Why Rest Days are Vital When You Have ADHD

Why Rest Days are Vital When You Have ADHDWhen you have ADHD, it’s very important to schedule regular recharge days. These are days where you don’t have to do anything except relax.  No commitments; no schedule.  If you are thinking, ‘But I don’t have time for that!’, I guarantee you do. Because if you don’t consciously schedule these types of days, then your body will make sure you get the rest you need anyway. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Unable to move from the TV for 8 hours
  • Hours of mindless surfing on the internet when you sit down to work
  • Regularly getting sick with a cold or flu bug and having to rest for a few days
  • Unable to tear yourself away from a computer game, puzzle book or novel for hours

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Why does Time Travel Differently When You Have ADHD?

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Have you noticed how time plays tricks on you? It can whiz by so fast or it plods along incredibly slowly; leaving you bored and restless.

Ironically, time perception doesn’t run like clockwork. It changes and is distorted by situations, emotions and even your age.

I have a vivid memory of sitting next to my grandma telling her how excited I was for Christmas, but how it was taking a really long time to arrive. My Grandma laughed and said, “When you get to my age, you won’t have that problem, time travels very fast for me.” This was a very strange concept for my 8 year old brain.

Time perception is a subjective thing that is studied by psychologists and neuroscientists. For our other senses like touch, taste, smell, sight, etc., we have specialized sensory receptors. But there are no specialized sensory receptors for time.

Why does time travel differently when you have ADHD?

There are 2 big reasons why time travels differently for you.

  1. Being able to accurately process time is a skill that develops gradually from when we are babies to the age of 10. It involves memory, attention and dopamine. The 3 key elements needed to learn how to process time are also areas that the ADHD brain has problems with.
  1. Ideally, everyday, our circadian (body) clock resets itself to match the earth’s 24 hour rotation. It uses external cues like daylight, for this reset. However, many ADHDers’ body struggle detecting the rising and setting of the sun; which in turn causes problems for the sleep cycle and understanding the passage of time.

How does time pass when you have ADHD?

One ADHD client described how time passes for him:

“If I look at my watch and it’s 11:00am, then it’s 11:00am until I look again. I might look again in 2 minutes, or 4 hours. But it’s 11:00am until I have actually looked at the watch again to see what the hands are now saying”.

Dr. Hallowell says that to an ADHDer, there are only 2 types of time: NOW or NOT NOW.

Why is it a problem?

10 problems that can occur when your time perception isn’t fine tuned:

  • It is hard to motivate yourself to follow a plan when a project isn’t due for 2 months.
  • Your final work often doesn’t match your talents, because you have had to rush to complete it in the last few days before the deadline.
  • You seriously underestimate the time needed to complete a task.
  • You are often late, rushed and flustered when you arrive to meeting or appointment.
  • You have developed a reputation as being unreliable, insensitive, or self-centered, even though you are trying really hard.
  • You forget to buy presents and cards for your loved ones’ birthday.
  • You stress out the people around you, because you are still packing while everyone else is in the car, ready to go to the airport.
  • You always think travel time to appointments take less time than it really does.
  • You are overly optimistic of how much you can get done in one day, and then get very disappointed with yourself when you aren’t able to get everything done.
  • Getting ready in the morning and leaving for work on time is a daily struggle.

Here are some suggestions to help you develop your sense of the passage of time.

1. Wear a watch

Almost every person I meet who struggles with the passage for time, doesn’t wear a watch. Wearing a watch is quite an easy thing to do, but it has big benefits. It helps you develop an understanding of the passage of time, as well as being a visual reminder of what the current time is. Having a watch on your arm makes it pretty easy to notice what time it is, even when you aren’t actively looking. Go buy a watch, and start to wearing it today!

P.S, if you are thinking that you don’t need to get a watch because you can check your phone to see the time, that doesn’t count!

2. Have a clock in every room. 

Have a clock in every room including your bathroom. Traditional clocks (with hands) are more helpful than digital. They aren’t an expense investment, yet they can really help you keep track of how time is progressing and help you to be on time for appointments.

3. Use an agenda.

Buy an agenda and enter in all your appointments. Get the format that has the hours of the day for each day. It helps you to get a visual of what your days look like. It also helps you to plan your days realistically.

4. Get a wall calendar.

Get a wall calendar so you can see whole year in a glance. It allows you to see events that are scheduled in the future and how they relate to today’s date. This helps bridge the gap in your mind between ‘Now’ and ‘Not Now’.

5. Have a daily appointment

Develop a habit of looking at your wall calendar and agenda every single morning or evening. This daily appointment with yourself helps you remember exactly what you have planned and if there are any actions you could do today to help you prepare.

6. Play a game.

Play a ‘Guess What Time It Is’ game. At any time you haven’t looked at your watch for while, try to guess what time it is. It is a fun way to see how your time processing muscle is developing.

