Category Archives: Organization

ADHD and Summertime Procrastination

Now or Later: Procrastination

It’s hard to believe June is almost half way over. The first day of Summer in North America officially begins Monday, June 20, 2016; the day is also known as Summer Solstice.

Summer is also a time of year where the beauty of mother nature and social gatherings provide excellent opportunities for procrastinators to avoid doing what must be done and other things that really need to be done.

It’s important to ask yourself; what do I need to get done this summer?

For some people with adult ADHD, leaving things until the last minute fuels energy and things get done fast! What these same people won’t often acknowledge is the amount of emotional and physical strain this causes. The adrenaline rush of trying to finish things quickly causes negative behaviour such as: impatience with people, being rude toward others, a lack of grace and forgiveness, misplaced expectations of others, disregard for rules, regulations, and policies, poor quality of work, and unrealistic expectations.

The physical effects of stress include headaches, stomach aches, increased heart beats, and tremors to name of few. Take some time to evaluate how you feel when you are in a rush to finish something? Is it a pleasant feeling or do you experience some of the physical symptoms listed?

Procrastination Panic

Allowing for things to be completed in a timely manner reduces stress on yourself and creates less stress for the people who have to interact with you. Stress is never an individual experience; your stress affects other people you come in contact with. Fellow drivers, cashiers, call centre workers, co-workers, family, friends, and all sorts of strangers are affected by the stress of you waiting until the last minute to get your stuff done.
This might sound like blame and shame to certain people reading this, but it is not my goal to make you feel this way; this is simply the reality of how ADHD procrastination affects people emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

There are plenty of occasions when I have sat at my desk, bitter and annoyed at being indoors while the summer sun along with the fresh smell of the outdoors call my name. I’ve had to silence the call to procrastinate in mother nature in order to sit in front of my computer and finish the work that others are depending on me to complete. I’d rather stay at a weekend B.B.Q. for 5 hours and enjoy myself instead of being responsible by staying only 3 hours and heading home to finish the rest of my required reading.

I’d much rather be out every night of the week on a patio with friends and acquaintances, but I know that too much socializing means I am avoiding necessary tasks.

It is difficult, but even those of us with adult ADHD can learn to reduce and control the amount of time we spend procrastinating. It takes time and if we are willing to invest in learning how to avoid this habit, we will be better off for having done so. You will see an increase in the output of your work, you’ll be less stressed, and you will become more dependable.

Proverbs 6:6-8 Plan ahead, avoid procrastination. Be like the ants.

During the process be kind to yourself and trust that your habit of procrastination can change. This can only happen if you believe in yourself along the way. God believes in you, so don’t be afraid to believe in yourself. When you struggle with these changes God is there with you, cheering you on, encouraging you and loving you.

Procrastination is the Thief of Time

Below are some things to consider for summer. I encourage you to make your own list and summer plan for getting things done in a timely and organized manner. A list and system that works for you is always the best.

Parents

Registering your children for summer camps

Registering your children for summer out of school care

Purchasing new clothes and supplies for children returning to school in the Fall

Fitness

Register for group sports; however, be honest with yourself regarding how much time you have and are willing to give to the group. If this is something you are only sort-of, kind-of committed to, then don’t register. If you are only somewhat committed then consider being a spare or fill-in for a team; this way you won’t have to make a regular commitment.

Purchase required items for said sport

Make a schedule for training and stick to it. Place this schedule in your smartphone along with alarms for reminders and a paper schedule in a place where you and others will see it.

Plan times for grocery shopping and meal prep. Choose regular and consistent times; you are more likely to stick with it (e.g. Do your grocery shopping every Sunday evening at 7pm and your food prep every Monday evening at 6:30pm). Overtime this will become a regular routine for you and you won’t be filling those two time slots with random things to do (or not do).

Summer Studies

Plan for intentional study time and time for completing any course projects

Schedule time for rest and socializing; stick to those times in order to maintain balance and not give into procrastination

Decide where you are going to study (at home, at school, at a library, at a café). Be sure it is a place and space where you will not be interrupted and tempted to do things other than course work

Work

What’s the temperature like at work? If the temperature is making you uncomfortable, this can easily lead to procrastination (increased smoke breaks, day dreaming, avoiding unpleasant tasks, etc.) Is it too cold or too hot during the summer? If it’s too hot and the air-conditioning is not enough, then consider bringing your own fan to work. If it’s too cold bring a sweater to work, leave an extra sweater at work for those times when the air-conditioner is too cool.

Hydration: Are you drinking enough water? Bring your own water bottle to work or store bags of ice cubes in the staff freezer to help keep you hydrated and cool during the hottest days at work.

