Archives for June 2015

How to Make a Budget When You Have ADHD

How to Make a Budget When You Have ADHD
The definition of a budget is:

“A plan of how a certain amount of money will be spent during a period of time.”

Usually, the amount of money is your income and the amount of time is a calendar month.

Money management is one of those important life skills that we aren’t formally taught at school. Yet, if it doesn’t come naturally to you, there are negative consequences. ADHD adults find money management challenging because it requires attention to detail, organizing, planning into the future and impulse control. There can often be shame too; perhaps because you don’t feel in control of your finances, you don’t earn as much as your peers or you have debt.

A great step to taking control of your finances and becoming a money manager is to have a budget. I know that word can make you feel constrained and agitated. However, budgets aren’t a punishment.

Benefits of having a budget when you have ADHD:

  1. Empowers you to spend money on items and experiences that are important to you.
  2. Impulsive spending is reduced.
  3. Gives you a framework to help make decisions.
  4. Reduces worrying about money.
  5. Allows you to spend without guilt.
  6. Having rules to follow which feels empowering.
  7. Relief from shame about the topic of money and spending.
  8. Money doesn’t ‘disappear’;you know where it went!

As you are reading this, I am sure some ‘yeah, but’s’ are popping into your head. Maybe because you think:

  1. I am not good aMath.
    The maths involved in creating a budget are simple additions and subtractions. There are no complicated fractions or algebra.
  2. I don’t earn much money.
    You don’t have to wait until you earn a certain amount before learning how to be a money manager. In fact,it’s better to learn it now; for 2 reasons:a) When your income does increase,you will already have all the skills in place so it won’t just ‘disappear’.b) When you feel good about how you manage your money,your self-esteem improves, worry is reduced and you feel empowered. You don’t have to wait for a rainy day to experience these benefits.
  1. I have too much debt, I shouldn’t be spending anything.
    Even if you have debt, you still need to eat, and pay rent, etc. When you create a budget, it will allow you to pay the debt off faster and help you feel less guilt and shame day-to-day.
  2. I am too scared to ‘look’ at my finances.
    This is very common! Nevertheless, it is important to know what is happening in your financial life, no matter how scary it seem. I know quite a few ADHDers who did not dare look at their finances and as a result, the situation got scarier! For example, a $90 parking ticket became an $850 ticket because of late payments. An unpaid $35 store credit card, affected their credit rating, which had more negative consequences.

Whatever your objections to creating a budget are, it’s normal. Becoming confident in money management is as much an emotional issue as it is practical.

Here are some steps action steps:

Step 1 – Rename
Because the word “budget” is such a weighted word, the first step to creating one is to give yours a good name.
Here are a few suggestions:

  • Spending Game Plan
  • Project Money Management
  • Cash Flow Plan
  • Peace of Mind Method
  • Ninja Money Manager System
  • Financial Freedom

Play around with names until you find a name that makes you feel happy, organized and excited. This isn’t a frivolous step! It’s vital for your money management success.

ADHD Entrepreneur, Joe Polish, calls money ‘fun tickets’ because it allows him to have fun experiences.

Step 2 – Incoming
In order to know how much you can spend and save, you need to know how much is coming to you each month. If you are getting a monthly or bi monthly pay cheque, knowing how much you earn is relatively easy. If you work for yourself or are on contract, then you might have a solid figure. One way around that is to look at your past income for last year, then divide that figure into 12 to give you a monthly figure to work with.

Step 3 – Outgoing
Now it’s time to work out what your expenses are. These usually fall into the following categories: fixed, semi-fixed and unfixed.

Fixed amounts
Fixed amounts are the amounts that are the same every month. For example, your mortgage or rent, car payment, student loans, etc.

Semifixed amounts
Semi-fixed amounts are those amounts that are somewhat fixed, but they could change a little depending on your behaviour. Your cell phone bill, public transport, internet could be in the semi-fixed category. In the example of your cell phone, you probably have a package with a fixed monthly amount, but you might go over during some months if you went out of town or went over your download limit.

Unfixed amounts
Unfixed amounts are the expenses that trip up most ADHDers. It’s where does the rest of the money goes: restaurants, bars, taxis, clothes, ATM fees, video games, gas, gifts, etc. These aren’t decided for you by a 3rdparty, such as your landlord or cell phone company. These are amounts that you have to decide for yourself; which can be problematic.

