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5 Tips To Stop Procrastination NOW

Posted on April 22, 2014

Secretary overwhelmed

Why is it so hard to get started on a dreaded chore or project? Why do we keep putting it off and putting it off? The sad thing is, by putting things off, we end up spending even more of our time and energy worrying, obsessing and feeling awful about it, then the actual time it takes to finish the chore! What gives? Why do we do this to ourselves?

In my online coaching group, The Queens of Distraction, we tackle all kinds of projects, from clearing off the cluttered dining room table to paying bills to getting dinner on the table every night. Time and time again, I hear the same concern: “Why can’t I get started? Where do I even begin?”

With ADD, when faced with an unpleasant task or one that seems to be too taxing on our brain, we end up procrastinating- waiting until the last minute until that bolt of adrenaline finally hits as we realize we have (1 hour, 1 day, etc.) to get something done.

You’d think we’d know BY NOW that the stress of waiting until the last minute takes its toll on us. We intellectually KNOW better, yet…we repeat this behavior over and over again.

Why?

If you have ADD, then you have an aversion to boredom. Menial tasks are unbearable. Pair that with distractibility, poor sense of time, fatigue (often seen in inattentive women with ADD), and impaired executive functioning (where do I start? What happens next? How do I DO this?) and it becomes an almost impossible feat to do seemingly simple tasks.

It helps to know why you have difficulty managing chores and other activities you avoid, but…what can you DO about it?

Terry’s Top 5 Secret Tips for Getting Things Done

  1. Yea, yea, yea, you’ve heard this before: make a list. But this list is different. Instead of just listing all the things that need to be done, try this:
  • List only the things that need to be done for that day.
  • Instead of prioritizing, like all the organizing books instruct you to do, read each item and put a star next to the one that is making you feel anxious, sick or just plain crappy about. Think: which of these to-do items would make me feel GOOD- no, ecstatic and relieved-  once it’s done?
  • Go through the list and continue marking the items that are making you crazy. In other words, go from the inside out. Whichever tasks would make you feel GOOD or at least a lot better- THOSE are the things to address first- not the things you see around you, like piles, unfinished chores, etc.

       2. Now that you have a few items on your list that need your immediate attention, try this:

  • Write down in your planner a specific time to work on your project.
  • If you have more than one thing pending, color code or use other symbols cuing you as to which needs to be done first, second, etc.

3. Take a deeper look at why you are avoiding the task. Is it that you need to buy supplies before you start? Are there any other obstacles getting in your way? Note them, attack them and move forward.

4. Remind yourself, again, of your feelings- think about HOW YOU WILL FEEL once the chore/task is done, VS how much you are hating the idea of doing it. You’ve read a million times to reward yourself for a job finished. My take on that is you’ll already be rewarded because you’ll feel a zillion times better.

5. Break it down in to chunks. You’ve heard this one before, too. So let’s take it a bit further: look at the big picture and have a plan. Work 10 minutes at a time, with plenty of breaks (or if you find you can’t stop the momentum, go with it! Keep going until it’s done!). Set a timer and make it into a game of beat the clock.

There’s lots of ways to help you get through the banality of chores, especially those that seem never-ending, such as laundry, dishes, housework, paperwork.

What works for you? Share your tips in the Comment section below.

 


ADDA Conference! Early Registration Discount Ends 4-18-14!

Posted on April 14, 2014

25th Anniversary International ADULT AD/HD ConferenceADDA graphic

Come to ADDA’s 25th Anniversary International ADULT AD/HD Conference!
July 24-27 in Orlando, Florida

ADDA is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in grand style.  The speaker lineup is amazing!  Over

50 professionals, including keynote speakers, Sari Solden, Tom Brown, Ned Hallowell and

Rick Green, will be addressing virtually every topic that could be of interest to adults with ADHD.

** I will be presenting on The Secret Lives of Women with ADHD: What your Mother, Grandmother and Teachers Never Told You.

