Posts Taged adhd

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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Motivating a Child with ADHD

Denise is co-presenting with Katie Unterreiner, MSW, LCS; Institute for Challenging Disorganization Teleclass


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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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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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Parent’s Guide to Getting Your ADHD Student to School On-time

Get your ADHD child out the door 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.
Start 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.
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If You Read One Article About Laundry Tips Read This One

laundry tips

Laundry is one of those never-ending, boring, mundane chores.  Many busy families just can’t keep up with the sheer volume of laundry. Others struggle with laundry piles because they don’t have a good laundry routine. To help you get through your laundry quickly and efficiently, we’ve compiled a list of laundry tips and tricks from various experts.

  • Number one laundry tip: Don’t sort your laundry. This is a huge timesaver. Toss in a load of colored, dark and white clothes together with detergent and a ½ cup of vinegar on the cold temperature setting. One exception to this is new dark denim and new red items. Wash those on their own to be sure the color won’t bleed. If you have very expensive silk or delicate items, follow individual washing instructions.
  • Provide each family member with their own labeled laundry basket. Wash each family member’s clothes separately. Wash their entire load of dirty clothes (all colors together) on the cold temperature setting. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the wash (either in the bleach or fabric softener receptacle in front loading machines) to prevent color bleeding. When the clothes are clean, return them to the owner’s basket.
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Goal Setting Strategies for Adults with ADHD

Many adults who have ADHD are curious, intelligent, resourceful, imaginative, genuine, hyper-focusing, out of the box thinkers. This is especially true when they are working on something they find novel and exciting, interesting and fun! But when it comes to tasks they find horribly mundane and boring – ADHDers often can’t get going, they struggle, they get distracted and derailed. Even getting through daily responsibilities can be tough. They may set huge goals (or too many goals) for themselves but just can’t execute on them. They may have great intentions but come up short. Sometimes, they get discouraged and frustrated, and give up on setting goals altogether. This is not caused by a lack of effort; it’s caused by brain chemistry!

If this sounds at all familiar, help lies in customizing time management strategies to work specifically for you and making those strategies part your daily routine.

There are some things in our lives that energize us and some things that sap our energy. Only you know what types of activities recharge your batteries – thus making you more mentally available to get work done.

Think about your best days, your most energy filled, most productive days. What helped you feel so good? Were you well rested? Did you get to exercise? Did you have a great conversation with a friend?  The answer is different for every person. When we are aware of what energizes us, we can seek to optimize that energy and harness it toward more productivity.

Consider what derails you while you are trying to work. You may get started on something productive, but soon get distracted, derailed, lost. Are there specific triggers? Is it social media? Is it online shopping? Is it email notifications? Is it anxiety? Is it your children constantly interrupting you? Is it your cluttered desk? Is it depression? Is it your pet vying for attention? Again, only you know. Awareness, is a great starting point to try and minimize the triggers that derail you. Think about how you can eradicate the triggers that curtail your productivity. Can you turn off all notifications? Can you work in a coffee shop or library? Are you able to hire a babysitter? Would it help to report to a friend who is your accountability partner? Do you need to talk to a therapist or life coach?

When you have identified your sources of energy and have become aware of what derails you, it is time to set a goal. One very clear, very specific small goal. You are less likely to procrastinate if you know you have only one small thing to do.

Specific attainable goal: After dropping the boys at 8:30am I will jog three miles around my neighborhood. 

A vague daunting goal: I want to train for a marathon.

  1. Set a timeframe to achieve the goal. Run the Turkey Trot 10K in six months on Thanksgiving.
  2. Break goal into smaller goals. Run three miles for four weeks. Then increase run length to five miles.
  3. Break smaller goals into action steps. Be very clear about what needs to be done. Jog three miles each week for a month, then jog five miles twice a week until race day.
  4. Identify time to work on action steps – a fixed period of time in which to focus on work. Set reminders or alarms on your phone or computer. Tuesday mornings, from 9-10am is my time for jogging.
  5. At the end of each completed action step – reward yourself! Your choice!
  6. Repeat the action steps. Even if you have set-backs, keep going! You are on your way toward a positive routine.
  7. Complete all small goals. Celebrate when you complete your goal! Note how you feel each time you complete what you set out to do. Your success on each small action item proves that you are in control of your life and that is a reward in in itself. You have the tools to help yourself.



It has been proven that our brains don’t actually multi-task they quickly switch from one activity to another, making us less effective in the end.

Try the Pomodoro Technique to extend your productivity. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Work only for that time frame. When the bell goes off, take a break for five minutes. Energize during your break. Then set the timer for the next 25 minutes.

Use productivity apps. Try different ones to see which ones work for you. There are many: Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Any.Do, ToDoist, WunderList, EverNote.

If a strategy doesn’t work, tweak it a little. Use a different timer to give you visual cues and help you stay on task. Write out a checklist with specific steps you need to take to complete a task. Print it out and post it where you work.

Get outside help. Use an accountability partner. You are more likely to get something done if someone else is counting on you. A family member, a friend, or a life coach can help you stick to deadlines.

Delegate tasks. If household chores or errands are sapping your energy, consider hiring a housecleaner or having your groceries delivered.  Blue Apron delivers wholesome ingredients for recipes chosen by you.

You may have setbacks. You may fail to achieve some goals. Keep trying, routines are built by repetition.  CELEBRATE your successes, even the small ones. Duplicate small successes until they become routine.

Don’t give up. You can be in control of your ADHD. It doesn’t control you, you control you.

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ADHD Kids and Summer Vacation


My son (who has ADHD) didn’t want to go to the end of school beach party with all his friends. The last day of school assembly and all the end-of-year excitement just wore him out. HE JUST WANTED TO GO HOME. I was torn. He would not see many of his friends next year because they were attending different middle schools. I wanted to enjoy the festivities with the other 5th grade moms. He’ll have fun once we get there, I thought to myself. But to the contrary, my son had been more irritable and anxious lately. He’d had trouble falling asleep. He was argumentative and he picked fights more than usual.

We did not attend the beach party that day. Transitions are tough for kids with ADHD. The end of the school year, moving up to middle school are both huge transitions. My son knew he’d had enough and I am proud of his self-awareness. We went home. A couple of hours later that day, he was bored (of course!) and asked for a playdate (with someone who had gone to the party and was still there). Sigh.

Parenting ADHD kids is tricky terrain in the best of times.

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Why I Became a Professional Organizer

After working in the high tech industry for seven years followed by a decade at home full time with my children I felt a longing for something that would be interesting for me to do outside of the home. I considered professional organizing, interior design and nutrition as areas in which I would enjoy working.

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