Posts Tagged ‘ADD meditation gratitude relaxation’

ADHD Support: Step #1 Build Your Team (CHADD Talk Preview)

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

You’re an adult, with ADHD. Diagnosed or “pretty sure of it.” You may have recently discovered this about yourself, or discovered it awhile ago but at that stage of your life, it was all too much to wrestle with.

So you put it aside. But now it’s jumped onto the front burner.

Maybe your choice and maybe not: an issue cropped up in your relationships, at work, or for some other reason.

But you’re ready to roll now. You’re tired of “it” getting in your way.

You’re tired of knowing what to do. But you don’t do it.

You have been reading and notice that you do look at things differently from some of the people in your life.

Or you have challenges other people don’t seem to struggle with as much as you do.

It’s time.

OK. Awareness. But so what and now what?

You can make some changes – more on that later – which will make daily life much easier.

You can use ADHD-friendly strategies instead of trying to force fit something into your life. And not apologize for this.

You can educate yourself on how to manage and make great use of your ADHD and your strengths. Because, you do have them, even if it might not feel like it some days.

You’ll get more out of your life because you’re headed down a path of making things “fit” better for how you think, work, make connections and live.

Because you’re aware and paying attention, you’ll discover ways to support what’s most important to you, using a variety of resources, team members, and even collaboration among professionals, to get you where you want to be.


Self-Care: 4 Strategies to Push through Perfectionism & Procrastination

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Sue: Does this sound like you?

  • I am always late.
  • I never seem to be able to get to my most important goal. I am too busy.
  • I try, but I keep hitting roadblocks. Maybe I am not “cut out” for this.


Carol: Hi, this is Carol Williams, Productivity Specialist at EpS, Efficient Productivity Systems.

Sue: And this is Sue West, Life Transitions Coach and AD/HD specialist. We have joined together for this series of audio interviews to give you short, “use today” pieces of advice, in 5 to 8 minutes.

Today’s is called “What’s Your Plan B?” but first …

Carol: We’d like to share some exciting news, in case you did not catch the last podcast.

Sue and I are rolling out a new workshop called DESIGN YOUR DAYS. Just 90 minutes with us will set you in the direction for your work and personal life that works for YOU. Our first Design Your Days workshop will be at the Hampton Hotel in Colchester, VT near Burlington, on May 2 and is part of the WBON (women business owner’s network) which is a statewide, Vermont business organization. We’d love for you to attend so watch our blogs or social media sites for information! Click here for their site.



To listen click here >>>  Self Care April 2013.         

To read our advice, just continue on in this blog entry.



Sue: Onto our podcast tips. Our last two podcasts focused on Self Care. This can be the root of many productivity issues. When we don’t sleep well at night, when we allow our exercise routine to take a back seat for an extended period of time, when we allow others to set our priorities- we neglect ourselves. Keeping this point at the top of mind will subconsciously allow you to begin turning it around. The next question to ask yourself is- what’s getting in your way of making a little progress?


Carol: We tend to ask our listeners a lot of questions, don’t we? Well in that spirit I have three more:

  1. Do you have to “have enough time” to write the entire book, and know exactly what you want to say before you begin?
  2. Do you have to have all the right cleaning tools before you begin organizing that spare room?
  3. Do you feel so overwhelmed by cleaning your home that you think, why bother? It will just get messed up again and I don’t even know where to start.


Sue: Thanks, Carol. That sounds little like perfectionist behavior to me.

To our listeners: Has anyone ever called you a perfectionist?

Perhaps you don’t wash your car because you don’t have the right wax and you really want to wax it at the same time, and by the way the sun will be setting soon anyway, maybe I should just catch up on some reading instead?

Perfectionism often leads to procrastination.

It’s time to shift our thinking. Try, what’s my plan B? If I don’t have the right wax, so what? Can I wax using what I have? Can I wax just half of the car? Won’t that be better than nothing? Or when can I go to the local car place and get them to do it for me!