If you’re an adult with ADHD, if you live with an adult with ADHD or if you’re a professional serving adults

with ADHD, you do not want to miss ADDA’s 25th Anniversary International Adult ADHD Conference

in Orlando, Florida.

Discounted rates for Early Registration (before April 18, 2014) !!

Register TODAY HERE!

 


Do You Get Songs Stuck in your Head?

Posted on April 07, 2014

EarwormA1

 

Do you get music stuck in your head? I do. So I started reading up on it. I’m not sure how much this has to do with ADD, but a lot of people (with ADD) whom I queried  complain of this awful phenomenon, which is often referred to as “earworms.”

According to Wikipedia, “An earworm is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing. Phrases used to describe an earworm include musical imagery repetitioninvoluntary musical imagery, and stuck song syndrome.”

My quick research via Google showed that earworms, though common in general, are thought to be more common in people with OCD. So what does this have to do with ADD? I’m getting to it…

Having intrusive thoughts and earworms would seem to be similar experiences. The ADD brain, in its search to find stimuli, often finds its way to obsessive worrying, ruminating and as we all know, addictive brain- locking activities like computer games (think…grrrr…Candy Crush), TV, shopping, eating, gambling and more.

In our search for mental stimuli, then, it would make sense that our brains would search for something at all times in order to feed it’s unrelenting hunger for stimulation.  Perhaps that’s why many of us find earworms the perfect, yet, totally frustrating solution.

My earworm of the day, which is driving me mad, is the bridge in Chicago’s I’ve Been Searching so Long:

I’ve been searchin’

So long

To find an answer

Now I know my life has meaning…

How about you? What song is stuck in your head right this very minute? Share your nightmare in the comment section below.


The Queens of Distraction! De-Clutter, Get Organized Online- With Terry

Posted on April 06, 2014

Queens of Distraction Logo NEW


Women with ADHD InfoGram

Posted on April 05, 2014

Women With ADHD InfoGram (3)


Are you an ADD Magnet?

Posted on March 25, 2014

women

 

I have been having a blast with the Queens of Distraction, my sweet online group of lovely, compassionate women  with ADD who are working hard at getting untangled from their clutter, pushing themselves to start projects that have been on the back burner before stoves were even invented, and watching them gleefully check off their to-do boxes.

I’m watching in awe as they clear off their desks, pay bills, de-clutter dining room tables so meals can finally be served, making long over-due doctor’s appointments and oh…so much more.

What is striking about the Queens is something I see in most women with ADD: super sensitivity, kindness, a great sense of humor and a deep awareness of their shortcomings.  There’s also a tenacity that matches no other, plus a sprinkle of quirkiness that makes them, oh…so lovable and fun to be around.

In all the years of working with women with ADD, I’m struck by the spark, the “something” that makes me know almost immediately that yes- that person probably has ADD. In fact, when I was at a party the other night, I was practically cornered by women who had or thought they might have- ADD. The energy, the sparkle in their eye, the unabashed expression of ideas and feelings. What is that unique characteristic we all seem to share? That draws us to each other like glue?

I’d love to hear your opinion on what makes you unique- does your ADD enhance your personality? Or is it a brick wall that stops you cold from moving forward? Or both?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

** Do you need support and guidance to..get things done? Join the Queens of Distraction and let me and your fellow Queens help you get rid of clutter, finish projects and enjoy the camaraderie of those who truly “get” ADD. Special spring rates end soon. Register today! www.QueensOfDistraction.com


The ADD Suitcase

Posted on March 11, 2014

suitcase1

 

I have a confession to make.

Ten days ago, I returned from our family vacation.  And I’ve yet to unpack my filled suitcase, which is still sitting on my bedroom floor.    Every morning when I wake up, I look at it and make a mental note that I really need to unpack that annoying thing. And every night when I hit the sack, I make a 2nd mental note that I really really need to deal with this.

It’s annoying because even with these daily/nightly reminders, I continue to procrastinate.  Most without ADD don’t think twice about such a little inconvenience- they unpack the day or next day after a vacation. End of story. For those of us with ADD, it’s this constant hide and seek game we play- we know it’s there, know what needs to be done, but we avoid avoid avoid. “It’s boring”. “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Or..we’re so used to seeing it, it becomes part of the landscape of the room.

