The #1 Secret to Productivity When You Have ADHD

by Margit Crane on December 16, 2014

 

If you don’t have ADHD and your child/teen does, you may not understand why, when given a list of things to do or even when given one thing to do, there’s no movement. “Get up! Get going! It’s really not that hard!” you may be thinking (or saying).

I’m considered to be very productive and disciplined about my work, but people can’t see what goes on inside my brain. There are days when I know exactly what to do and I do them. But there are days when I know exactly what to do and I just sit there. My brain fogs up and I start thinking from my more “primitive/meet my basic desires” lobe. “TeeeeeeeeeeVeeeeeeeee. Pumpkin pie. Call a friend. Go on Facebook. Read celebrity gossip.” I keep hoping that when I get these longings out of my system I’ll be ready to work.

As an adult with ADHD who has been coached and continues to receive coaching, that sometimes works. For example, I have a coaching call tomorrow so I know that I have to get done when I committed to do. But many times it doesn’t work at all and, try as they might, rarely does this tactic solve a child’s problem with productivity.

So let me start by sharing with you 3 things that DON’T work when you want your child to get a move on:

Poof! You're motivated now!

1. Waiting for an angel to come down, tap your child on the shoulder and inspire him/her to do the hard thing he/she doesn’t want to do. What do I mean by this? Motivation won’t come from on high. Rarely, for kids, does a “motivation wand” appear to “strike” them MOTIVATED! Don’t wait for maturity to solve the problem for you, either. That’s often how it works with personal grooming habits; that’s not how it works with motivation.

2. Work first, play later. As parents, we often forget that our kids have been working all day at school. We tell them “Chores/Homework comes first, then you can play.” What I recommend is some downtime. Natural downtime. No technology. A nap, some exercise, a healthy snack. The idea is to replenish their brain power not to deplete them even more, so no serious conversations, no nagging, and no siblings bugging them.

3. The “Knute Rockne talk.” Knute Rockne was a coach who said things like, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Yeah Knute? Well, #@*% you!” (I’m quoting someone with a potty mouth; not me, certainly). I hate all those clichéd phrases like:

  • Put your big girl panties on (and I hate the word “panties”)
  • Suck it up
  • Buck up, cowboy/girl
  • Just do it
  • No pain, no gain
  • Face the music
  • Take your lumps

Using condescension to motivate does not work (even when you use it on yourself). Don’t discourage your child. Be nice. Kindness works.

Okay. So what DOES work?

Just do the thing that’s in front of you to do. The next indicated thing. Just one thing at a time. And your child needs help, help them without doing it FOR them. (A good rule of thumb is: help them with the thing they can’t do themselves. For some kids, checking for answers on Google is easy. They’re fairly independent. For some, all they can do is sit at the computer and stare. But they can turn the computer on, they can type in Google, and maybe they really need you to help them with what to type in next. It’s okay to help; it’s not okay to do the work for them).

Now most people with ADHD have several things in their heads at once. Your children/teens may come home thinking about the sweetheart that broke up with them, the teacher that laughed at them, their touchdown they scored, and the Doritos they want to eat for a snack. When you interrupt that (and you will, from time to time, have to interrupt your child’s very full and complex thinking process), go easy on them. Realize that you’re interrupting and that it takes time for the brain to regroup. Then just worry about the next thing. Just the next thing.

Example of what not to do:

Your son comes home from school, stressed because there’s a test tomorrow. You tell him, “Get studying. You’re not going to pass the class if you don’t study. I don’t want to see another F.” Now he’s stressed about the test AND about pleasing you AND about passing the class, and about whether he’s a loser or not. (I know you didn’t call him a loser; just explaining how the ADHD mind often works). And, if he’s not stressing, he’s shutting down and shutting you out.

What to do instead:

Your son comes home from school, stressed because of a test tomorrow. You say, “Grab a snack and have a seat. You must need to relax a bit, I imagine.” Later, ask what you can do to help. If he says “Nothing,” you can respond, “Okay that’s fine. I’m happy to help if you need anything.”

And then let it be.

This is the hard part; your child needs to learn to ask for help. It is probably the most important skill I’ve ever learned. Now it’s okay to prompt your child: “Hey just checking. Anything I can do? Do you need an extra hand?”

Another prompt that often works is: “Okay I’m just downstairs. When you need help, come and find me and we can work on this together.” With that prompt you told him that you expect him to need help and that it’s okay. You didn’t say “If you need help,” but “when you need help.” That takes the pressure off.

