Productivity

Tweak Your Morning Routine and Get Out the Door Faster

Are you scrambling every morning as you head out the door? Are you often late to your destination? Do you sometimes forget things at home? Those three questions are so stressful, we know. Mornings are tough for some of us, and feeling like you are running around, frazzled, and forgetting something is not the way anyone wishes to begin their day. Imagine waking up on time, having a calm breakfast, getting dressed without multiple outfit changes, and heading out the door with minutes to spare, with everything you need to take with you. It really can happen! But it does take some work and planning, and even more importantly, commitment. One of the things that causes delays is making decisions—which is why our hacks cut down the number of choices you’ll have to make. Tweak your morning routine with these tips, and get out the door like a BOSS!

No more snoozing.

If the snooze button on your alarm clock or phone is the cause of frequent oversleeping, then it’s time to disable it. Getting out of a warm, cozy bed is one of everyone’s least favorite things (especially now that I have a weighted blanket!), but being up on time is the first thing that needs to happen. If you are a heavy sleeper and don’t realize you are hitting Snooze or sleeping through the alarm, move it farther than the nightstand so you have to actually get up to turn it off.

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How to get organized at home when you have ADHD or mental health issues

by Amanda Long
from The Washington Post
October 31, 2021

The premise that one’s space reflects one’s mental health can be particularly defeating if you’re already in a bad place mentally or physically

After giving birth to her second child in February 2020, KC Davis keenly felt the relationship between the state of her home and the state of her mental health. At home with two kids under 2, battling postpartum depression and ADD, she found herself sitting on the floor surrounded by onesies, toddler clothes and pajama pants, unable to get the laundry finished, ever. “I was living out of a basket of clean laundry — just unable to fold it or put it away — so I decided not to,” said Davis, a licensed therapist in Houston.

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Decision Fatigue: What It Is and How to Avoid It

from WSU Online MBA

It’s 4 p.m. You have an end-of-the-day deadline, five new items on your to-do list, and urgent emails to attend to; you can’t seem to make yourself focus. Gosh, you think, I need a quick energy fix. You were planning on an afternoon workout session, but that means getting into gym clothes and deciding what kind of exercise to do, and wouldn’t it just be easier to get a coffee and a brownie from Starbucks instead?

You’ve just experienced decision fatigue. If this example hits home, then you know why decision fatigue has become a hot topic in the business world, impacting everything from hiring to project management to bad food choices.

Read on for how you can recognize decision fatigue and improve your decision-making skills.

What Is Decision Fatigue?

So, what is decision fatigue, and what impact does it have in and out of the workplace? In essence, decision fatigue is mental exhaustion resulting from the sheer number of decisions a person must make daily, leading to difficulty making—or making good—decisions. That may make sense if your decisions center on company strategy (what’s the best marketing plan for the new product?) or life-changing opportunities (should I take that new job?). The human brain, however, can get caught up in the same decision-making process around what to eat for lunch or wear to work.

 

Read the entire article WSU Online MBA.

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ADHD Strategies We Use With Clients

At Simplify Experts, we do more than just declutter and organize—we also specialize in supporting clients with ADHD. Our founder Denise Allan has specialist credentials in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD, as well as ten additional certificates of study through the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). She is also the only certified Chronic Disorganization Specialist (CPO-CD) in the Pacific Northwest. Our professional organizers are trained one-on-one by Denise with this ethos in mind. This is how we understand that whether you are taking care of a child diagnosed with ADHD or have ADHD yourself, you face extra challenges when it comes to home management and organization. It is not your fault. ADHD causes your mind to feel like it is jumping all over, making you overwhelmed, and disorganized—and your home becomes the same. Your brain chemistry is working against you and your coping mechanisms may not be enough.

When it comes to getting organized, you may feel stuck and don’t even know where to start. Adults with ADHD have many passions and great ideas. Common spaces such as kitchen, dining rooms, garage, and family rooms may have become cluttered by open projects. Visual overstimulation can occur and you never feel the satisfaction of completing a project. Common spaces lose their intended function. Uncompleted projects may cause financial strain and increase conflict with loved ones. We understand these unique challenges and we can help.

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10 Ways ADHD Can Hide in Plain Sight

By Dara Abraham, D.O.
from ADDitude Magazine
June 25, 2021

ADHD is sometimes impossible to miss — and other times far too easy to overlook. The children who exhibit stereotypical symptoms (i.e. hyperactivity or impulsivity) are often diagnosed, while those with not-so-obvious signs (i.e. emotional dysregulation or sleeplessness) may be misdiagnosed into adulthood — or entirely. Here are the ADHD signs most likely to hide in plain sight.

