Category Archives: Coaching

How to Take Action when You’re Not Interested

Have a few strategies ready to help you take action.

By Marla Cummins

As an adult with ADHD, you know that it is much easier to follow through on tasks that interest you. So, of course, the more of these you can have on your plate the better.

But the reality is we all have tasks we don’t want to do, and for one reason or another they still need to be on our plate. We can’t delegate, barter, drop or defer these tasks. We need to do them. Now!

Obviously, these are also the tasks that we are most likely to procrastinate on starting, never mind completing.

And, while we are dragging our feet on these tasks, they still take up a great deal of our mental time and energy. Consider the following statements as they relate to a task you are putting off.

  • While I really don’t want to do                      (fill in the blank), I am thinking about it a lot, even worrying about it.
  • And thoughts of it will pop into my head at random times, distracting me from tending to my task(s) at hand.
  • I will likely be behind the eight ball when I eventually get around to it, and will need to put aside everything else to get it done.
  • Another day. Another fire drill!

So, how do we follow through on those tasks that having us screaming, “I don’t wanna!!!”

What About The Task Turns You Off?

First, figure out what about the task turns you off. Here are some possibilities:

  • It bores me. Simple as that.
  • It takes too much time and energy because it is hard for me.
  • It is not important to me.
  • I have too many other tasks on my list… “Take a number and fall to the back of the line” is what comes to mind when I think of this task.
  • My other reasons are…

Once you’ve figured out why you don’t want to do a task, the next step is to figure out what you can do to follow through on those tasks that must fall on your plate.

Because often it is the not deciding and not doing that can contribute significantly to your feelings of overwhelm.

Activating the Reward System

Then, take into consideration the other challenges that may be getting in your way. An understanding of the process that happens in the brain’s Reward System is a good place to start.

In simplified terms:

We make choices and prioritize goals when a sensory stimulus is sent and processed in the brain indicating a reward is on the way.

When a reward is anticipated, dopamine is released to various parts of the brain, which activates our motor functionsattention and memory pathway. (When the memory of this stimulus and associated reward is in place, we will be more likely to tackle the task next time.)

When the reward is concrete, it is easy to do something because we are motivated by the obvious anticipated reward. But here is what may happen when you think about doing the report you dread that is due in two days:

♦ As you look at the bathroom, you think, “I should clean the bathroom. Then I’ll do the report.”

♦ Then when you sit down at the computer, a notification from Facebook comes in. “Facebook, take me away from all of this…. I need a break before I start the report.”

♦ “Wow. Look at all those emails. I really need to answer those before doing the report!”

When deciding to clean the bathroom, look at FB or plow through your emails the stimulus is right in front of you and the reward is immediate. Because the reward for doing the report is not so obvious or immediate, it is harder to make the connection at the moment.

In this simplified version, you can see that your motivation to do a task is related to the immediacy of the reward when all is working as it should be in the Reward System of the brain.

Remembering Your “Why”

True enough. It is important for everyone to make the connection between doing a task that may not be intrinsically interesting and the potential rewards.

Here are some possible starting points:

  • I want to be successful at my job and doing reports is just part of the gig.
  • These reports are important to have the data we need to make good business decisions.
  • The reports actually aren’t that important to me, but I want to be a dependable team player. And Bob really needs these reports…

But you need to have a visceral connection to the payoffnot just an intellectual connection. That is, you want to be able to really feel and see the reward in all colors of the rainbow. To do this you will need to go one step further.

For example, you might want to think about having a visual cue (pictures, quotes totems, etc.) to help you remember what it will feel like when you are successful; you can look at this item in those moments when you think, “I don’t wanna!”

Check out this list of 20 Tools to Enhance your Memory for more examples of ways to address the challenge of a weak working memory.

Not Enough Dopamine

Now you are thinking, “Ok, got it, Marla. I have to make the connection between the task and the reward. But I don’t think that is going to be enough…”

You are right!

Along with a weak working memory, it is believed that there is not enough dopamine in the ADHD Brain to carry out the processes in the Reward System, particularly motor functions and attending.

So, even when you can really feel the reward of a task that does not interest you may still:

  • feel like you are standing in cement.
  • avoid it – not do it or think about it.

Not to despair, though. You’ll just have to incorporate a few more workarounds in order to get going.

Knowing Why Is Not Enough

Yes, it is important to acknowledge that there are going to be times you are bored. It happens. And remember that your particular brain chemistry makes it harder than for neurotypical people

Be that as it may, you can still be proactive in meeting the challenge of doing these type of tasks by having a few strategies ready to employ when you feel resistance to doing a task you need to do. Here are a few options:

  • making a game out of a task, such as “beat the clock.”
  • setting a timer for the amount of time you think you can tolerate working on a particular task.
  • timing when you do a boring task to when you take your stimulant medication.
  • taking a break and doing something else. Then coming back to the task when you have more energy
  • taking notes during meetings to keep your attention.
  • using a fidget toy help keep you on task.

