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Weekly Menu

Jun 18, 2021

This is a quick follow up to the meal planning post from a few weeks ago. I think there are a few details that I didn't mention. The most important, especially for the beginning planner, is to make the menu before you go shopping. I am realizing that I need to emphasize this now because my substantial garden is just coming in. I've been harvesting chard and kale for a few weeks. The first variety of broccoli in the mixed seed pack is ready and the broccolini is loving life in a different bed this year. So, I need to think a lot before I make my list about what, if any veggies I need.

Also, my wife is working like a mad woman as she's in catering sales and people are allowed to get married again. WooHoo! My suggestion is to look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Think about who is going to be around for dinner each night, who's cooking, (assuming that's you) how much time do you have to get dinner ready, what other evening activities are going on, and consider what you already have in the house (like salad greens that need to be eaten in the next two days,) and then plan your meals based on those factors.

If you do all that before you make your shopping list, it will be a much less mystifying process. You should waste less food and money. You should be more prepared for dinner each night. Yes, it may be uncomfortable to force your brain to do the executive function heavy lifting at first. But it will become second nature eventually. And, my family love being able to check the "menu" on the fridge as much as I love not forgetting what my plan for the week was. Give it a go!

[As you can see, it doesn't have to be a master work. As long as it makes sense to you. Arrows, shorthand, etc. are all good. 



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


Weekly Menu

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The world just hits us harder: Calling customer service

Jun 11, 2021

So, I don’t intend this to come off as complaining. But the reality is that much of life is harder for us as ADHDers. Owning that hardness is a key to succeeding, which can be counterintuitive. I guess it is sort of a Buddhist ideal of accepting reality and not fighting it. But I won’t get too Zen with the whole thing. I will say that it is often the things that society labels as “easy” that we find hard. So it can be much harder for us to let go of the feeling that those things shouldn’t be hard. 


But once we let go, we can decide to create new strategies, new ideas, new ways to work around the shackles of the traditional world and make it bend to our needs. Wow. That sounds kind of grandiose now that I’ve written it. But I’m going to leave it in. Why? Because I just spent 1:07 on the phone with my mortgage company for our rental property because they didn’t pay the insurance out of the escrow and I got an email that the policy lapsed. Exactly what I wanted to deal with today. Actually it was my second call. So, “all day” I’ve been on the phone for about an hour and a half and I’m a bit punchy. 


But that was part of my inspiration for this post. The other part of the inspiration came from a conversation I had with a client last week. That conversation crystalized in my mind how difficult it is for so many of my clients to make “simple” phone calls. There are so many reasons why. If I remember, I think I’ll do a whole post on that soon. But here I just wanted to give a quick tip about the dreaded customer service phone calls. 


We live in a society where most of the things/services we use are beyond our own ability to fix. We interact with enough products that there will be problems. We use enough services that we will need help. And, the corporate world, with very few exceptions, has not made it easy for us to speak to the person who can help us. It was easier for anarchists to breach the Capital than it is for me, a paying customer, to get a person on the phone from YouTubeTV. 


Of course a neurotypical person might find one of these customer service calls annoying. But for many of us ADHDers, it might feel like climbing Everst. Technically possible… But I like my skin and all my toes. So, I employ some very simple tactics to make it more manageable. 

  • I never try to make a customer service call if I don’t have at least an hour free.

  • I have all the things I need with me/open on my desktop before I dial. 

  • I have an hour’s worth of office work to do while I wait on hold or an hour’s worth of stuff to do around the house.

  • I’m in a good headspace to make a decision about whatever the issue is. 

  • I ask myself if it is truly with the time and energy and if I’m likely to get any useful answer. 

  • I also have a great wireless headset. I’m hands free and roaming. 


So while I was on the phone with my super annoying mortgage company today I: 

  • Started this entry,

  • Refilled a prescription,

  • Emailed two clients,

  • Rescheduled a client,

  • Cleaned out my inbox,

  • Reorganized some of my business bookmarks,

  • Ordered something on Amazon,

  • Printed some paperwork, 

  • Ran to the bathroom,

  • And watered some seedlings.


