Archives for July 2015

Are You Addicted to Your Phone?

Are You Addicted to Your Phone?In his  book, “Driven to Distraction At Work.” Dr. Edward Hallowell talks about “screen sucking”. It’s a term to describe how the screens of our electronic devices suck away our time and creativeness.

Technology is a wonderful thing, Almost everything can be done on the screen these days, from reading the newspaper to grocery shopping and dating. However, as with most things, there is a fine line between being useful and being a problem. The screen pulls our attention from what is happening around us, and takes us into another world. With computers, iPads and smartphones, we are never away from a screen.

The constant use of electronics is often thought of as a joke. However, for some people it can be a serious problem, in the form of an addiction. We are aware it’s possible be addicted to something that is available via the internet. For example, online gambling, porn, or shopping. However, the internet itself, with “regular” websites, can also be addictive. As Dr. Hallowell explains, some people can get addicted to the feeling of being online.

The good news is that most of us who experience screen sucking don’t develop an addiction. However, spending too much time behind your computer or cell phone can still be a problem. It can affect your relationships, sleep and productivity, and so much more.

Going online can be a used for all sorts of things that aren’t totally necessary, but seem helpful. For example, a quick check on your phone helps relieve boredom, perhaps when you are in a meeting or family event. It can also help reduce stress, be a crutch for social anxiety, and it can make you “feel” productive.

If you think you might be falling into bad habits and reaching for your screen a little too often, here are some tips:

1) Identify how much time you are spending on your computer, iPad, and cell phone. If you aren’t sure, track yourself for 3 days. This will be eye opening! No one I know who has done this said, “wow I go online a lot less than I thought.”

2) What you are doing in your screen time? Are you checking email, Facebook, reading the news, checking the stock market? Write all those activities down.

3) Do you need to be behind a screen to do all those things? For example, you do need to answer emails. However, you don’t need to read the news online. You could pick up a paper newspaper.

4) Why are you reaching for your phone or screen? Are you bored, procrastinating etc?

5) With the information from #4, is there an underlying issue to address that would be helpful to your life and business? For example if you have social anxiety (lots of ADDers do), checking your phone (for emails or going online) in social situations is very comforting. It makes you look busy and it takes your mind off all the people. However, by using your phone as a band-aid, it stops you for reaching out for help for the social anxiety. When you address the root cause, you won’t need the phone so much and your business will grow!

6) Reply to email in chunks of time, rather than having it open all day. This alone will increase your productivity.

7) Make it a personal policy to always turn your phone off in meetings and social events and even at home with your family.

Does Everyone Have ADHD These Days?

balloons-1012541_640Have you noticed that everyone seems to have ADHD these days?

People say things like:
“Oh, I am so ADHD.”
“I am having an ADHD moment.”
“Sorry I am late… I must have ADHD.”

Of course, not everyone has ADHD! Stats show that between 4-5% of adults in the US have ADHD. Which means 95-96% of the population does not have ADHD.

When someone says, “I must have ADHD”, what they actually mean is that for a minute or 2 or maybe even a few hours, they were forgetful or distracted, etc.

The reason why so many people feel they have ADHD is that ADHD characters aren’t exclusive to people with ADHD. Everyone experiences memory slips, feel distracted and lose track of time, etc. from time to time. But, just because someone is forgetful, it doesn’t mean they have ADHD. In the same way that when someone feels sad for an hour, it doesn’t mean they have depression.

It’s the amount of these characteristics that a person experiences, their severity and how long they have been experiencing them (before the age of 7) that separates someone who has ADHD from someone who doesn’t. To see a detailed list of ADHD Inattentive Subtype characteristics, go here and for a list of ADHD Hyperactive Impulsive Type, head here.

It is good awareness about ADHD that has increased. It means that people who have ADHD are getting tested and getting the help they need. Conversely, with that increase has brought these casual comments.

When someone explains their behaviour as an ‘ADHD moment’, it’s usually met with laughter. However, when you are living with ADHD, it’s not a joke. Life can be stressful and it takes hard work to master techniques that come effortlessly to others.

These comments are particular confusing to those who are recently diagnosed with ADHD. They are still trying to make sense of what ADHD is and how it fits into their identity. Who wants to have something that everyone laughs at?

People who actually have ADHD rarely (if ever) say, “Oh, I am so ADHD”. Instead, they feel mortified that they let someone down, or are late or forgot something important. They also think very carefully about who to tell they have ADHD. They don’t drop it casually into conversation.

People often are concerned about getting officially diagnosed, because they think if they get officially diagnosed with ADHD, they will use it as an excuse. If you are concerned about that, don’t be! The fact that you are asking that question means that you are conscientious and won’t use ADHD as an excuse.

Nevertheless, because people who don’t have ADHD use it as an excuse, a common fear among parents and spouses, is that if their loved one gets diagnosed, they will stop trying. This, of course, creates more problems.

The next time someone says that “they are so ADHD”, don’t take it personally; don’t question if you have ADHD, and don’t let it side track your quest to tap into your brilliance!