What other strategies have you used?

ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line

Getting started and following through on tasks that are not immediately interesting for you is harder for Adults with ADHD.

But taking the above steps, and getting the support you need, can make it easier!

 

By Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD. Original article posted at: http://marlacummins.com/adhd-finding-your-motivation-when-youre-not-interested/

“Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net”   Modified on Canva

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6 Steps to Survive ADHD Overwhelm – Learn to Plan Your Day

Today's hectic world puts tremendous pressure to perform on everyone, but if you have ADHD the pressure is magnified several times over.By Sarah Jane Keyser

Like many people today, do you find life overwhelming? Is getting through one day an exhausting marathon? Does your day include kids to be picked up, doctor’s appointments, bills to be paid, and dry cleaning to be retrieved?. Are you afraid to open envelopes for fear of seeing the negative bank balances and the unpaid bills? Are you afraid of wasting time and money on impulsive flings every time you go shopping? It all adds up to a paralyzing sense of doom called overwhelm.

Today’s hectic world puts tremendous pressure to perform on everyone, but if you have ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) the pressure is magnified several times over.

Here are some ways ADHD contributes to that desperate feeling.

Number one is poor organization. ADHD is known as the disorder of disorganization. If you have ADHD, you have difficulty sequencing actions (or papers thus the unmanageable piles). Difficulty organizing the events of the day is just one example.

The second problem is an elastic sense of time. You have difficulty estimating how long tasks will take adding to the problem of planning the day.

Third is what I call the slipping clutch or the getting-started syndrome. When you do fix a time to do a task it still doesn’t get done because you can not start. Instead, you get sucked into the internet or the TV or another low priority activity.

Finally, the lack of boundaries makes it difficult for you to say “no”, so you have too many things to do. Poor boundaries also mean that you absorb more than your share of emotional overload; other people’s problems swamp your brain and make it difficult to think coolly about what needs doing.

Take these 6 steps to plan your day and beat overwhelm.

Stop. Recognize that overwhelm has captured your brain and is interfering with your ability to plan and get things done. Take a minute to observe how you are feeling. Take several deep breaths into the abdomen and exhale slowly.

Listen to your self-talk. Change negatives to positives: tell yourself “you can do it”. Talk out loud to yourself at each step as though you were explaining to a another person (your coach for example) what you need to do.

Make a list of the tasks you need to do, estimate the time needed including travel or set up time. Then weigh the importance and urgency of each task. Could some items wait until tomorrow or next week?

Consider what help you can get. Could a husband or a friend pick up the kids?

Plan the day. Group tasks according to location. If you have to go out, consider the time of day.  If you must drive during busy times of the day, allow for extra travel time.

Write out the day’s route map and put it in your purse or place it where you can’t forget it. Now you are ready to go. Go!

Still having difficulty? A coach or coaching program can help you stay on track.

 

“Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Coaching Key to ADDPermission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.

*** About Sarah Jane *** Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy. The Newfield Network’s graduate coaching programme “Mastery in Coaching” and a programme “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC. She is an American living in Switzerland who coaches in French and English by telephone

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I want to change my ADD life. What can I do?

ADD is a way of life, a difference in the way you see and move in the world. You can learn to manage the world and use your brain.A series of articles by Sarah Jane Keyser. Follow the links.

ADD has strengths as well as weaknesses; like heads and tails, you can’t have one without the other.

Attention Deficit Disorder is not an illness (in spite of the name) and there is no “cure”. ADD is a way of life, a difference in the way you see and move in the world.

You can learn to manage the world and use your brain.

There are many ways to train your brain. Usually, a combination of medication, ADHD coaching strategies, and exercise is most effective. Each individual needs to discover what combination works best for him or her.

Here are some ways that you can change your life:

Life Styles for ADD – You can do many things for yourself. A good program includes exercise, what to eat, how to breathe, how to get to sleep and how to enjoy.

Maintaining the Brain – If your car runs on two cylinders you take it to the garage. If your brain sputters take it to a doctor for a checkup.

ADD Coaching Strategies – A coach is a partner who guides you to new ways of seeing yourself and the world. An ADD coach who knows how ADD feels and understands the ADD brain can help you value your strengths and structure your life.

Celebrating ADD – Learn to appreciate the passion and sparkle which are the gift of ADD.

 

 

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Learn more about ADHD at Coaching Key to ADHD

Permission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.

*** About Sarah Jane *** Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy, the Newfield Network’s graduate coaching program “Mastery in Coaching” and “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC. Sarah Jane is an American living in Switzerland who coaches in French and English by telephone.

