For those with ADD, there is always a lot of energy and anxiety about time. There is never enough time to get things done, too much to do, and a high level of perfectionism. You can feel overwhelmed and discouraged by not accomplishing everything you set out to do. To get a handle on this, start by changing perspectives and looking at the big picture about time management and productivity.
- Set Limits. So much to do and so little time is often the mantra with ADD. By having oodles of choices and not limiting any choice, the number of projects, tasks, and commitments can grow exponentially. Try choosing a reasonable number as a natural limit to the amount of tasks you need to get done. It can range from 3- 10, but having a number means you are setting a boundary.
- Use a Timer. Being late for a very important date can be a crushing realization for someone trying to cope with ADD. Having time awareness starts with external ways that can alert you of important deadlines. Setting an alarm for the time you want to leave for an appointment, setting a timer for the amount of time you want to work on your computer, or using your alarm on your smart phone to let you know to make a phone call are all ways to start improving your timeliness.
- Get an Accountability Partner. It can be a struggle to start or finish a project. Choose a partner to help you with beginning or ending a project. The energy and skills a partner brings to assist can be a compelling way to make a difference.
Are you making progress with your ADD challenges? I would love to know the strategies and solutions that work for you, so please share in the comments.
Image Credit: Clock Shoppes.com
Certified Professional Organizer® and Family Manager Coach, Ellen Delap, offers solutions for families struggling with ADD.
Remember the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?” And so it goes with ADHD. Many newly diagnosed kids in turn have newly diagnosed ADHD parents. If you and your family have multiple generation ADHD, it is important to learn about your diagnosis and learn the next steps, too.
Looking with objectivity of this diagnosis is difficult. Think of this diagnosis as one that includes challenges to executive function, a part of your brain that involves planning and processing. It is more than just attention and hyperactivity. Executive function can affect you and your child’s daily life, not just at school or work.
Aspects of ADHD include transitions, getting started, organization, prioritizing, motivation, and working memory. Getting a good team together to inform and address ADHD is critical, including professionals on the medical, counseling and coaching arena. Developing a trust relationship, putting aside judgment, and focusing on care will help you develop a plan that works for you and your family.
There are many venues to learn about ADD. Associations such as the Attention Deficit Disorder Association and CHADD are two of the primary first steps. These associations have online, national and local presence for you to tap into and learn about ADD. Finding a local chapter makes for camaraderie and a sense of belonging in your community.
Reading may be a top priority for you. Blogs and books offer a look into the life of families and individuals with ADD. Among the top are Terri Matlin, Tara McGillicuddy, Arianne Benefit and Laura Rolands. Books include:
• The Family ADHD Solution by Dr. Marten Bertin
• Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett
• Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell
• Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden
If you are looking for a few basic solutions for your family, these are a few first steps for you.
• Set up good self care with bedtimes and good nutrition for everyone in the family. Having adequate sleep and high protein meals can make a difference for everyone. Often this is the first area that families overlook.
• Take care with over scheduling for the family. Allow more transition and down time than other families. For families with ADHD, the transitions and the rush of daily life ends up tripping them up. Be sure that you are mindful of all members’ commitments.
Use a family calendar, either with Google calendar or a large month at a glance calendar, posted in the kitchen where everyone can see it. Host a family “meeting” weekly to go over who is going what, who is going where and what other new “surprises” are going on this week.
• Address the stress with exercise, yoga, art, therapy and other ways to release the tension. These activities help everyone with clarity. Just being outside, taking a walk or even just a little movement can make a difference. All families have stress, but even more so with ADHD.
• Place clocks in many places throughout your home. A timer is a great investment in helping you and your child stay on task, get started and get done. Choose a clock and timer with a “clock face” in order to see time lapsing. Use it in transitional times, too.
• Put into place additional help throughout the week. A daily “homework helper” can be a blessing for both parents and students. A local college student, older high schooler or other person can help your student focus and work as a partner with less stress than the parent. A cleaning service, additional driver or daily money manager can be a blessing to a parent who struggles with these aspects.
• Make a morning plan and evening routine with your family. Talk through the plan, note the obstacles, make a chart and stick with your design for smoother family times. It is always a struggle to be consistent for those with ADHD, but implement a smooth, simple plan for both the beginning and ending of the day.
Families with ADHD do best by focusing on the positive in specific, genuine ways. Remember that a hug, a smile and a pat on the back can bring about the desired behavior and most especially the emotional feeling of being understood and loved. It is in understanding the emotions and behavior of ourselves and our family and we can empower and affirm each other.
About the Author
Certified Professional Organizer ® and Family Manager Coach, Ellen Delap, is the owner of Professional-Organizer.com. Since 2000, she has worked one-on-one with her clients in their home and offices, streamlining their environments, creating effective strategies for an organized lifestyle, and helping them to prioritize organization in their daily routines.
She holds ADD and Chronic Disorganization certificates and specializes in working with ADD and ADHD adults and students. Ellen has been featured at The Woodlands (Texas) Home and Garden Show, on ABC13 Houston, in the Houston Chronicle, and is an Expert on The Clutter Diet, an online organizing resource.