Vol. 2, Tip #16; Learn to be Dependable

It’s really ironic that I’m making a come back to posting videos after such a long hiatus and the topic is about being dependable! haha!! What can I tell you? You can depend on me to always be unpredictable? ๐Ÿ˜‰ But seriously, I’m not even sure if anyone has noticed that I haven’t posted since last summer, but the point is that if you know that people are depending on you, there’s nothing worse for your reputation than to let them down…and even more worse, if you do it over and over. What’s going to happen is that no one will take you seriously, people will call you a “flake” behind your back, and important jobs or responsibilities that could have otherwise been yours, will go to someone else who understands the importance of being dependable.

I admit, dependability is not “a sexy” trait. I can see how dependable and boring might, for some people, be interchangeable, but the fact is that unless you want to spend your life as a chronic under-achiever, being picked last for fun projects and challenging tasks, you may want to take this whole “dependability” thing very seriously.

For people with ADHD, this is a really significant area of struggle. Our inability to stay on track, on time and properly calculate our resources means that more often than not, we are letting someone down. What can we do about that? Well, for starters, be very honest with the person who is depending on you about your challenges. Express your desire to do exactly what you say you’re going to do, but also ask for help and accountability to stay on track. While people without ADHD might not need micromanagement when it comes to getting things done, people with ADHD can definitely be helped if someone checks in with them on a regular basis to make sure progress is being made on the task or project.ย Does it feel slightly demeaning to have someone micromanaging you? Possibly, but the alternative is that things don’t get done and people are left frustrated and disappointed. Frankly, I’m to the point where I welcome accountability because I know it will help me stay on task.

If you are the kind of person that struggles with being dependable, how do you deal with it?

Be Specific to be Successful; Get help Prioritizing!

I recorded this video last December and am only now just getting around to posting it. Oops! ๐Ÿ˜€ In the video I reference my Build It Again Bricks project which, happily, I was able to complete and see come to fruition – check out my update about it here!

I can’t stress enough how important it is for people with ADHD to find one or two people who they can trust to help them prioritize (I call these people sympathetic enforcers). Fact is, being in idea-generating overdrive pretty much every single day can be both exhilarating and incredibly frustrating. It’s fun coming up with great ideas, isn’t it? And it’s even better to see something go from idea to physical reality, but when you have ADHD, the struggle with follow-through, planning, prioritizing, consistency and focus usually sabotages over 95% of the ideas we dream up. And that’s where having a sympathetic enforcer on your team can make all the difference!

5 More Ways to Manage ADHD in the Classroom

I speak to a lot of educators and all of them are always looking for ways to better interact with their students. This is especially important when a handful of the students have special needs. This video is a continuation of my very own (goofy!) take on a great little article published on additudemag.com called 40 Best School Accommodations for your ADHD Child. Check out the first video in the series, here.

Finding your Motivation and Staying the Course

There are days when you just don’t feel like doing anything. What’s the point? you ask yourself. I’ve been slaving away at this job/project/idea/marriage for days/weeks/months/years and there doesn’t seem to be a pay-off in sight. I’m tired of this whole thing and it’s time for a change.ย Usually, this is the point where a lot of us ADDers (and lots of regular folks too!) do something impulsive and not necessarily smart – we quit and start looking around for something or someone else that gets us excited and captures our attention…leaving behind us a wake of unfinished projects, career starts and relationships that could have blossomed into something wonderful had we actually given them enough time and pushed through the hard times.

What’s enough time? Excellent question and I don’t have a precise answer because it is different for everyone, but here’s a little a little trick to try, to see if it really is time to pull the plug: Think about the victories, small or big, that you have experienced along the way with the project/person you’re thinking about leaving behind and ask yourself about the reasons why you got involved/interested in the first place. If the reasons are still there and unchanged, then focus on recapturing the feelings of success and fulfillment. Give it a few days, and maybe a few days more. Re-evaluate. You may be surprised to see your commitment to keep going resurface.


Why having a Routine can Minimize your Stress

Those of us with ADHD have been hearing about the need for routine, our whole lives! But guess what, having a routine is actually a benefit to all the busy people out there as well, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not. If you are making dozens, maybe hundreds of decisions every day, a routine can really help take some of the stress off.

Ever notice that when evening rolls around and you and your significant other are trying to decide what to do for food, it turns into the battle of the lack of wills? “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t care, you pick!” “I don’t care either. You decide.” And to your shock, you realize that you’re just too tired to make a decision. Not only that, but you start getting somewhat upset with your partner because they won’t make the call…on something as trivial as picking a restaurant or even deciding whether to go out or stay in. What just happened? Well, by the end of the day, your decision-making capital has been spent and now you just want someone else to drive the bus. A lot of stress in being a decision-maker is that you constantly have to problem-solve. That’s draining and when you’re drained, your stress levels sky-rocket, especially when you have to make yet another decision. But let’s say that the family routine is that you eat in every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, but go out to your favorite Mexican place on Wednesdays and your beloved sushi place on Friday. You don’t even have to think about it because that’s the routine. See how nicely that can work out?

Dinner routine is just one example. Now apply the routine principle to what you wear, how you spend your holidays and when you go to visit your in-laws and see if those stress levels start dropping a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

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, ย 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 Vortexย (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!

Family Road Trip & Duct Tape

Another short clip from the National Employee Engagement Conference where I recall one particular family road trip where my brothers and I entertained ourselves with duct tape and my dad almost got arrested.

I’m heading to Chicago today for a little R&R with The Russian (and also to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary). After watching this video she has made sure that there is no duct tape to be found anywhere in the car. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Great TEDx talk by Carnegie Mellon student Stephen Tonti about his journey with ADHD and his belief that our society needs to do a much better job of recognizing cognitive diversity. I especially appreciate his emphasis on what a HUGE role parents and teachers play in helping kids with ADHD either succeed and soar, or struggle miserably through their entire youth and often beyond. A great reminder that while there is no way to get rid of ADHD, people who have it can lead incredibly exciting, creative and productive lives if cognitive diversity is embraced and accommodated!

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 – ย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 isย 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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!