Buildings routines as an adult with ADHD

I’m so excited about this and really have to tell someone. First, I’ve put up a blog and have been contributing to the addcoachingblog, and there’s more… Ready, here it is: I’m writing a book on productivity management for ADHDers. I started in September with an idea and in October with an outline and am happy to say the first draft is almost finished.

A lesson learned…

As I am writing this book, I realise just how difficult it is to create the routine of writing. I’ve tried many formulas but have found that what worked best for me is the same as what I would suggest to a client with ADHD. That is, to attach this routine to another one that I already are consistently doing. Being a believer in the importance of breakfast, I never miss it so I’ve been writing while I’m having breakfast. As a result, I’ve been writing consistently at least one hour a day every day.

What routine do you want to create in your life? Can you anchor it to another one you’re already doing?

A solution for ADHDers who forget their ADHD medications

Many of my ADHD clients are frustrated by their difficulty with estimating time and being on time to appointments. Their spouses and friends get annoyed at their tardiness. In our Time Management workshop for ADHDers we help participants find ways to get reminded of appointments and when they need to take their medications.

Many decide to use a PDA (Palm Pilot, Blackberry or iPaq) to get those reminders. For those who prefer a paper agenda reminders are more difficult to arrange. Here’s an article on how you can get free reminders using Internet agendas like Google Calendar and setting them up to remind you by text messaging you on your cell phone. I tried it and it works! Remember though that text messaging may cost you a few cents more. The article talks about using these reminder systems to reminders to take your ADHD medications.

“Funny how the biggest problems most people have with these ‘addictive’ medications is forgetting to take them! What do you think?”

Is ADHD a disability?

I was at a conference with Dr. Russell Barkley when he insisted that ADHD is a disability and that to see it as anything but is a mistake. As a coach, my tendency is to find the diamond in the rough, the strengths and talents my clients have so I’m less likely to work on the disability but really more on the strenghts and talents of my clients. This, of course, is not to say that ADHDers are not severely challenged at times by their ADHD.

What do you think? Is ADHD a disability?

Determination: an ADHD Advantage

Every entrepreneur will say perserverence and determination are key to success. Perhaps that’s why such a high percentage of entrepreneurs, diagnosed or not, fit the ADHD profile. One entrepreneur described his hyperfocusing as an advantage saying, “When I’m wrapped up in a new business, I can’t let go. I can’t think of anything else, and I can’t give up, long after ‘more sensible’ people would.”There’s no question determination leads to success…

  • Determination drove Walt Disney to pursue and eventually realize his dreams despite declaring bankruptcy multiple times.
  • Determination kept Michael Jordan working to improve his game after he was cut from his basketball team in high school.
  • Dertermination kept John Grisham going though he was turned down by the first 35 publishers.

You don’t have to have ADHD to be determined, but it might help. If there’s one thing my clients have in common, it’s an indominable spirit. I hear many horror stories of their struggles and yet what shines through in every case is enthusiasm and optimism. They know their future will be better, and they’re not looking for sympathy, they’re looking for help to go out and build that future for themselves.

It is this more than anything else that inspired me to become an ADHD coach. In a world where whining and blaming have become the norm, how refreshing it is to work with people who, when they are knocked down, want nothing more than an opportunity just to get back up and tackle it again.

Love the Game?

We often hear that success in sports starts with “a love of the game.” I don’t think that’s true.

Why? It’s easy to love the game. The game is exciting. Not everything that’s easy is bad (work smarter, not harder… right?), but in sports most people love the game. That’s why they play. But do they love the practice? The practice is boring. The game is a rush. The practice is mind-numbingly repetitive. The game gets all the glory.

I firmly believe that entrepreneurial success is inevitable if you’re doing what you love. However, if you want to know if you’re doing what you love, ask yourself, “Do I love the practice?”If you choose your “game” based on your values, and interest and you work with your strengths, you’ll love the practice AND the game.

To your Focus! Action! Success!


I Wish I Was As Good As You Think I Am

I don’t have ADHD. My husband does. My daughter does. My clients do. But I don’t. And to listen to all the ADHDers I know, you’d think I have super powers.

My husband complains about his memory, saying, “I have ADHD, so if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it!” I suggest we should get him something so he can write things down. Then, to make sure I won’t forget to get it for him, I write it in my agenda.

My daughter complains about losing her keys. She says, “When I came in, I put them down somewhere and now I can’t find them! It’s this stupid ADHD! I always lose my keys!”

“Let me get this straight. You didn’t put your keys where they go but just dropped them somewhere, and now you can’t find them? Maybe we should put a bowl or a small basket on your dresser where you always put your keys, just like the one I have.” I write that down too.

Please don’t think I’m trivializing ADHD. As an ADHD coach, I work with people who struggle with it daily. And many of them struggle with it mightily. However, not every problem you face is unique, and not every solution needs to be rocket science! What’s more, you don’t need to beat yourself up about it.

The rest of us neuro-normals (my husband calls us “muggles”) struggle with many of the same problems. Not nearly to the same degree, but ADHDers often think they struggle with things everyone else finds easy or simple. Not true.

My husband practically has a fit if he arrives late at an appointment. I asked him, “What would you do if someone arrived 5 mintues late to see you?”

“Oh, well, it’s no big deal. What’s five minutes?” I looked at him in amazement!

“Why do you insist on higher standards for yourself than you do for the rest of the world?” I’ve seen so many ADHDers apply much stricter rules to themselves than they do to others. They refuse to accept that a simple mistake could be just that, a simple mistake, and since no one is perfect, we all have permission to make them from time to time.

I don’t have super powers. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it too. If I forget, it has nothing to do with ADHD. It has to do with a busy life and a preoccupied brain. Oh, and it’s not x-ray vision that prevents me from losing my keys. I always put them back in my purse and I have a place where I keep my purse so I won’t lose it.

Sometimes the most daunting problems can be resolved by allowing yourself the time to figure a way to solve it and then to go ahead and use the solution… better still, use it consistently. And sometimes it’s a simple mistake. You make them. I make them. Know what else? So does everyone else. Maybe, just maybe, you should give yourself a break.