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Scheduling your day

Jan 30, 2020

Wrote this before I got sick... hope it's still topical... and useful.


One more important note on last week’s post. Scheduling your day is just a mini version of scheduling your week or month. The only difference is that it is a smaller and more detailed. It is no secret that many of us with ADHD struggle to transition from one activity to another. I have found that one of the best ways to manage this weakness is to have a plan. If you have to stop and think about what’s next everytime you finish a task, that layers additional executive function on top of the difficulty with transitioning. 


But if you have a plan/ a schedule for your day that is reasonably detailed and accurate, you always know what is coming next. I think that if you know what is coming next you can get your brain to start the transitioning process earlier. Then you are much more likely to be able to flow from one thing to the next. For example, when I’m with a client, I’m fully focused on that client. Yet, somehow, it still helps me to know if I have another next, or if I’m going to the gym, or if I’m picking up my kids, or if I’m doing office work, or writing a blog post. Somehow my brain can begin the transition and be ready to move to the next thing when I have it planned out. Try it. I bet it will work for you too.




Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts muh,  if at all. Please excuse 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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Traveling with ADHD meds

Jan 17, 2020

Great topic in this week's ADHD weekly from the NRC. What you need to think about before traveling with your ADHD meds. 

It is also very important to think about when you are going to be out of your meds. Don't want to run our while on vacation. I recently had a client deal with this. It really just required coordinating with the doctor, pharmacy, and insurance... which in her case actually went smoothly.


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Personal Update

Jan 17, 2020

Hello everyone. You may have noticed that I haven't posted and entry in about 2 1/2 months. Well, without going into the gory details, I got really sick. Like, 16 days in the hospital, nine of them in the ICU, kind of sick. I'm expected to make a full recovery. But it has been slow going allowing my body and my brain to recover. My plan is to start posting shorter, less attention intense entries to get myself back in the swing of things as I work toward full health.

Just know that I haven't given up on sharing my thoughts on ADHD and related issue and that I hope to be back to more in depth and more expansive topics as soon as I can. I thank you all for your patience. 

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LIving in the now vs. planning ahead

Nov 9, 2019

As ADHDers we are often a mystery to others and to ourselves. Our behavior regularly contradicts itself and as a result can be very difficult to change. We generally have difficulty being mindful in the moment and being aware of what we are doing on some levels. Though sometimes we are so immersed in the moment that the rest of the world might as well not exist. Yet we also struggle with planning for the future and perceiving time. Though at the last minute we can often pull off miracle of focus and planning. But often a great personal cost.


I’m sure most of you are familiar with the real estate adage, “Location, location, location.” Well, for ADHD, I always say, “Planning, planning, planning.” That is one of the main skills I’ve worked on over the years and one of the key skills I work on with most of my clients. But the fact is that we can’t only look to the future. We have to learn to be more present in the moment in order to plan for the future and create the future that we want. I like to think of it as having both feet firmly planted in the now but always having one eye on tomorrow through next week. 


I guess what I’m saying is that as we attempt to strengthen our execute function skills we also have to manage our attention. We have to balance the attention we focus on today, while also devoting enough focus to what is coming up that we can be prepared for what’s next. Let’s take a very simple example. My wife and I are going to a concert next week, two actually. I have both on the calendar. It’s unlikely that I would forget about either of them. But they are on Sunday and Monday. If I hadn’t been looking ahead on my calendar, I might not have been able to get a babysitter in time. Small, not super significant example. But if you are always looking ahead, things like that don’t surprise you. If you aren’t looking ahead, multiply the problem of finding a babysitter last minute by everything in your life. That sounds like a pretty overwhelming scenario. 



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much,  if at all. Please excuse 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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Mental Mise en Place

Oct 31, 2019

It’s been a few weeks. My last post was about the importance of physical Mise en Place. But I’ve always adapted the term and thought about mental Mise en Place. That is the idea of being mentally prepared for what’s coming and mentally organized. I guess, now that I think about it, it is sort of a combination of the executive functions of planning, organization, time management, and working memory along with mindfulness/ presence in the moment. 


If I can continue the cooking analogy… when I was a chef, my shift really started at the end of the night the day before. I would do the ordering, make my own prep list, look at everyone else’s prep lists and start to mentally prepare for the next day. What time did I have to come in? Did I need to leave any notes for the morning guys? What do reservations look like for tomorrow? When I come in, what are my priorities for my station? What are the priorities for the kitchen? What’s the staff look like tomorrow and who’s going to need help? 


I learned these lessons well in the kitchen. Perhaps I owe the choice of my first career for many of the skills I have. Regardless, I’ve taken those skills into the rest of my life, so I know it’s possible to strengthen those abilities. One obvious place I’ve utilized those skills is in my own kitchen. I’m always thinking about what’s for dinner tomorrow and for the rest of the week. I’m making sure I’m using up ingredients that need to get used. I’m adding things to the shopping list as I get low on them. (Essentially the rule of thumb is that when I no longer have enough of something to get through NEXT week, it goes on the list. If it is a specialty item that I use one in a while, it goes on the list after I don’t have enough for the next batch.)


But it’s not just food prep that has to do with mental Mise en Place. I’ll talk more next week about planning and scheduling.




Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much,  if at all. Please excuse 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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Mise en place

Oct 4, 2019

According to Merriam Webster: a culinary process in which ingredients are prepared and organized (as in a restaurant kitchen) before cooking.

As many of you know I was a professional chef for about a decade before I became a coach and an organizer. I learned many of the foundational principles of organizing while I was a chef. Actually, that learning process began while I was at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA.) They are serious about being organized and prepared. Mise en place is actually the school motto. For me it was a survival strategy. I need to be organized to be successful. But that doesn't just apply to the kitchen, but to my whole life. Here are some organizational principles that I used in the kitchen that in one way or another translate.
  1. Keep the things you use most closest. 
  2. If you can achieve the same end goal with fewer steps, do that!
  3. Get rid of stuff you don't use/need.
  4. Clean up after yourself constantly so there isn't big project clean up at the end. 
  5. Be 100% prepared with everything you need before starting a larger project. It will save you time and completion will be more likely.
That's off the top of my head. I'll post more if I think of them. Next week I'm going to discuss "mental mise en place."



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