Posts Tagged ‘ADD’

Check Please

You know that phrase, “It seemed like a good idea at the time”?


In the western film, “The Magnificent Seven,” Steve McQueen, in the role of Vin, gives an example worth watching.


The thing is, what seems like a good idea at the time or in the moment, may have consequences that, in retrospect, lead more to “What was I thinking?”



We’re all plagued by impulsivity from time to time; but for those with ADHD, impulsivity may be an ongoing challenge. Fortunately, there is a process that can broaden the sense of time so that actions taken in the present are seen to have repercussions in the future. Think of it as a future check.


First, you have to be aware that you are making a decision about something. This can actually be the hardest part. Instead of just going along with the moment, stop and acknowledge that you are actually making a decision to do/not do something.


Call this your decision point. It’s like standing at a fork in the road and determining the way to go. Be there two or multiple options, you are now at step two in the process.


Second, use “if/then” thinking to consider your choices. Examples would be, “If I hang out on the internet instead of writing my newsletter, what would that mean to me and my business tomorrow or next week?” Or, “Those lemon bars are my favorite dessert. If I eat four of them (which would be so delicious and my mouth is watering) how will I feel later today and will my pants fit tomorrow?” Or, “How about I buy myself one too? Will I be able to pay my mortgage at the end of the month?”


Those of us who are not linear thinkers tend to make “in the moment” decisions based on what feels good right then. However, this month, with all the opportunities for buying and eating more than we need or can afford, it’s an excellent time to develop the habit of stopping at a decision point and considering consequences.


-Sydney Metrick

How Do You Know if Someone Has Attention Deficit Disorder?

You don’t.
ADHD is a neurobiological condition and it’s expressed differently in each person–Sir Richard Branson, Jim Carrey and Michael Phelps all have ADHD.

Everyone has occasional forgetfulness or overwhelm, but people with ADHD may have chronic difficulty with executing daily tasks in most areas of life. The executive function impairments are usually due to inherited problems with the neurotransmitters of the brain’s management system. There are six areas where these challenges show up.

These examples are from six of my students:
1. Organizing tasks and materials, estimating time, prioritizing tasks, and getting started on work tasks. Joyce puts off getting started on a task, even one she recognizes as very important like packing for a move, until the very last minute. It’s as if she can’t get started until the point where she sees the task as an emergency.
2. Megan described her problem sustaining focus as similar to trying to listen to the car radio when you drive too far away from the station and the signal begins fading in and out: you get some of it and lose some of it. She gets distracted by things that are going on around her, and also by her own thoughts.
3. Mike can perform short-term projects well, but has lots of difficulty with sustained effort over longer periods of time.
4. Ethan describes chronic difficulties managing emotions –frustration, anger, worry, disappointment, desire, and others.
5. I personally have difficulty remembering where I just put something, what someone just said to me, or what I was about to say. It’s hard to hold thoughts “on line” I also may not be able to pull information up when I need it.
6. Trevor has a problem regulating actions. He’s often impulsive in what he says or does, and in the way he thinks, jumping too quickly to inaccurate conclusions. He may fail to notice the impact of his words and actions on others, and as a result, sometimes alienates people.

These six areas are not mutually exclusive; they tend to overlap and are often interactive. Fortunately we can create positive structures and habits that help us function more successfully. Yay for brain plasticity!

Lost, Misplaced, or Simply Borrowed?

People with attention deficit disorder have a tendency to lose or misplace things because we may have our thoughts elsewhere when we set something down. But, it’s not always our fault when we can’t find something. My friend, Pam Condie, is a business and residential organizer who share the following story and tip.

A single mother, who ran a small nonprofit from her home, had two teenage children who often helped themselves to supplies from her office.  To discourage this practice she wrote “Mom’s office” on the plastic finger loops of her utility scissors, thus easily identifying her “borrowed” equipment. Divide and conquer is a technique children use to get their way when the stricter parent refuses a request. (Let’s ask Dad instead.  He is a pushover.)  I submit to you “multiply and conquer,” a technique to have adequate supplies of frequently used equipment readily available.  Utility scissors are useful in the kitchen, home office, bathroom, craft room, bedrooms and garage.  Of course, mark the location of each as in the suggestion above.