The ADHD Homestead

Building a good life with ADHD.

Tag: habits

Derailment, ADHD, & the Pit of Domestic Despair

Toward the end of March, my immune system sabotaged all my good habits. My son brought home a bug that hardly affected him, but — like the evil kid illness it was —  gave me 12 days of low-grade fever. I muddled through. Mostly. But I didn’t exercise, hardly set foot in my office, and got off track with my daily habits. Clutter piled up and projects stagnated. I lost sight of wellness and productivity and couldn’t imagine either being part of my life again.

I was headed straight for the Pit of Domestic Despair.

Fortunately, I’m aware of ADHD’s time blindness. Though it wasn’t deeply reassuring, I told myself I wouldn’t be sick forever.

I also repeated, over and over, “it’s okay. You’re okay. We’re okay.”

Habits break, systems break, and it’s not the end of the world — or even the good habit.

Or, rather, it doesn’t have to be.

Derailment,ADHD,& thePit of Domestic Despair

“No, thanks” to self-loathing. “Yes, please” to equanimity.

ADHD does more than make it tough to stay on course. Through years of repeated failure, we teach ourselves that failure is inevitable. New habits and projects excite us, but only to a point. By adulthood, our cynicism always lurks in the shadows, reminding us that success is fleeting. Yes, we’re doing it, but only for now. Only until the next time everything falls apart.

I’ve spent years learning to stay organized and form intentional habits, but my most important lesson has been in accepting failure. Everyone gets off track sometimes. Even people without ADHD. The key isn’t staying on the wagon, it’s knowing how to climb back on.

When a habit breaks or a project stagnates or a deadline gets missed, it’s not a confirmation of all my self-doubt and self-criticism. Letting the house get messy one week doesn’t signal a return to my “real” (i.e. unhappy, unfocused, disorganized, unproductive) self. It means I messed up. Or I had a fever for 12 days. It’s just a thing that happened.

This brings me to my favorite word: equanimity. It means remaining neutral in the face of life’s gains and losses, and it’s a skill I’ll be honing for the rest of my life. In this case, it means looking at my messy house and my broken habits, saying, “okay,” and moving on without much fanfare.

There’s usually something beyond Right Now (even if we don’t believe it).

I eventually felt better — obviously. And for the first time, I didn’t spend my first day on the mend beating myself up or lamenting the impossible task in front of me. I just got up and kept going. Slowly.

With the energy I saved by not spinning myself up to a state of intense despair, overwhelm, and self-loathing, I started to dig out of the Pit of Domestic Despair. I (finally) changed the sheets on our bed. I spent a week chipping away at my overflowing inbox. I attacked the accumulated clutter, bit by bit. I refused to start on any projects until I’d gotten back to a workable baseline. I spent my energy getting to a place where I could feel good again.

It’s taken me a long time to learn this. To learn, for example, that instead of sitting in the house and complaining about my bad attitude, I should put on my shoes and go for a run. ADHD is often a problem of inertia. Overcoming inertia, even if we only take one itty-bitty, tiny step, is half the battle.

Everyone gets stuck. The more gracefully we can accept this and move on, the better. ADHD tempts us to believe Right Now is all there is. That makes messy surroundings and broken habits feel overwhelming and permanent. The Pit of Domestic Despair becomes a black hole. It’s taken me almost 32 years, but I’ve finally taken a leap of faith. I don’t always believe something better is waiting around the bend. I’m  just willing to inch my way over there and find out.

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Conquering the automatic “I have ADHD & I suck” response

I love using the line, “I’m bad at that” (or some variation thereof). The underlying message being, funny story: I have ADHD and I suck at some things.

I’m not proud of this.

In all fairness, it’s true. However, I suspect many of us use this mentality to avoid certain tasks and responsibilities. We use it as a reason not to challenge ourselves.