ADHDers don’t usually know how much to allocate for each category or even what categories they should have. There are suggestions online, and they are helpful. Though, a mother of 2 children will have different categories and values than a new graduate living in the city.

Here is how to solve this problem. For the next 7 days, track everything you spend. It’s not forever; just 7 days.

You can write it in a notebook, or in your phone; it doesn’t matter where.
– If you have an $18 cab ride, write it down.
– If you spend $45.19 at the grocery store, write it down.
– If you take out $20 at the AMT, don’t write that down. But do write down what you spent that $20 on.

I have to say, this isn’t easy; but it is doable. Even people who said they never thought they would be able to do this because their ADHD was ‘so bad’, have been able to do it.

That information is like gold, because you know ‘where your money goes’. From there, you can work out what categories your budget needs and how much you can put in each category. We will go into greater detail next week,when you have your 7 days of spending data!

Actions step for this week:

  1. Pick a new name for your budget.
  2. Work out your monthly income for the month.
  3. Work out what your fixed expenses are.
  4. Work out what your semi fixed expenses are.
  5. Track your spending for 7 days.

Good luck!!!

Want To Hear A Success Story

Ever wondered what ADHD coaching actually is?

Even though I have been an ADHD Coach for 11 years, I still struggle to explain exactly what I ‘do’  because it’s so different for each client. Their problems, personality, lifestyle and ADHD all play a part in what coaching looks like for them.

Rather than trying to describe ADHD Coaching in generic terms, I thought a case study of an actual client would be much more interesting and fun. I got the idea this morning when this email arrived.​​

‘I always used to feel that I was lagging behind in my life and didn’t understand why. Everything was 10 times harder for me in my life and I really couldn’t understand how others seem to have it so easy to live their life.

I always felt different and never knew why. After I realized I might have ADD and started coaching, everything shifted and I became a master of my life. The dark days are over and are like a distant memory.

It’s crazy Jacqui! You have helped me turn my life around!’
Dee

(Don’t worry! Dee gave me the OK to share her email and story.)

When Dee started coaching, she was in the last few months of medical school. The final exams were looming and she wanted to get her life organized and pass the exams!

They would be the last exams after years of studying. The pressure was on.

She was experiencing all the classic ADHD traits. Feeling disorganized and scattered. Not able to concentrate or focus unless there was a deadline.  A deadline meant things could get done but there was also lots of anxiety and fear.

During our Coaching we covered these topics

Practical techniques

Dee learned some How-to techniques designed for her ADHD characteristics and tailored to her situation. Her topics included:

  • How to study
  • How to be productive
  • How to arrive on time to work and class • How to do housework • How to balance work, study and home responsibilities

Understanding ADHD

Dee was also new to ADHD, so the coaching helped her • Understand what ADHD is • How ADHD affected her • How to get her family and husband to take ADHD seriously

Emotions

There is always an emotional aspect to coaching too.

In Dee’s case:

  • How to feel good about herself
  • How to ‘own’ her achievements
  • How to get her inner voice to be less critical • How to reduce anxiety in exams

Treating ADHD Naturally

Because Dee was new to ADHD, we talked about the ways she could treat her ADHD naturally and that included implementing these suggestions into her daily life

  • Eating an ADHD friendly diet
  • Making exercise part of her life
  • Meditating

The story has a happy ending! This week Dee passed her final exams!!!

And she starts her first job as a medical doctor next week.

You might not be a doctor, or sitting exams. However, this case study shows just how varied ADHD Coaching is and how quickly tangible results can be seen.

Another cool thing about this story is I have never meet Dee in real life. Like many of my clients, Dee lives in a completely different continent and all the coaching was done via Skype.

If you could use help with your ADHD and your life, email me! I would love to help you get some awesome results too!

Warmly

​Jacqui

ADHD and Bulletproof Coffee

ADHD and Bulletproof CoffeeRight now, I am sitting, typing on my laptop and drinking a rather tasty cup of coffee. It’s not just regular coffee though, it’s Bulletproof Coffee!

Bulletproof Coffee is the brainchild of Dave Asprey. Dave Asprey spent a lot of his life overweight. He was a successful Silicon Valley multi-millionaire, yet he was battling brain fog, food cravings and frustration at being 300lbs. Dave decided to apply the same concept of hacking computers to hacking his biology. He lost weight and became physical and mental fit.

Bulletproof Coffee is essential coffee with butter in it. Even though I like trying new things, butter in coffee sounded weird. I tried that first sip with trepidation. Nevertheless, it tastes just fine and the benefits on my brain are incredible.

