How to Overcome Procrastination with ADHD

I was reading an article on How To Overcome Procrastination by Tai Goodwin of The Examiner.

She mentions the biggest sources of procrastination as fear of success, fear of failure and fear of work. For ADHD adults and entrepreneurs I would also add a very important source of procrastination: Boredom!!!

The expectation of boredom causes you to avoid the task as your brain cannot energize when faced with a boring task. Despite your “turbo brain” when faced with a boring task, you turn the key but the motor won’t start.

Of course there are many other causes of procrastination, such as overwhelm, holding limiting beliefs, and problems focusing on one task at a time but we won’t get into those right now.

Tai offers solutions that I often use with my clients:

  • Stop using the excuse that you have too much to do
  • Keep your eyes on the benefits once it’s done
  • Use accountability to ensure you keep your word
  • Use the power of three tasks. Most people can’t get much more than 3 to 5 tasks done each day. Identify the 3 tasks you’ll focus on and don’t derail
  • Celebrate!

Solutions to procrastination problems require that you look at the source of the procrastination and you address that. If you have fears, face your fears. Consider how likely is it that what I fear will take place? How can I minimize the likelihood? If boredom is what’s keeping you from getting going, inject interest, novelty, competition, anything to make it fun or interesting.

Enjoy what you accomplish! Celebrate!

What tasks do you procrastinate?

ADHD Vacation Strategies

organized-family_vacationI’m finally back from vacation with my husband. While I’m a bit sad my vacation is over, I’m happy to be back to my life’s purpose: helping entrepreneurs, artists, ADHD adults and other creative geniuses take advantage of and develop their strengths. Visit my Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/adhdcoachand become a fan.

I realize that while I’m just getting back from my vacation, many of you may be on the way to your vacation. Vacation is a great time to reconnect with family, friends and activities you enjoy. It can also create chaos in your life, especially if you’ve managed to create structures and systems that work well for you.

ADHDers, I’ve who, with coaching have built habits, reached life-changing objectives and organized their lives fear losing what they’ve achieved because of the disruption that vacation brings to your day-to-day. After all, there isn’t any structure, no more commitments and no time clocks telling you when to be where.

Here are a few steps to felling more in control and yet still enjoy your vacation:

1. First, realize that you are not your systems and habits!
They don’t define you; they are tools you use to make your life easier. You’ll be able to create habits to support you while you vacation.

2. Continue using the habits and systems that don’t rob you of fully enjoying your vacation and that give you energy.
If you exercise in the morning, keep it up. If one of your habits is to make your bed as soon as you get out of bed, keep that up. These don’t take away from your vacation time and may increase your energy and reduce your distractibility.

3. Make lists
Don’t rely on your memory. Lists that will support you include a list of things you need to take with you, to bring back, to manage while your away (stop the newspaper delivery, get the dog babysat, getting your plants watered etc.), a list of activities you want to attempt to include.

4. Use your creativity and your sense of adventure to create a more exciting vacation.

5. Stick with your strengths and get help around your weaknesses.
Duane has a passion of art and a great sense of direction. He sought out the most wonderful works of art hidden off the beaten track throughout Rome. Without him, I would have missed most of the exciting things we saw, and I’d still be lost in Rome! On the other hand, Duane tends to struggle with administrative details like making travel arrangements, juggling reservation, tickets, insurance and organizing the finances, so I was happy to help out there. With each of us contributing to the effort using our strengths, the vacation was thoroughly enjoyable!

Vacations should be as fun as you remember when you were a child and summer holidays stretched out before you, filled with that tantalizing mix of lazy days and exciting new adventures. If you feel anxious before your vacation, remember that what you’re feeling is normal. Even if it is “as good as a rest,” everyone struggles to adapt to change. Applying these five strategies will help ensure your vacation is restful instead of stressful.

Vacationing in Harmony, With Your Spouse and ADHD

adhd-vacation1 My husband, Duane, and I are packing our luggage to head home from a four-week vacation in Italy.  As we packed, I remembered our last European vacation together 25 years ago.  We had fun on that trip, but we had several heated arguments during a 10-day trip.  This current trip stands in sharp contrast, as we both enjoyed ourselves without arguing.