The #1 secret to productivity?

Just do the thing in front of you to do and don’t worry about the other stuff. Despite what we like to think, it is impossible for the brain to multitask. It may jump around but you can only do one thing at a time.

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Like this post and want more interaction? Check these out:

1. I’m on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest. I’m @GiftedWithADD

2. 45-minute free phone consultation. Schedule here.

3. If you haven’t gotten your copy of “Revolutionize Your ADHD Parenting in One Week,” grab a copy at this link.

4. Check out my new book, “Getting Schooled” – Great for ADHD families in the American public school system!

xoxoxo, Margit

Copyright 2014 Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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Taking the CRAZY Out of ANY Family Celebration

by Margit Crane on December 10, 2014

 

With Christmas and Hanukkah approaching, we tend to forget that there are many other occasions to gather as a family. In some families, the Sabbath is a weekly celebration; and what about birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones in our lives. When you’re together as a family, stuff happens!

Most families experience some messy feelings here and there. If you’re part of a particularly messy family (and many of us are!), you may be wondering, “Is there any point in celebrating when things are bound to break down?” In Taking the CRAZY Out of Your Family Celebrations, co-author Barbara Dab and I discuss ways to circumvent the drama or, at least, deal with it in a way that supports you and your family.

Here is an excerpt:

KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND KNOW WHOM YOU’RE WITH

For some of us, spending time with family is like training for an Olympic event or strategizing a battle plan. This may be a tad dramatic (just a tad, mind you!) but as long as we’re so worried, we might as well create a plan. Some people may think you’re a pessimist, but if you feel secure preparing for the worst (or being practical I’d say!), why not? Go for it. Plan away. (And then be happily surprised when things turn out for the best!)

Those of us who pride ourselves on being spontaneous or pride ourselves on looking on the bright side can be more disappointed at family celebrations than the pessimists. After all, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” said the one and only Benjamin Franklin. Pessimists tend to be preparers. They like to stack the odds in their favor.

I must say, though, that I prefer J.R.R. Tolkien’s language better: “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” You can surely see the benefit of knowing your surroundings and who you’ll be hanging with (is there a dragon nearby and, better yet, is there a place of refuge nearby?)

Let’s break this down. First, it’s important to know where the celebration is taking place. Even if it’s at your own house, you may need a place of refuge. Where might that be? For some, the only “down time” you may be able to carve out for yourself is when you go to the bathroom! But there are others who have no reservations about leaving their own party should the tension get too high. Find a place and make a plan. Right now. It will make a world of difference.

Now let’s say that the celebration is at someone else’s house or at a restaurant or park or somewhere else. Well, thank God for the internet! You can check out the area and see if there’s a place for you to go if you need time alone. Is there a café or even a corner market? Is there a nice place to take a walk around the block? You can even sit in your car for 20 minutes or so. The acoustics are great in a car – make a phone call!

Just knowing that there’s a place you can go is sufficient. You may not leave the event at all. You may never, ever need to leave, but it’s nice to know that you can should the occasion arise.

If you’re in someone else’s house, think about what their typical habits are: Is their house full of fragile items? Do they only have one kind of beverage and it’s not your favorite? Do they like to roughhouse? Are they

accustomed to quiet, dignified dinners? These kinds of questions are worth asking not so that you will be able to respect their needs (although that’s a worthwhile reason), but so that you’ll respect your own needs and the needs of your family .

Many of you have family members who are sensitive to noise, to large groups, to strangers, or they have a hard time staying quiet and well- behaved for extended periods of time. It’s wise, if not crucial, to figure out how they will navigate the day’s festivities. You can create a strategy with them. For example, exit strategies are often necessary for sensitive children and teens. What happens when they’re up to their necks in overwhelm? Will there be a place to which they can retreat and regroup? Or is it better to just cut the day short and head for home? Perhaps it’s possible to bring a favorite pet or even a friend who can serve as a familiar sidekick throughout the event?

Copyright 2014 Margit Crane & Barbara Dab

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For more tips like these, check out Taking the CRAZY Out of Your Family Celebrations on Amazon.com

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Like this post and want more interaction? Check these out:

1. I’m on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest. I’m @GiftedWithADD

2. 45-minute free phone consultation. Schedule here.

3. If you haven’t gotten your copy of “Revolutionize Your ADHD Parenting in One Week,” grab a copy at this link.

xoxoxo, Margit

Copyright 2014 Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

=======================

 

 

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