Carol: OK onto some tips! Let’s think about re-framing your attitudes- to help you succeed:

Think of one tiny step you could accomplish toward your big goal. For example, if you know you have trouble sleeping, and you think you need to go to the doctor, and can’t find time to call, can’t find time to go to an appointment, don’t have the right insurance, what could you do instead? Could you find 15 minutes per night to meditate right before bed, try that for 3 weeks and if no improvement then take another step? The key here is thinking about what you CAN do vs. all the reasons you CAN’T do something. Those little steps could be called Plan B.


I want to send my kids to camp XYZ but I don’t know how I will get them there or how I will afford it. What can be plan B? Could you begin to look into the other options? Could you write a Facebook post asking other parents to do a “round robin” home based camp with other kids their age in your area? Time to think creatively. Let go of “it has to be this way” and watch new answers start coming your way.


Sue: My first suggestion is an anti procrastination exercise which comes to us from a client who had great success with this. This is useful for people who say “I can talk myself out of anything,” or “I can’t get started – the perfectionism or procrastination gets me too often.”

The six questions were developed by David Burns, and are in his book, The Feeling Good Handbook. Essentially, the questions have you weigh the advantages and disadvantages by writing them down so you can see what you’re thinking– and it’s amazing how well this works.


My second suggestion will be of interest to those who need lots of variety in their days. I’m going to suggest you embrace the variety.  Work it into whatever self-care you’re trying to bring into your life.

For example, you want to start doing some sort of exercise, yet you just imagine how boring it’s going to be, so you stop before you start.

How about this instead: Mondays, you walk on your own. Wednesdays you walk with a neighbor. Saturday morning, you walk while you talk to your daughter, who is at college. The other days you don’t walk; you ride your bike somewhere around town.

The variety is in both which exercise you take on and how or with whom you actually take it on. The important piece is here is to reach out, ask people and get time and people set up so they help you get out each day.



As a reminder, you are listening to a podcast series. We’d love your feedback.  If you have a question you’d like answered, please email us at [email protected]


Or contact us through our blogs and websites:

Sue’s is

Carol’s is


If you found our advice valuable, please consider sharing our podcast or blog with colleagues and friends.


Thanks so much and GOODBYE until next time!


Letting Go of Your High School Senior

Friday, April 29th, 2011
Grandmother & granddaughter attending our Smith College reunions together.

2002. Grandmother & granddaughter attending Smith College reunion together.

When I think of “letting go,” as an organizing coach, I think about our stuff, our habits which no longer serve us, and our internal clutter. I hadn’t thought about high school seniors !

It started about a year ago, as clients and friends moved through college applications, senior year events and prepared for a graduation celebration.  I started hearing: “I wonder what it will be like next year when he’s/she’s gone.”

Times of change are prime times to ask for additional support to make it easier to move on to your next chapter. I work mainly with people who have gone through one or more of these significant life events – some sad, some happy, many bittersweet.

Support can be in the form of brainstorming, ideas from other clients, insights, perspective and cheering on your behalf. Belief in you, even when your belief may not be as strong as it usually is.

Ideas for how you can model your life organizing skills as they prepare to leave home.

Work on these together. Teach what you know as you model it and share your words of wisdom.

Get  ready for their new home.

What day is your child returning or starting college? Create your dorm room list of what you need to buy or find at your home to send them off in August.

If you start your list now, before the emotions set in too heavily, your mind’s clearer to come up with your best list.

And, you’ll have several months to spend the time and money on things, rather than having big bills in August.

Avoid last minute purchases here or at college. You’ll pay more than what you wanted and/or won’t get quite the product you wanted.

How  does your young adult handle change and stress?

What happens during periods of high stress – like being away from home for such a long time, living with a roommate perhaps for the first time and all the other stresses of this new chapter she’s about to start. On her own. Without family to be right there with her? Discuss it. Plan for it.

How does her ADD show up day-to-day? Spend time working with your high school senior discussing how he/she will manage this aspect of life.

Has your young adult ever been away for a few weeks or more; use that experience to figure out what worked and what was most difficult. Begin the college conversation with his strengths.

Talk with friends who have older college-aged children. What is a typical day like? And a weekend? What were the challenges? How can you two figure out some of this together? Can you review a schedule together?

