Does Your Child with ADHD Need Help with Homework?
Are you looking for ways to help your child or teen handle the daily struggle with homework? The struggle (theirs and yours) is real. It may look like a lack of motivation, or defiance, forgetfulness or even a learning disability but in reality, it is probably their Executive Function skills.
The Homework Help for ADHD covers seven Executive Function skills that have the biggest impact on homework and includes information on what to look for and plenty of strategies to help compensate.
Just enter your name and email to receive the free report!
Time is our most precious commodity. If we don’t use it, we lose it and it is one thing we can never get back. Sure, we can try to pack more into a day but often that leaves us feeling overworked, exhausted or stressed. Ever feel cheated that you didn’t get to do what you REALLY wanted or needed to do?
Instead of cramming more into our day, look for a few spaces between tasks, errands or transitions. I am sure there are several five-minute blocks somewhere in your day. For today, let’s assume you found 3 blocks of 5 minutes = 15 minutes total. You decide what works for you. Just don’t overdo it trying to get one more thing done and make yourself late.
Now how will you use those 5-minute blocks? You can decide your three big categories, and then list ideas under each. My three categories are listed below with some ideas to help get you started. Use your imagination and make it work for you. I have seen how having a specific time limit can help motivate us for unpleasant tasks every week during Work It Wednesday when we use 3, 25-minute blocks to get things done (contact me for zoom link to join us at 10am ET). Let’s use these blocks to improve our lives.
Declutter a shelf or clear a counter of all non-essentials
Spend 5 minutes with each child and listen
Plan a family activity for the weekend
Make a meal plan for the week
Go outside (take a walk, shoot hoops, swing, etc.)
Do a 5 minute (maybe longer) reset to be ready for tomorrow
Creating routines and habits that keep the family organized impacts the level of stress in your home. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in five minutes. Feel free to build onto the momentum as we have seen how clutter and disorganization can impact mood, weight, stress and health.
Let me know what you are most proud of doing in your 5 minutes over on my Facebook page. Let’s get a conversation going.
This September, especially after last year, may be a bit more difficult to manage because we are all out of practice. Sure, some students continued to go to school and maybe you had to continue to go to work. For many, last year was a combination of situations with a few extra pivots thrown in just to keep us on our toes.
Last month we talked about your systems and took a look at them to see what was working and what was not working. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Dealing with a system that doesn’t work adds extra stress and the transition back to the “real” world will be stressful enough. Let’s take a look at 5 simple things you can do to keep those stress levels down as we transition back to reality.
Five Super Skills
Make time visual – ever notice how time seems to slip away and all of a sudden you are hurrying and wondering how did it get away from me? Keeping analog clocks in certain areas (especially the bathroom) will make you more aware of the passing of time. Make sure your children have a clock in their room as well. It’s never too early to start becoming aware of time.
Routines and habits allow the brain to operate on automatic pilot. Automatic pilot frees up brain energy for more important tasks. Creating a morning and evening routine (and a homework routine, if you have kids) will make your life easier and less stressful. If you plan it right, it can also help you get out the door faster and less stressed.
Keep it simple – the number of steps it takes to do anything should be the least number of steps it takes. If your routine or your habit has very detailed steps then it is probably more work than it is worth. This is often why kids do not put their clothes away in the dresser drawers as it is too many steps – same for the closet. Hooks, shelves and bins work better.
Organization – probably the most important habit to reduce stress and frustration. Making sure everything has a place and that everyone knows where that place is makes it so much easier to find what you are looking for. Ever have to search for the scissors or your car keys?
A weekly reset – will give you a chance to take care of last weeks to dos and challenges and to start fresh for the next week. Simple things like looking at the calendar and seeing what is coming up. Maintaining your systems (maintenance keeps you organized) by putting things back in their places. Preparing for the week ahead helps you stay on track. How would that feel on Monday morning?
If you struggle with any of these super skills and would like some help – let me know. Coaching can help you design the systems that will work for you.
February 22: Happy Anniversary to me! Yes, it has been 31 years since I started my quest to become organized. I didn’t even know what it was that I needed to do, I only knew I needed to do something. Often times we are so “caught up” in the day to day of things that we don’t stop to actually think about how we could improve our lives. Well, on that day I did stop.
Here’s what I have learned since that day:
People are much more important than how your home looks.
There’s always a way to improve something if you take time to think about it.
SYSTEMS can always help (A process or series of actions you do to complete a task in an organized manner).