How to Make a Budget When You Have ADHD – Part 2

How to Make a Budget When You Have ADHD Part 2Money 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 mo.ney management challenging because it requires attention to detail, organizing, planning into the future and impulse control. If you missed Part 1 head here

A problem many adults with ADHD have when creating their budget, is knowing what categories to create and how much $ to allocated to each category.

Here are some category examples:

  1. Food
  2. Home (mortgage / rent)
  3. Utilities
  4. Insurance
  5. Transport (car, bus pass)
  6. Health (dentist, medication)
  7. Grooming (hair)
  8. Gifts
  9. Saving
  10. Debt
  11. Vacations
  12. Entertainment
  13. Charitable donations
  14. For Fun
  15. Clothes

If you feel overwhelmed when you look at the list, don’t worry! Some of those categories practically take care of themselves. E.g. Home and Utilities. For those categories, there is an external company or bank that decided the dollar amount, gave you a deadline and attached a consequence. For example, your $70 cell phone bill needs to be paid by June 6th; otherwise, it will be discontinued. As an ADHDer, it is much easier to respect those conditions, than a category you regulate yourself. E.g. Entertainment.

Here are 5 steps to create and maintain those self-regulated, unfixed categories.

Focus on one self-regulated category at a time. This way,you won’t feel overwhelmed.  or  are great categories to start with, as they are usually ones that can expand and get out of control.

  1. Focus on one self-regulated category at a time. This way,you won’t feel overwhelmed. Food or Entertainment are great categories to start with, as they are usually ones that can expand and get out of control.
  2. In the article,‘How to Make a Budget’, an action item was to track your spending for 7 days. Now it’s time to use that data! Go grab it.
  3. Let’s start with food. However,the same rules apply for any category.  Add up how much you spent on food in those 7 days and multiply it by 4. Now you have an approximate figure of how much you are currently spending on food per month.
  4. You could divide the Food category up into subcategories; such a Groceries and Dining Out. Or keep things simple, and have a broad food category. There isn’t a wrong answer; simply what makes sense and feels good for you.
  5. If you want to reduce the amount you are spending, don’t just pick a number and expect to be able to stick to it. Instead,look at why you spend that amount and what you can do to change it. For example, you might be tired after work and stop at the gourmet grocery store on the way home for supper each night. A change in behaviour would be to go to Costco on the weekend, and buy food for the week. By creating a new plan, with new behaviours, you are setting yourself up for success and not white-knuckling it and feeling deprived.
  6. What you decide now isn’t written in stone. To make a budget,you have to start somewhere. This method gives you a good starting point and the frame work to gather more information to customize your budget. Each month, spend a few minutes looking at how you did, what worked and what you could do differently next month.

To stay within your allocated $ amount, discipline and planning is required! You might not like doing either of those things, though that doesn’t mean it’s bad or that you can’t do it.

One client told me he was grateful to have a budget. It gave him structure and rules to follow that he had been missing, but didn’t realize it. He loved that his budget forced him to appreciate and value money. Rather than reaching for the phone and ordering a pizza, it motivated him go look in the fridge and get creative with the contents. He started to enjoy life more and appreciate both the small and big things in life.

What category of your budget are you going to master this month?

Out of Sight, Out of Mind and More!

about.com

I have some good news to share! I am the new ADD and ADHD Expert at About.com. I was so honoured to be asked. For the last month, I have been busy writing!

Here is a roundup of my first 6 articles on About.com. You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you.

 7 Ways to Manage Distractions When You Have ADHD

When you are distracted, your attention moves from one thing to the next. Everyone feels distracted from time to time. However, for a person with ADHD, distraction is a constant.

http://add.about.com/od/adhdthebasics/fl/ADHD-and-Distraction.htm

How to Be Less Impulsive When You Have ADHD

One of the hallmark symptoms of ADHD is impulsivity. Here are 7 tips to help you be less impulsive.

http://add.about.com/od/signsandsymptoms/fl/ADHD-and-Implusivity.htm

10 Tips for Smooth Transitions When You Have ADHD

Transitioning from one activity to the next can be difficult and stressful when you have ADHD. Here are 10 tips for smooth transitions.
http://add.about.com/od/adhdinadults/fl/ADHD-and-Transitions.htm

Do You Have an Out of Sight, Out of Mind Problem?

Do you forget what you can’t see? Do you surround yourself with ‘things’ to help you remember? If this sounds like you, then you could have an out of sight, out of mind problem! Here are some suggestions.
http://add.about.com/od/adhdinadults/fl/Do-You-Have-an-Out-of-Sight-Out-of-Mind-Problem.htm

How to Be a Successful Planner When You Have ADHD

Planning is powerful when you have ADHD. It gives your life structure and that helps with many ADHD symptoms!
http://add.about.com/od/adhdinadults/fl/10-Ways-to-Be-a-Successful-Planner-When-You-Have-ADHD.htm

Why Is It Important to Set Goals When You Have ADHD

Setting goals help reduce some classic ADHD symptoms; such as distraction, procrastination, impulsivity, prioritizing and decision making.
http://add.about.com/od/treatmentoptions/fl/Why-Is-It-Important-to-Set-Goals-When-You-Have-ADHD.htm

 

Which one is your favourite?