7. Reset your internal clock.

No matter how topsy turvy your body clock is, you can reset it. Not only will your sleep cycle be in sync with the rest of the world, it will be easier for you to understand how time is passing during the day. In the Sleep Solution: How to Sleep Very Well When You have ADHD,’ I walk you through a simple step-by-step process to reset your body clock. Come and join us!

 

How does time pass by for you? Leave me a note in the comments section!

 

 
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How to Unpack a Suitcase When You have ADHD‎‎

How to Unpack a Suitcase When You have ADHD‎‎You come home from a great trip, drop your bags down and then go and relax on the sofa. Or maybe you pet your cat, or take a shower or have a snack. You might do a variety of things, but I bet you don’t unpack your suitcase! Your suitcase can sit innocently for days, or weeks, exactly where you put it when you first got home.

Over the next few days and weeks, when you need something from your case, you lift the lid and take that one item out. Your toiletries on one day, your favorite jeans the next day. Until finally, the belongings that are left aren’t things you use regularly. Which means your suitcase stays untouched for weeks.

Having a half-unpacked suitcase isn’t the end of the world. However, it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Here is a quick checklist to help you unpack in record-breaking time.

  1. Get your kitchen timer and set it for 5 minutes. Every time the timer goes off, set it for another 5 minutes. This keeps you moving fast! It’s a race against the clock.

  2. Make your bed (bonus points if its already made)‎.

  3. Put the contents of your suitcase on the bed so it’s easier to find things.

  4. Take your dirty laundry and put it straight into your washing hamper. Don’t wash anything yet.

  5. Take all your shoes and put them where you usually keep your shoes.

  6. Take your toiletries out and put them in the bathroom.

  7. Find all your clean underwear and put them in your underwear drawer.

  8. Find all your tops and put them away.

  9. Find all your bottoms and put them in their place.

  10. Then you will have a mixture of random items that are seemingly harder to put away. But continue, don’t stop now; you are nearly there! For each one, put it away in its usual place

  11. Now grab your suitcase and put that away too.

  12. Get job! Now you can relax.

Were any of these steps tricky? If they were, then it’s sign your home needs some organizing. For example, if it was hard to put your tops away, it might be that your drawers or wardrobes are full and there is no room for them. Don’t panic! Go here to learn how to declutter.

If your washing hamper is already overflowing, use this as a sign to develop a laundry routine.

Try unpacking your suitcase like this and let me know how it goes!! I bet you can unpack everything in 15 minutes or less.

 

 

 

 

How to Get Going On a New Task When You Have ADHD

In this video, I answer a great question from a blog reader.

“It seems to take me forever to get going on new activities; especially when I start my day or at the office. Can you help?”

This is a very common problem and it’s pretty easy to overcome when you know what to do. So watch this short video to find out what the 3 steps are!

ADHD Productivity Tip: How To Stop Waiting For The 11th Hour To Get Things Done

How To Stop Waiting For The 11th Hour To Get Things DoneAs an adult with ADHD you probably wait till the 11th hour to start working on a project. Then with the deadline so close, you have no choice, but to sit down, focus and work on it. There is no time to procrastinate, get distracted, or wait till  you feel inspired, you just have to get it done. There’s a sense of urgency, you are racing against the clock, and you are doing what needs to be done. Even though you are pleased with your progress it is stressful. You aren’t totally sure you will  make the deadline; (even though you do) you work through the night, cancel social arrangements, and barely have time to eat. When you hand in the project, you breathe a sigh of relief, feel victorious and vow never to let that happen  again. You really mean it! However, when the next project is assigned to you, you feel it hanging over you, but just can’t bring yourself work on it…until the 11th hour.

This is very common when you have ADHD, and it happens whatever age you are, from students to 60 year old CEO’s.

One strategy (that rarely works) is to break the project down and give yourself little deadlines along the way. In theory, this is great; you definitely work well when you have a deadline. In practice, it doesn’t work; you know those deadlines  you made for yourself are not ‘real’ and don’t count.

However, there is a help, and it comes from Jerry Seinfeld.

Jerry realized he came up with his best jokes when he spent time writing every day. However, forcing himself to write every day wasn’t easy. So he created a simple system that would motivate him to spend 1 hour a day writing. On days he  wrote, he put red cross on a wall calendar. After a few crosses he became motivated to see the calendar fill with red. He didn’t want to break the chain of crosses so he kept writing. This strategy now has a life of its own its called ‘Don’t break the chain’.

‘Don’t break the chain’ is very effective for ADHD adults because takes emphasis off deadlines, that you might forget or procrastinate over. Instead it focuses on consistent daily effort. This might feel strange at first, but it really helps in   11th hour panic. It also gives self confidence because you know will be able to get the important things done.

Below are some tips to get started:

1) What one action a day would make a huge difference in your life? Jerry’s was writing, what is yours?

2) Print out your calendar http://budurl.com/8lpk.

3) Post it on your wall and put a red pen nearby.

4) You can use this method for more than one area of your life. However, for the best success rate start with one and you can add another after a month.

5) Good luck…and remember don’t break the chain!