Category Archives: ADD/ADHD

ADHD and Relationships: A Primer

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In our experience, we often run into couples who face the challenges of ADHD within their relationship. Managing a household is challenging enough but without effective communication, decision making is compromised – potentially derailing the organizing project.

Three main criteria that define ADHD:

  • Inattention
  • Poor Impulse Control
  • Hyperactivity

Any person would have a different mix of these symptoms and a different intensity of the behaviors. Because ADHD is often misunderstood, people with ADHD often face a barrage of judgment and criticism about their behavior without receiving credit for the benefits their style provides.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Tension increases when couples don’t understand each other
  • Navigating a relationship with a person with ADHD requires understanding what ADHD is about and how it manifests for your partner in particular.
  • People with ADHD can learn to manage inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity that may be affecting the relationship.
  • If a person with ADHD commits to trying to learn new skills, it should be from the perspective of wanting to improve the quality of their relationship, not from the perspective of trying to be somebody they’re not.

This work for couples is not about being right or wrong, but about being understood. Couples need to learn to acknowledge and accept each other, not try to fix each other. Having false expectations of each other will create conflict. Basically, relationship success is based on connection, friendship and mutual respect.

What do you do about it?

Develop understanding and compassion for each other. One way to do this is to create small and large opportunities for connection. Each successful connection is like putting money in the bank to amass capital for when things aren’t going so well (like when the ADHD behaviors are particularly challenging.)  See the resource section below to find out about Love Languages.

Noted relationship researcher John Gottman has determined that there are 4 key behaviors that will sabotage a relationship. Here they are with their antidotes:

Being Critical – the antidote is: Complain without blaming. Use “I” statements to express your feelings and desires.

For example, instead of saying, “You’re always late!” try “Being late really stresses me out.” Or instead of “You’re not listening to me!” try, “I really want to share this with you.”

Defensiveness – This is a form of self-protection. Taking responsibility for your part in a conflict (even a little bit) can diffuse tension.

Contempt/Sarcasm – If you tend to make statements from a position of superiority, combat this by: Actively use positive affirmations, build a culture of appreciation and respect in your relationship.

Stonewalling – This usually happens when the listener feels flooded, gets overwhelmed and shuts down. An antidote: If you are frustrated or overwhelmed, take a break for at least 20 minutes to de-stress and agree to reconnect after that.

With all these resources at hand, there is hope.  Though it requires effort, the benefits await. Harmony in the home is the foundation for an organized and happy home.


Resources

ADHD Self-Report Scale

Love Languages Quiz

Gottman Institute

Sydney Metrick – ADD coach

Bowbay Feng, LMFT

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Filed under ADD/ADHD, Strategies

10 Tips to Keep Up During the Holiday Season

Is it a challenge to keep up during the holidays?

Is it a challenge to keep up during the holidays?

This is a re-post of a blog by our favorite time management expert, Sydney Metrick of Artful Coaching

The days are getting shorter as we approach winter, and you might feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done; especially during the holiday season. Is it possible to keep up? Or even get ahead? Here are some tips.

  1. Look at the dates of the big holidays you celebrate. What do you typically do for each of them. Think about how long the preparations have taken in past years and schedule start dates for the tasks.
  2. Do you have to do everything yourself? Consider what you can delegate and let others take care of those things.
  3. 
Are the items on your task list  “must do” or just “it would be nice to do.” Focus on the must do items.
  4. How much time can you free up to do the things that are actually important? Is watching television or hanging out on Facebook really necessary?
  5. 
Plan each day every morning. Think about what tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
  6. Learn to say no. It’s okay to set limits.
  7. Less is more. Think about what is enough and what might be more than necessary.
  8. If things feel overwhelming just pick three things you will do that day and put your energy and time into doing them.
  9. Give yourself credit for anything and everything you accomplish no matter how small.
  10. 
Get plenty of rest no matter what.

Think of being the person who designs your life.

Choose one item on this list and take action this week.  Let us know how it goes!

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Filed under ADD/ADHD, Decluttering, General Organizing, Holidays, Office, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies, Time Management

Battling Boredom – Making Organizing Fun

Find yourself procrastinating?  Make a game of organizing!

Find yourself procrastinating? Make a game of organizing!

Does the thought of picking up and organizing your house bore you to tears or completely overwhelm you? Make a game of it to keep engaged!

Timer Games

Using a timer helps maintain your focus. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. See how many items you can put away before the timer goes off. Note that “put away” actually means that – not just shove out of sight into a random drawer, cabinet, or closet.

Need to purge an area? Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Focus only on 1 area and see how many things you can get into a donation bag or trashcan. For example, focus on your sock drawer or hanging clothes or board games or colored markers or…you get the idea.

Engage the whole family and create teams! Have a simple reward for the team that gets the most points. The losing team has to do the dishes that night or take out the garbage.

Let The Cards Choose For You

This game requires a bit of preparation but helps conquer indecision.

Take a small stack of index cards and write out regular tasks that help keep you organized. If needed, you can be very specific. Here are examples of general vs. specific tasks:

General Tasks: do dishes, open mail, put away toys

Specific Tasks:

  • Bring dishes to sink OR rinse dishes OR load dishwasher
  • Open 5 envelopes OR throw out junk mail OR mark the due date on 5 bills
  • Put all loose Legos in a box OR gather crayons and markers into a bucket OR put books on shelves

To play the game, pick a card from the deck and work on it for as long as you have set aside to work. Use a timer if that’s helpful. A variation is to pick out 2 cards and then choose the task you want to do.

It’s useful to make task cards for areas of the house that regularly get out of order. If you don’t want to make your own cards, Time to Organize® offers a card deck you can buy.

Keep it simple, make cards for tasks that apply to you

Keep it simple, make cards for tasks that apply to you

Under the Sheets

This tip comes from an article written by Dana Rayburn in ADDitude magazine and works great to reduce overwhelm. For large areas of clutter, such as your desk, a table, the floor, or a counter — any place with so much stuff on it that you don’t know where to start:

  • Drape a sheet or a blanket over most of the area you want to organize, allowing only a small area of the clutter to show at a time.
  • Deal with that bit of visible clutter.
  • Once you’ve organized the first bit, slide the sheet over to expose another chunk of the clutter, and tackle it.
  • Keep moving the sheet, clearing and organizing as you go.

Organizing can be fun and satisfying if you adjust your perspective. Most people agree that housework and filing isn’t a “fun” activity.  But you can make it fun with these tips!  Do you have any games that work in your household?  Share them here!

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Filed under ADD/ADHD, Decluttering, General Organizing, Strategies, Time Management