Free! Web Q & A on ADD/ADHD | April 3, 2014

by Margit Crane on April 2, 2014

 

join our web broadcast from the comfort of your home!

This Thursday, April 3rd, I’ll be hosting a freeeeeeeeee web broadcast to answer any AD/HD questions you might have. It’s for parents, adults over 16, teachers, school counselors, and mental health professionals. 

Please register for this free event because space is limited. This is the registration link

Can’t make the webinar? That’s okay. It will be recorded. Send me your questions ahead of time so I can answer them!(Margit@MargitCrane.com)

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That's not me but it's definitely how I like to work!

True confessions: I like working in bed. I also like working on a couch covered by a blanket. I have no idea what this says about me. Some call it “weird,” “anti-social,” “depressing,” or “lazy.” I call it “comfortable.” It’s comfortable enough so that my ideas feel free to unleash themselves. That doesn’t always happen when I’m sitting at a desk.

How to design your office or work/study space when you have AD/HD

Here’s the real deal: you have to create a space that works for you and you alone. Forget about convention if you prefer an unconventional space. Forget about creative inspiration if you work better in a plain cubicle without distractions. It doesn’t matter. You’re not designing a space for AD/HD in general; you’re designing a space for YOU, a person who happens to have AD/HD.

It's well organized but I could never work in this space. How about you?

Here are three “musts” for designing your space when you have AD/HD:

1. You must feel comfortable enough to get the job done but not so comfortable that you fall asleep.

For example, I love watching rain and hearing the sound of rain on the roof – that inspires me. Hearing one of those personal fountains that sound vaguely like someone is peeing? Those distract me. I love working with nature around me – trees, for instance, make me feel invigorated. The ocean, however, is so peaceful to me that I fall asleep listening to or watching the waves.

I love the coziness, but does the brick smell?? That's a deal breaker!

Not only do I have ADHD and probably some sensory issues as well, but I also have some anxiety. I can worry at times. So my space needs to feel SAFE as well as comfortable. I do work at desks successfully sometimes but the criteria may be odd. For example, I often need a desktop computer but not always. I need to be looking at a wall or something on a wall that doesn’t change (like the fireplace in the photo above). I like having a bookcase in back of me but not to the side of me and not in front of me – too distracting. Books in back of me feel sturdy and supportive. Books in front of me feel, somehow dangerous, because they’re SO distracting to me.

2. Your space must inspire you.

For some of you, inspiration comes from a blank canvas – a wall or a cubicle may be inspiring to you. You can control your environment and, for some, this may free you from worry and free up your creativity. Others need a space that has many layers of stimulation, from toys and dolls and books to multiple pillows or pictures or wall hangings.

Some like a white or cream wall, others prefer a dark color. When I was in my 20s, my office was tiny, (closet sized) surrounded on two sides by book cases, and it was painted forest green. I loved it. It was sort of a sanctuary for me.

Blue Jeans

In my 40s my office was this perfect color called Blue Jeans that soothed my soul. I couldn’t get enough of the color. It made me feel like the best version of myself. And there were no bookcases. Just a row of books on a built-in ledge close to the floor. I wanted to see as much of this color as I could. All I wanted was to luxuriate in that blue. I loved it so much that it was even part of the previous design of my website!

3. You must pay attention to all your senses.

As people with AD/HD we are stimulated by a multitude of experiences, both great and small. We usually pay attention to sight and hearing when putting a workspace together: “What am I looking at?” “What can I hear?” “Who is around that will distract me?”

But we can be distracted by other things as well. For example, I love the taste of a Starbucks latte. I find Starbucks coffee in particular to be both soothing and inspiring. I have no idea why. On the other hand, I hate the smell of coffee on my clothes. When you spend hours working in a coffeehouse, the smell gets on you. How to solve this? Perhaps I get my coffee and then work somewhere else. Or I can time it so that I shower and change clothes after I work in a coffeehouse. Or I go somewhere else.

Is your workspace near food and food smells that are pleasing or distracting? I need to work in a place that has gluten-free options or I can’t concentrate on my work. Instead, all ll I think about is how to get me some gluten, or should I eat a doughy glutinous pastry and suffer the consequences? I spend too much time arguing with myself and not getting work done so, for me, gluten-free places are important.

I also love to sit on soft fabrics. This is one of my favorite places to work when I’m writing a book or blog post:

Roy Street Coffee & Tea in Seattle, WA

Notice all the pillows and the velveteen couch and stools. I like!

I like loads of light but not glare. I am most inspired to work inside when it is sunny outside. I’ve always been this way. Spring quarter of college was always the high point of my year (and my grades). What do you like? Cloudy or sunny? Night or day? These are things we need to think about that others don’t.

I like music that I pick out; not music that someone else has chosen. I don’t want to hear you working but I like working around others who are working. The hum of human voices soothes me – eavesdropping on your conversations does not. I like listening to music that was popular when I was young. It warms my soul. There’s a coffeehouse/bookstore near me that plays James Taylor and Cat Stevens and the like. That place calms my senses.

Of course, you may find your best place to work or study is right in your very own home, and that’s okay too. I tell parents of kids with AD/HD: “It doesn’t matter if they’re doing their homework in a closet or under their bed as long as it’s getting done!” The kids always laugh at this and the parents usually feel relief.

See anything that suits you?

I happened upon this article on BoredPanda.com I found any number of possible workspaces for me. But I couldn’t work at the Lego offices because the Lego characters sitting around or “working” would be a constant distraction. But I could work at Google. That place has all kinds of inspiration for me.

Bottom line, give me a table, a comfy desk chair, a big armchair, a long couch, a coffee table, and a TV and I’m all set for just about anything my business requires. Oh, and an espresso machine would look good too.

Copyright 2014 Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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Are you getting our monthly ezine? Are you part of the crowd on Facebook and Twitter? Stuff’s going down and I don’t want you to miss out.

For instance, this Thursday, April 3rd, there’s a webinar to answer any AD/HD questions you might have. It’s for parents, adults over 16, teachers, school counselors, and mental health professionals. Here’s the link.

Can’t make the webinar? That’s okay. It will be recorded. Send me your questions ahead of time so I can answer them!

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