Info on ADHD

Welcome to the Untapped Brilliance Blog! I am Jacqueline Sinfield the ADHD coach for Adults. On this blog you will find tons of info on ADHD. One the most common sentence I hear from clients is ‘I have so much potential but I just can’t seem to reach it’.  I wrote the ADHD book Untapped Brilliance: How to Reach Your Full Potential as an Adult with ADHD to answer that very question. Untapped Brilliance outlines simple yet highly effective, alternative ways to minimize your unwanted ADHD symptoms so that your wonderful gifts can shine brightly. When that happens, not only are you able to reach your potential, but your life also becomes way less stressful and lots more fun.

The articles here on the blog are all a reflection of my ADHD Coaching philosophy. I am really excited to share with you loads of info on ADHD, and proven strategies that are super effective in minimizing your negative aspects of ADHD so that your magnificent gifts can shine brightly and you too can reach your potential!

Don’t forget to leave questions or comments as I love hearing from you

Quick Tip to Help you Feel Good About Yourself

In this video you will learn 1 simple technique to help you feel good about yourself.

ADHDers are often masters at focusing so much on what didn’t go well and what they want to improve that they forget all the good things that are happening. This technique helps to re-balance things!

5 Ways to Pay Attention in Class (or a Meeting)

Many ADHD students find they aren’t able to focus on what the professor is saying; which means you might miss important information, and make you feel bad about yourself. In this video, you will learn 5 ways to pay attention in class. Why not try all the suggestions once, and decide which are the most effective for you?

The 5 Must-Have Items for ADHD Students

In the video, you will learn the 5 must-have items every ADHD student needs to be organized and structured and can get the grades you are capable of.

Even if you aren’t a student, still take a look because one or more of these items could help you too.

Ready to Get Great Grades When you Have ADHD?

5 Ways to Succeed At Your Job and More!

Jacqui on about.comHere is a roundup of my latest 6 articles on About.com as their ADD and ADHD expert! You could read them all, or pick the ones that sound the most interesting to you.

Thank you!!!

J xoxo

5 Ways to Succeed At Your Job

Have you noticed that there are 2 groups of adults with ADHD? Those that love their job, and those that job hop. Here are 5 factors to succeeding at your job.

http://add.about.com/od/adhdinadults/fl/5-Ways-To-Succeed-At-Your-Job.htm

Practical Solutions to Improve Attention

When you have ADHD, you might feel you have no control over your attention. However, attention isn’t a stagnate commodity. Here are some suggestions to improve yours!

http://add.about.com/od/livingwithadhd/fl/Practical-Solutions-to-Improve-Attention.htm

ADHD and Shame

Shame is an emotion that plays a big part in the lives of people with ADHD. Here are the common reasons why people with ADHD feel shame.

http://add.about.com/od/adhdinadults/fl/ADHD-and-Shame.htm

ADHD and Failure

People with ADHD experience more failure and disappointments than their non-ADHD peers. Here are 4 suggestions to reframe failure.

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

Why Stress Management is Vital for Adults with ADHD

If you have ADHD, stress management is a top priority. Adults with ADHD have a greater risk of experiencing stress, and stress causes ADHD symptoms to worsen.

http://add.about.com/od/signsandsymptoms/fl/Why-Stress-Management-is-Vital-for-Adults-with-ADHD.htm

6 Ways to Motivate Yourself

People with ADHD often struggle with motivation; particularly for mundane tasks. However, it is possible to motivate yourself. Here are 6 ways!

http://add.about.com/od/adhdthebasics/fl/6-Ways-to-Motivate-Yourself.htm

Are You Addicted to Your Phone?

Are You Addicted to Your Phone?In his new 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 has 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?

Does Everyone Have ADHD These Days?Have 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?

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!!!