That way, I only really wasted time while I was actually talking to the person on the phone, which was about 7 minutes out of the hour and a half. Not too bad. Takes a little planning. I had my list in front of me to keep ripping things off of. But, if you’ve got that… You should be golden. Try it.





Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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What is Mindfulness? Part II: Meditation for the ADHD non-meditator.

Jun 4, 2021

By the way, I can’t honestly recall if I have blogged about this aspect of mindfulness before or not. I’m sorry if this is redundant, but happy if it is a needed refresher.


I never thought that I could meditate. My dad, the completely neurotypical one in the house, was a TM guy. He still meditates for 20-30 minutes a day. He tried to get me to do it when I was a kid. A squirmy, hyper, easily bored kid. Even medicated, I couldn't do it. 


But the “can’t” really comes down to the definition of the “it.” I looked at my dad and thought, I have to do this like him. I need to do it for a long time. Five minutes felt long to me at that point in my life. There’s no way I could do it for longer. 


I was also limited by my expectations. My dad does it for a minimum of 20 minutes. Even if I could do it for five minutes, what could I possibly get out of it? Perfectionism. Black and white thinking. Negative thought patterns. I pulled out all the ADHD stops. To be fair to myself, I don’t know if I could have meditated then, even medicated. But I know that I wasn’t able to with the limiting ideas I had in my head. 


For many years exercise was my meditation. And, I very much do consider my exercise practice an integral part of my ADHD and depression and anxiety management. I really do consider it, at the lever I do it, mindfulness. But it isn’t really meditation.


I only got into meditation in my late 30’s when my son did a study at MGH for ADHD kids under 6-12 using the kids' calm meditation on the HeadSpace App. I did it with him and found:

  • An ADHD adult might like a kid's meditation. I do. 

  • 5 minutes was just about right for me. 

  •  I never truly cleared my mind. But that was okay. I’m not a monk. But getting my thoughts down to one at a time from the swirling maelstrom that is usually inside my head was a pretty great achievement and gave me quite a bit of peace. 

  • It truly slowed me down. 

  • There were good days and harder days. But on some of the good days, a five minute meditation was as good as taking an ativan at lowering my anxiety. 

  • Even the harder days yielded results. 

  • The hardest part was getting myself to do it. But it was always worth it when I did, often exceeding the time I set out to do. 


I’ve subsequently learned more about myself and meditation. 

  • I don’t like guided meditation for adults. I stick with the kids. Or I use the semi-guided HeadSpace tool, which I took forever to find and love. 

  • My range is three to 18 minutes, usually around eight.

  • It helps me to have my To Do List next to me. I do think of good stuff. It helps me to write it down and then let it leave my mind.

  • I like varying the style of the practice. 


My point is, if you have always thought that you couldn’t meditate, maybe you’re wrong. I bet, especially medicated, you could find some form of meditation that you could do in some way for some period of time that would give you some benefit that would be worth the effort



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


What is Mindfulness? Part II: Meditation for the ADHD non-meditator.
Sometimes I use my Mala beads for meditation. But they make a great fidget too.

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What is mindfulness?

May 28, 2021

What is mindfulness can be a difficult enough question for anyone to answer. For an ADHDer, it can be even harder. We tend to think of a super zen person, maybe even a Buddhist monk meditating for hours while completely clearing their mind of all distractions. But that is a very limited and typically ADHD/black and white way of looking at it. Honestly, that's how I thought about it when I was younger until my eyes were opened. Now with a broader understanding of meditation and mindfulness as a whole, I realize how essential they are to managing our ADHD.

First, meditation is great. I'll come back to that. But meditation is not the only way to "do" mindfulness. For those of you who cringe at the mere mention of the term mindfulness, like the teenage client who inspired this post, I give you permission to insert the work intentional-ness every time I use the word mindfulness from now on. Because that is really all it is. In my experience mindfulness can be as simple as being intentional about something that you have never been intentional about before. 