“Image courtesy of mrpuen–FreeDigitalPhoto.net”   Modified on Canva

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board Basic Self-Care – Building Routines and Habits on Pinterest.Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD on Pinterest.

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board ADHD Coaching Strategies on Pinterest.Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’s board What’s getting in your way? Psychological help. on Pinterest.

ADHD Coaching Strategies

 Vanquish negative thought patterns and help build strategies to master organization and time management.

From I want to change my ADD life. What can I do? – A series of short articles by ADD coach Sara Jane Keyzer

How is ADD Coaching and how does it work?

ADHD Coaching is a partnership dedicated to you. ADHD Coaching provides support and encouragement for you to follow your passion and realize the visions of your childhood.

ADHD Coaching will help you vanquish negative thought patterns and help you build strategies to master organization and time management. New confidence and a healthy self-image provide the motor to climb your personal mountains.

Your coach will listen to your stories of pain and frustration and  hear your wholeness, your strengths, and hidden resources. Powerful questions open up new vistas to explore. Making choices leads to ownership instead of victimization. The result is a new awareness of self. Your coach is your loudest cheerleader, and they expect you to succeed.

ADHD Coaching starts with an inventory of where you are now and where you want to go. Many clients want some help organizing, managing time, and surviving overwhelm. You will choose two or three areas on which you want to focus in your coaching.

In following sessions, usually held once a week by telephone, a coach will hear your success report, help you explore problems that have arisen and ask you to choose and commit to your next steps for the next period of time.

A successful ADHD coaching relationship requires honesty and a willingness to change. You will do the work of creating new habits. It is important that this is important to you and not your spouse, parent or employer. A coach must be able to be honest with you. It may be hard, but important for you to learn how others see you.

Return to : I want to change my ADD life. What can I do?

If you need help choosing a coach, see: Find an ADD Coach

***See below for our Pinterest board with more specific ADD Coaching Strategies.

 

Published by Sarah Jane Keyser, Copyright 2006, all rights reserved. Coaching Key to ADD

Permission is granted to forward or post this content in full for use in a not-for-profit format, as long as this copyright notice and full information about the author, Sarah Jane Keyser, is attached intact. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required. *** About Sarah Jane *** Sarah Jane Keyser worked for many years with computers as a programmer, analyst, and user trainer, but her struggle with inattentive ADD kept getting in the way of her plans and dreams. Her credentials include ADD Coach training at the ADD Coach Academy. The Newfield Network’s graduate coaching program “Mastery in Coaching” and “Coaching Kids and Teens” by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett MCC.

“Image courtesy of StuartMiles–FreeDigitalPhoto.net”   Modified on Canva

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board ADHD Coaching Strategies on Pinterest.

Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’ board Getting Things Done – Productivity and Time Management on Pinterest. Follow ADHD / ADD freeSources’s board Organization Techniques for ADHD on Pinterest.

ADHD and Time: 4 Steps to Getting Places on Time

 Time can be elusive for many with ADHD. So, it is no wonder that running late is a common problem.By Marla Cummins

Time can be elusive for many with ADHD. So, it is no wonder that running late is a common problem. Yet, I know you want to get to places on time because you want to be responsible and honor your commitments.

It would also be nice to be grounded and present once you arrive at your destination, right? Just think of those times when you arrived someplace feeling like you had just slid into home base. How ready were you to engage in the task before you?

Even if getting to places on time has felt like a fire drill up until now, you can change this.

Use the suggestions below to the degree that you need. Of course, if you are going to a job interview, you will want to do a lot of preparation. But, if you are meeting a friend for coffee, you may not want to put in as much effort.

Looking Ahead

The first step is to visualize and write down everything you need to do to get ready for your appointment.

For example, if you are going to a meeting, the following are examples of what you may need to have ready:

  • clean clothes, stockings, etc.
  • purse/wallet with keys and phone
  • business cards
  • documents for the meeting
  • address
  • phone number (you never know when an unforeseen incident may delay you)
  • money for the meter
  • time you need to leave

The second step is to check and make sure you have what you need. Do this a few days in advance, so you have time to get what you don’t already have at hand.

The third step is to schedule when you intend to accomplish what you need to do to get ready. When are you going to get ink for the printer, iron your shirt, get quarters for the meter, etc.?

Yes, I know it may seem like a lot of effort. But I think you will enjoy the peace of mind that will come with preparing.

Estimate the Time Needed

As estimating time is a challenge for many with ADHD, determining when to leave for an appointment can be a bit tricky.

A helpful strategy is to think about how long it could take for each step along the way, such as:

  • programming your GPS
  • driving in traffic for that time of day
  • finding a parking spot for that time of day
  • walking from your car to your appointment
  • going to the washroom, if you are going to an interview.

In Boston, where I live, traffic is more of a factor than the distance. And there is almost always traffic. According to my GPS, it “should” take about 20 minutes to drive Downtown. But I will add as much as a 1/2 hour to my travel time to make sure I can get to meetings on time.

