The Best New Year’s Resolution? No More Running Away

Most people run away from New Year’s resolutions. That’s because typically, New Year’s resolutions don’t work very well. They last an average of 17 days… for adults with ADHD it’s likely closer to 5 days! Ever wonder why New Year’s resolutions haven’t worked for you? Maybe you need to stop running away.

As an ADHDer, you receive plenty of suggestions for resolutions you need to make, from your spouse, parents, colleagues, boss and friends, about your tardiness, disorganization, poor productivity, impulsiveness… need I go on? Always the people-pleaser, you impulsively (Oops! One down already!) resolve to be on time, better organized, and more productive this year. A few days later, you throw up your hands in surrender… nothing works.

These types of resolutions come ready-made with two problems: 1) you’re running away from something you don’t want instead of towards something you do want, and because of that, 2) your motivation quickly disappears and you must rely on willpower.

There’s nothing exciting about working on your weaknesses. You don’t dream of being less weak; you dream of being stronger. Since your resolution doesn’t excite and energize you, each day you will yourself to be “less weak.” Unfortunately, willpower is a finite resource. Relying on willpower to change an ingrained habit is like dog sledding across the Sahara with a team of Chihuahuas!

2010 could be the year you achieve great things

2010 could be the year you achieve great things (they’re great because they’re things that you actually want!) and overcome some of your weaknesses in the process. Find goals that ROCK you and compel you to change. Choose resolutions that fuel your resolve in the face of difficulty, that move you toward something YOU want and that allow you to work in your areas of strengths.

Move toward your strengths, not away from your weaknesses

Don’t resolve “not be tardy.” Instead, resolve to live a calmer, more harmonious and Zen life. If you really want to live a calmer life, you’ll quickly realize that scrambling to get to appointments on time is stressing you out. You realize that if you plan your time, organize your things so you know where your keys are when it’s time to go and leave early, you’ll arrive calm, in control and totally Zen (and as a bonus, you won’t be late!)

Instead of resolving to manage your time better, resolve to take on a new hobby or spend time each week developing a new skill that takes advantage of one of your strengths. To free up the time to do something you really want to do, you’ll be motivated to organize your things so you won’t waste 45 minutes a day looking for them.

Before long, you have a new hobby you love and you’re a calmer, happier person to boot! Getting better organized and improving your time management is just a means to an end, a happy coincidence. Spending more time doing what you like to do is the fuel that takes you there.

Take a new approach towards goal setting

Take a new approach to your New Year’s resolutions for 2010. Run toward your strengths instead of away from your weaknesses. Ask yourself:

  1. What are my greatest strengths, abilities and interests?
  2. If I knew I couldn’t fail, what outrageously compelling resolutions would I make this year?
  3. What parts of my life would I be willing, even eager to change if it was the only way to honor my outrageous and compelling resolutions?

And if you’d like to learn how to free up some time to pursue your resolutions and compelling goals with ten amazing strategies that improve your productivity by working with your strengths instead of against them, get your free (but amazingly valuable report!), Productivity Myths Busted now.

ADHD and Motivation Part 3: Find Your Real Fuel

full_tankIn the first article of the series I introduced the option to inject interest in anything you want to complete to help increase your motivation. The second article of the series introduced the possibility of using momentum to overcome your motivation issues when you have ADHD. This third article is sure to really rock your world.

Some people call the Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults the ultimate time management program for ADHDers. Actually, this self-management system will teach you how to manage your time, energy and life. You learn amazingly powerful strategies proven effective by ADHDers just like you, who struggled just like you, but who’ve transformed their lives completely using these very strategies. You can use it to make your dreams come true too.

The Maximum Productivity Makeover is hard work though. I’m a firm believer in working smarter rather than harder, but it’s still hard work to learn how to work smarter (Annoying conundrum there, isn’t it? Seems there’s going to be hard work either way… so I highly recommend the approach with less work… learn to work smart!) Ok, so there’s work involved. But if it’s worth it, hard work doesn’t scare you, right? Especially when you can see the payoff. That payoff, what we call your “fuel,” is actually your key to success.

You’ll do the work, in fact, you won’t even notice that there’s hard work involved, if the reason driving you to do the work truly motivates you. All you need is a good reason. And there’s only one good reason for you to tackle any program, including The Maximum Productivity Makeover. What’s that reason? You’re the only one who knows what it is. But you may have buried it long ago.