I'll give you one example. Dr. David Nowell @davidnowell on Twitter gave me a deck of his mindfulness cards when we got together to network many years ago. I loved them and still have them. As with any group of things, I responded to some more than others. One of my favorites was, and I'm paraphrasing so I don't have to look through the deck this is still on my desk these many years later, "listen to one of your favorite songs but concentrate only one one of the instruments." 

I was not a musician and other than jamming to a particular guitar hook, or that sweet drum fill from "in the air tonight," I'd never really focused on a single instrument. But I found that it was a way to narrow the torrent of stimulation I am constantly receiving as an ADHD person. I forget which track off of Rancid's "... and out come the wolves" it was. But I just focused on Matt Freeman's Bass work. It was reasonably easy. They mix his base to be pretty prominent because he's really talented. But it was a very zen experience to shut everything else out and just focus on that. 

I found it calming and interesting. It gave me an appreciation for the song, the instrument, the way all the instruments fit together. And, it didn't challenge my ADHD the way sitting still and trying to think of nothing always has. Now, seven or so years later, I have been learning to play the drums for about three years and am always trying to just pick up the drum track in certain things, which can still be a very zen experience. 

I think I'll post this as is to make up for missing last week after I got my 2nd vaccine shot and was too low energy to do anything for three days. I'll talk more about how I actually got into real meditation, which I never thought possible for me, in my next post on Friday.

Note: Keep your eyes open for my new website. It should be launching in the next month. All new content. New everything. Hopefully a YouTube channel sometime this summer. 




Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


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Globe Article: Resilience to porn

May 21, 2021

I was going to write about something else this week, until this article came across my desk. Thanks for sending it via snail mail dad.


Food for thought when we know our ADHD kids are prone to addiction of all kind. Sex addiction, Internet addiction, porn addiction. My twelve year old boy still looks away and says, "eeeew" when there is a kiss in a movie. But he also has my wife's old laptop in his room most of the time. I think it's time for "The Talk." And, porn clearly needs to be part of it.

A reminder: Almost all addictive and risky behavior by ADHD kids starts earlier than we think it should. As parents, we should almost always err on the side of bringing those sensitive topics up on the early side, rather than the late side.

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Automatic actions

May 13, 2021

My mid-week post… post dated as my post for last week, which got away from me ended up being longer than expected. So I’m going to try to make this one more concise. We’ll see… I may expand on this more later. 


The core idea is that in life we have certain moments/ideas/happening/etc. that need to be triggers for action. Often as ADHDers, when something goes wrong we go into triage mode and deal with the immediate ramifications but don’t account for the lack of planning, organization, time, attention, or whatever we needed to spend to avoid having the same thing happen again. Thus, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. 


I’m going to give you one example from my professional life to chew on. And I may expand in a future post on how this has helped me run a more efficient business. (And, this concept came up this week with a client who runs a business that is not too dissimilar to mine.)


When I book a new client, like I did today, (Yay!) that automatically triggers…

 ? I send a welcome packet to that client with 5 standard documents, one of which is personalized. Now there is a certain percentage of people who ghost me at this point for whatever reason. So I wait until I get billing info which triggers a new set of tasks automatically.

? Put client in my google address book under “clients,” (Check list while I’m in there.)

? Put client in my master schedule so I don’t promise a spot that’s not open

? Put client on my google calendar so I don’t double book 

? Make a folder for the new client with a name label


These steps are annoying and tedious, ADHD kryptonite, if you will. But over the years I’ve just convinced myself that sucking it up for the few minutes it takes to do them is FAR better than the anxiety I experience when I need that information to be accurate and it isn’t. I don’t know why I’m capable of taking that long view, or why I can suck up that tedium, or how I got to this place. But it’s a good place to be. And it makes me beliece you can get here too. Yes, I have to spend the time and bandwidth to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. But the lower stress level is WAY worth it to me.



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.

Share With Friends:
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