habits that support your rest, nutrition, and exercise.

 

  • Communication and connection improve your well-being. A certified professional organizer can help you find ways to easily connect through organizing events, finding time for volunteering, and creating space for family connection. Keeping connected is important to a thriving, empowered life.

 

  • Life transitions occur more frequently now. A certified professional organizer can help as you navigate these transitions by coaching and supporting you. Helping build a team, including a coach, therapist, or spiritual advisor, as well as other resources, support you and reduces your anxiety. Finding strategies for relaxation, mindfulness, and positive thinking are benefits.

 

Curious about how this might work for you? Reach out to connect! Together we celebrate your successes, accomplishments, and strengths, supporting you with acknowledgment and encouragement.

 

 

Back to School: Setting up and Organizing a Home Office

 

Back to school is a great time to evaluate all the spaces in your home and how these are functioning. While the debate continues on the success of working from home, we have all learned the importance and value of setting up a home office. A home office gives you a dedicated space to work productively and keep up with the details, papers, and stuff that go along with work and home administration.  There are several parts of setting up your office you will want to consider as you create a workspace that works for you.

 

Location

Decide on what space works best for you! Some families relinquish the dining room to become an office, some families work well in the midst of the media area.  Decide if you need quiet, paper management, and printing capability, and what tools you will use to work.  You are ready to set up your space after thinking this through.

 

Desk, chair, and ergonomics

Those who have worked in a dining room all this time might have back pain. Choose an ergonomic option that gives you good support. Lighting for work and Zoom are considerations. Your desk should be ample in size to not only hold your computer but also have space to work. Look at these as strong foundations for a good setup.

 

Paper management

Function and beauty are both important for your office.  Your command center with mail and actionable papers can be located in this space to keep all paper together. Establish a paper management system for your files with easy access using a file cart or a file bin adjacent to your desk. Lateral file cabinets are easy to access and can also work as a credenza for storage behind your desk.

Storage

Bookshelves with attractive notebooks, magazine sorters, and bins help you create storage for each office supply. Projects can be stored on a shelf in an attractive container. This is the spot to store back-to-school supplies for your kiddos to access. Label the storage containers and shelves for everyone to know what is stored and where to find it.

 

Technology

Technology and internet speed are crucial to your success. Be sure to have ample space on your hard drive and fast internet. Back up your computer routinely with an automated system and have a backup internet option in an emergency. Set up your printer and scanner for daily use. Corral your cords with attractive coverings.

 

Family

Multiple workspaces help everyone be more productive. School-age kids can work alongside you during homework time with an additional chair and laptop. If your partner works from home, an additional desk or partner desk can be a part of this space. You can include headphones for those who need quiet or a microphone for Zoom. Your home office can be set up for you and your family with double duty for your work and homework too.

 

Setting up your home office will give you the opportunity to be most efficient and productive at home.

Back to School: Setting up and Organizing a Study Space

Setting up and organizing a study space

 

Back-to-school success depends on a great home study space for your kiddos. With the best intention, families add a desk to their kids’ bedrooms for studying and homework. Adding a desk to their rooms might be the answer to students’ productivity, however, there are other options for families to consider. Here are some setups and strategies for back-to-school homework study spaces.

Prime real estate for studying

Decide on what space works best for you and your student. When we were in college, almost never did we get work done in our dorm room. We went to the library for quiet and desk space. Choose a location where your student can avoid distractions. Many students do best in the dining room. It is an uncluttered space with a big table. You can view how homework is progressing and also step in if help is needed.

Add interest by creating multiple locations for study. Your student could work in the family room, outside under a tree, or at the coffee shop nearby.  Each location gives your student the opportunity for tweaking what works best given the seating, internet access, and focus.

 

Dig in on details of ergonomics and lighting

Keep in mind that a good environment extends beyond location. A desk or table conveys that work is being done and keeps your student at work. Your student might like a standing desk or rolling table top. A chair that supports your student’s posture and good lighting are important parts of your study space. Some students prefer “spinning” chairs or yoga balls that help keep their interest while studying. Portable, battery-operated lamps can be added to any space to add light. Sit with your student as they begin their homework to experience the environment.

 

Consolidate resources and supplies

There’s stock and back stock. Elementary school and middle school students need supplies to complete their assignments. Take stock of what you have for school supplies and create a caddy or cart that can travel with them to that study space. They will likely need a supply of writing utensils, paper, scissors, and a stapler. You can organize this in plastic boxes and a plastic caddy. Stock your student’s backpack with a zipper case with what is needed at school.

Keep restocking supplies in your home office in well-labeled containers. Categorize the items by a group so you know what you have and where you are storing it.

 

What else might be helpful?

  • Cute counts! Add some splash to this spot with fun wall art. An inviting workspace adds fun to after-school assignments.
  • A dry-erase board in the study area helps as a visual reminder of due dates. It can also be used for processing and breaking projects into manageable pieces.
  • Remember to add storage for completed projects and papers. A display spot for art or a shelf for projects celebrates the success of a project in the short term. Create an archive spot for these with a file box for that year. Many families photograph the artwork and create digital photo albums each year.
  • There is always trash with your students whether it is empty drink bottles or crumpled papers. Consider adding a trash can to the area that is big enough for a week’s worth of trash.

 

Engage your student in the process of designing study spaces. This means that they have buy-in and will love the finished space.

Back to School: ADHD Friendly Family Routines

 

Back to school is back to routines. Every fall we are getting back to routines have a less structured summer. Family routines create cohesiveness and support responsibility. These routines are the foundation of life at home. As well, it is a way to make life simpler and easier. Check out these tips on communication, laundry, meal prep and more.

 

 

 

 

Family Calendar

Post a paper family calendar where everyone can see the upcoming activities and tasks for your family. This month-at-a-glance calendar can be posted on the refrigerator or in a pathway everyone passes daily. During your family meeting and all week long, populate the calendar with activities that are coming up. Color-code your calendar to know who is doing what and when.

 

Meal prep

The meal prep goal is the nutritious meals eaten during a time together. Keep it simple with a dinner rotation every 2-3 weeks of the same easily prepared meals. Or use theme days for meal planning, like Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday. Whatever your plan, rotate who is the chef and who is clean up.

 

Theme days

Assign a day of the week for specific tasks, especially grocery runs and laundry days.

 

Communication

Encourage responsibility and independence with a coaching conversation. Encourage some details, some deadlines, and some accountability.

 

 

 

Getting buy-in from your family is important.

  • Keep it simple! Less is more to keep routines going. When tasks are complex, look for ways to simplify to get these done.
  • Remember that as a family you are all in this together. Partner up to work as a team. Variety makes the tasks more interesting.
  • Write stuff down. With checklists, calendars, and notes, your family sees what to do and when to do it.
  • Self-care ensures you and your family have the energy needed to get stuff done. Self-care includes appropriate rest and bedtimes for everyone in the family. If you are feeling drained, your family will too!
  • Always have a deadline for family tasks. These deadlines keep you and your family accountable and happy.

What more ADHD-friendly family organizing ideas? Check out my youtube!