If it is critical that you get to the appointment on time, try overestimating the time needed. I heard your gasps of surprise at this suggestion! And I know you may get bored easily. So, bring a book or some other work to keep yourself occupied in case you arrive early.

Transitioning

It is true. Preparation and intention may not be enough to get to your destination on time.

You still need to stop what you are doing and get ready to leave. Not always an easy feat! If transitioning between tasks is a challenge for you, as is true for many with ADHD, not giving yourself enough time to transition may still torpedo your plans.

Stop what you are doing at least 15 minutes early so you can give yourself time to clear your head and get ready to leave. Use a timer to cue you, if you need a reminder.

Actually Getting out the Door

One last hurdle is actually getting out the door on time.

You may, however, suffer from the common affliction of “one more thingitis.” Those who suffer from this ailment often suddenly remember things they “have to do” at the most inconvenient times, like when they are leaving to go to an important meeting.

Does the scenario below sound familiar?

As you are walking out the door, you decide you really need to take out the recycling. Then you drop it. As you drop the recycling, a glass falls. You need to clean it up so the kids do not cut themselves. Ten minutes later, you are still not out the door.

It is a slippery slope, to be sure.

The antidote is to resist the urge by using some type of self-talk, like, “If I don’t go now, I’ll be late and that will not look good. The recycling can wait. It would not be the worst thing if it went out next week.”

ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line

If you want to get to places on time, you can optimize your chances by adopting some or all of the steps above:

  • Prepare in advance
  • Estimate the time needed to get to your destination. Better yet try over estimating!
  • Have a plan to transition from your previous activity.
  • And resist the urge to do just one more thing.

 

By Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD. Original article can be found at http://marlacummins.com/adhd-time-4-steps-places-time/

 

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigiatalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

 

7 + Steps to Get Fit Gradually

Guest Post from ZenHabits

Guest Post from ZenHabits

 

“Exercise is a vital component in the treatment of ADHD.” ~ Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

 

“For a very small handful of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ADD), it may actually be a replacement for stimulants.” says John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “But, for most, it’s complementary — something they should absolutely do, along with taking meds, to help increase attention and improve mood.” When you excercise,  your brain releases several important chemicals that elevate the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels. These brain chemicals affect focus and attention, which are in short supply in those with ADHD. (1)

I found a great article by Leo Babauta with an approach to developing an exercise routine  that you can stick to without losing the habits you’ve already put into place. Even if you’ve tried in the past and failed, you CAN make a major shift in your diet and exercise habits. You don’t even need much motivation. Change is possible when you approach losing weight as changing your lifestyle one small step at a time.  Don’t rush it!  Make small, gradual changes, barely challenging yourself at each level. These tips are perfect for people with ADHD.  Take the time you need to get comfortable each step of the way. Believe in yourself and work the steps. They work.

“I know a lot of people who want to lose weight but are stuck –  like I was in 2005.

They want to get healthy and fit, but can’t seem to stick to a diet or exercise plan. They start, and then fail, and then feel bad about it.

This was where I was 10 years ago, and I’m happy to tell you that it’s possible to change.

The secret lies in leveling up.

Like a video game, the way to changing your health habits is by starting out at the first level, and only going to the next level after you’ve beaten the one before that. The problem is that most people start at Level 10 and fail, and wonder what happened. Most of us want to skip several levels, but we’re just not ready.

So the secret is to start at Level 1 and to advance only when you’re done with that level. One level at a time, you’ll master the game of losing weight and getting healthy.

Here’s my guide to leveling up.

Level 1

Please, for goodness sake, don’t make the mistake of skipping this level because it sounds too easy. The easy levels are where you gain your skills.

You need to do two very easy things at this level:

  1. Start walking just for a few minutes every day.
  2. Reduce your eating by a little bit. A very little

The walking should be as simple as walking around the block a couple times, or going to a nearby park for just 5-10 minutes. It should seem so easy that you feel a little dumb not doing more.

Why should it be so easy? Because you’re not ready for higher levels yet. You might think you are, but if you haven’t been regularly exercising for awhile, you aren’t.

The eating could just be as simple as putting a little less on your plate at dinner, or having one less soda a day. Make it almost unnoticeable.

Only progress past this level after you’ve successfully done it for a week.

Level 2

Remember, don’t go to this level until you’ve had a streak of 7 days of doing Level 1.

Here are the two things to do at this level:

  1. Walk every day for a few minutes more. If you’ve been going around the block twice, make it three times. Or add 5 minutes to your walking.
  2. Eat a little less than in the previous level. Just a little less — not really noticeable.

You’ll slowly adjust to the new levels of walking and eating. Do this for another week before going to the next level.

