Mastery

ADD Mastery: The Time Management Habit

time-habit

Imagine I delivered a truckload of money to your door step and handed it over to you with only one warning:

This is all the money you’ll ever get in your lifetime. Use it wisely.

Would you? Take care of it and use it wisely? Most of us would try really hard to not waste it.

So why do we squander time like an unending commodity when it’s the only resource we can never get more of?

Poor time management is a hallmark trait of ADHD, for both children and adults. We frequently run late, miss deadlines, or forget to show up at all. Quite simply – time eludes us. We just don’t get it. In previous posts about this challenge, I illustrated why time is not on our side and how to become better friends with it.

It is possible to get so good at managing time, it becomes an automatic habit. In this post, I want to belt out a few strategies that are useful in making time challenges a thing of the past (yep, I totally meant that pun). It’s not a long post. I don’t want to take up too much of your (ahem) time, I just want you to use it better!

Here they are, quick and dirty:

1. Get a Better Grip

Most ADDers have no idea how long something will take in the real world, but we sure do love to make creative guesses based on nothing more than intuition and imagination. Don’t know how long it takes to drive to work or write an email? Here’s a novel idea: time it! Get in the habit of timing routine habits for a couple of days (don’t bother with an hour glass, most phones have a timer on them). This alone will change your understanding of where all your time goes.

2. Double It

If you’re trying to work out how long something will take when you can’t measure it in advance, take your best guess and then double it. If you think something will take 15 minutes, give yourself 30. Most of us have incorrectly calibrated guessers (we’re overly optimistic). Doubling your estimation will get you closer to reality.

3. Set Alarms

Use an external alarm system (again, your phone?) to give you a warning when it’s time to leave. Don’t rely on your internal clock. If you get busy with something, you’ll lose all sense of time. Don’t let that happen. A simple alarm can snap you back into the moment when it’s time to go.

4. Watch for Just-One-More-Thing Syndrome

It can be really tempting to try to fit too much in, and in the process… sabotage your desire to be on time. While getting lots done is super-productive, being late super-isn’t. Resist the urge to do just-one-more-thing before you go.

5. Practice

Being on time is a habit, just like brushing your teeth and getting dressed. At the beginning, you’ll have to work at it. You won’t always be on time, but with repeated efforts, being on time will become more habitual.

Above I presented 5 concise strategies for making time management a habit. The best way to know whether or not they’ll work for you?

Try them.

(By the way, if you want the extended version with more strategies and a deeper explanation, check out everyday ADDvice Magazine ,where my article on ADHD Time Traps is featured in October’s inaugural issue).

Productivity

One Goal Wonder

one goal

Which of your children would you give up if you had to?

Maybe you don’t have kids. Okay then- which of your limbs would you sacrifice in order to save the rest? I mean, if you HAD to.

Can’t make a decision?

Thankfully, most of us don’t have to. But we do have to make important choices about our goals. And sometimes when I ask people to do that, they react as if it’s an offspring or appendage I’m asking them to relinquish.

By the way, that’s not what I’m asking at all. I’m not a prehistoric deity or the psycho out of Saw.

But…

I am asking you to juggle your goals differently. One ball (goal) at a time.

But I have many… why should I choose just one goal?!

 

All too frequently, my coaching clients want to change their agenda every time we meet. They try to relegate whatever we talked about last week in favor of this week’s shinier (more urgent) topic.

I get that. We live in the moment. Whatever is on our mind right now feels like the most important thing. Ever. And sometimes it is, so we refocus our priorities and switch gears.

But other times, our vacillation is really just a symptom. We can’t hold on to our goals and priorities just like we can’t keep track of our thoughts, our keys or the passing of time.

In other words, goals can be distractions.

To pick one goal out of a bunch and focus solely on it feels like neglecting some of our kids in favor of one. Sometimes, though, one kid needs more attention. And then when that kid is okay, you can turn your attention to the rest.

And just so you childless people don’t feel left out, rest assured – the same applies to limbs. Sometimes you have to favor one of them (i.e. an injured one). That doesn’t mean the others aren’t important.

How do you choose one goal?

It really depends on your circumstances. There may not be one right answer. You may have to simply pick one and stick with it, until it doesn’t need your attention any more. You’re not going to say no to your other goals. You are going to say: not now.

Your other goals benefit by proxy from your discernment. Success breeds success. When you feel successful, it will make you more apt to tackle your other goals with vivacity and enthusiasm.