For years, I’ve proudly labeled myself “not a runner.” Though I might give you an excuse about sore joints, or a proclivity for excessive sweating, or the fact that running in hot weather makes me feel puffy, the biggest obstacle is in my head: I’m bad at creating and sticking to habits. I’ve long thought I could only maintain a running habit by running every day.

 

trail runner photo

I never called this perfectionism because I thought it was just the cold hard facts. The first missed day marks the beginning of the end, and I don’t run again for years.

Then I picked up Stephen Guise‘s new(ish) book, How to be an Imperfectionistand it opened my eyes to perfectionism’s toxicity for ADHD adults.

ADHD’ers seem like unlikely perfectionists. Our lives are swimming in imperfection, littered with screw-ups. And yet, perfectionism gives us an excuse, a reason to stay paralyzed.

Guise describes three primary ways perfectionism can paralyze us. All apply to my aversion to running.

  • Context: without the perfect context, we can’t possibly succeed.
    “Running before breakfast is best for me, but it’s dark outside! Maybe after daylight savings time ends…”
    “I don’t own any running pants — only yoga pants.”
  • Quality: we must make sure we’ll be able to do it exactly right.
    Couch to 5K is embarrassing — there’s so much walking, I don’t even feel like I can say I went for a run.”
    “I don’t think I can commit to daily runs right now.”
  • Quantity: we define success only as meeting or exceeding an arbitrary numeric goal.
    “I bet I can’t even run a mile without stopping anymore.”
    “If I don’t elevate my heart rate to 120 beats per minute for 30 minutes, I shouldn’t even bother.”

imperfectionist cover artQuantifiable goals — like “I want to run for 30 minutes without stopping” or “I want to run every day” — give us something concrete to shoot for, but they also quantify failure. Not meeting your goal discredits all your hard work.

In the end, it’s easier to cling to my identity as someone who’s “not a runner” than to figure out how to make regular exercise work for me long-term.

Running, even under the guidance of a program like C25K, requires major league habit-forming skills. ADHD’ers endure constant blows to our self-image, and many of us will choose the couch as our fear of failure kicks in.

Guise points to insecurity as a major precursor to perfectionism:

Those who are secure in themselves are less perfectionistic because they have a positive affirmation bias, which means they’ll assume good things about themselves before considering negative things.

We’re so beaten down by a lifetime of failure, of broken (good) habits, of disappointment in ourselves. Why wouldn’t we turn to perfectionism for protection? Why wouldn’t we seek out explanations for why our failure — or failure to even try in the first place — was preordained, out of our control?

A week ago, I bought the C25K app. I went running in my yoga pants (a surprisingly good stand-in for running pants), in the dark, and I obeyed the app’s commands to walk and run in short intervals. I succeeded in running three times in one week, which is both trickier and more sustainable than running every day. I promised to be kind to myself, to accept any small step in the right direction as better than nothing.

Because it is. Even if we know we’re going to mess up, it’s okay to try. When we do mess up — and we will — it’s okay to try again.

I challenge you to do something, anything, that you’ve been avoiding due to the kinds of perfectionism listed above. Give yourself permission to do a crappy job. Get out there and take one step closer to where you want to be. Eventually, you’ll get there, but only if you have the courage to start — and restart — an imperfect journey.

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Book Review: Mini Habits

 

audiobook-copyI understand if you read my book reviews every month and think, “yeah, okay lady, but here’s the problem: I don’t really read.”

But you need to read Stephen Guise’s Mini Habits. Not just to read more — though that might happen, too — but to change your life, and fast. The audio version will take you less than four hours, and the print version checks in at under 150 pages. You have no excuse not to give it a try.

Mini Habits was such an inspiring read, I talked about it to everyone and anyone who would listen. I bought a copy for a friend just because.

Mini Habits will be revolutionary for many ADHD readers because it removes motivation from our habit-forming equation. If you’re still relying on feeling motivated to go to the gym, Guise insists, it’s only a matter of time before you fail.

