ADHD

Ho Ho Oh No! Holiday Time Management and ADHD

“I’m so confused!” was my first thought as I walked into Home Depot and saw frightening Halloween decorations for sale positioned right next to dazzling Hanukkah and Christmas delights. My initial reaction was followed by, “Wait, isn’t it a bit early for Christmas decoration sales?”. Then my heart skipped a beat and the panic set in: “Yikes! I need to get started on all that holiday stuff or I’ll never get everything done!” The onset of the holiday season can be both exhilarating and terrifying. This is one time of the year during which time management is crucial. For those struggling with ADHD and/or have loved ones challenged by ADHD, time management during the Fall holidays can be particularly daunting.

Time management encompasses the ability to both “see” and “feel” time. Visual cues are used to observe the passage of time, such as the movement of hands on an analog clock or changing shadow patterns on a sidewalk throughout the day. We feel time as we perceive its passage before, during, and after our experiences. Furthermore, we gauge our behavior using the concept of a time horizon—how near in time something needs to be for someone to be motivated into action. According to psychologist Ari Tuckman, people challenged by ADHD experience a shorter time horizon. That motivation kicks in much closer in time to when the event will take place, greatly affecting time management. Tuckman asserts that those with ADHD recognize two times: now and not now. All this spells trouble when trying to navigate the holiday months amidst deadlines, events, and additional responsibilities. However, there are strategies to help deal with the impact that ADHD plays on time management during the holidays.

Strategy 1: Start Now

Calendars: This is the time of year when the calendar becomes your best friend. That snazzy calendar app on your smartphone is sure handy because it travels with you (assuming you’re like me and take it with you everywhere) and is so versatile. However, I can’t stress enough the importance of a more visual, paper calendar for this time of year. It is much easier to visualize that time horizon as well as your increased commitments if you use a paper calendar, especially one with large day blocks in which to record entries you can readily see. If you are in charge of scheduling for a family, a personal calendar as well as a family calendar is helpful for coordinating everyone’s activities while not losing sight of your own commitments.

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Declutter Your Desk in Just 5 Minutes

In our recently published book:  Declutter and Thrive: Overcoming 6 Common Disorganization Types to Reveal Your Best You, one of the types we described is The Overburdened Employee –  for whom clutter and disorganization at work is a daily struggle, negatively impacting their career.

Work with a professional organizer to reset your office or desk space. Then use the tasks listed in the infographic below

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Self-Activation: What’s Getting in the Way of Getting Yourself Going?

When you can't get going

If you’ve ever seen the meme, “I can’t adult today,” you know the feeling. It’s known as “self-activation,” or “getting that heavy ball rolling” a phrase coined by author Ari Tuckman. Self-activation is harder some days than others. It’s harder depending on the task at hand. There are certain tasks which really make us cringe, and we ignore, delay, and avoid these tasks as much as possible. Sometimes, these tasks get done late or never get crossed off the to-do list at all.

Some tasks feel so overwhelming that we can’t seem to begin

Whether it’s cleaning out the garage, paying your taxes, or planning a Thanksgiving dinner for a large group, if the task before us feels overwhelming, we may never start.
Sometimes these are tasks are emotionally charged. We might worry we are going to disappoint or fail. To overcome this type of overwhelm, the key is to do any small part of the difficult task, and build off that.

The first action of an overwhelming task can be to ask for help. Why not?

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Transitions and Change with Your ADHD Child

Change is tough on kids with ADHD

Change is hard on children. For children with ADHD, change is extra challenging. As a mom of an ADHD child, you’ve spent the last nine months helping your child succeed with her school routine. Summer vacation means the familiarity of her school routine goes out the window, and now you begin anew with a summer routine. You may be anxious about your munchkin’s tolerance for a new summer vacation routine. Just like during the school year,

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An ADHD Story: My Son Might be a Mad Scientist

Doc Brown Back to the Future
Remember Doc, the white haired, mad eyed inventor from Back to the Future? Do you remember the scene where Marty goes to visit Doc in his workshop and walks through a cluttered kitchen where a complex Rube Goldberg machine is set up to feed the dog?  My twelve-year-old son with ADHD is a modern-day younger Doc.

My son’s recent projects include: Various robots made with Makeblock; An Arduino powered laser pointer mechanism designed to entertain our cats; a Lego EV3 cobra

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A Calmer Home Environment May Help Reduce Your Anxiety

anxious woman

Anxiety: You Are Not Alone in How You Feel

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US. That is a lot of folks who very often feel panicked, overwhelmed, tense, may have low self-worth, intrusive thoughts, and paralyzing self-doubt that affect their daily life. Sometimes you may successfully hide how you feel while in public, sometimes you withdraw. Anxiety can be mentally and physically exhausting. It affects every facet of life. Sometimes, not even those closest to you, understand

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Making the Decision to Get Organized – Are you Truly Ready?