Staff team building activities: Do you have the option to say “No” without coming off as being anti-social, or a non-team player? If you are free to say “no” without consequence, then do so if you know that hanging out with your co-workers after work on a patio or playing softball on the company sports team will lead to procrastinating on things that you need to tend to at home or elsewhere.

Be careful how you spend: Sunny skies often lead to outdoor lunches with co-workers. It’s tempting to want to walk to a nearby restaurant or food establishment, but after doing this a few times a week you will quickly see less money in your pockets and your bank account. Limit how many times per week you will go for lunch with co-workers. To avoid temptation, be sure to have a packed lunch with you. If you are good at forgetting to make a lunch, then try purchasing frozen lunch meals and stick them in the fridge or freezer at work a few days in advance (e.g. Stick 3-5 frozen lunches in the freezer or fridge at work on a Monday).

Whatever it is you need to tend to during the summer months; do your best not to give into procrastination. Plan ahead, and be prepared.

Below are links to further reading material and resources on procrastination

Tips to Beat procrastionation

Adult ADHD Organization and Gameplan

The Real Reasons You Procrastinate and How to Stop

Different Types of Procrastination

 

Procrastination Steals Our Joy

I thought I would share (link) this blog post by Diane Samson about procrastination. It’s not specifically about ADHD, but procrastination is a problem faced by many. I love how she gracefully explains how procrastination takes our focus off of God and away from our being engaged in our calling and for some, our creativity.

I highly recommend giving her article a read followed by some prayerful contemplation.

http://dianesamson.com/the-big-p-word-book-give-a-way/

Source: Diane Samson . com
Source: Diane Samson . com

Preparation Brings Calm

plan ahead

Proverbs 6:6-8 Look at the ant; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

How interesting that the writer is telling us to look at ants for a lesson on hard work and preparation; but he is correct, ants get things done without a being told to or having a boss standing over them. This is pretty impressive and very much unlike human habit!

Preparation is not one of the strong points for those with ADHD, but it can be achieved. Being prepared for daily life can be a struggle, but it is a necessary requirement for living a life of less stress and more stability.

disaster recovery

We may not be as self-motivated and prepared as an ant, but maybe we can relate better to being as prepared as a supermom. I couldn’t help but  notice how well prepared supermoms tend to be with their elementary school aged children. Here are the preparations  I noticed well organized mothers do for their children:

-Before these moms go to bed, they have prepared the snacks and lunches for all their kids. They are labeled and stored in the fridge for easy retrieval in the morning.

-They get all the laundry finished on a Sunday evening and/or other very specific days of the week. Regardless of the day of the week, they keep this day consistent.

-They create meal plans for the week, grocery shop for these foods, and are ready to cook at any time. They don’t find themselves running out of necessary food staples during the week because they are well prepared.

-The clothes for their kids are chosen and laid out for wearing the next day. There is no hectic running around trying to decide what to wear and searching for clean socks in the morning.

-They keep their kids backpacks and footwear in the same place and these only goes missing if their child moves them and forget where they misplaced them. Supermoms want a place for everything and everything in its place. Searching for things she needs and uses every day is a waste of her time and only creates frustration for herself and the rest of the family.

She times things well and knows how long it takes to drive her kids to school, weekly sports groups and other after school activities. If the family doesn’t stay within those time limits she knows that they will not make it on time to where ever they are going. Again, she doesn’t want to be frustrated and drained by the frenzy of not being prepared.

I made the decision to get necessary things done like an ant, meaning that I get things done without having to be told, pressured or instructed to by a boss. Along with this, I want to be well-prepared like a supermom. If Noah busied himself with preparing for a flood that no-one expected to occur, then I think you and I can take the time to learn the habit of daily preparation for things we know will happen.

Noahs ark

Not every day is going to be smooth, no matter how much we prepare, but I can assure you that by preparing for certain daily occurrences we will have more days of calm rather than frenzy. 

 

My hope and prayer for you.
My hope and prayer for you.

Clutter Culture- I love having stuff!

 

 

Source: Oprah Magazine

Clutter, it’s all around me, well… it’s all around my bedroom. I have well organized piles of paper clutter and books and accountant boxes with even more organized stuff. I’ve been getting better at decluttering because of scheduling this task it into my day timer as this is going to be an ongoing job that will take a few months to complete and I’ve been pretty good at sticking to it. I am amazed every week when taking the recycle bags to the garbage bin. I keep asking myself, “Where have I been keeping all this stuff?” Silly question to ask because I know where I’ve been keeping them; in organized piles of clutter around my room. On shelves, under my bed, at the bottom of my closet, on the closet shelf, in rubber bins, and on the shelves of my desk; basically everywhere in my room.