Though it manifests in disparate and dichotomous ways, ADHD is often associated with only a handful of stereotypical behaviors and presentations. So when not-so-obvious ADHD symptoms show up in broad daylight, they may go ignored or misdiagnosed.

Then, when subtle-but-lifelong symptoms of ADHD explode (as they are likely to do) under unique and stressful circumstances, they suddenly become unmanageable. And it’s only then that many adults get the help they need.

Here are commonly overlooked signs of ADHD, including unexpected symptoms and even those that seem contrary to the diagnosis.

Signs That Point to ADHD

1. Your lifelong difficulties with focus, restlessness, and impatience did not affect your work or family – until life drastically changed.

You can still have ADHD even if you were not diagnosed as a child. Commonly, symptoms of poor focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity remain manageable thanks to well-honed coping mechanisms that fall apart with a major life event — like obtaining your first job, getting married, or starting a family. Perhaps, for example, your symptoms remained under control until you found yourself amid the global pandemic.

 

Read the rest on ADDitudemag.com.

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How to Keep Kids Safe on YouTube in 2021

from SafetyDetectives.com
June 2, 2021

Keeping kids away from inappropriate YouTube content can feel overwhelming. There are several billion YouTube videos (500+ hours of video are uploaded every minute), and 2 billion users log into YouTube every month — so how do we filter out all of the violent, sexual, manipulative, hateful, and otherwise unsuitable content that our kids find on YouTube (frequently on accident)?

YouTube has a couple of solutions — including “Restricted Mode” on conventional YouTube and also the curated YouTube Kids app, both of which are meant to filter out adult content. But dozens of reports have been published showing the staggering amount of vulgar, violent, and disturbing content that YouTube’s automated filters fail to catch.

What’s even more worrying is that a lot of these videos are actually targeted at young children, using popular characters, misleading titles, and search-engine-optimized language to maximize views from young children who don’t know any better.

That’s why relying on YouTube’s filters isn’t good enough. But there are some pretty simple techniques that you can use to ensure your kids don’t stumble across the millions of hours of inappropriate content on YouTube in 2021.

Read the rest on SafetyDetectives.com

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Pandemic Habits to Keep

Last month we went over some pandemic habits to say goodbye to, like too much takeout and screen time. However, there are even more habits and routines we’ve changed or added that actually bring healthy, positive, and uplifting vibes to our lives. We may have turned the corner on the pandemic (and fingers crossed that it stays that way!), but some things are too good to let go of. Let’s focus on pandemic habits we should definitely keep!

Walking, walking, and more walking!

Remember in early lockdown when there was nowhere to go and everyone started walking outside? It was actually quite wonderful! Our neighborhood streets, normally quiet, became busy with people walking, saying “Hello” from a distance, and talking to others from their porches. I’d have meet-ups with friends to walk, and with the streets empty we could walk six feet apart in the middle of the road. My husband liked to pop in his AirPods, find his latest favorite podcast, and walk for miles. If COVID got you taking a walk regularly, there’s absolutely no reason to stop this awesome practice. No wonder The Guardian calls 2020 “The Year of the Walker”!

Supporting local businesses

My local community groups were big on supporting local mom-and-pop shops instead of the big retail giants—we sure didn’t want them to disappear during the pandemic. While many places unfortunately still had to shutter, many more stayed afloat and are now feeling a resurgence. Yay! Restaurants, book stores, boutiques, pet shops, food trucks, clothing and gift shops, cafés, etc.—it’s so terrific to see these businesses return to almost-normal and begin to thrive again. Let’s keep up this local support!

Hygiene

One of the things I found so odd (and alarming, honestly) at the beginning of the pandemic was all the imploring for people to wash hands regularly; why was this a new thing?! In any case, in the past year colds and the flu almost disappeared. With social distancing, mask-wearing, and tons of sanitizing, the basic illnesses truly diminished; this may change as the world is opening up and the COVID-safety measures start to go away. I, for one, plan to keep up the hygiene practices—lots of hand-washing and sanitizers—even post-pandemic. I love not getting sick! And as they have been doing in Asia, I will start wearing a mask when I’m feeling under the weather, to keep others from catching whatever bug I’ve got.