Are you ready
Making any life change requires a strong decision. We believe there are 3 qualifiers to any strong decision we make.  If these three qualifiers are there, the decision to engage in any activity or life path is easy.  On the other hand, if one or more of these qualifiers are missing, then potential for failure increases.
When working with potential organizing clients we talk through these three qualifiers to establish if the client is truly ready for change.

 

1) What’s your why?

Why do you want to start organizing your home?  If you have ownership of this decision, then we are good to go.  On the other hand, getting organized to stop your husband nagging is not a strong enough reason to initiate. You should want it for yourself.  You might be thinking, “I want to organize my bedroom, to create a beautiful space to wake up to, and not have piles of papers and boxes of items I need to sort through daily. “  Perhaps you have learned over time that your ADD brain needs to start quietly from bed, to ease into a productive day. These reasons sound like a solid why.

 

2) Do you have the support you need?

In some situations, we may decide on a course of action and be off and running.  In other
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The ADHD Guide: Getting to Work on Time

ADHD Guide getting to work on time

Those who have adult ADHD rely on routines to get through what they need to do, to free up time for what they want to do. Mornings can be especially tough. Even an ingrained morning routine is hard to follow when you may not feel fully awake. The following are strategies that will help speed up your morning:

Two alarm system

Get two alarm clocks. If one alarm clock fails to fully rouse you, consider placing a second alarm out of arms reach – such as on your dresser- so that you are forced to get out of bed to turn off the alarm.

Getting Dressed

Simplify your wardrobe to one color palette – neutrals for example – and eliminate all but your favorite pieces. Separate work clothes from home clothes. Store home clothes away from work clothes to help narrow down your outfit choices. Remove and store off-season clothing under your bed or on a high shelf. This will reduce indecision when getting dressed. Most importantly – chose your outfit the night before and save a ton of time in the morning!

Reduce Distractors

Don’t turn on the TV

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

The key to getting out of the house 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. This can be challenging if your student is up late studying, but aim for an early bedtime as much as you can. A sleep app like SleepyTime: Bedtime Calculator can help your child determine what time you they need to get to bed based on when they need to wake up. Taking a hot shower 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 or app 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.

Waking up can be a challenge for those with ADHD. Some recommend using two alarm clocks, one positioned out of arms’ reach. If the first alarm clock fails to rouse your child, they will need to get out of bed to turn off the second alarm.

Prevent morning stumbling blocks by getting ready the night before. Write up a checklist and go through it with your student each night until it becomes second nature. For younger children include a photo of the task you would like them to perform. Post the checklist where your child performs the task. Here is a sample:

  • Homework complete?
  • Forms signed?
  • PE clothes or sport equipment packed?
  • What afterschool activities or appointments are on the calendar the next day?
  • Clothes and shoes picked out?
  • Showered, teeth brushed?
  • Phone plugged in? (not in bedroom)
  • Lunch packed?

 

ADHD specialist Leslie Josel has a brilliant way to help your child get a sense of when certain morning tasks need to be completed. Shown in this short video-tip, Leslie Josel describes “billboarding for time management.” In each room where your child needs to complete a morning task, next to an analog clock, post a large sign which says what time your child needs to be done in that room.

Packing school lunches the night before can also be a big help with staying on track in the morning. Keep the lunch box on the counter as a cue to grab cold items from the fridge.

It may help to write up a simple morning checklist and review it with your student every morning until it becomes second nature. You can include what time each task needs to be complete or set a timer to help your child know when it is time to move to the next task. Here is a sample:

  • Dressed?
  • Bed made?
  • Teeth brushed?
  • Breakfast eaten?
  • Medicine taken?
  • Lunch packed?

 

A healthy protein breakfast is critical, but if you are running late, keep some good protein bars or shakes on hand for the on-the-go breakfast.

Keep the mornings very simple. Keep the TV off so your student doesn’t become absorbed by it. The same goes for video or phone games; it’s difficult to pull children away when they are playing games.

Lastly, attempt to leave the house 5 minutes earlier than you need to. This extra bit of time will give you a little wiggle room for last minute hiccups like lost shoes or missing sweatshirts.

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How a School Lunch Packing Station Will Simplify Your Morning

lunch packing station

Would you like your children to make their own school lunches? A school lunch packing station makes it super easy for your child to take on this responsibility. Start with designating space in your pantry and fridge. A pantry shelf that is eye level for your children is the best choice. Store your child’s lunch box and water bottle near the lunch packing station. In a small labeled bin store your child’s favorite school snacks. Next to that store a labeled bin with napkins, forks/spoons, plastic storage containers and baggies. In your refrigerator, designate a shelf or a drawer for school lunch food. For example, in a labeled drawer keep everything needed to make sandwiches.  On the label write the contents of the drawer: (bread, cheese, turkey meat, mayo, etc.) and keep it stocked with those ingredients. On a designated labeled refrigerator shelf keep juice boxes, veggie packs,

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