I thought I was doing well by having all my stuff organized and for the most part, out of my way. I’ve since learned it doesn’t  matter if your stuff is organized, it’s still clutter and you have to ask yourself why you keep these things.

Why have I been keeping some of these books and paper products? So far I’ve been telling myself that I might need all this information for future reference. Really? An entire room full of information that I might need in the future? Nope, not anymore. I’ve got internet access and it provides plenty of information that I might need now or in the future. Bookmarks and electronic file folders are very handy for storing information that one might need at another time.

So now I’ll ask you…

  • Do you have clutter anywhere in your house? (Look around before answering “No”.)
  • What does this clutter consist of? (Possibly: hair products, running shoes, shampoos and conditioners, food condiments in the cupboard and refrigerator, make up, etc.)
  • Why do you keep these items? (You might need them someday isn’t a proper reason for having clutter).
  • Take a picture of each room in your house, all your closets, the inside of your vehicle and anywhere else you store items; what do those pictures look like? See below for some comparisons.
source: theorganizinggirls .com
source: theorganizinggirls .com
Souce: uglyhouses .com
Souce: uglyhouses .com

It’s way too easy for those of us with ADHD to become attached to too many things that we have no realistic need for. Two of an item might be enough, but instead we have sixteen of them. We might be able to find one item that could replace six items, but for whatever reason we choose quantity.

I won’t give you tips and advice on how to get rid of clutter or organize your stuff because there are already plenty of resources for that, but I will encourage you to stop and inventory all the clutter that you have and honestly ask yourself why they have taken up so much space in your physical environment and in your mind. A cluttered environment is a manifestation of cluttered mind.

matt 6 19 20

 

The ADHD Financial Drain

 

money-management-tips

In the media we are bombarded with images of successful (i.e. rich) celebrities who have ADHD. There’s Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Sir. Richard Branson, Jim Carey, and Whoopi Goldberg to name a few. The millions of dollars that they have earned is impressive, but we also have to remember that with all that money comes a wonderful helper called a financial manager.

Proper money management is something that is noted as a common struggle for those with ADHD. These issues with money are usually attributed to constant impulsive shopping, making risky financial decisions, an inability to keep bill payments organized, along with an absence of financial goals.

For myself it has been a major challenge to save money. I worked hard to pay off my consumer debt and I never want to have to do that again. I only have one credit card and it has a measly $500 limit. For me, this was perfect as it ensured that I would not be able to be in debt again. If I want to purchase something I have no choice but to pay cash for my items. Not being able to accumulate items that I can’t afford has left my living spaces clutter free and my mind free from worry about having to pay for things I couldn’t afford in the first place.

“6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Pretty much!
Pretty much!

In life, what we need is only the basics for survival: food, clothing, shelter; anything beyond these are extras. If your ADHD is causing you to have problems meeting those basic needs you are in serious trouble.

As Christians with ADHD it is important to manage money well. The ability to earn money is a blessing and this is one of the reasons we are told to be good stewards with what we have. Being able to earn enough money to enjoy all the extras in life feels great and there is nothing wrong with this, but we still need to be mindful of how we spend our “fun” money.

It might be difficult for some people to admit financial defeat, but it is necessary to do so in order to make the required changes that will lead to being free from the burden of financial irresponsibility. Chances are, there are many people you know who are having financial difficulty, but they don’t speak about it openly. Our culture tells us that money is a private matter.

The following is a short sampling of what is available for those who need to get their spending habits under control. It’s best to find resources for those with ADHD, however, regular money-management materials can work just as well. The difference is that you will need to remember what your ADHD weaknesses and strengths are when deciding which method will work best for you.

Resources:

Here is a helpful resource from CHADD for those who need help with managing money. http://www.help4adhd.org/living/WWK17

Dave Ramsey

http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/

Suze Orman

http://www.suzeorman.com/suze-tools/

Jacqueline Sinfield

http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-and-money

financial prayer

Running with ADHD

This is why I gotta stay organized! Avoid Monkey Mind!
This is why I gotta stay organized! Avoid Monkey Mind!

 

Finally! Yes, finally I have found a method for tracking my exercise and fitness plan that doesn’t involve pen and paper. I was decluttering my room a few weeks ago and I noticed that I had at least six different workout journals. In addition to these journals, I had papers all over the place that I had printed with various charts for tracking my workouts, progress and goals.