If you have ADHD, you don’t need a book to tell you that. You may need a book to tell you success is within (even) your reach.

What’s a mini habit?

Guise’s simple trick is to reduce your habit to the tiniest possible steps — and keep it there. His inspiration for Mini Habits came from his own success with the one push-up challenge. When one push-up per day morphed into the workout routine he’d previously failed to establish, he knew he was onto something.

Once you remove barriers to entry, you often find yourself willing and able to do far more than the minimum. Now that I’m on the floor for one push-up, for example, why not just do 10?

For someone who often can’t find motivation even for enjoyable activities, a mini habit (or two or three) may alter the course of your life.

How to create a mini habit

Guise recommends attempting only a small handful of habits at a time. I’m notoriously overzealous, so I chose three right off the bat. They are:

  • Open my novel manuscript once daily
    (I couldn’t set a word count goal because I’m editing a years-old draft)
  • Open my blog dashboards once daily
  • Get into downward-facing dog once daily

The most challenging aspect of creating my mini habits was, and continues to be, keeping them small. I struggle not to feel like a cheater when I open my manuscript and close it again without changing a word. I wanted to commit to more than one measly yoga pose.

On this point, Guise (and my husband, who I’ve enlisted as my in-house reminder) is firm: keep mini habits small. If it feels stupid — aka “stupid small” — you’re doing it right. Go bigger and you might feel good today, but mini habits must be attainable even when you’re sick, tired, demoralized, or otherwise having the worst day ever. No matter what, you must be able to experience success every day.

Smaller habits, it turns out, do net bigger results: I’ve been more productive with my writing and even finished my edits ahead of schedule for my monthly critique group. I can now hold crow pose for a whole three seconds, and I’m working up to a headstand in yoga.

Most importantly, I’m experiencing a brand-new feeling: sticking with something. This, Guise claims, is “training to believe in yourself.” It’s something we ADHD’ers desperately need.

The bottom line

Mini Habits is short, conversational, and simple. Nothing Guise suggests feels overwhelming or out of reach, as is so often the case in self-help literature. Not once did I dismiss advice by saying, “yeah, but I have ADHD.”

In fact, the biggest threat from ADHD is my tendency to bite off more than I can chew. Mini habits aren’t glamorous or exciting. It doesn’t feel good to tell your friends, “I’m committed to opening my manuscript and looking at it every day.” Mini habits are as much an exercise in keeping myself in check as anything else.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy right now and share your mini habits in the comments.

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Book Review: Better Than Before

betterthanbefore_gretchenrubinI read a lot of books in the self-help realm. My favorites are concise, informative, practical, and well-researched.

Gretchen Rubin‘s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Liveswhile well-researched, didn’t pack the punch I was hoping for. I’ve heard it described as a “self-help memoir,” and that sounds about right.  Readers really get to know the author in the context of her social and family relationships.

Some may find this makes a book about forming good habits — an intimidating topic for us ADHD’ers — more approachable. For my part, the personal references and stories felt cumbersome and distracting. While a book like Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct inspires the reader with non-stop, super-useful facts about the science of willpower, Better Than Before takes a meandering route. We read transcripts of personal conversations between the author and her associates, follow Rubin’s own personal habit journey, and learn about her research process.

This left me less inspired to take specific action, but more mindful of how I think about — and talk myself out of — my habits.

Most useful to ADHD’ers will be the chapters on self-knowledge. It helps to learn how to use your natural tendencies to your advantage when forming new habits. I also appreciated the attitude reflected in the title. We’re not striving for perfection, and we can be guaranteed we’ll never find it, but we can learn to define success (for today) as “better than before.”

Accepting the idea of small steps and working with, not against, your brain will make habit formation feel less intimidating for ADHD adults.