You want to transform your life because the way you’re living now doesn’t match the amazing future you imagined for yourself before “life” started to beat you down. Before you struggled to sit still in school. Before all those report cards suggested you could do much better, if only you tried harder. Before your career so drastically failed to measure up to your aspirations. Before your spouse despaired of ever having help around the house instead of what seems like just another kid.

If you want a complete transformation so you can have a “normal” life, you need to keep digging. No child ever dreamed of having a “normal life,” unless a normal life includes slaying dragons! If you want an amazingly creative mind focused like a laser with the power to realize any dream you imagine just to impress your… wife, boss, mom, dad… you’re not there yet. Keep digging.

Keep digging until you find that old, buried, hidden and mistreated dream. Keep digging until you feel the passion you felt when you were younger and not as “realistic” as you’ve become.

You’ll know you’ve found that passion again, because your life will change… dramatically, drastically, amazingly! While programs like the Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults provide the tools, it is YOU, your dreams, that provide the fuel! And the fuel determines the miles you travel, and the speed you move.

ADHD and Motivation Part 2: Using Momentum

The title probably gave it away, but this is the second part in a series of articles. In the first article of the series , we talked about injecting interest, novelty, challenge and sometimes urgency to make a boring task more enticing.

Today, we’ll look at a way to motivate you to do a task you find boring or difficult (and not in a fun, challenging way) and which you just can’t make interesting.

First, let’s stay away from guilt. You are not the problem, the task is. It’s boring, or worse. Guilt doesn’t work, and the negative feelings guilt leads to can throw you into a whirlpool of negativity.

You can recognize the dangerous slope to guilt when you start asking yourself, “Why?” Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I just focus? “Why” is not a productive question, and even if you had the answer, you’d be no closer to getting your task done.

There is, however, a guilt-free way of getting that challenging task done. In fact, this approach is so powerful I often refer to as an ADHDer’s “secret weapon.” There are two different ways of using momentum to tackle any task; we’ll look at one in this article, and the second in Part 3 of this series.

A physics law states, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rests tends to stay at rest.” If you can’t get started on a task, it’s very likely that situation is not going to change. If you can get moving, however, it’s much easier for you to keep moving.

Adults with ADHD often struggle with motivation because, unlike neurotypicals, when a task is boring, your brain doesn’t activate at all. While neurotypicals may find the task equally boring, they’ll still be able to activate their brains enough to focus and get it done.

ADHDers facing a boring task struggle to get their brains energized, and without that energy, you are unable to block out distractions so you can focus and get it done. Instead, you notice every stimulus and if anything is more enticing, before you know you’re doing anything but the boring task.

You can use momentum like a booster cable in a car. You can jumpstart your brain using a short, interesting or energizing task or activity. Do something you enjoy, like playing a musical instrument, drawing or taking a brisk walk outside. Once your brain is “in motion,” you can stop the activity you enjoy and move quickly to work on the boring task for as long as your brain can take it.

If you find yourself struggling again, move back to the short energizing task, a bit like putting your foot on the gas to keep a sputtering motor from dying.

Try it. I’m sure you’ll find it very effective. I’ll see you back here soon for part 3 of this series on ADHD and motivation, where we’ll look at another way you can use momentum to get more done.

In the meantime, please share your ideas for short, energizing or interesting activities you use to jumpstart your brain and activate your secret weapon, momentum.

ADHD and Motivation Part 1: Injecting Interest

Many of my clients have been dealing with the effect of ADHD on motivation lately. Of course, it is a common problem as ADHD and a lack of motivation often go hand in hand. It’s a challenging issue obviously important to many of you, but there’s good news; there are many strategies to help overcome your challenges. I’ll be devoting several posts to it. Be sure to join us.

Lack of motivation is a common but erroneous complaint among ADHDers. As an ADHDer, when you face a boring task, your brain just doesn’t activate, so it’s difficult to take action. You turn the key to start your turbo brain and nothing happens.

If you were a motorcycle, you wouldn’t blame a lack of motivation; you wouldn’t say a motorcycle is lazy. Unfortunately, however, you blame yourself for this problem. But like a motorcycle, the problem is either a lack of battery power, spark plugs that aren’t firing or not enough fuel in your tank. Of course, other issues might exist but we’ll discuss these at another time.