There is no ONE right way to organize – you have to find what works for you (and it may take several tries).
Keep it simple – the fewer steps the better.
Organization feels good!
Maintenance is key. That’s when you go back and redo or tweak your system. Ex: reorganize the closet…take it back to the point it was when you finished organizing it the first time.
You have the solutions inside you…but you just might need someone else to help pull them out of you.
An Organizer Coach, like me, has a combination of skills to help you understand yourself, guide you to solve your own challenges and help you create systems to get organized – all at the same time. Call or email me to find out how I can be of help to you.
Happy 7th Anniversary to me! Seven years in business that is. Today starts my eighth year but today is also important for another reason. It is the same day many, many years ago that I decided to get organized. I remember feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and started looking for information. I started devouring anything I could find on getting organized. Back then there was not a lot of information out there. Today, if you Google “get organized” you’ll get 32,800,000 hits in .34 seconds. That’s a lot of information!
The “get organized” business is a lot like the “diet” industry – everyone has their own ideas and they may or may not work for everyone. So how do you decide what to do?
Here are the first three things you should do:
1. Find the root cause. What is it that is really bothering you or causing a problem? Keep asking yourself questions until you can get to the root of the problem. For example, paying a bill late – why does that happen? Is it because the bills are mixed in with the pile of mail and aren’t seen? Or is it that it gets moved from table to counter? It could be, but it’s more than that. Is it because there is no plan of when to pay them? Probably. The system to handle the bills is missing and needs a few things. So, once the problem is narrowed down you can proceed to step 2.
2. Analyze your options. Figure out all the possible things that might solve the challenges that you discovered in finding the root cause above. Then write down anything and everything you think might have a positive impact in resolving the problem. Then go back and pick two or three things you can do to solve the challenge. To continue with our example, let’s find a home for the mail by using a basket or bin or mail sorter bin, but keep the bills separated by putting them in their own basket. Then decide on what a “bill paying” plan or process might look like. (Do you need a chart to list the bills, or to put a reminder on the to do list? You get the idea.) Analyze your options and decide what changes would have the biggest impact.
3. Try it out. It takes three weeks (sometimes longer) to create a new habit but you should know in a few days whether or not your new solutions are working. You may have to “tweak” it to improve it, but don’t quit if it doesn’t work perfectly the first few weeks. Keep asking, “What can I do to make this work better?” Then try that. Keep trying until you solve it – here’s where you can “Google” to get specific ideas related to what you are trying to change. Using our example, maybe we see that adding “pay bills” to the to do list isn’t helping. Continuing to look for solutions, maybe you try deciding to pay bills every Friday and put that in your planner. Or maybe you set up all your bills to be paid online through your bank. Whatever you decide, go back to question one and see that it has solved the original problem. If so, then move on to the next challenge.
Is the warm weather on its way? Maybe if we all put away our winter clothes and pull out the Summer stuff it will force the weather to cooperate. What do you say, are you ready to make the wardrobe changeover?
Organizing the closet is one of the best ways to add time to your day and reduce the stress of the morning rush. Depending on the size of your closet and whether or not you share the space with someone else, the following five steps could take anywhere from one hour to four or more hours. If you would like to be able to easily find what you want to wear (and have it fit) then set a date to organize your closet right now. Once you have picked a time slot read below so you will have everything you need to complete the job.
First step is to get ready. That means turning off the phone so you won’t be distracted and led off task. Grab a snack and a beverage to take with you along with a box of trash bags, a sharpie, three boxes (labeled undecided, needs fixing/cleaning, and belongs elsewhere), a label maker or index cards and tape, a hanging rack if you have one, a full length mirror and the vacuum.
Now you’re ready to begin:
1. Sort is always the first step in any organizing project. Use the three boxes to sort for things that belong elsewhere, things that need to be altered or cleaned and the undecided. Beginning on the left hand side of the closet and moving clockwise start with things that are hanging up and pull them out and either place on the hanging rack or on the bed. If you are using the bed, only take about ¼ of the closet out at a time. Now sort that pile into the “love it and it fits” pile, the “never felt or looked good” pile (which will be the give away) and the “not sure it fits pile.” Move the “love it pile” to its own spot on the bed or the rack and then try on the “not sure it fits” pile. I know it seems like it will slow down the process but if you never liked it or liked it but it never fit then either give it away or put it in the undecided box. Continue around the closet through all the hanging clothes. When you get a pile to give away put it in a trash bag and label it. When the bag is full move it outside the room you are in and continue with the next bag. Next step is the shoes, followed by the rest of the stuff. Each time you need to consider do I love it, hate it or does it fit? If you find anything that belongs elsewhere put it in that box, do not just “take a minute” to move it to where it does belong. Put the trash in a labeled trash bag.