How did we do it? When there is only one person you can have a meaningful conversation with (Duane and I are both bilingual – French and English – but neither of us speaks Italian) you have an incentive to avoid pettiness.  And maybe a 25-year marriage has taught us how to live in harmony.  But over the last four weeks, I’ve discovered a few “secrets” I can share with you that may help you make your vacation a blissful time together.

1.    We both remained open to allowing the other person do what they wanted to do.

Duane is an artist and a life-long devotee of Michelangelo and other great artists of the Italian Renaissance.  He’s dreamed of this trip since childhood, and of course, wanted to experience all the art he’d only read about. I can confirm that there is a lot of art in Italy! I think Duane wanted to (and did) see it all!  Though I’m more of a history buff, I went along with him even if I didn’t think I’d be interested because I knew it was important to him.

On the other hand, I wanted to go to Venice. As a child, I watched a show about a boy and his pony in Venice that made me yearn to see it first hand. Duane wasn’t keen on Venice, but knowing how important it was to me, he even encouraged me to add an extra day to our side-trip to Venice so I could really explore the sites.

We each benefitted by allowing the other to do things that were important to them.  I learned to appreciate Renaissance art and artists, which I had always thought to be dark and morose, and Duane gained a lot of inspiration from Venice, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

2.    Consider the consequences of verbalizing petty annoyances (and ignore them.)

Many times, when Duane did or said things that annoyed me or when I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I chose to ignore these feelings.  I knew they were not worth the fight and reminded myself that I must also be annoying him and he wasn’t mentioning it either.

Spend a lot of time together and you’ll get on each other’s nerves. You can choose to ignore it; you can even choose to be in a better mood. Yes, you can “choose” your mood.  You do have a choice in how you respond to your moods and your partner’s moods, and the choice you make can make or break your vacation.

3.    Enjoy what your partner brings to the mix.

Duane, like many ADHDers, often acts like a big kid, always finding or creating fun in any situation.  He also has a great sense of direction, where I have none – if I’d come to Rome on my own I might still be lost in some museum or other!  I enjoyed his playfulness and being able to find my way with him, while he relied on my communication and project management skills to organize our stay at the various places we visited and to “translate” in my very bad and shaky Italian what we wanted.

This was a trip of a lifetime for us, a trip we’d dreamed of for many years and budgeted and saved up for more than two years. Being able to spend it in harmony provided us with memories we will share and enjoy for years to come.

Ciao!

Four Secrets for Making a Dream Come True

You can travel to Italy… or wherever you want to go… or to make any other dream you can imagine come true.

My husband, Duane and I have been in Rome for almost two weeks of our four-week trip we’re taking to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  This is a dream come true, and what’s even more amazing is that we’re doing it all without borrowing any money.  Nope, we won’t even have a big credit card bill greeting us when we get home.

Let me share some of the secrets that allowed us to take a pain-free, debt-free one-month trip to Italy:

We used delayed gratification.  Two years ago we decided we wanted to do something special for our 25th anniversary and chose to travel to Italy, home of some of the most amazing art in the world (Duane is an artist and has always wanted to see Michelangelo’s work firsthand).  In the past, Duane, an impulsive ADHDer, would have called a travel agent, booked our flights and figured out the rest later.  We’ve learned that this is the hard way of doing things, after all, how can you enjoy a trip that is sinking you deeper in debt?

Instead, using the wisdom acquired from past mistakes, we estimated how much it would cost for such a trip in May 2009, and began to plan what it would take – knowledge, money, paperwork, and reservations – to actually make a month-long trip to Italy.  It was quite a stretch for us and we wondered if it would be possible.

We created a plan.  We began by identifying two or three steps we could take that would bring us closer to our dream.  We looked at our options for travel and accommodations.  We listed all the things we wanted to see. We started to figure out the financial requirements and did research.  The more we learned, the more steps we could add to our plan, and sometimes we discovered we had to go back and make changes to our plan, but that was easy to fix, and it wasn’t stressful as we knew we had plenty of time to adjust.  Too often, people put off taking any action until they have all the information, but if we had made that mistake, we never would have made this trip.