Level 3

If you’ve successfully done Level 2 for another week, you’re ready to add more:

  1. Walk a little more.
  2. Eat/drink less of something that’s empty calories — less soda, sugar, bread, pastries, sweet coffee drink, chips, cookies, pizza. Don’t drop any of these completely, just eat less of it.

Slowly, you’re adapting to a new level. Again, spend a week here.

Level 4

Now we’re going to change things up a little!

  1. Add a minute of faster walking to your walks. Just one or two intervals of walking at a pace that makes it harder to have a conversation. So walk for 5 minutes at conversational pace, then speed it up for a minute, then back to the regular pace. You can repeat that a couple times if you feel like it.
  2. Add some veggies to your food. Just a little, and something you might like. Greens are the best, but if you’d rather eat carrots or cauliflower, go for it. Don’t make it a lot, just a little.

Spend a week at this level.

Level 5

Basically, this is a repeat of Level 4 — add a little more fast walking to your daily walks, and add another veggie to one of your meals.

You can repeat this adding each week for 2-3 weeks. You’re getting the idea by now: basically, you started out by eating a little less each week (barely noticeable) and then adding some vegetables to your diet. You started out by walking just a little each day, slowly adding more, then adding some faster intervals. Keep increasing this progress slowly, one week at a time.

Level 6

Now we’re going to add some harder challenges:

  1. Add some hills or stairs to your walking routine. Find a hill to walk up for at least a few minutes, or if you have stairs in your building, do a few flights at the end of your regular walk. Don’t make this too hard!
  2. Try finding and making a new healthy recipe online each week.

Stay at this level for 2-3 weeks, until it seems easy.

Level 7

Only do this level once the previous level seems really easy!

  1. Add some pushups. Just 2-3 sets of fewer pushups than you think you can do.
  2. Find a healthy breakfast and eat that.

Other Levels

By now, you’ve been walking, doing walk intervals, added some stairs/hills, and some pushups. You’re in much better shape than before.

You’ve also slowly started eating less, adding vegetables, trying out new recipes, eating a healthy breakfast.

That’s a major shift in your diet and exercise habits, and you did it slowly, barely challenging yourself at each level. You didn’t rush it.

Now that you understand how this leveling system works, you can create your own levels beyond Level 7. Some ideas for higher levels — but be sure not to make any of the levels too difficult:

  • Add more bodyweight exercises
  • Add a little bit of running to your walks if you want
  • Try some pull-ups
  • Try some dumbbell weight exercises
  • Eventually, try some basic barbell weight training (squats, dead-lifts, bench).
  • Do a few yoga poses on some days
  • Eat more veggies
  • Reduce empty carbs
  • Add whole grains
  • Eat less junk food
  • Slowly eliminate fast food

If you can slowly change your diet and exercise to include these levels, I can almost guarantee you’ll have weight loss over time, and most importantly, you’ll be much healthier over the long run.

Leveling up isn’t easy if you’re impatient, but it’s the smartest way to change, and it works.”

 

(1) Exercise: An Alternative ADHD Treatment Without Side Effects. ADDitudeMag.com – http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/3142.html – Harvested 2/21/2016

About the author: Leo Babauta of Zen Habits shares his work freely, without copyright. If you appreciate this approach to gradually improving your health through diet and exercise, feel free to pass it along. Originally posted on Zen Habits – August 11th, 2015 – http://zenhabits.net/levels/

(I added the first two paragraphs and highlighting. Note: I’m proof that this approach works, having gradually lost 30 pounds using these tactics.  The best part is that I have been able to maintain that loss. Joan Jager)

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva

 

20 Tools to Enhance your Memory

20 Tools to Enhance your MemoryBy ADD coach Marla Cummins

(Note: Many links return to other articles by Marla Cummins on her site.)

For adults with ADHD not being able to remember your intentions is what can sometimes get in the way of following through.

I know from plenty of personal experience with forgetting everything from the mundane to the important it can be really frustrating.

But, rather than berate yourself because you think you should have a better memory, you can adopt workarounds to help you remember what you need and minimize your frustration.

Below I’ve curated a lengthy list of possible options you can apply to the various situations in your life. And, if you can think of more, please share below.

Short Term and Long Term Memory

First, a little bit about why you may have such a hard time remembering information at the time you need it.

One reason is that short term (working) memory is often weak in adults with ADHD.

  • That is, you may not hold information long enough to follow through on it. So, you say to yourself, “I need to drop off that folder at Joe’s office before I leave.” Then you turn around to get your jacket, pack up and forget about the folder. All within the span of a few minutes!
  • Because you do not hold onto information long enough it also does not enter your long term memory. So, it is lost to you until Bill says to you, “Hey, Lisa, I didn’t get that email you said you would send when I saw you in the hall yesterday.”

Challenges with long term memory are also common for adults with ADHD.