2. Once everything is out of the closet, dust and vacuum it well. Take a break and have your snack. You have just finished the absolute hardest part of this whole process.
3. Next we will need to decide where things will “live.” You want to keep like things together, for instance all pants together, all tops together etc. First though check to see that your closet is optimized for the most storage space. Do you have a second rack hanging below the first one? Is there available space above the first shelf to put another shelf so you can utilize the whole space? If not, you may want to consider adding a rack or shelf at a later time. Now is NOT the time to go to Home Depot. Write it down instead. Stay with me….you’re almost done.
4. Looking at the piles you have made (starting with what will go up high on the shelf or shelves) start to put things back into the closet. Grouping similar things into a basket or bin will keep them together and make it easier to find what you are looking for. Label everything. For the hanging clothes you can sort by color going from light to dark (all tops together from white to black) or put all pieces of an outfit together and sort them by color or casual to fancy. Make sure there is space for the long hanging things like dresses. Many people find it easy to hang all tops on the top rack and all bottom pieces (skirts and pants) on the bottom rack. Then you can quickly grab a top and a bottom and off you go. Continue until everything that belongs in the closet that you absolutely love (and fits) is back in there. Then take the bags of give away and put them in your car to drop off. Put the dry cleaning or alterations into a bag and put them in the car. Empty the trash and then empty the box that has things that belong in another room. All that is left is the “undecided” box. Take a second look is there anything you know you really won’t wear…..it doesn’t matter how much you spent on it or how much you saved when you bought it. If it is really only collecting dust, it is not worth the space. For those things you truly cannot decide about, box them up and date the box. In six months take another look inside and see if the decisions are any easier. (Be careful where you store this box that it is not exposed to moisture.)
5. Lastly, maintaining the closet means putting things back where they belong. Use laundry day as a quick tidy up. Gather the empty hangers, put everything back in its place and give it a quick dust and vacuum. Use the one in and one out rule. Buy something new, out with something old. Maintaining the closet of things that fit makes it easy to get dressed, easy to see what you have and takes the stress out of, “What should I wear?”Good luck. Let me know how it goes. I am always happy to answer questions.
What does it mean to get organized? For many people it means de-cluttering or tossing things they love and “hiding” most of the other stuff. They think that when their house is in a perfect state (which only lasts for a short time) and they are “organized” then all will be right with the world. I think there is much more to getting organized and so I call it organizing life.
Organizing life goes beyond having a place for everything and everything in its place. It is also about being able to find what is needed when it’s needed, doing what needs to be done (before it is due) and still having time to do what you want to do. It’s about gaining control over all your responsibilities (big and small) and it is a major juggling act unless you have a plan.
Making a plan takes about thirty minutes. Sunday afternoon or evening works well for many. Taking the time to plan can make a big difference in the stress level of your week. Do you want to bring a sense of calm to your typically hectic week? Then I suggest you start with your calendar, planner or pda (dust it off if you must) and check the upcoming week for appointments or promises you have made. Now gather all the sticky notes, napkin doodles and little scraps of paper that you have written reminders on. Schedule anything you can. Is there a birthday, graduation or wedding coming up that you need to shop for? Schedule it in.
When is that report due and how much time will it take you to write it? Work backwards to schedule when you need to start work on it so it will be finished a day ahead. Then plan enough time (double your estimate) and schedule the days and times you will work on it. Now when are you going to do the weekly things like grocery shopping, laundry, etc?
Last but not least, what would you like to do this week? Find a place in the week for whatever it is that will make you happy and schedule it in. Then be sure to do it.
Review your plan of the week to make sure your time estimates are realistic and your plan doable. You will still need to be flexible as life is often unpredictable, but having a plan will help minimize the surprises and the stress.
And the benefits of an organized life? Monica Ricci (known for her role on HGTV’s Mission Organization) says it best in her recent blog….” the most important benefit of living an organized life is this… it allows you the freedom, the mental and physical space, and the energy to live the life you were meant to live, and do the work you were put here to do. When you’re so bogged down in the minutiae and overwhelmed by the day to day chaos of your own life, how in the world can you tune into your purpose and put your life’s work into action?”
Here’s to an organized week and an organized life!