All these tracking tools scattered throughout my room, yet not a single one worked for me. They were all good and well laid out; this is how I knew that I was the problem. I would start a tracking sheet, be consistent for two days and then forget about it. The papers would end up under a pile of newer paper products only to be discovered during future cleaning days.

What my nightstand usually looks like. Where's my Learn to Run chart, aaaggghhh!
What my nightstand usually looks like. Where’s my Learn to Run chart, aaaggghhh!

As for the six or more fitness journals, these never made it into my handbag half the time. I would leave home and forget to bring them with me. By the time I would get home in the late afternoon, I either forgot about documenting what I ate or what activities I did, or I just wouldn’t care. There were times I felt too tired or too busy to rummage through my piles of stuff to find the journal.

It was a couple of weeks ago that I finally took a look at the app called Runtastic. I downloaded it onto my smartphone and I have enjoyed it ever since. Sometimes I’m in such a hurry to leave the house that I don’t remember to take my paper trackers with me. I’m too worried about forgetting the more urgent items that I need. If I do remember to take the paper tracker with me, I end up spending too much time searching for it and then I go from being early to being late.

runtastic-console

With this Runtastic app all I do is press start and it tracks my training. When I’m finished I click “stop” and it saves everything for me. I don’t need a journal and I’m not overwhelmed by individual sheets of paper. Everything is in one place. I take my smartphone with me whenever I workout and I don’t need to “remember” anything else.

If you don’t want your fitness routine to be derailed by forgetting to keep track of your training sessions and goals, I highly recommend getting an app, any app that suites your style. A device that allows you to keep all your information in one easily accessible place is unlikely to be forgotten or lost. For me at the moment it is Runtastic, it helps me not have to live another failed goal as a result of my ADHD traits.

Two easy places for checking out the various apps and devices are Google Play and iTunes store.

Source: Monkey Mind jpg, youcanrun. com.au ; Nightstand clutter jpg, pamspartyandpracticaltips.com

Spring Cleaning

Keeping up With Cleaning and Organizing Your Home and Personal Space

People are often surprised when they find out that I tidy my room everyday and do some sort of cleaning at least twice a week. My room is by no means neat and tidy. I have a half organized closet, a few boxes of goodness knows what under my bed, and a shelving unit that holds even more boxes of who-knows-what.

On a regular basis I walk into my room, look around, and sigh. I’ve given up telling myself that the room needs to be organized and cleaned from corner to corner. I’m by no means a hoarder, far from it, but I was easily on the path to becoming one. I had to discipline myself to stop becoming a collector of various items. I got rid of my angel collections, my DIY projects, and multiple cookbooks. I closed my Ebay account and stopped collecting Blue Mountain Pottery. By giving up collections, I was able to free myself from a lot of clutter and the endless maintenance and organization that is required.

cleaning insanity

I was fortunate enough to find some very simple and spiritual based home organization books. One book only required 15 minutes a day to become a more organized person and live a simpler life. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name, but the purpose of the book was to live a simpler life by ridding one’s self of clutter and unnecessary household stuff. I followed the prompts in the book and slowly over time I was able to become better organized, decrease clutter and live a simpler life. Things had changed so much that for the first time in years, I was able to move to a new home in one trip using only one truck!

For those of us with ADHD it is more of a challenge to maintain an orderly and clean home. There are plenty of books available for home organization, but most of them are not well suited for people with ADHD, as authors Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau write, “People with ADD often try to head “EAST“, doing Everything At The Same Time (EAST). They may begin multiple organizing projects with great enthusiasm – purchasing storage boxes, shelving, and paint but months later shelving hasn’t been taken out of the boxes, and the paint cans are still unopened. To change this self-defeating habit,  remember EAST is least successful.” Instead, the authors suggest taking on one project to get started, and complete it.

How do you decide which one to choose? I can only speak for myself, but I tend to address what ever mess is costing me the most problems in life. For me that would be the mess on my desk. If my desk is messy I am unable to complete my work. I need desk space in order to complete my assignments. Everyone is going to have a different mess that is a number one problem; find your biggest problem and start cleaning up that area.

Before even deciding what area to address, it is important to bring your intentions to God in prayer. It is easy to become overwhelmed, filled with anxiety or ignore the clutter; this is why we need to take this problem to God in asking for proper insight into seeing what needs to be done and the spiritual strength to get the work done.

Attached is a great blog post from Deb Wolfe over at Counting My Blessings. She addresses Hoarding from a spiritual point of view, but what she writes can easily be applied to the cluttered surroundings experienced by those with ADD. Her page can be accessed by clicking the page link below.

http://countingmyblessings.com/hoarders-jesus-and-prayer/

Lord I'm Overwhelmed direction today