  • This can mean that you have difficulty remembering your intention to do something in the future. So, as you are leaving the office you have this nagging feeling you are supposed to do something before going home. Not until you get home do you remember you were supposed to pick up the take-out!
  • Also, you may have difficulty recalling information when you need it. You go to the meeting and can’t remember all the details of the report you want to share.

Bottom line. Your memory, like mine, may be more like Swiss Cheese than a trap door. That is ok, as long as you use some of the methods below to help you remember what you need when you need it.

Remembering What You Want

    1. Paper Based Task Managers– If you are looking for a comprehensive paper-based system to manage your to-dos, try the Planner Pad.

Their webpage is oudated, but don’t be discouraged. See this article about why to use it.

  1. Electronic Task ManagersYou may opt for an electronic system to manage your to dos. These range from the simple, like Remember The Milk,   to the more comprehensive like OmnifocusNozbeToodledo, Todoist or Iqtell.

 

  1. Put It Where You Can Do Something About It– For example, when you have books to return to the library, clothes to donate, etc. put them in the car where you can see them. That way you can take care of them when you are out and about. Could save you an extra trip.

 

  1. Just Do It!– If a task is going to take you less than 2 minutes (literally), it may be worth it to just do it rather than trying to figure out how you are going to remember to do it later. Of course, you want to be careful that doing that task doesn’t take you away from what your primary intention in the moment.

 

  1. Put It In Your Calendar– You calendar contains the hard landscape of your life. A commitment for a specific day and/or time should go in your calendar. Right away. Even if it is tentative, put it in your calendar and mark it as “tentative” until you can confirm it. That way you will not double-book.

You can find more tips on using your calendar here.

 

  1. Post It Where You Can See It– Maybe you want daily reminders of how you want to be or what you want to achieve. Whether it is a quote, list or vision board to visually illustrate your hopes and dreams, post it in a prominent place where you are most likely to see it regularly.

 

  1. Tie It To Another Habit– It is always easier to remember to do something if you can tie it to an already well-established habit. For example, if you are trying to remember to take your meds, put them by your toothbrush.

 

  1. A Plain Piece Of White Paper– I’ll admit this isn’t the most environmentally sound option. But it is one I use every day. Write the 3-5 tasks you are committed doing each day on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it (middle of your desk, taped to your monitor, on the wall, etc).

 

  1. Weekly Review– To offset the pull of immediate gratification, the weekly review is the time when you assess where you are vis -a- vis your projects and goals in your various areas of focus, as well as plan the next action steps. By doing this on a weekly basis you can be confident you are remembering your important stuff and time is not just slipping away.

 

  1. Post A List– When you notice you are out of something, immediately put it on a list that you leave on your fridge or other easily accessible place. That way you won’t worry about trying to remember it when you get around to creating your grocery / errand list.

 

  1. Read It Later!– We all know what a “time suck” the internet can be. And it may be that you are pulled to reading something immediately because you don’t think you will remember to read it later. Try an application like Instapaper,  Readability  or Pocket  to save articles you come across. And then you can refocus on your original intention.

 

  1. Electronic Notebook– An electronic notebook, like OneNote or EverNote,  is great place to keep track of and remember all of your random ideas from project planning to lists.

 

  1. Send Yourself A Message– When you are out and about and something suddenly comes to mind, rather than assume you will remember it later, call, text or email yourself a message. But don’t wait. You know those ideas can be fleeting. Well, at least for me…

 

  1. Set An Alarm– Use an alarm to remind yourself of appointments. Since transitions can be a challenge, you may want to set two alarms. The first alarm will remind you to stop what you are doing and get ready. The second will be the reminder that it is time to go!

I suggest you don’t use alarms to remind yourself of tasks unless you are committed to doing it at fixed time. Because, if the reminder goes off when you can’t do anything about it, you will learn to ignore those alarms. And they will just become background noise…

 

  1. Wake up and Reminder Services– You may tend to ignore your alarm, but I’ll bet you find it hard to ignore a phone ringing. Telephone reminder services like Wakerupper or Wakeupland can help get you out of bed or to your appointments on time.

 

  1. Tracking– In the beginning just remembering the habits you are trying to build can be the hardest part to following through on them. Tracking your progress is a good way to remember.

And an app, like Beeminder, may be the extra support you need. As you track your goals, they will plot your progress on a yellow brick road and if you go off track they take your money!

 

  1. Meeting Notes– Taking notes during meetings will help you pay attention as well as have the information you need for later. Just as important is reviewing and taking action on your notes soon after.

 

  1. ADHD Coach– If you are working with an ADHD Coach, take advantage of the accountability support as you are trying to build new habits and makes changes.

 

  1. Launching Pad– Create a launching pad by the door where you put everything (purse, briefcase, etc.) you need for the next day. You could carve out a small space or use a small table for your launching pad.