We fed our dream.  It’s difficult for any ADHDer to maintain focus on some far-off objective, and Duane struggled to remain motivated without impulsively booking the trip right away.  We allowed ourselves some instant gratification in seeking out art and travel information about Italy.  We borrowed books from the library and purchased others, regularly consulting books, maps and pictures of Italy to make the dream more real.  Duane consulted art books to map out what he’d go see first hand when we finally made it to Rome and Florence. We planned, discussed, and dreamed about Italy for two years. This allowed us to remain motivated and made us far better prepared for the trip when it was time.  It was also a lot of fun!

We created a system. Duane’s standard approach to taking a vacation was to go; he’d run up the credit card bills and then deal with the fall-out upon his return.  Sometimes it would be several years between vacations as we scrimped and saved to pay down the debt, and I’d be stressed during the vacation watching the charges mount, and we’d all be stressed when we arrived home, knowing the huge bill that was waiting.

We wanted this trip to be different, so even though it was the biggest trip we’d ever taken, we developed a plan and created a system to accumulate the required funds BEFORE we left. We opened a bank account and set up automatic monthly deposits. At first, we felt the pinch of the diverted funds but very quickly adjusted our lifestyle and avoided over spending. We changed our credit card to one that provided travel points and carefully managed our spending so that the majority of our purchases went on the credit card to accumulate points but was completely paid off each month.

For extras on the trip, Duane even started to accumulate his loose change.  Each day he would carefully hide away whatever change was in his pocket.  We weren’t counting on this money, but small efforts really can add up – over the course of two years, he accumulated $2,160 in loose change, a very nice bonus.  You should have seen the teller when we staggered into the bank with his load of change!

I’m writing this article, sitting in my apartment in Rome.  We’re taking the day off from sightseeing because we just spent three glorious days exploring every nook and cranny of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the only stress I feel right now is whether we should go to Venice this weekend, or if it would be less crowded if we waited until after the weekend.  Does that sound like a dream to you?  It did to us, and we made it come true.  What dream will you make come true?

Arrivaderci from Rome!

Sing Your Heart Out

Very few of us have yet to hear about the newest “Idol” sensation. If you always root for the underdog, as I do, I’m sure you felt vindicated when a very down-to-earth Susan Boyle sang her heart out.

Has the “in-crowd” ever picked on you? Has anyone told you that you’re not quite… cool, pretty (or handsome), rich… enough? If you’ve ever settled for less because someone thought you weren’t good enough, if you’ve let life rob you of your dreams, then you probably felt as anxious as I did when Susan Boyle walked on stage and the audience laughed at her.

You can see that she notices the audience laughing at her, and you hold your breath, wondering if she’ll try anyway. Will she put herself out there, risking the embarrassment of people laughing at her? And then, thankfully, she opens her mouth, her heart, and she sings. Oh, does she sing! Despite the ridicule, regardless of her age, ignoring that people obviously thought she wasn’t “cool,” Susan felt the fear and she did it anyway.

We all wish we would have been able to do what Susan did, but even the most self-assured among us would have doubted their ability, but not Susan Boyle. She wanted a chance, and she refused to let life rob her of her dream.

Like a scene from Revenge of the Nerds (I know I’m dating myself!), Susan rocked, I mean, she blew people away! Many people, including some big, burly, tough men, admitted that when they watched her sing, they had tears in their eyes. Susan proved the naysayers wrong and won the audience’s hearts in the process.

Has life robbed you of your dream? Do you have a song in your heart that needs to come out, or a project that seems out of reach? Has someone told you that you just aren’t good enough, cool enough, rich enough? Or worse, did you believe them? Are you settling for your life, never to reach your full potential because of your age, your looks or ADHD?

I challenge you to ignore the naysayers and take a risk. Open your mouth, take a breath and sing your heart out. Until you do, you’ll never know what greatness lies within you.

Who Are You Not To Be Great?

