Archives for October 2010

Revealed: Why Google is FAB if you have ADHD


I am a huge fan of Google. Its sounds like a strange thing to say out loud, because most people are and so it’s sort of a given.  Besides providing a great search engine, Google has some other fabulous features which are great for people with ADHD.

My two favorite Google tools for adults with ADHD are Google Documents and Google Calendar. Since they are web-based, you can access your information from any computer, whether you are at home, work, a friend’s place, or cafe. Plus it doesn’t matter how many computers or gadgets you lose, you won’t lose your valuable information.

You don’t need to have a Gmail account to access these tools—although I highly recommend that too!—you just need a Google account which you can create in just a few minutes.

Google Documents
Google Documents looks like other word processors, so there is no learning curve. The incredible thing about the Google Docs is that your work is saved automatically for you almost every second. You never have to press “Save” again. EVER.  So many people with ADHD forget to save the information they are working on, and then it gets lost forever. That feeling of loss and frustration is a thing of the past. There are also other features that might be useful to you like spreadsheets and the ability to work with other people on the same document at the same time.

Google Calendar
Google Calendar has many great features. You can access your schedule from any computer, phone, or iPhone, and receive email or text message reminders of your upcoming appointments. This will dramatically reduce the chances of you missing an important appointment. It’s also very easy to share your calendar with the important people in your life.

If you are more traditional, it’s very easy to print your calendar out so you have a paper version.

Actions for this Week
1.Create a Google account (if you haven’t already).
2.Have a look at both Google Docs and Calendar.
3.Decide how you can use them to make your life easier.
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Easy Ways to Increase Productivity With ADHD

Here’s a quick and easy way to increase productivity (and happiness!)

We are all born with a unique internal body clock that controls when we feel tired, the type of food we crave and what activities are appealing to us at any given time. Our body clock ( which is actually a group of 10,000+ nerve cells located in the brain’s hypothalamus) explains why some of us are night owls and others are early birds.

When you match your daily activities to your circadian rhythms (i.e. your bodies preferred time for doing them), magic happens. You become more productive, happier and life generally feels ‘easy’. You no longer have to rely on mental determination to get something done, or waste hours on a task that you know you are capable of doing in 20 minutes.

I first realized how powerful body clocks are when I noticed the extremely different experiences I had when running. On an early morning run, even a short one, it was both physically and mentally challenging and when I got home all I wanted to do was climb into bed and sleep. Yet if I ran in the evening, the run was easy, fast and really fun. Afterwards I would be bouncing around and couldn’t fall asleep even if you paid me.

You have also probably noticed how sometimes you can try to do a task and it feels like pulling teeth and other times it’s a total breeze. A few simple changes in your life means that you can work with your body clock and not against it to experience increased productivity and happiness.
Here is what to do.

1) Notice what is working for you right now. There are probably tasks and activities that you do at the moment because you already made the connection. Keep doing them!

2) Experiment with your other activities both at work and home to find when they are easy and fun, and when you are struggling against the grain.

3) If something is a struggle, STOP doing it at that time right away!

4) Once you realize what times suit your body clock, commit to doing tasks at these times.
It’s easy to get influenced by what works for other people (remember our body clocks are unique!) or what your mind would prefer, e.g. you might enjoy the idea of waking up at 5am to do___ but your body clock doesn’t agree.

5) Notice how more enjoyable life is and how much more productive you are when you work with your body clock.

Taking Losses in Stride With ADHD

Late Sunday evening I landed at Montreal airport after being in an intensive three-day conference, followed by a whirlwind 24 hours with my BFF, Lisa, in Boston. My brain was buzzing with tons of ideas. Since I only had US dollars, I stopped at the airport cash machine for some Canadian currency. The money emerged from the machine and I grabbed my receipt and walked away. I would have kept walking if a man hadn’t tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but I think that machine just ate your bank card.” Sure enough, that hungry airport bank machine had eaten my card.

Had I been conscious of my physical actions rather than dancing with all the ideas in my head, I would have been where I needed to be to retrieve my bank card BEFORE I walked away!

Even though I did feel a bit stupid, it wasn’t the end of the world. In the back seat of the cab, I made a call to my bank. They cancelled that card and will be sending me another card in the mail.

However, this event got me thinking. This sort of thing happens to my ADHD clients all the time. The steps in Untapped Brilliance help reduce the amount of times that they happen, but they are still going to happen from time to time. If the lost item situation can be dealt with promptly and effortlessly, it doesn’t have to be any more painful or emotional than watching your favorite TV show.

The phrase “Hope for the best, plan for the worst” comes to mind.We don’t want you to lose things, but if you do, it’s good to have a plan.Here are four steps to help you handle a lost item in stride:

1. Remember, whatever it is you have lost – driver’s license, passport, bank card, cell phone, laptop – they are all replaceable. The main thing is that you are physically safe and well.

2. Don’t criticize or feel bad about yourself when something is lost. It happens to everyone. The lady I spoke to explained that it happens all the time. That very day, a person had lost their 78th card.

3. Create back-ups! If you have a back-up plan, then the loss itself isn’t going to be so great and you won’t be thrown into a frenzy.

a. List all of your important items: passport, bank card, driver’s license, cell phone, etc.

b. For each of these items, make a photo copy or write down the information. For your cell phone, record telephone numbers.

c. Keep all this information somewhere at home and safe! It could be in your filing cabinet or a fire-proof safe. You will know a good place for yourself as you are reading this.

d. When you realize you have lost something, take action straight away. Don’t procrastinate! This minimizes any problems, e.g. someone else using your bank card, and it allows you to move on without mulling for weeks over how unorganized you are or other negative messages you tell yourself.