 

  1. Put Your Keys In The Refrigerator– To remember your lunch put your keys with it in the refrigerator.

Share Your Tips

How do you get out of your head and remember what you need when you need it?

 

By Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD. Original article posted at: http://marlacummins.com/adhd-and-20-ways-to-remember-what-you-want/

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12 Great Strategies that Help ADHers Thrive

12 Great StategiesBy Coach Linda Walker

As an ADHD family, we’ve had our fair share of challenges, particularly early on when we didn’t know what we were dealing with.  Looking back, I could identify twelve great strategies that helped Duane and Kyrie thrive. And no, they aren’t about productivity; they’re about how you are feeling about yourself.

  1. Take advantage of your strengths. Identify what you’re strong in and find ways to do more of it. Keep a journal and note down when you’ve managed to learn something particularly well.  You know, when you realize “you’re a natural” at something, this is almost always an indication that you are playing to your strengths.
  2. Surround yourself with people who can embrace your differences and who accept you for who you are and for what you are not.
  3. Determine what ADHD traits aren’t going so well for you and your loved ones and consider what could change. Even though you want others to accept you, you also want to live in harmony with others. This may mean you’ll need to modify some of your behavior to reduce the negative challenges of ADHD.
  4. There will be things you cannot change. I’m thinking of your short-term memory for example. For those things, you’ll need to manage with systems and routines. I know, routines, ick! but all very successful ADHDers have a set of routines that solve many of their problems once and for all.
  5. You’ll have ADHD your whole life. That means you have all the time in the world to master the skills to thrive with ADHD. It won’t take that long to make your life fantastic, and then you can keep improving it forever.
  6. Small but significant changes are always the best way. They’re effective, their sustainable, and if they aren’t the right approach, there’s not great investment of your time and energy lost.
  7. Create a cue, a reminder, an alert, something that will help you remember to accomplish your new change.
  8. Document the changes that work for you. ADHDers often forget strategies they’ve used successfully in the past. Documenting them will also allow you to use strategy number 9.
  9. Celebrate ever day you progress in your new habits. Celebrating the progress and results increases the chances you’ll repeat the habit. We all love happy experiences. Celebrating could be as simple as acknowledging your progress, noticing the results, or giving yourself a pat on the back.
  10. Ensure you balance your work life with active recreation. Engaging in hobbies, reconnecting with your creative side, connecting with friends and family are great active recreation. They bring much more joy in your life than watching TV, surfing the Internet or chatting on social media.
  11. If you forget your habit for a day, chalk it up to being human, consider what went wrong then recommit to the habit, ensuring you make adjustments to avoid forgetting again.
  12. The most important: laugh.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  When you make mistakes, laugh about it.  Find humor in your life. Read a funny story, watch a funny video.

 

Linda Walker“By Linda Walker. Linda Walker, PCC, B. Admin., is a certified ADHD Coach who helps adults with ADHD overcome the special challenges of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) they encounter at home and in the workplace. She is the creator of The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses, a training program for adults with ADHD and the author of With Time to Spare. http://www.CoachLindaWalker.com.

12 Great Strategies to Make ADHDers Thrive

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ADHD Video Presentations: 3 Minutes to 1 Hour

0 Video Presentations by ADHD Experts

 

ADHD Experts Speak.

Watch and learn. 

 

 

Dr. Russell Barkley on ADHD Meds and how they all work differently (7-minutes)

This is How you Treat ADHD based on Science – Russell Barkley, Ph.D. – 13-minute clip with powerpoint plus access to the entire 2 1/2-hour lecture for the 2012 Burnett Lecture series at Chapel Hill University

Understanding Emotions & Motivations in High School and College Students with ADHD/LDWith Dr. Thomas E. Brown for the 13th Annual Timothy B. and Jane A Burnett Seminar for Academic Achievement (2014) Parts 1, 2 and 3 with Q&A

CADDAC Conference ina BoxCan’t attend an ADHD conference? You can still learn about ADHD from experts in the field. Best of all, you can view them on your own time and for no charge.

*Best of the Web –CADDAC 2009 ADHD Conference videos – A wonderful gift from – The Centre for ADD/ADHD Advocacy of Canada- (CADDAC) Choose from a number of presentations filmed over both days. You’ll find the list at this link.

The 30 Essential Ideas Every Parent Needs to Know (about ADHD),  by Dr. Russell Barkley
This is the 3-hour video presentation from the CADDAC conference (found above), broken up into 27 manageable parts with an average length of 6 to 7 minutes.  It’s  far easier to watch.  To take a saying from Barkley, “Small Chunks, Frequent Breaks.”

A New Look at the Origins & Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder: A Biopsychosocial View of ADD and its Origins Alternative view of the root causes of ADHD by Dr. Gabor Maté (1-hour) – Note: You’ll find a few good educational presentations here.