When your space is more organized, you’ll feel more focused when you write. When you’re managing time better, you’ll be able to grow your business. When your finances are in order, you’ll start saving for the round-the-world trip you’ve been dreaming about.

But if you try to tackle them all simultaneously, you’ll get nowhere on any of them.

So maybe that’s the best reason of all to stick to the one goal strategy:

Its better to get somewhere on one thing, then nowhere on everything. 

Check out Ramit Sethi’s interview with Noah Kagan for more on how focusing on one goal can accelerate your productivity.

Mastery

ADD Mastery: Is “Now” Holding You Back?

now

Is “now” holding you hostage?

Much attention is paid to living in the moment. While this is a great mindset, you should also have an awareness that “now” is not permanent.

ADDers are often prisoners to momentary feelings. There’s no acknowledgement that we didn’t feel this way yesterday and won’t feel this way tomorrow. Which is okay when we feel great, but sucks when we don’t. We impulsively act on how we feel, often with unintended consequences and regret.

Spoiler alert: We want to avoid unintended consequences and regret.

Emotional dysregulation – the experience of intense emotional states coupled with an inability to change those states at will – is a common ADHD trait.

Learning to regulate your feelings better makes life a lot easier and starts with a few basic steps.

  1. Recognize what you’re feeling – “Sad”
  2. Label it as a feeling – “I am feeling sad”
  3. Add a but – “but it will pass”
  4. Do something – go for a walk, talk to a friend, remedy the cause of your sadness – or
  5. Don’t – but remember that the feeling with pass anyway

Yes, this is the over-simplified version of emotional mastery. Our feelings are intense enough, taking charge of them shouldn’t be intense too.

Doing one through five won’t solve an emotional break down, but it might take the edge off a bad mood.

Try it.

Creativity

Exercise Your Imagination

imagination

What role does imagination play in your life?

We know that good eating, sleeping and exercise habits promote health. Likewise, stress management and positive thinking foster good mental health. However most of us want more than health. We want happiness too.

Imagination is a key component of happiness. For one, it allows us to recognize what a happier life would actually look like. But more importantly, it gives life a more magical quality to it, rather than just the same old-same old.

Imagination is Magical

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. Albert Einstein

Imagination is the one human attribute that has no limits. Your muscles, attention span, even memory – all have a maximum threshold. Imagination has no parameters. This gift, as far as we know, sets us apart from other beings.

For creative-types who invent, innovate, and make the world a more entertaining place – imagination is a vital function that must be exercised regularly. Without it, creativity wouldn’t exist.

Use It or Lose It

Just as laziness leads to muscle wasting, a life filled with activity and no “mental play” leads to an emaciation of imagination.  Your mind becomes satiated with pre-frontal cortex stuff like planning and organizing, while imagination withers away.

Ideas to Exercise Your Imagination

If you want to give your imagination a workout, here are some exercises to try:

1. Photo-bomber Fun

Examine the background stuff in a few of your photos, like the people who became unknowing photo-bombers in your holiday snaps. Who are they? What must their lives might be like? Why were they there? Write a short story about them.

2. Take a Test

Developed by JP Guilford in 1967, the Alternative Uses Test challenges your creative boundaries. Examine an ordinary household object, like a coffee cup or paperclip, and think of as many possible uses for it as you can. The more absurd or random the better! Try this game with a kid – they will teach you a lot about removing the boundaries that confine imagination.

3. Have a Brain Dump

Set your timer and write for ten minutes – about anything and everything. Let one thought flow into another, even if there is no real association or logic between the two. Play with words – try out new combinations or ridiculous metaphors. The idea is to write fast and frenzied, then see what comes out of it.

4. Play the Free-Association Game

Talk with a friend (or yourself, if you’re so inclined). Shout out one random word, then the next that comes immediately to mind. Don’t think too much about it. Write down each word that comes to mind, and see if you can find a connection between them. Again, this is game is a great one to play with a kid.

5. Thought Experiments

Use your imagination to investigate the nature of something you don’t fully understand or to explore all the potential consequences of a particular theory that may not be provable in real life. Here are some mind-blowing examples to get you started.

6. Nap or Daydream

Give your brain a break from tedium of the day to get its creative juices flowing. Dreaming is the ultimate expression of an unrestricted imagination. Take a cat nap and as you fall asleep, notice the images and sensations that send you off. Or, spend some time relaxing in a daydream about … anything you can possibly imagine! Notice what comes up when you don’t force your mind to think about anything in particular.