What does the school have for support for the young adult with ADD? With a learning disability? With a chronic medical issue? How will you continue work with the specialists at home?

A smaller version of their stuff

Your adult child will likely stubbornly refuse to believe that everything he owns cannot fit into the dorm room.

Teaching moment: How can you help your high school senior decide on a smaller version of her clothes and other belongings?

This is a great time for reflection and discussion together on what deserves space in the college dorm room.

And on what will make a dorm room feel  like “home?”

How will you organize contact with each other once she’s there?

Sunday night phone calls home? Email? Facebook contact? How often is often enough so he feels supported by the  home front but not so tied that he doesn’t quite leave the nest mentally?

My 30th year  college reunion is this year. I don’t remember how my parents handled my last summer at home, but I DO remember they wrote me a letter to take with me.

On lined,  yellow 8 1/2 x 14 paper, dad’s handwriting communicated their words of wisdom on all fronts of my new chapter ahead.

How  will you do all of this for your new college freshman?

Too much going on? Need additional support to figure out all of this? Meet with me for 1, 2 or 3 hours. Meet with me by phone or in person.

Resources/related reading:

What to bring to college.

Recommended by Linda Samuels, author, Professional Organizer, a book she read as her daughter left for her freshman year:

Heart-felt words of wisdom from mom blogger, Wendy Thomas, as her son temporarily left the roost for his High School robotics team at the FIRST National competition in St. Louis.

The Old College Pry – from The Gypsy Nesters (life after kids blog):

10 Ways to Declutter Your Mind

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Declutter your brain

Declutter your mind.

It’s the fastest way to combat that feeling of constant distraction.

That nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something – or someone.

Declutter and you’ll find focus again.

My mind starts working in too many directions.

Think: pinball machine, with way too many pin-balls flying around.

And what happens when we don’t focus on just one of those pinballs?

We drop the other balls. The others drop through the gate.

We lose. We get stressed.

Stress and clutter are tightly linked for me and many people I organize and coach with.

Is it like this for you?

I start forgetting things.

I say things which aren’t quite what I mean – not as articulate as I like to be.

I don’t listen as well; I’m not as present.

I don’t get as much done – in my personal or my business life, cuz it’s all just too darn cluttered up in my head.

10 Ways to Declutter Your Mind

  1. Pick something, ANYTHING and finish it.Don’t waste time deciding if it’s the “right” thing to finish. The point is to start making those pinballs go away, one by one.
  2. Write down whatever is in your head. On whatever is available. Don’t go looking for the perfect list or notepad or your phone. Grab whatever is nearby and just get it out of your head. Later, sit with your temporary list. Think about and process each item on the list. Decide what deserves space on  your regular  task/to do/next actions  list. Consolidate.
  3. Walk away from your desk. Go do something. Get some energy out of your body. I go out to the deck and take a few deep breaths. I walk away from work and I see things differently.
  4. Use your phone, tape recorder, Dragon software or anything that will hold your voice. Record everything in your head. The specific tool does not matter. What does matter is that if you’re highly verbal, talking out loud to declutter your brain will be more effective for you.
  5. Create  something if you’re artistic. This could be something beautiful made of fabric or it could be a  visual mind map. Take a break to clear your head and  process while you take the creativity break. Or draw the mindmap if that will help get stuff out of your head. The non linear, creative and kinesthetic all  tied into one.
  6. Take a walk and literally, go smell the flowers. Let the  aroma fill your senses and clear your head. Get perspective and then see if you still need to write  down what’s in your head. You may just have needed perspective or a break.
  7. Call up your accountability partner, your friend,  your organizing coach. Talk out loud about everything that’s in your head, or that one thing you can’t  figure out on  your own. Talking it through out loud, with some good and powerful questions, will release the clutter and you’ll start  solving whatever that problem is you’re wrestling with.
  8. What do you need to let go of? And how have you let go of other things; would that work in this situation?
  9. How else can you occupy your mind – fidget to focus (ADHD book title) is apt here – if you listen to music or a book while you work, would that clear the clutter and allow some focus?
  10. Go play with your dog. Call your child/grandchild/nephew. Step into work or out of work, depending on where your head is at.