At the same time, I struggled to keep track of Rubin’s Tendencies and Strategies. Actionable information tended to get lost in the ruminations and personal anecdotes. ADHD readers may have trouble pulling out the key points. Rubin offers plenty of tips for the easiest-to-handle Tendencies, including her own rare Upholder nature, but doesn’t offer much advice for those with habit-averse natures. Her take on Rebels seems to be this: either you’ll form the habit or you won’t. Likewise, she often points out potential pitfalls for a given Tendency, but comes up short on workarounds.

Better Than Before isn’t exactly dense, though, and I was able to read it quickly. Even if it doesn’t give you a magic bullet for habit-forming success, it may help get you in the right frame of mind.

For those ADHD’ers who don’t love to read, I wouldn’t pad your reading list with this one. You’ll be better off choosing a book that’s more to the point and better-organized to get the most bang for your buck.

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Don’t give up on me — or your sanity.

“I feel like you’ve given up on me,” my husband said.

The conversation about his work schedule had bubbled to the surface again. His erratic hours. His worrisome sleep hygiene. Stagnating projects around the house.

“I didn’t give up,” I rushed to clarify, “I just adjusted my expectations.”

Don't give up on me

It sounds like splitting hairs, but it’s not. Giving up is such a strong phrase, such a negative phrase. What I’d done wasn’t giving up, it was a conscious effort to eliminate excess stress from my life. Yes, I’d “given up” calling him at 10:00 p.m., then 1:00 a.m., and then sometimes even 3:00 a.m. to remind him to come home. It hadn’t worked anyway.

But our conversation raised an interesting question: what does it mean to give up on someone? To let them learn from their mistakes? To enable bad behavior? To be supportive without overextending yourself or sacrificing your own peace of mind?

Every ADHD’er has bad habits, and they drive our loved ones crazy. Here are some ways to reframe your expectations and lower your stress without giving up.

Take control of your feelings

“If our feelings control our actions,” writes Stephen Covey in his famous The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “it is because we have abdicated our responsibility and empowered them to do so.”

When I used to call my husband in the middle of the night to cajole him into leaving work, it took a toll on my well-being. Initially, I blamed this on him:

“I don’t sleep well when you’re not here.”

“You make me feel so frustrated and stressed, I can’t get back to sleep once I wake up in the middle of the night.”

In doing this, I placed my sleep habits and emotional state in someone else’s control. That needed to change.

This may be hard to accept, especially when someone else is behaving badly. However, positive change can be slow. Remember that while you can’t control others, you can control how you react.

In my case, I decided my own sleep and sanity were my priority. I stopped calling, stopped wondering when he’d come home, and stopped expecting him anytime before I went to bed. That way, anything else — even arriving home three minutes before I fell asleep — felt like a success. I also started sleeping with a pillow next to me so I wouldn’t notice the empty bed.

Take control of your own reaction. Take care of you. Don’t let another person ruin your day.

Keep tabs

20150623_153232Is your spouse’s bad habit driving you nuts? Keep a diary, and I don’t mean an ongoing rant (see above). Just because you’ve talked about the behavior and agreed it needs to change doesn’t mean you can expect a complete 180 overnight. One study showed the average person can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. I’m not sure we have any average people living in our house.

Real change happens slowly, over time, with many setbacks. Ask yourself: is there a slow trend in the right direction?

Sure, my husband still comes home from work in the middle of the night, but he a.) does it slightly less often and b.) actually realizes it’s happening. Both are small victories.

Cultivate compassion

Believe it or not, your loved one isn’t trying to drive you crazy. Bad habits make us feel out of control of ourselves, which lowers our willpower and capacity to make positive change.

In other words, they’re hurting, too. Don’t tear your partner or child down in her moment of weakness. Acknowledge any small victories to make room for solution-focused thinking.

Recently, we had some work schedule slip-ups. The week started out great and crashed and burned by Friday. On Saturday morning, we sat around the table for our family meeting and shared appreciations. I made sure to say, “thank you for being home in plenty of time for me to get to my meeting on Tuesday evening, and for being flexible enough with your schedule that you could take over with R. on Thursday morning while I went to the doctor.”