ADHD Neurology and Genetic Research 6 short videos with Professor Philip Shaw from NIH (National Institute of Health) – Makes difficult concepts more readily understandable. Our thanks to Mungosadhd.com

You, Me and Adult ADD with Gina Pera – 3 clips containing Gina’s talk for CADDRA’s 2009 Conference. Find on Mungo’s Vimeo Channel

Classroom Interventions for ADHD Video with Russell Barkley (3 ½ minutes)

TedTalks on ADHD

ADHD: Undiagnosed in Millions, Do You Have it? (4 minutes) Alan Brown gives us a call to action to be advocates to bring awareness and attention to ADHD so individuals do not fall through the cracks and have the safety net they need to succeed.


ADHD Multimedia – From DNA Learning Center

Over a hundred short videos with transcripts, ranging from straight-forward to obtuse, depending on the complexity of the topic.

Dr. Russell Barkley’s Continuing Education Courses and Videos 35 hours of lectures on ADHD at ADHDLectures.coms. Available for Free viewing in Spanish.

Dr. Charles Parker’s ADHD Medication Tutorials 8 short videos by Dr. Charles Parker – about ½ hour in total – Matching Article: Finding the Therapeutic Window *TOP tips – Open a regular dialogue with your patients and measure the effectiveness of the medications. See example below. (Acess Dr. Parker’s 2nd edition of Special Report For Predictable Solutions.>>>> Click on it to download it and 7 other complimentary, useful information resources – some audio, some PowerPoint.)

ADHD Medications Don’t Work?

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Find an ADD coach / ADD Coach Training

Find an ADD Coach
ADD coaching focuses on practical issues confronting the ADD adult, such as organization, managing time and setting and reaching goals. ADHD Coaches can be therapists, although coaching is not therapy. See The ADD Journey: Help for the Road Ahead to learn more about ADHD Coaches and how their services differ from those offered by other treatment providers.

Search Tips – Most ADD coaches work over the phone. It’s possible that you won’t find one nearby. It may be more important to find one who deals with your specific needs rather than one close to you. With any site, just choose Coach as the Service Provider Type and the Age Group looking for help. To narrow the search further, make a selection from Coaching Focus. If you prefer someone nearby, your choices will be much more restricted.

Any ADHD Provider Directory will have a number of listings for Coaches.

You’ll find other listings through AD/HD Coach Certification or Training Programs.

AD/HD Coach Certification

The specialized field of ADD Coaching is still largely unregulated. No certification past that granted by the following organizations is required to call yourself an ADD Coach. Most of the Associations seeking to establish standards for ADD Coaching require applicants to have met the training requirements for Life Coaching set up by the International Coach Federation (ICF), International Association of Coaching (IAC), or the ADD Coach Academy (ADDCA)  with David Giwerc.

On the other hand, there are now ADHD Coaching Associations and specific ADHD Coach Training that credit specialized training in working with clients with ADHD.

The Professional Association of ADHD Coaches seeks to advance the field of AD/HD Coaching through the development and delivery of a professional credentialing standard for AD/HD Coaches worldwide. (No training available- instead they rate a coach’s experience and training to ascertain what ranking they should receive.) PAAC Certification requirements


ADHD Coach Training

The ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO)
ACO posts a number of Coach Training opportunities.
They also have a coach referral service. It lists 150 life coaches who have additional training in ADHD.

ADD Coach Academy (ADDCA – with David Giwerc)
Provides coaching accreditation through ICF plus training for ADHD  – Site includes a Coaches Directory

American Coaching Association

ADD in the Spirit ADD Coach Training with Peggy Romundo and Madeline Griffith-Haynie.

Sandy Maynard offers Individual Coach Training

As does Susan Sussman

Additional Coach Training to work with Children and Teens with ADHD

Edge Foundation – Provides coaching for teens and college students as well as ADD coach training to certified life coaches. Find a coach for your teen here.

 

Finding Specialty Coaches or programs

Parent Coaching, Teen Coaching or Group coaching – Most ADD Coaching Groups are offered periodically by a just a few different coaches.

To find them, your best bet may be Google or another search engine. Try ADHD teen or parent coach – ADD Group coaching. I do know of two regular groups.

Parent Group Coaching – Parent Success System from ImpactADHD – Two Group Calls per Month – Workbook – Access to the Audio Library ($147.00 a month)

Coach Marla Cummin’s ADDed Perceptions Mentor Group 3 months for $150.00

Online or phone-based – Parent Support Group or 4-week workshops for Adults with coach Robin Nordmeyer – ($57 a month with 3-month commitment) ($97.00 for session)

Parent Coaching with Margit Crane Luria – http:// Margit Crane.com – Join in her Free weekly group call to get to know her approach.

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