Here’s what I experienced:

  1. Mental sharpness
    My brain feels crystal clear and mentally sharp. No brain fog or trying to kick my brain into gear.
  2. Mental energy and motivation
    The first 2 of hours of the day, I usually write. With regular coffee, I had to use a lot of will power not to procrastinate and do something less taxing. But with Bulletproof Coffee, 2 hours of productive writing whizzes by.
  3. No jitters
    As much as I love coffee, it would make me feel a bit jittery and sometimes anxious. I get zero jitters with Bulletproof Coffee.
  4. Happiness
    I consider myself a pretty happy person. However, after a Bulletproof Coffee, I feel really happy. It’s not in a high or giddy way; just an inner happy glow.

I often use myself as a guinea pig because although I don’t have ADHD, I am severely dyslexic. Most things that work for me, also work for the ADHD brain. Clients with ADHD who have tried Bulletproof Coffee have experienced similar results.

Bulletproof Coffee is all about the quality of your ingredients. The official recipe calls for super high quality ingredients. Though attempting to get those specific ingredients was putting me off trying the coffee. What I did instead was a compromise. The ingredients I use are still good quality, just not Dave Asprey’s standard.

Here is the official Bulletproof Coffee recipe:

  • 2 cups of black Upgraded Coffee
  • 2 tbsp of grass-fed butter
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) of MCT oil

In the blender, mix all the ingredients so the oil emulsifies and looks like a latte.

And here is a video of Dave Aspery making the coffee.

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/

Here is my modified version:

  • Organic black coffee
  • Organic butter
    (100% grass fed butter is hard to find in Canada. However, if you live in the US or Europe, you can use Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter or Anchor Butter in Australia and Asia.)
  • Organic coconut oil

Stir with a spoon; rather than the blender.

Using these ingredients, I got my awesome results. Also, I have had great feedback from ADHD folks who have tried this version of Bulletproof Coffee too.

So, are you going to try a Bulletproof Coffee?

Word of caution: Coffee doesn’t suit everyone with ADHD. As always, listen to your body.

12 Ways to Combat Shyness When You Have ADHD

12 Ways to Combat Shyness When You Have ADHDAdults with ADHD can struggle with shyness. While shyness goes against the stereotypical image of a hyperactive, life-of-the-party type, ADHD is much more diverse than that image.

Shyness has nothing to do with being an extrovert or introvert, or if you are hyperactive or an inattentive subtype. It has everything to do with how comfortable a person feels about themselves.

Many adults with ADHD don’t feel comfortable with themselves at all. They feel shame that they aren’t where they thought they would be at this point in their lives. They are worried about potentially embarrassing themselves by saying or doing something impulsively or by breaking a social rule that they didn’t know about.

There is often a lot of fear, perhaps stemming from memories of past social behaviour, or by being around critical people. Plus, small talk is agony for most ADHDers.

What is Shyness?

Shyness is a feeling of angst, awkwardness and unease in situations when you are near to people. It is usually heightened in new situations and new people. Blushing, ‘losing your tongue’ anxiety and stammering, are all part of feeling shy.

Feeling shy can stop you from doing things. Because being in situations where you feel shy is so unpleasant and uncomfortable, you would rather not do them. However, that can lead to feelings of loneliness, and frustration at unmet potential. The good news is that shyness doesn’t have to be permanent. You might always have shyness tendencies, but there is a lot you can do to help yourself feel more confident and comfortable in social situations.

While this article focuses on ways to step out of your shy shadow, there is no shame in being shy. Unfortunately, we do live a culture that values being social and so, people who are shy don’t feel as valued. Shyness can also be misinterpreted as ‘standoffish’ or ‘stuck up’; which of course isn’t true!

A surprising amount of famous people have been or are shy. It’s good to know that being shy doesn’t mean you can’t excel in your field. This website has a very comprehensive list of famous shy people.

http://www.shakeyourshyness.com/shypeople.htm

Introverts are Shy Too!

Shyness isn’t related to being introverted. Both introverts and extroverts can be shy. While shy people and introverts might both avoid social gatherings, the reasons behind that choice are made for different reasons. Introverts rejuvenate their energy by being alone. Shy people are avoiding a potentially painful experience.

Researchers are still learning more about shyness. Nevertheless, what they have found so far is that it might have genetic roots, and be influenced by both the environment the child was raised, and by their individual experiences.