A suitcase is a metaphor of sorts for our ADD brain. We can keep it closed and no one can visibly see the tangled mess inside. If we’re trusting or alone, we open it to see the disorganization of our thinking processes and how it affects the world around us. Either way, the stuffed, disorganized suitcase is there and we know it. And we kick ourselves over it.

It’s not something people with ADD do on purpose- this pack ratting away of chores that need attending to. Our ADD brain makes it hard to deal with seemingly easy tasks because well, they aren’t easy at all! How do you transition from something you’re hyper focused on and enjoying, to doing something that’s painfully boring? Our poor sense of time makes the task seem like a 2-hour chore when in actuality, it probably would take only 10 minutes to take care of.

I know that at some point, I will get so annoyed with myself, that I will run in and remove everything from that box and put everything away. Once, it took over three months to get to that point of disgust. Ok, maybe six.

When you are faced with a chore or project that stops you dead in your tracks, whether it’s because it seems too difficult, too boring or too time-consuming, remind yourself: by putting in a mere 10 minutes, you will take away hours and hours of self-deprecation, obsessive thinking, and in cases like this, one heck of an eye-sore.

What’s in your “suitcase” that needs tending to?   Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

** Do you need support and guidance in managing your own suitcase? Join the Queens of Distraction and let me and your fellow Queens help you get rid of clutter, finish projects and enjoy the camaraderie of those who truly “get” ADD.


Coping with Heightened Emotions When You Have ADHD

Posted on March 06, 2014

emotional

 

People with ADHD tend to have a hard time regulating their emotions. For instance, they report going from zero to 100 in just several seconds, according to Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“They report being emotionally hypersensitive, as long as they can remember.”

Their feelings also may be more intense. “[W]atching a sad movie can push them into an episode of depression or crying. A happy event can bring on almost a manic type of excitement,” said Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and ADHD coach.

Continue reading HERE


Do You Hate Talking on the Phone?

Posted on February 24, 2014

woman-on-phone

 

Ring. Ring. Most people accept that sound as a normal daily occurrence, pick up the phone and carry on a conversation with a friend, relative, doctor’s office or whatnot. The only time they get annoyed is if the phone rings during a meal or if there’s a robot on the other end asking you to hire him/her/it to clean your carpet.

Unlike some people who have a bad reaction to spoiled food, certain medications, relatives who annoy them or incessantly barking dogs, I get annoyed to the bone when the phone rings and worse, if that call is for me: I have an immediate adverse reaction. Not because I don’t love my family and friends, but because my ADD makes it hard to stay connected on the phone… and I get totally frustrated. You too?

It makes sense that this might be difficult if you have ADD. Here’s why:

We:

  • Hate to be interrupted when we are in hyper focus mode, having to stop whatever interesting activity we were doing before the phone rang.
  • Hate to be interrupted when we’re not in hyper focus, having finally forced ourselves to get something done, like paying overdue bills. Getting de-railed by a phone call at times like that is like being thrown in front of a train.
  • Abhor small talk. As we hear chit chat about this’n that, our brains are already miles ahead, waiting impatiently for the story to end to save us from all the details. Little do our callers know that we’re yessing and “mmmhmming” to disguise the fact that we’re thinking up an invention, planning a vacation or just floating away in our heads to somewhere much more interesting and exotic than a play by play of Aunt Gussie’s recent cataract operation.
  • Interrupt out of fear of forgetting what we want to say. Then, we look rude. And feel bad.
  • Can’t filter out extraneous sounds, like the cat’s belly growling from hunger. Or the faucet dripping two floors away, making it hard and frustrating to concentrate on the call. Of course, no one else can hear such things- only us.
  • Struggle to hear the words on the other end when there are no visual cues (can’t see the mouth, so can’t hear the words). And God forbid if the poor soul has an accent. That, for me, anyway, makes it nearly impossible to stay connected.

