How to tackle your To Do list with less stress

Everyone has a “to do” list! And if yours is like mine, it’s way longer than you can ever hope to accomplish in a day, a week and sometimes even a month! This can be frustrating and even deflate the motivation that you might have for getting things done because when you look at it, all you get is a big knot in your stomach and sense of being totally and completely overwhelmed. Believe me,  I can relate! Not only that, but us ADHDers tend to attack our lists by doing a bit of a bull rush where we try and tackle a number things all at the same time and what ends up happening is that we get half way through a bunch of things, but don’t ever get the satisfaction of putting a big, fat “check” next to any of our to dos. This is also very discouraging and something I deal with myself on occasion.

So when I got into reading Heidi Grant Halvorsen’s article, I was excited to see a technique to help ease the stress of facing my “to do” list and make it seem more manageable. Heidi suggests categorizing our lists based on “when” and “where” the to dos need to be done. This helps with prioritizing and getting organized. So if you have to go to the store to pick up groceries and you also have to run by the bank – it helps to figure out ahead of time that the two are right down the street from one another, so that you should visit both of them while you’re out. As opposed to running to the store, coming home and then having to run out later to visit the bank. It’s a super simple concept, but it does require that we spend just a few more minutes with our “to do” list looking for connections like that one. For me, using Google Calendar has been a tremendous for helping me get and stay organized. What’s working for you?

Show some compassion…to Yourself!

It’s a happy day here in Indianapolis! With the worst of the Polar Vortex (aka Indiana Snowpocalypse!) behind us, the snow piles slowly melting, the kids are finally back in school today, after having their winter break extended by a WEEK!! (Thank you Lord!) So now I can resume some of my more normal morning activities when I’m not traveling – reading, writing and making videos!

Today, I want to talk to you about compassion and how important it is to show it to…yourself! As someone who grew up constantly feeling like I was two steps behind everyone else, I was really, really hard on myself. A lot of my presentations bring up the fact that inner dialogue plays a huge role in determining your attitude and ultimately what your life’s journey looks like. I think it’s crucial that you don’t spend a lot of time calling yourself names and deriding yourself. So you screwed up? We all do that! But is it really helpful to sit there with your head hung low, telling yourself what an idiot you are? Not especially!

Recognize what you did wrong as objectively as you can, think about ways that you can prevent the same thing from happening again, ideally journal your thoughts, then move on with life. Tomorrow is a new day!

Vol. 2 Tip #7 Accountability helps with integrity

Accountability is a concept that doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but I believe it is a crucial part of becoming better at everything you want to get better at, including being a person of your word. If you struggle with reaching your goals in any area of your life including being a person of your word, then ask a close friend or a family member to keep you on track. It’s a little humbling true, but also very effective!

Vol. 2 Tip #6 Can you be trusted when no one’s watching?

Continuing on from my earlier thoughts on integrity, today I wanted to focus on the idea of how important it is to be the same person in public as you are in private. Would you take something that belonged to someone else, if there were people watching? Would you lie to another person if other people in the room knew that what you were saying was untrue? Would you make promises if you knew that the next week, you’d have to break them? Most of us would say “no”, we would do the right thing. But would things have been different, if no one was watching. If no one could call you out for stealing or lying or cheating? THAT is the big question and also the way our integrity is tested.

Determine to be the same person with the same set of values, no matter where you are or who you’re dealing with. Integrity is essential for long-term success and peace of mind!

ADHD & Finances with Pete the Planner, Part 4

This is the fourth and final video of my chat with Pete the Planner about ADHD and Finances! (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).

Today, we’re talking about how important it is to be proactive (def: acting in advance to deal with an expected or unexpected difficulty) with our money as opposed to reactive (def: making decisions, responding to a situation when it happens). All that really means is that you really should try to plan ahead and put money aside for any unexpected expenses that might come up; things like your car breaking down, your furnace refusing to work or, potentially the most expensive and financially destructive of all unplanned events –  a medical emergency. Without a “rainy day fund”, a big, unplanned expense can really knock you down.

Not everyone can put money aside, especially when there’s a lot of debt to pay off, but you should be putting 10% of your take home pay either towards reducing your debt or towards savings. It takes a lot of discipline to do both, but one out of the two is great too!

Anyway, I hope that you have found this little video series helpful and that it’s inspired you to take some small steps in the direction of getting control of your money.

If you’ve got any tips, suggestions or questions, let me know!

ADHD & Finances with Pete the Planner, Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of my interview with Pete the Planner where we discuss how to better manage your finances if you happen to have ADHD or are married to someone who has it!

In this episode Pete and I talk about how to resist making impulsive purchases. One way to resist blowing all your money on “fun stuff”, is to think about the things that you really care about before hitting the “buy” button. For example, your kid’s college education or paying off your mortgage ahead of schedule and being completely debt free or saving up for a month long trip to Europe. Granted it’s hard to think of these things in the heat of the buying moment, but for me, at least if I’m shopping online, what helps is having a note either on my pinboard (which is right above my computer desk) or a sticky note stuck to my monitor with the list of my financial priorities so that it’s just a glance away. It’s a tiny bit sadomasochistic, but it usually does the trick and helps me remember that some of the things that I WANT to spend money on, have a very short shelf life, as opposed to something long-lasting like being debt-free or being able to take the family on a Disney cruise.