These are just a few ideas to help you exercise your imagination. Feel free to share what comes out of these exercises for you, or share a few ideas of your own!

Growth

Major Screw-ups and Fresh Starts

fresh starts

When was the last time you congratulated yourself for screwing up?

No, I’m not kidding.

We’re conditioned to believe that mistakes are bad things, and sometimes they are. Screw ups – while devastating at times – can also create fresh starts towards new and better things.

Two weeks ago, I tried to tweak this website. A function wasn’t working properly, so I went into the abyss of WordPress to attempt a fix. It didn’t fix. Instead, it booted me out and gave me an error message that could be loosely translated:

“You royal idiot. Don’t play with things you don’t understand. You are officially banned!!!”

I was locked out. The Art of ADD initiated a coup on me.

Eventually, I got help and fixed it. Since I’d been thinking about a revamp for awhile, I used the rebuild time to make The Art of ADD new. Hopefully better.

The redesign wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the crash. Why fix something that isn’t broken, right? But when it is broken – why stop at fixing it? Why not try to make it better than it was before?  

The point is: not all wrecks are total wrecks. Occasionally, they are catalysts for better – sometimes outstanding – things.

Some famous screw-ups…

Traf-o-data was a 1970’s company that aimed to process traffic counting cheaper and quicker than the existing methods of the time. As fascinating as it sounds, it didn’t last. But its co-founder, Bill Gates, did last – and went on to create Microsoft.

Laugh-O-Gram Studio had short lived success in the 1920’s before it went bankrupt. Its co-founder had the last laugh, though. He was Walt Disney.

A two-time Yale dropout authored a novel that didn’t make it to publication until 30 years later! In the meantime, he became the movie producer, Oliver Stone.

(Check out this post for a list of 50 famous people who failed in their careers before achieving massive success later on.)

What they had in common…

  • They weren’t held back by temporary screw-ups.
  • They believed that success was inevitable – and that failure was an unavoidable obstacle on that path.
  • They looked for new opportunities and applied what they’d learned to find future success.

What this means for you…

Of course, not all of your screw ups will lead to huge breakthroughs or gigantic achievements.

But if you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to work – fresh starts may lead you down paths to better and brighter opportunities.

You won’t know for sure, though, if you don’t get back up.

(PS – when’s the last time you got back up?)

Creativity

Get a Better Nights Sleep – How Lack of Sleep Due to ADHD Affects Creativity

sleep

Today’s post is a guest post courtesy of Eugenia Lin.

Much like the Snicker’s motto of “you’re not you when you’re hungry”, suffering from sleep deprivation caused by ADHD can often leave you feeling like your not yourself. It not only negatively affects one’s mood, response time, but even creativity. Creativity isn’t limited to artistic or musical ability, but includes your ability to associate and link concepts together in unique and novel ways. Here we’ll explore ADHD’s affect on sleep quality, creativity, and how to combat it:

How ADHD affects sleep quality

Those with ADHD often have difficulties with the entire sleep process, resulting from the condition itself or due to medication. It all starts with having issues falling asleep, as feeling mentally active and alert makes it difficult to “shut the brain off.” Other ADHD symptoms such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea negatively impact one’s sleep quality, preventing REM sleep, all of which only serve to worsen the condition’s symptoms and exacerbate its effects.

 

Link between sleep, dreams and creativity

 

“Creativity is just connecting things.” Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Whenever you have trouble solving a problem or an issue, you’re often told to “sleep on it.” That’s because as you sleep, the brain cycles between rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep; where during the REM cycle, you dream and begin to consolidate the information and experiences of the day. This is also where new connections between concepts and ideas are formed, allowing you to spawn ideas you wouldn’t normally have while awake.

Best illustrating this is a cooperative study done by Ullrich Wagner and partners. They conducted experiments presenting subjects with a series of mathematical puzzles they were tasked to solve. Built into the experiment was a “shortcut” – a trick to solving the puzzles quicker and more easily. However, researchers did not divulge this information – in the expectation that the subjects would gain this insight on their own. After solving several puzzles, participants were given an 8-hour break where some were instructed to stay awake while others slept. Afterwards, they once again had to solve additional puzzles. As a result, Wagner found that participants who slept during the break more often “discovered” the shortcut and solved more puzzles versus the group who stayed awake.