Years ago, in a speech, Nelson Mandela quoted Marianne Williamson, “Your playing small does not serve the world.  Who are you not to be great?”achieveyourgoals-flashcourse-logo

As I read this, I realized that I do sometimes play small, not allowing myself to be as successful as I can be.  What is playing small?  It’s easiest to define by considering the opposite: “Playing Big.”

For me, “Playing Big” means developing my strengths so my life’s work transforms the world in a positive way.  It means using my strengths, empathy, passion and connectedness, to bring a community of adults with ADHD not merely overcome inattention, procrastination, disorganization and other ADHD challenges, but to help them move beyond “overcoming” to tap into their true gifts so that they too can affect the world positively.  It also means to be financially successful so I can continue my life’s work and be a model for others.

Helping my clients “Play Big” also means not accepting their excuses for playing small or, worse, not playing at all.  Playing Big requires that you face your fears about failure… or about success… and not allowing anything to stop you… not ADHD, not money, not fear, not anything!

How have you been playing small lately?  What will it take to move to your Big Game?  Because…

Who are you not to be great?

Stop Trying to Do What You Can’t

Often, someone else says something you wish you’d said, or (as in this case) you’ve been saying for a long time, but they say it in a way you wish you’d said it.

This happened to me today. I was reading yesterday’s CopyBlogger issue, “how 2 blog if u suk at writin.”  It’s an excellent article for you entrepreneurs out there who have been hesitant about blogging even though you know it would be enormously beneficial for your marketing efforts, but….

This tip really jumped off the page (screen) for me! I hope the message comes through loud and clear for you too! As an adult with ADHD, your life will be so much better if you take this message to heart:

“Attempting to do what you can’t will only frustrate you. I speak from experience. When I was a child, I wanted nothing more than to be the next Bruce Lee. I read every book I could find on every style of martial arts. I attended every school within a 50 mile radius. I went to expensive seminars from renowned fighters. I was bound and determined to be able to kick anyone’s ass.

But I was in a wheelchair. Worse, I had (and still have) a disease that caused me to become progressively weaker, eventually losing the use of my arms altogether. Pursuing martial arts was the sort of hopeful foolishness that only a child can muster, and it led me to oceans of frustration. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I wanted it, I would never become the next Bruce Lee.

Eventually, I wised up and put all of that energy into mastering the use of words instead, and after about 10 years of studying every aspect of writing and practicing it on a daily basis, I’m finally getting pretty good it. I still can’t kick your ass, but I can probably persuade someone to kick your ass for me. Not quite as satisfying, maybe, but it’ll do.”

Thanks to Jon Morrow, the Associate Editor of Copyblogger and co-founder of Partnering Profits.

ADHDers can kick butt!  If you do it in a round about way, you’re still kicking butt. So stop worrying about what you can’t do, and stop worrying about the things you can do but not exactly like everyone else, and focus all your energy into making the most of YOUR superpower. Yeah, you’ve got one, If you think you don’t, some more exploring is in order.

Linda Walker empowers entrepreneurs, artists, authors, adults with ADHD and other creative geniuses to unleash their superpowers.  You’ll really kick butt once you break free of everyone else’s rules. Discover 10 misconceptions that are putting the brakes on your performance at www.productivitymythsbusted.com.

Presentation on ADHD Couple Life

Surviving your ADHD couple can be a struggle

Surviving Your ADHD Couple When One Had It and the Other Doesn’t

I know that being in a couple where one person has ADHD can be a struggle. I’ve lived it with my wonderful ADHD husband, Duane. In May 2009, we’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary and I can’t imagine ever wanting to be with anyone more than with him.

From turbulent to bliss…

What started as a turbulent marriage has turned out to be an amazing journey with my soul mate. It took some work from both of us but it was and still is worth it.

Come and find out how we did it as Duane and I speak at a public conference presented by the Learning Disabilities Association of Quebec or LDAQ Montreal Chapter 1.

Surviving Your ADHD Couple: When One Has It and the Other Doesn’t

Wednesday, February 25th at 7:30 pm

at the Hôpital Montreal Children’s Hospital

Amphitheatre D-182, 2300 Tupper in Montreal

(two steps from the Atwater Metro)

P.S. Invite your spouse with you

The LDAQ appreciates a small contribution to help defray meeting and photocopying expenses.
 