The 3 Elements of Shyness

Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci, author of ‘Shyness: A Bold New Approach’, says shyness has 3 elements:

· Excessive Self-Consciousness
You are intensely aware of yourself especially in social environments

· Excessive Negative Self-Evaluation
You are highly critical of yourself

· Excessive Negative Self-Preoccupation
You notice everything you are doing ‘wrong’ when you are with others.

Adults with ADHD are experts at the Excessive Negative Self-Evaluation; so much so that it can be debilitating.

Ready to combat your shyness? Here are 12 steps:

1. Identify Areas in Your Life Shyness is Causing You a Problem
You probably aren’t shy in every area. E.g. When you are with close family members.
Whichever areas where your quality of life would improve if you weren’t as shy. What are those?
Presentations at work, dating, meeting new people etc….

2. Stop Labeling Yourself as Shy
Growing up, well-meaning adults might have said things such as, ‘Don’t worry about John, he is just shy’. While letting people know that you are shy and not being rude is helpful on one level, if you have a label in your mind, then you do your best to fit that label. From now on, stop thinking of yourself as shy!

3. Start treating your ADHD
Everything becomes easier when your ADHD is being treated!

4. Join Toastmasters
Toastmasters gives you the practical tools to overcome shyness. If you know that you can talk in front of a room full of people, then you also know that you can talk in any other situation including on the phone or to an authority figure. You also learn how to ‘think on your feet’, so the right words will come to you when you are put on the spot, not 15 minutes later. It also helps address underlying issues, like confidence and self-esteem.

5. Improve Your Self-Esteem
Improving your self-esteem is very helpful in reducing shyness. Self-esteem is a big topic.
Still, here are a couple of things to do to help get your started.

a. Brain-storm all the things that are annoying you at the moment. Then, look at which ones you could take action on. Someone I know improved their self-esteem dramatically when they lost some excess weight that had been bothering them.

b. What are you naturally good at? Often, when you have ADHD, you spend so much time trying to ‘fix’ yourself that you don’t make time for your natural talents. For example, if you are a great piano player or artist or dancer, make sure you are doing those things on a daily or weekly bases.

6. Stop Being Highly Critical of Yourself
As you are breaking out of your shy comfort zone, it will be very helpful if you can talk to yourself with compassion; not criticism. It doesn’t matter if you dropped food down your top because you were nervous, or you forgot someone’s name. Instead, focus on the fact that you made an effort to go out. Richard Branson is very good at talking to himself kindly and with compassion. When you talk to yourself like this, it also helps improve your self-esteem.

7. Remember no one is looking
Shy people are intensely aware of themselves in social environments. It feels as if everyone is looking at your every move. They aren’t. They are busy thinking about how they appear to others! Or they might be listening to what the person they are talking to is saying, or thinking about what they will have for supper this evening. We will never know for sure. However, even though you are a super lovely person, all eyes won’t be on you. So relax.

8. Interesting Things to Say
A lot of people feel they don’t have anything interesting to say. Even if you feel this, it isn’t true. You have ADHD, which means you are always devouring new information. You have lots of interesting things to talk about!

9. Social Skills
Growing up, we aren’t given any formal social skills training. We are somehow expected to know it; which can be problematic when you have ADHD. There are a lot of ways to develop these skills, including working with a coach. Also, a great starting point is to read or listen to ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. It’s a classic and has some great tips. For example, do you know how a person will think you are a great conversationalist? It’s not by you doing a lot of talking. Instead, all you have to do is ask a few questions and let the other person talk, which is perfect for a shy person!

10. Hobbies
Joining groups focused on your hobbies is a great way to overcome your shyness. It helps you be with people; yet the focus isn’t on talking, it’s on the activity. Plus, you automatically have at least one thing in common, so conversations are easier. For example, if you like to run, join a running group; or a photography, quilting, scrapbooking or cooking group. There are so many! Meetup.com is a great way to find groups in your area.

11. Book Recommendation
If you like to read, check this book by Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci. ‘Shyness: A Bold New Approach’. It’s very helpful, informative and is based on decades of research on shyness.

12. Keep Track
Open a Google doc or Word document and keep track of your progress. Every time you go out of your comfort zone, record what happens. Did anything bad happen? What were the good things that happened? When you get hard evidence in writing, rather than memories that you have exaggerated (for the worse), it is much easier to see your progress and realize that bad things rarely happen and if they do, they aren’t that bad.