Improving sleep quality

In order to reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep and boost your creativity, here are a variety of methods to achieve this:

• Start a wind-down routine and set a regular bedtime schedule, such as taking an hour before bed to wash up and brush your teeth. This aids in signaling and preparing your mind for sleep. It also helps in setting aside adequate time for restful sleep.

• Remove distractions and reduce stimulation. This involves dimming the lights and turning off attention grabbing tech like TVs and especially smartphones. Studies have shown that the light emitted from mobile screens reduces melatonin production, a hormone essential for the sleep cycle.

• Use relaxation tools such as earplugs, sleep masks, or even noise machines (ocean waves, nature recordings, white noise). These are great tools to aid you in falling asleep, by creating a calming, non-stimulating environment.

• Lastly consult with your neurologist about adjusting your ADHD medication or dosageto alleviate your sleep issues.

Eugenia Lin has been writing about health topics for several years and currently writes on behalf of the brain rehabilitation specialists at Cerebrum Health Centers. When not writing, she can be found spoiling her pet, Yeti, with treats or trying to be active outside on those typical Seattle rainy days. You can find her at LinkedIn.

Mindset

Relentless Positivity

positivity

Positivity… we all know it can help you go farther in life…

Positivity, at best, inspires you to keep going, move forward and reach for your highest potential. At worst, it softens the blows when something doesn’t work out like we hoped it would.

The most successful people in life are not those who have had no obstacles. They are the people who have fallen and gotten back up – tougher and stronger than before. They are the positive people, who no one can hold down for very long.

But positivity isn’t something that can be achieved easily for everyone. For some of us, we are negative by nature. We don’t mean to be downers, but our set point simply hovers around zero. For others, life has thrown so many curve balls, the only way they can avoid getting hit any more is to constantly look down.

But there is, objectively, no more reason to look on the downside than there is to look up. Looking up can actually inspire you to get back up – try harder, do better, push yourself until you achieve the success you desperately want. On the contrary, negativity does nothing more than hold you down in the trenches with the heel of its boot pressed up against your ear.

How do you get more positivity in your life when can’t find anything to be positive about?

You have to fight for it, of course!

You have to pursue it, relentlessly, until it can escape you no longer.

No one said that positivity has to come easily in order for it to be worth it. You need to look for the reasons to be positive. You need to search your soul and itemize every single thing you have to be grateful for, no matter how small. You need to dig deep, find the beauty in every moment, and be glad simply because you are alive. Turn the other cheek, not to get smacked again – but to see what you have been missing. There is always a silver lining. If you don’t see it, maybe you haven’t opened your eyes all the way.

I know its not that easy…

But you have to treat positivity as something to be sought after… coveted. And anything you want that badly – you’ll fight for.

The harder and longer you chase positivity, the more likely it is you will find it.

For more motivational videos, check out motiVRations!

 

Mindset

Shine Like the Sun – The Significance of You

sunshine

Ever wonder what your significance in this world is???

Today’s post is a little different. Its actually based on a video.

My husband and I have been working on a project together, creating motivational videos in a 360 Virtual Reality format. Being that he is a 360 videographer, and I like to write motivational scripts… it seemed to be a natural fit.

When we created them, we really had you in mind. Countless times I have been emailed by ADDers telling me that it is difficult to focus when they’re reading. So for these are for you – no reading here. On top of that, you get to “look around” while you watch the video. The 360 format allows you to look left, right, look behind – even above – if you want.

About this video:

If you ever doubt the meaning of life, your significance in the world, or whether or not you make a difference – this 360 video is for you. Shot during sunrise over Silver Star Mountain in British Columbia on New Year’s Day 2016, we’ve captured the inspirational beauty of the sun and assimilated it to the magic of being human. We hope that watching it moves you as much as the moment moved us when we shot it.

At motiVRations we help you unplug from all the distractions in your life, and get in touch with your inner strengths. By immersing yourself in stunning scenery and focusing on life affirming messages, our 360 videos are the perfect pep talk to kick-start your day or a great way to visualize your future before drifting off to sleep. These videos are best viewed on a Virtual Reality (VR) headset but can be watched on any device.

We’d love to know what you think. Does this format work for you? Could we make it BETTER? Please share your comments or stop by and check out our Youtube Channel: motiVRations . Make sure to like us and share!

Hope you enjoy!