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own reactions and forget that others evaluate themselves at least as harshly. When you’re tempted to blow up, pause. Acknowledge your own feelings as valid, but imagine it from your loved one’s perspective, too. How would you want to be treated?

In families especially, we shouldn’t bail each other out or pick up slack all time time , which cultivates resentment. We must also find ways to support, rather than tear down, someone who’s having trouble. Praise the good, forgive the bad, and keep trying to find a solution.

How do you maintain sanity and compassion in the face of crazy-making ADHD behavior?

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Our ADHD family’s tips for better sleep

Without a doubt, our toddler is — and always has been — the best sleeper in our house. For ADHD adults, getting to bed, falling asleep, and staying asleep can all be challenging.

What’s more, effective ADHD symptom management during the day depends on good sleep habits. Adults need 7-8 hours of of sleep per night, and teens even more: around 8-10 hours. Short yourself on sleep and you’re guaranteed to worsen your symptoms — and your ability to deal with them. Averaging four hours of sleep per night for even 4-5 days creates cognitive impairments equivalent to being awake for 24 straight hours.

We all know sleep is important, but most ADHD adults still struggle to get enough of it. Changing sleep habits isn’t easy. Here are some tips that have helped our family:

Start a (sleepy) tea habit

A solid routine can help get you into bed on time. One of my husband’s and my favorite before-bed rituals is enjoying a cup of Republic of Tea’s ‘Get Some ZZZ’s’ tea together.

I don’t get any benefits from recommending that particular tea, I just wanted to share it with you because it tastes great and helps us sleep. Its magic ingredients are valerian root extract and chamomile, both mild sedatives. My husband, my two-year-old, and I have all used “sleepy tea” to help us fall asleep or stay asleep at night.

Ditch the screens & check the color of your bedroom light

Take a walk through most neighborhoods at night and you’ll see living rooms illuminated by the flickering, blue light of the television.

That blue-rich light — flooding your eyes from TV, smart phone, tablet, and other screens in your home — will disrupt your sleep hormones and make it harder to fall and stay asleep. In his lovely book The End of Night, author Paul Bogard warns of the effects screens and other blue-rich lights — think fluorescent lighting, LED street lamps, etc. — have on our brains’ ability to get adequate rest.

Check the light bulbs in your bedroom: do they cast a warm, soft light, or are they harsh and blue, like the morning sun? Do you often bring a tablet, phone, or even a laptop to bed with you? Does light from the street stream in through your bedroom window? You may be damaging your sleep more than you think.

Beware of triggers & traps

One night, after my husband stayed up until 5:00 a.m. (he gets up for work at 6:15), I said, “I knew this would happen,” and he said, “how? I didn’t even know.”

I pointed out that if he starts working on a particular kind of computer programming project later in the evening, he’s bound to stay up all night because he can’t pull himself away.

If you have an activity like this, set a time after which you will not touch it. When you’re tired and your medication has worn off, you may not have it in you to control your focus and break away at an appropriate time.

Set a cut-off for starting new tasks

Dr. Kelly McGonigal described a sleep-deprivation cycle in her book The Willpower Instinctone student, “Lisa,” told McGonigal about the “million and one things that each seemed more critically urgent the later[it] got…[she] was hooked on doing ‘one more thing’ before she went to sleep.”

Sound familiar? This happens frequently in our house.

Lisa’s story has a happy ending: she set a rule that she’d turn off the TV and computer and commit to starting no new projects after 11:00 p.m. This allowed her to stop and notice how tired she was, and she started getting to bed by midnight.

Decide when you need to be in bed to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, then turn off the TV and computer an hour beforehand. This has the added bonus of removing sleep-defeating, blue-rich light from your eyes. Then, wrap everything up. No new tasks, no new projects, no one more thing.