With it being Christmas and everyone gift shopping, Pete and I also talk about the definition of charitable giving/gifting. Spending money on others feels good, but we shouldn’t confuse that with being charitable. I found this whole point quite interesting. Christmas is a time of giving, and we should really think about whether our giving is truly charitable or are we just “transferring wealth” between family and friends?

One good suggestion of Pete’s is to make a list of people you’re getting presents for and to put a dollar amount next to each name to create a gift budget of sorts. The goal is stick to that amount or try to come under it.

Last but not least, one of the best ways to not over-spend when shopping is to use the cash envelope system and put your debit/credit card on ice. 🙂

Do you have any tips for how you curb impulsive shopping? Would love to hear about them!

ADHD & Finances with Pete the Planner, Part 2

Continuing from yesterday’s conversation with Pete the Planner about how to better manage your money if you struggle with impulsive spending and disorganization. In this episode, Pete shares a couple of neat things:

1. The top 4 things you should be spending money on and what percentage of your income (after taxes, insurance and retirement funds are pulled out) they should be: 25% should go to housing expense (ie. rent/mortgage); 15% towards transportation (ie. car payment, gas & insurance or public transportation fares); 12% towards food whether it’s groceries or eating out and then 10% should go into a savings account. Only 5% should be your “play money”.

Let’s use a simple example with round numbers! Let’s say your monthly paycheck is $3000 (after you pay for taxes, insurance and contribute to your IRA), that means that your housing expense shouldn’t be more than $750 a month, your transportation costs should be under $450 a month, your food bill should be less than $360 a month and you should be putting away $300 for a rainy day. 5% of $3000 is $90. That’s your play money! The remainder of the funds will be going to utility bills, childcare expenses, your phone and whatever other necessities you have to make your world go around. Key word there is necessities!

I like how this is all broken down – it really is a nice guide to help figure out how you should structure your budget and live within your means. Granted, no formula is perfect and I know that the above breakdown might not be realistic for some of you, but it’s something to aim towards or teach your kids at the very least!

2. Most of the impulsive spending happens usually happens in the “play money” category. Pete says that it’s okay to spend a little on whatever your “vice” is – be it LEGO kits 😀 or fancy shoes, but that your play money needs to be only about 5% of your income otherwise that’s where you get in trouble.

3. Try using mint.com to track your expenses AND remind you when you have overspent. Once you set up a budget in Mint.com, it will email you automatically anytime you go over your budget. Mint.com is not only online, but also has an app. Bonus!

ADHD & Finances with Pete the Planner, Part 1

Last week, I posted a video about Finances, Marriage and ADHD that I had recorded a few weeks back. Recognizing that we are currently in the season of spending, I thought it might a good idea to delve a bit more into the subject of ADHD and finances.

Given how everything about the Holiday season screams BUY! BUY! BUY! and how us impulsive ADHDers often give in to that message, much to the frustration of other family members it seemed like a good idea to call in an expert! Pete, who is an all-round great guy AND who also lives right down the road with me, was the perfect person to share some great thoughts and tips about budgeting, saving and making the most of your dollars not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year. Here’s the first of four videos with Pete that I’d like to share with you. Check out Pete’s website for more info and some great resources on how to take control of your finances!

Vol. 2 Tip #5 Integrity Matters!

I read somewhere a while back that success will come and go, but integrity is forever. That is so true! Integrity is basically doing the right thing at all times and in all situations even when no one is watching. It takes a long time to build up a reputation of being a person of integrity and only a second to lose it which means that you should never sell out or take the easy way out because the consequences can be serious and long-lasting.

Vol. 2, Tip #4 No Lie is Harmless

When my girls were small, one of their favorite shows to watch was Veggie Tales. One in particular, they kept wanting to watch again and again – it was called the Fib From Outer Space.

It’s a cute story that shows how a small harmless lie can grow into a huge one. And how that huge lie can potentially destroy your life.

Kids learn very early on to tell stories and fib. Fear of being punished will have even grownups conceal the facts, but it’s important to teach our children that honesty is always the best policy.

Giving from the Heart

Love this quote: “There’s no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.John Holmes

Generosity shouldn’t have a season, but we are definitely reminded and inspired to be more thoughtful, generous and giving during the holiday season. Call it the spirit of Christmas!

Even before I knew about the greatest Gift of all, my mother was already setting a wonderful example of what it was like to be giver. I’ll never forget her cookie baking sprees, where every corner of the kitchen and the house was filled with plates and boxes of amazing Christmas cookies that she gifted to everyone around her. I think some of that joy of giving rubbed off on me because I get a huge kick out of the whole gift-giving experience. Everything from planning what to get everyone, to doing the shopping, and the wrapping. It is not uncommon to have my wife refer to me as Martha during this time of year. 😛

One thing I’ve learned that’s made giving even more fun is that it’s important to give out of your passion. Sometimes, we get caught up in the idea that there are just a few ways to give and make an impact: donating money, volunteering at a soup kitchen or participating in food or clothing drives, but there are as many ways to give as there are interests. And keep in mind that the subject of your giving does not necessarily need to be the most obviously needy member of your community. Everyone has needs and struggles regardless of their socio-economic status. If something you love to do, fits the need of another person, that could be a great opportunity for your generosity!

Vol. 2, Tip #3 You Can Handle the Truth!

As a parent, I’ve had to deal with my share of fibs and outright lies from my girls, and I’ve made it a priority to teach them that honesty is the best policy. Lots of people lie, about big things and little things, but ultimately, the lying catches up with you. I’m trying to help my kids understand that while being honest can be very hard and even scary, not telling the truth will in the end hurt them more.