Let’s stick with the motorcycle analogy for a moment, and see how you might deal with this issue. If your battery is low on power, maybe you’re not recharging your battery. Sleep deprivation (or too much sleep), little or no exercise, poor nourishment, and your mood all contribute to insufficient power in your battery.

Proper self-care is your first line of defense against motivation problems. Solving these issues is simple but not always easy. To get enough sleep, exercise and to eat well requires that you be organized enough to do so. If you aren’t (or don’t feel) organized enough to take care of yourself, along with handling work, family and so on, consider seeking help to get organized.

If you’re well-rested, well-fed and getting enough exercise, then what appears as a lack of motivation is often the result of a lack of interest in the task or the results of the task. ADHDers are interest-based performers; without interest, someone may as well have put sugar in your tank. Your brain synapses won’t fire very well, making you feel sluggish instead of eager to move ahead.

If the task is truly boring, consider delegating or dropping it (more on delegating in future posts). If that is not possible and the task is essential, you will need to jumpstart your engine by injecting interest, novelty, challenge or urgency into the task.

This is really your chance to excel. I find most ADHDers are extremely creative, outside-the-box thinkers, so use that strength to make any task more interesting.

For example, you keep putting off paying your bills because it’s soooooo boring. Instead of sitting at your desk secluded in your office, bring your bills together along with your checkbook to a comfortable coffee shop – I love Second Cup, their Continental Black coffee reminds me of my vacation in Italy this past summer – and pay your bills as you leisurely sip your favorite blend of coffee or tea. You’ve just injected novelty into the task and greatly increased your chances of completing it.

I’d also like to encourage you to share your brilliant ideas with your fellow ADHDers. Share how you inject interest, novelty, challenge or urgency when dealing with boring tasks with me, either by posting it as a reply here on the blog, or contacting me directly (Linda at – replace at with @ – coachlindawalker.com) and I’ll gather everyone’s ideas and share them with all of you – for free.

Watch for my next post on ADHD and motivation where you’ll learn how to use momentum as a secret weapon to complete any task.

Managing Work-Related Stress for ADHD Adults

Most people are feeling stressed, and this is especially true of many ADHD adults.  The downturn in the economy, climbing employer and client expectations, and an ever growing To-Do list, keep us constantly trying to do more in less time.

More fearful for their jobs than ever, ADHD adults often stay late to do their work.  Arriving home mentally exhausted, you are more likely to suffer from anxiety and of course, long hours and low energy don’t help them create with a more balanced life as a way to cope with the anxiety.

This ADHD-friendly success tips will help you manage your work-related stress:

Create a more balanced life
You must connect with family, friends, your community and nature to counter the effect of work-related stress.  Take up a hobby that allows you to be creative and in the moment, yes, even if you don’t think you have enough time or energy.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Even though I was launching two programs, I signed up for a pottery class recently and my stress level has dropped.

Keep a positive attitude
Worry, frustration and negative thoughts rob you of quality time and happiness.  Notice your thoughts and ask yourself, “Is this productive?”  Will you solve the problem by constantly thinking about it, especially if you’re thinking negatively?  No!  Instead, choose to think differently.

Here’s an example.  The common reaction to someone cutting you off in traffic is to get mad and stay mad all day; again, choose to think differently.  Often we get mad because that person cutting you off in traffic only reminds you other inconsiderate people or people you feel don’t respect you.  Instead of focusing on you, consider the other person’s point of view for a moment.  The person who cut you off probably woke up late and is frantically trying to get to work on time.  If you empathize with the person, thinking, “Poor guy, I know what that’s like”, it changes your attitude about the situation and diffuses negativity before it can ruin your day.

Learn to be more effective at work
Studies show that ADHD adults are less productive than non-ADHDers because the techniques they use to manage their productivity and their time aren’t compatible with their unique brain wiring.  ADHD-friendly strategies to manage your time and life can make you even more productive than your non-ADHD colleagues.

With improved productivity, you won’t need to work later, you’ll do more in less time using less energy and you’ll feel more satisfied and more confident.  You’ll come home at a reasonable hour and with enough energy to enjoy the rest of your life.  Your improved productivity will also reassure you that you’ve done everything possible to keep your job, which in turn will reduce stress.