This is so much harder than it sounds. It can feel impossible. If you’re struggling, ask someone for help, and accept that help. Which leads me to the most important step of all…

Ask for help, and make sure you accept it

Most sleep advice feels much easier said than done. Sometimes we all need a little help and encouragement to break a bad habit.

In our family, attempts to corral a hyperfocusing or procrastinating ADHD adult can be met with crankiness, if not outright hostility. Each situation feels unique: I know I said I was about to get ready for bed, but I really need to sit down at my computer and do this before I forget. Or, I know I’ve stayed up late doing this before, but I won’t tonight.

If you’re running in circles with sleep deprivation, enlist a helper: someone who will (gently) remind you of your goal at the right moment.

When you ask for help, be prepared to receive it with gratitude. Don’t argue, fight, or inflict your case of I don’t wanna on someone who has your best interest at heart.

Do you struggle with sleep? What have you tried, and what has worked?

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3 ways to make good habits stick

Habits: you have plenty of bad ones. How many good habits have you sustained over the years?

For ADHD adults, the answer is often none — or at least very few.

I find this aspect of ADHD particularly demoralizing. Even fun habits that make me feel great — playing a musical instrument, practicing yoga, reading fiction for pleasure — eventually fall victim to entropy. I want to continue my daily habits, but I don’t.

Are you feeling similarly discouraged? Here are three tips that work wonders for our family:

Break it down…way down.

I know, I know — people harp on this all the time: just break it down into managable pieces! Everything will be easy! But what does that really mean for ADHD adults struggling to organize our time, behavior, and thoughts?

We need to break new habits down until they feel insulting.

I want to work on my manuscript every day. How am I doing it? By opening the document. That’s it. No page or word count goals, just open the document.

It feels obvious, but it’s not. We want goal-setting to feel exciting. Our stimulation-hungry brains crave the rush of saying “I’m going write 1,000 words per day, five days per week.” We want to stand at the base of the mountain, gaze up at the top, and say, “I’m going to climb that today.”

While this works well for hiking, it doesn’t work at all for life goals. Blogger and bestselling author Stephen Guise claims aiming high actually decreases your motivation and focus. “If you slip up and fall behind,” Guise says, “the pressure of catching up and meeting the goal is going to crush you. When a goal seems out of reach, it’s only natural to give up completely.”

Imagine your most unfocused, frantic, tired, and/or demotivated day. Now imagine you’ve forgotten your daily habit until you’ve already climbed into bed. Can you hop out of bed and do it quickly so you still have a confidence-boosting success? If not, you need to go smaller. (In the case of my manuscript, I can open the document from my Dropbox smart phone app.)

If you’re truly interested in lasting change, I recommend checking out Guise’s essays Take the One Push-Up Challenge and How to Change Your Life Permanently With Small Steps.

Stop short of the summit…for now.

I call this the “one more thing” cycle: when you keep striving for just one more thing before you move on. In ADHD terms, we call it ‘hyperfocus.’ Hyperfocus exhausts our cognitive resources and steals our focus from other things.

Blogger Leo Babuta of ZenHabits recommends that we always leave ourselves wanting more.

“When you’re on the computer, shut it down before you’re done with everything,” Babuta recommends. “You’ll never be done with everything, and shutting down early means you’ve reserved some of your mental energy for other pursuits offline. You’ll be raring to go tomorrow. You won’t be as spent.”

This is easier said than done for most ADHD’ers. Ask someone to help you shift your focus at a predetermined time, set a timer for your work, or set a goal with a defined end…and stick to it.

Get comfortable with imperfection.

Remember Monday’s post about moving forward little by little, even if you don’t have a perfect solution? Don’t let fear of failure trip you up.

ZenHabits’ Leo Babuta recommends embacing the “fail faster” mantra so beloved by the software development community: “you’ll only gather the real-world information you need to make the habit stick (exercise, diet, meditation, reading, creating, non-procrastinating, yoga, etc.) by actually doing the habit.”