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Pandemic Habits to Say Goodbye To

As of June 16, 2021, 70% of King County residents 16 years and older have been fully vaccinated—what an achievement! A year ago as we were struggling to cope with prolonged Stay At Home orders, this seemed like a far-off dream, and now here we are. The state will fully reopen by June 30, and although there will still be some health restrictions remaining, it will be the most “normal” life will be in over a year. I still can’t believe it sometimes! It was a challenging year on so many levels, and most of us had to change how we did everything—how we schooled, worked, and exercised, how we cooked and ate, how we kept ourselves entertained, how we kept in touch with the outside world. Now that things are moving forward, it’s time to make some positive changes in our lives. Some of the practices we’ve picked up during the pandemic definitely aren’t sustainable for a healthy, productive life. Let’s go over pandemic habits we can now work on saying Goodbye to!

Screen time overload.

We are all guilty of this. Every human in the world aged 3-103 spent countless hours on screens: smartphones, e-readers, tablets, computers, and TVs. Many parents relaxed (or chucked out completely) any screen limits for their kids. We worked, schooled, went to the movies, saw our friends and family, had happy hours, and played games via screens—it was a link to life outside your household. If only we’d bought stock in Zoom 18 months ago! It’s time to wean ourselves and our families off too much screen time: we like Calendar.com’s strategies on doing so.

Unstructured days.

For some, working and schooling from home created an upside-down world of malleable scheduling and do-it-when-you-can options. Mealtimes were all over the place, weekdays bled right into the weekends and before you knew it, it was already Tuesday again. Get that calendar up and running, whether it’s a cute calendar hung up in your kitchen, or an online shared family calendar like Cozi. Set up a regular waking, working, and bedtime schedule that is reasonable as well as realistic. Then schedule fun stuff: Hike to Mt. Si, dinner with friends (in a restaurant, even!), a local event like Kirkland Summerfest, game night with the grandparents. Sky’s the limit!

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7 Habits to Break in the New Year

“New year, new me!”, goes the saying. That is a daunting task indeed. Besides, I like me, and I don’t necessarily want to change me to a new one! However, I do know that I’ve got some habits—as we all do—that hinder me from being my best self. Habits that may interfere with my sleep and my productivity; that may contribute to a cluttered home; and that keep me from being as active as I’d like. Even habits that don’t bode well for my financial well-being or my physical and mental health. So let’s change that saying to, “New year, better me!” Let’s start with these 7 habits to break in the new year.

1. Tossing mail on kitchen counter

You get home, get the mail, and put it on the kitchen counter. Sometimes it may take days to get to it, and now you’ve got a pile taking up counter space. Break this habit by setting up a system to handle mail. Whether it’s a mail organizer or a few file folders, set up a situation so you can come in, quickly go through the mail in hand, and place items in their proper categories such as “To Pay,” “To File,” and “To Recycle/Shred”.

2. Constantly checking your phone

How many times a day do you think you look at your phone? You may think, “Oh, maybe about 15,” but the reality is probably at least 10 times that. Check your iPhone or Android data to find out. Then go through your phone and change settings so that only the very important apps will send you notifications or alerts. These steps from CNBC can help you with even more detail on how to lower your phone pick-ups. This will be better for your productivity, your social life, and your sense of self!

3. Sitting all day

So many of us are now working from home, which means a lot of hours spent videoconferencing with coworkers and clients. No bueno! Hours of sitting can seriously take a toll on your health, both physical and mental. Get up every 45-60 minutes, even if it’s just to get the mail (natch, don’t toss it on the counter) or use the restroom. If you’ve got a longer break, walk around the block. If you find it tough to take these breaks you might consider a standing desk.

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A Parent’s Guide to Getting Your ADHD Student to Start School On Time

The key to starting school on time starts the night before. Since kids with ADHD may have sleep issues, a solid sleep routine can help your child be successful with their morning routine.

Begin the sleep ritual early. Turn off any electronic devices well ahead of bedtime, if possible. We know this is tough when kids’ laptops and netbooks are their a major point of connection to their learning environment. It’s also challenging if your student is up late studying, but aim for an early bedtime as much as you can. Try a non-electronic ritual—like reading together or setting out the next day’s outfit—to help ease your child’s transition towards bedtime. Taking a hot shower or bath before bed can help the body get into sleep mode. Some kids with ADHD like to settle down with a book on tape or on Audible, but if that is too stimulating a white noise machine can help your child tune out noise and settle into sleep easier. If possible, try to avoid evening sports or lessons as these may overstimulate your child, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep. Try different strategies until you come up with a sleep routine that works well for your child.

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