Stressful situation will always exist, good economy or bad.  You determine your level of stress and anxiety by the way you respond to them.

If you’d like to learn how you can better manage work-related stress, check out The Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults. The next session begins on November 3rd.

Montreal Conference: User’s Guide to the ADHD Brain

I was just informed that CADDAC (Centre for ADD Advocacy, Canada) will be presenting a conference called:

The Caretaker and User’s Guide to the ADHD Brain:
Understanding Brain Functioning, Common Coexisting Disorders and
Appropriate Treatments for ADHD.

Featuring: Dr. Tony Rostain, MD, MA  psychiatrist

This presentation will interest parents, educators, doctors, psychologists, social workers, counselors, child youth workers and adolescents and adults with ADHD.

Dr. Rostain will explain how and why the ADHD brain works differently and how this can impact learning, functioning, and behaviour. In this context, he will help us understand what treatments are available, through medication as well as therapy, and why they work for this disorder. Dr. Rostain will also briefly look at several disorders that frequently coexist with ADHD, such as learning disabilities, Asperger’s Disorder and Tourette Syndrome.

Date & Time:   Saturday, October 17, 2009 / 7:00 – 9:30pm
Location:  The Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Ballroom
900 de La Gauchetiere West, Montreal, Quebec H5A 1E4
Cost: $30.00 per person or $50.00 per couple

For more detailed information and to register access: www.caddac.ca under Events.  For more information please view the attached PDF announcements or contact CADDAC at 416-637-8584 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              416-637-8584      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Family Life With Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)

Our family life and Attention Deficit Disorder

Our family life and Attention Deficit Disorder

I have exciting news. A reporter for The Globe and Mail interviewed me recently, and even sent a photographer to our home. The article is about the inspiration for my career change from successful pharmaceutical sales representative to ADHD Coach.

Many of you know I live with Attention Deficit Disorder in my own family. My husband and the younger of my two daughters were both diagnosed with ADHD about 14 years ago, and the dramatic improvement in my husband’s life after working with an ADHD Coach inspired my career change. I wanted to have that kind of positive impact on people’s lives.

This story appeared just as our American neighbors celebrate ADHD Awareness Week. Life with ADHD can be challenging. Resources are often costly and difficult to find. Affordable diagnostic services are rare, as are physicians aware and compassionate enough to understand the impact ADHD can have on sufferers and their families, and unfortunately, without appropriate help, ADHD adults often face serious problems at work and in their personal lives.

I’ve included a PDF file with a copy of the article as it appeared in The Globe and Mail on September 15, 2009. Pictured with me are my two ADHDers, husband Duane and daughter Kyrie. I’m very proud of Duane and Kyrie for having the courage to “come out” with their ADHD in such a public way.

Both Duane and Kyrie are committed to building ADHD awareness, especially of the difficulties ADHD adults face. They both hope sharing our story will inspire ADHDers and their families, and give them hope for the future. It can be difficult for ADHDers to track down the help they need, but don’t give up, because with the right help, as our family found, ADHD adults and their families can thrive.

Entrepreneurship: Yes, It CAN be a GREAT Career for ADHD Adults

ADHD adults often struggle in the corporate world. Many lose their jobs, often multiple times, because they don’t fit the corporate mold.

It’s little wonder they gravitate toward starting their own business, after all, you can’t be fired when you’re the boss! While entrepreneurship may initially just be a way of creating employment flexible enough to adapt to your way of working, it often turns out to be a great career move.

You minimize negative ADHD symptoms when you spend most of your time engaged in activities you’re passionate about and that play to your strengths.

I often help ADHD adults select their ideal career and we always consider as the following Top Criteria for a good career fit:

1. Your level of interest and passion for the work
2. A very high percentage of career activities will use your strengths, and
3. You can minimize work in areas of weakness.

Apply these criteria to entrepreneurship and you’ll see when it’s a great fit for ADHDers. What other career lets you design your perfect job description and delegate the rest away?

Little surprise, then, that studies indicate a large proportion (some estimates run as high as 60 %!) of entrepreneurs have diagnosed ADHD or have many of its traits.

While some people feel ADHDers are too disorganized to thrive in their own business without an imposed structure, many common ADHD traits: big-picture out-of-the-box thinking, creativity, high energy, ability to think on your feet and make quick decisions (otherwise known as impulsivity!), and a tolerance for risk, are the same characteristics found in successful entrepreneurs.