And Then Going Forward:

How did your mind get cluttered to begin with?

Answer that question each time you feel this way, and you’ll get to your own set of insights.

Some options until  then:

  • Use a calendar and a to do list. Appointments versus stuff to do.
  • Keep a projects list.
  • To trap your creative ideas you don’t want to forget, buy or repurpose something beautiful. Something unusual.
  • Take time in the a.m., mid day and definitely end of the day to empty your head.
  • Begin to notice how much you can handle in a day, what your limits are, and what causes the cluttered mind feeling ?
  • Notice how certain people affect your feeling of a cluttered mind or whether it’s  certain types of projects.
  • Is it a certain time of day – then clear the clutter as you begin that part of the day.
  • Sometimes,  it’s the feelings around the stuff, not the stuff itself. Learn to notice how you’re feeling and recognize what the real, root cause is. Get this under control and things will seem calmer.

So what’s decluttering your mind these days? And how can I support your decluttering efforts?


Stress management posts by 22 organizers/other professionals – requested & aggregated by Calahan Solutions, productivity specialists.

Coaching/organizing: Click here for support.

ADD and Finances

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

You have or know someone who has ADD and they’re having trouble keeping their finances managed/organized. This post is for you and for them. For you, the non ADDer, to understand what’s going on and to read about typical beliefs  around money are for ADDers. And for you, with ADD, you may finally understand that what you are going through is quite typical … for someone with ADD. Understanding and acceptance leads to solutions.

I’m in an international,  professional group called the Institute for Challenging Disorganization and we have extraordinary educational classes available to us. Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. presented “Helping ADHD Clients Organize Their Finances” last night.

Stephanie is a psychotherapist, author of four books about ADD and a coach. She is nationally requested expert, with a blog on Psychology Today, and published in the Journal of Attention  Disorders, Smart Money magazine and The Huffington Post. Appearances on  CNN, ABC, Fox and others round out her resume.

A few points of advice from Stephanie are below, along with my interpretations of how  this would benefit my clients and others with ADD, friends, people you live with  —

Stephanie’s question to ask yourself: what would it look like/feel like if you were doing  well with your money?

My thoughts: This question or its  answer is important because managing your finances is a means, not the end. What’s the end? What you want to do with your money you’ll have. How would you feel about yourself.

Stephanie’s advice for the non-ADDer: ADDers think “now” and “not now.” So asking an ADDer to think ahead and save for retirement? Not  going to be productive. Instead, set up immediate, 1 year, 5 year goals. Immediate is bills. One year might be pay off the car. Set up goals and work together to break into smaller steps.

Stephanie: Call it “a spending plan,” not a “budget.”Reframing to the positive and interesting was a significant point she returned to time and again.

Me: Say those words out loud, and feel the  difference. Budget: restrain,deprivation,negative,  right? Spending plan: Wow. Great. Fun. I decide. So much in our language.

Stephanie: Your spending plan needs to  identify “wants,” as different from “needs.” A non ADDer can tell the difference, but the prson with ADD usually can’t. Everything is a need.

Me: The question isn’t “How can I afford this…”  assuming it’s a need, not a want all the time. The question is “Can I afford this.” Yes/no, rather than how. How comes after the first question. So assist the person with understanding the differences.

Stephanie: Introduce streamlining into your financial management. Simplify, automate, get software, hire out.

Make it easy, not a chore. Paperless equals less clutter.

This simplicity can apply to what you keep or toss/shred, how you pay bills, how you save, how you create a filing system for what you keep.

She shared much more with us, much to think about and bring to clients.

If this is an issue for you or someone you know, love or live with, please direct them to her website, Facebook page, blog or follow her on twitter or even on Youtube for people who would prefer to listen to her advice. The first step is awareness and then education.Stephanie’s focus was in how we organizers can support our clients once they are ready for dealing with these issues around finance. She was tremendously helpful and practical. And you know, there must be so much more in her books, blog and on twitter – so follow her and start your journey.

To your organized finances.