How about you? Do your jaw muscles tense up when the phone rings? How do you manage when someone you care about calls? How do you stop yourself from mentally checking out?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


When Having a Bad Memory Can Be a Blessing

Posted on February 10, 2014

AnnieGarden

 

Note from Terry: This is a piece I wrote back in 2008, but I thought the message was still fresh enough to share with you today.

TM

______________________________

At times, I like to share my personal stories and experiences with you because I hope that others might recognize themselves in similar situations and (hopefully) not feel so isolated, embarrassed or damaged.

Much is written about the challenges of having ADHD and how it affects us in so many ways: relationships, self-esteem, academics, workplace issues, parenting, and much more. We learn strategies on how to tame the symptoms; we read books and articles to gain a better understanding of them. We take medications, go to therapy, hire a coach and/or a professional organizer….

But two weeks ago, I realized that having a bad memory might actually be a good thing at times. The light went on shortly after I heard my vet’s dark diagnosis:

“Your dog is horribly ill. She has a cardiac tumor and will not survive much longer; it’s a fatal disease.”

Annie, my beloved 14 year old Portuguese Water Dog, received this horrific prognosis after I’d taken her in thinking she simply had a stomach bug. The vet continued:

“She will get weaker and weaker and if she doesn’t die suddenly from a heart attack, she’ll only suffer a slow and steady death. You should consider euthanizing her.”

I was simply stunned. This dog, who never left my side these past 14 years, was deathly ill and I would lose her. And soon.

Grieving is often preceded by denial and that is exactly what happened in my case.  I couldn’t believe the news that had just slammed into my consciousness. Surely the vet was wrong! But slowly it began to sink in. With a lump in my throat and tears burning my eyes, I began to think of all the wonderful times I’d shared over the years with this fuzzy, deep eyed loyal and gentle creature.

Slowly but surely, the reality of the news hit me. And hard. I tried to think back to what she was like as a puppy and drew mostly blanks. There were vague memories of her being insanely hyperactive; her heel – nipping and boundless energy. But not much more than that. I became horrified that this sweet dog, who was like a part – an extension- of my own body, would soon become a faded memory, like so many of the other past experiences in my life.

On the one hand, I knew that the details of the awful days ahead would soon be long gone from my memory. I’d gratefully forget the sad bloodshot eyes, the symptoms of cancer reeking havoc on her organs. The sick feeling in my stomach when I had to make the final decision to put her down. I’d forget the look on her face as the vet injected her with a fatal dose of morphine.

And so it dawned on me that sometimes having a bad memory could be a blessing. I tried to bring up memories of other sad times in my life but found that I couldn’t conjure up the details. Instead, I could recall things in general: my father dying when I was a child and basically not remembering much of anything about him- almost as if he never was in my life to begin with.

But it wasn’t just the bad things; I couldn’t remember the wonderful milestones, either! I have little memory of my own wedding! The excitement of moving into our first home. The funny little antics of watching my babies growing up. Which one liked peaches? Which one favored pears?

So in grieving over my dog’s impending death and knowing I would soon forget many details about her, I began to write. For I knew that the only way I’d remember life with Annie, would be to read the passages I wrote- how she looked and acted. How she’d knock the phones off the hook whenever I’d leave the house without her. How she cocked her head when I called her name.

I think writing is not only therapeutic; for those with ADHD, it can be a wonderful tool to help us remember important things in our lives. How I wish I had kept up with my baby diaries for my two girls. I realize now why it’s so hard to throw certain items away; they serve as memory keepers. For example, I’m unable to toss out photographs. I know that they serve as reminders of events, both major and minor that I don’t want to forget.

It’s been six days since Annie died. I’ve planted a small memorial garden in the backyard in her honor. I’m looking over old photographs which I’ll someday put into an album. And then there’s my blog that I’m writing, filled with all the memories I can bring up to consciousness while I still can. For soon, they will all be gone.

How has your ADHD helped or hindered you in remembering or forgetting important life events? Please share in the Comment section below.