 

Break Free of Your “Sorry, No Money” Chains!

In my parents’ generation, talking about money was taboo.  I’ve been very open about the serious financial problems Duane and I had, because we both know how not talking about it only made the problem worse.  For a long time, Duane and I put our heads in the sand, hoping the problem would go away.  But we had to face it, to talk about it and to take action.

Yes, it’s embarrassing to admit it we had money problems.  It’s probably something you’d like to think would just disappear if you ignore it too.  But our financial problems taught us that they don’t go away by themselves.  You have to take positive steps to overcome the problem.  Our experience also taught us that there is a solution.

In all the years Duane and I struggled financially, we searched for and tried many ways to overcome this major source of fighting in our family.  We bought books, put ourselves on strict budgets and spent hoursà often every day, just trying to deal with our financial misfortune.  We had to collect empty bottles to turn in for the refund just to buy groceries.  Using a budget, we’d make some headway but felt so deprived that at some point we couldn’t handle it anymore and we’d go on binge and fall off the wagon.

We also felt guilty!  Every time our kids would ask to go to special school or church outing, we’d have to say “Sorry sweetheart, but there’s no money!”  We even turned down programs that would help us work through our financial difficulties, saying “Sorry, no money!”  When the investment opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, we’d reluctantly say “Sorry, no money!”

Years of following the same pattern, depriving ourselves, followed by binging, and feeling guilty about it, we realized that spending every waking moment of our lives worrying and thinking about our lack of money did not bring us closer to our goals, and certainly wasn’t helping us lead the life we’d imagined.

Finally, we decided to take a different approach to managing our finances.  Instead of the “binging and dieting” approach of splurging and budgeting, we decided to change our money lifestyle.  We faced our limiting beliefs around money and shifted them.  (It’s amazing how changing your thoughts really can change your life!)  Finally, we made small but significant changes to the way we managed our financial health.  Before long, we were able to stop spending all our time thinking about money because the situation was fixing itself automatically.

If you’re tired of having to say “Sorry, no money!” and you’d like to learn to manage your finances more successfully, join us on ADHD Money Management: Finally Dollars and Sense group coaching program (http://tinyurl.com/adhdmoney) that starts on Monday, February 9th at 8:30 pm. Don’t wait, space is limited!

Manage your Finances Without a Budget

Most personal finance gurus insist that to take charge of your financial health, you need to create and stick to a budget.  For most creative geniuses, especially those with ADHD, a budget is BOOORINGGGGG and so all but impossible.

Because even if you believe a budget is essential, you’re not likely to be able to prepare one, or follow it… remember, it’s boooringggg!  Boring things don’t stimulate your brain.  Trying to focus on tasks such as preparing a budget when you’re brain isn’t stimulated is about as easy as driving your car around the block when you can’t get the engine started.

No wonder creative geniuses, with or without ADHD, suffer financially far more than the “neurotypical” population.  But you’re not doomed to financial hardship, bankruptcy or a retirement age of 97!  You just need a different, non-budgeting, approach to managing your financial health… an approach that isn’t boring.  (No, not gambling!)

What worked for Duane and me – and believe me, if it worked for us, it can work for anyone – was to stop trying to manage our money the traditional way (and failing miserably!) and adopt ADHD-friendly ways to organize our finances.  It all started with a three-step process:

1. We took our financial pulse – it wasn’t pretty, but knew how deep a hole we were in (and it was deep!)
2. We figured out where we wanted to be by deciding what was important to us, and what really wasn’t.
3. We started looking for money “hidden in the sofa cushions.”  No, not really, but by being aware of the money our poor choices were robbing from us, we were able to start getting out of debt (instead of getting in deeper every month!) using the money we were already earning!

Already, I was thrilled, and that was just the beginning!  In a couple of days I’ll tell you how we went from having 17 maxed out credit cards, no savings and an old rusted car that we owed five thousand dollars on, to being debt-free (except for a small reasonable mortgage), with a nice home, retirement savings.  On top of that, we purchased a new car for cash, and this spring we’re going on a one-month vacation to Italy this year.