Running your own business can be challenging, but these entrepreneurs deal with the organizational needs of their business by creating structure, streamlining systems and complete their team with people whose strengths fill any gaps in their own skills.

Many ADHD entrepreneurs are extraordinarily successful because they focus their energy where they excel and get the help they need, and to help them achieve their ambitious business goals, many of them hire an ADHD Entrepreneur Coach.

If you are an entrepreneur or are striving to become one, visit my new site dedicated to entrepreneurs with Entrepreneurial ADD at http://www.focusactionsuccess.com.

Productivity is More Than Getting Work Done

The entrepreneurs, ADHD adults and other creative geniuses who come to me are usually struggling with productivity. Perhaps that’s why my first questions are so unexpected. They’re surprised when I ask how much sleep they’re getting, or how often they’re able to exercise. They’re shocked when I ask about their hobbies, their beliefs and how much time they spend doing things that interest them or that allow them to be creative. A common misconception, they equate “productivity” with getting things done, especially at work.

True productivity must include the “stuff” that supports your well-being, your happiness and your goals. Of course, that includes work-related productivity but it also includes honoring your commitments to your friends and family and more importantly, to yourself.

Everyone benefits from seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night and a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise each day. In fact, anyone who doesn’t get enough sleep can experience ADHD-like symptoms. However, for adults with ADHD, sufficient sleep and regular exercise will improve your ability to concentrate, your memory and your ability to deal with stress.

Awareness of how you work best allows you to optimize the use of your time so that you’ll have “spare” time when you can inject interesting activities in your life. If, instead of working two extra hours at work, you enrolled in an art or dance class, or even just spent quality time connecting with your friends and family, you’d have more energy and you’d even be more productive at work. Oh, and you’d feel a lot happier.

Of course, this process feeds on itself. Becoming more productive at work would free up even more time you can dedicate to exercising your creativity, forging new connections and pursuing leisure activities. And that’s why my first questions are a little surprising but entirely necessary. Improving your productivity starts with having a healthier lifestyle.

If you want more information about improving your overall productivity, visit http://www.productivitymythsbusted.com to request a free report called Top 10 Productivity Myths… Busted!

You Know You Have Adult ADHD when…

  • You tend to be easily dist…oh look at the pretty bird
  • You’re so impatient, even “Just Do It” takes too long
  • When asked to think outside the box, you ask “What Box?”
  • You immediately know the solution when everyone else is still struggling with the problem
  • You’re the Olympic champion in jumping to conclusion
  • When asked to sit quietly, you provide your own rhythm section (tapping fingers, bouncing legs)
  • Driving isn’t about getting from A to B, it’s about the excitement
  • You haven’t grown up yet (no matter what your age) and you doubt you ever will
  • You totally “GET” the Crocodile Hunter, in fact, he was your idol
  • You easily get off topic – I need to paint the ceiling beige
  • You spend way too much time looking for things you know you had just a minute ago
  • Your To-Do list has become a To-Do Book!
  • The more extreme the emergency, the calmer you are
  • If it wasn’t for the last minute, you’d never get anything done
  • If you had a nickel for every brilliant idea you got, you’d be able to pay someone to follow through on at least one

But seriously…

I work with entrepreneurs, artists, writers, ADHD adults and other creative geniuses. Wildly creative, risk tolerant, with lots of perserverance, high octane, thrill seekers, they still struggle with lack of focus, difficulty with concentration, disorganization, impulsivity, staying productive, managing several projects at once, and cluing up the details to each. While you might laugh about your quirky personality, the impact these issues have on your life is no laughing matter.

If this describes you…

Labels don’t matter; however, strategies that work for diagnosed ADHD adults will work for you if you struggle with these issues. If you’d like to know more, request your copy of Productivity Myths Busted! and find out what are some of the strategies you can use.

Please feel free to add your own quirks about Adult ADHD in the comments below.

If You’re Tired of Feeling Unproductive, Here’s my Gift to You:

Register for this free report with strategies on how you can overcome many ADHD issues. Because improving your life is a journey not a destination, you’ll also receive my ezine, FAS Forward, with more strategies and tricks to overcome ADHD symptoms. Just register below.

Get your FREE copy of

Productivity Myths, Busted!

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