Try your habit. Make mistakes. Fail. But don’t beat yourself up. Try to figure out what went wrong and work around those obstacles in the next iteration.

Perhaps that’s the most important habit-building advice of all: don’t let another failure convince you that you’re a failure. Set tiny goals to build your confidence. When you fall down, get back up again and keep walking. Dedicate yourself to modeling resilience and persistance, not perfection.

In short: never stop learning from mistakes, and never be afraid to start over.

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Don’t break the chain (literally).

In last week’s link roundup, I promised to elaborate on my plans for this article about Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” approach to creative habits.

Well, today I’m diving in. I’m expanding Seinfeld’s idea beyond the realm of writing and creative work and turning the chain into a tangible object, not just crossed-out days on a calendar. I wonder: will bringing my habits and goals into the physical world increase my odds of success?

I have a theory that a big red X on a calendar might not be enough for some ADHD’ers. Personally, the idea of creating a big, long paper chain — one that would outgrow all the places I found to store it — is much more exciting.

Habit challenge: from 30 days to 60

I had great success with a 30-day yoga challenge this summer. A long-distance friend joined me. We texted often to check in and share yoga podcasts and YouTube channels. My daily practice enriched my quality of life dramatically, to say the least, but I still fell away from it once the 30 days were up. If you have ADHD, this probably sounds familiar.

There must be a way for even the most habit-challenged among us to reroute our neural pathways — to make our desired habits stick.

In the interest of making progress toward permanent habits, I want my paper chain to do the yoga challenge one better: I want 60 days unbroken.

Choosing a chain (just one)

Speaking of habits, I have a bad one: leaping headfirst into too many projects at once. Toodledo is my preferred method of self-medication. I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering, do we need to work on just one chain at a time?

Yes. The ability to prioritize is a critical skill, and one worth practicing. Not to mention dividing your focus leaves fewer mental resources for each goal.

Faced with choosing just one habit to strengthen over the next 60 days, I’m going with meditation. Meditation is scientifically proven to strengthen focus, willpower, and executive function. Hopefully, meditating daily will give me across-the-board benefits.

I’ll post updates as I build — and try not to break — my chain.

Does technique sound like it would work for you? Why or why not? Interested in joining me? I’d love to hear about your goals and habits in the comments.

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Link roundup: unbroken chains & ADHD-friendly environments

I haven’t adopted link roundups as a regular feature here, but every once in a while I find myself with too many browser tabs left open to share later. Here’s a selection of this week’s web wanderings:

  • Environmental Strategies for Living with ADHD via InsideADHD.org
    “Environments that are noisy and unorganized (e.g., a playground or shopping mall) can be overly stimulating for people with ADHD. It may be harder than usual to concentrate in places where too much is going on.” Since chaos tends to follow us naturally, this can be easy to forget. Check out these quick tips for creating a more ADHD-friendly environment.

  • Don’t Break the Chain – Jerry Seinfeld’s Method for Creative Success via The Writers Store
    Regardless of whether or not you’re a writer, this is a great article on creating habits. I’m considering trying a more tangible/literal approach with an actual paper chain in my office. More on that later.
  • Are you an unclutterer or a cleaner? via ZenHabits
    “The main difference between being someone who is just clean and someone who is an unclutterer is that unclutterers look for permanent solutions. An unclutterer will invest the elbow grease into organizing her home and office so that she saves time and energy in the future.” This sums up my approach to household maintenance: reduce your resistance to doing chores by making them easier.
  • ADHD and Organization: Clear Clutter from Your Workspace via ADDitude
    Says one ADHD’er of his desk: “It’s an embarrassment, and I know I should do something about it. I just don’t know where to start.” This article follows one couple’s attempt to get a shared desk cleared off and organized, complete with handy tips from a professional organizer.

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