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Death to Procrastination: Crush this ADHD Barrier to Action

Everybody procrastinates. But we ADDers procrastinate significantly more and with uglier consequences, because we procrastinate most on the tough tasks — and the tough tasks tend to be what we most need to be doing.

The good news is, most procrastination is due to mental barriers built on the ILLUSION that we can’t or don’t know how to do the tough stuff. There are three primary barriers:

  1. Fear — that you won’t know how to do it (or do it right); that it will take too long;. fear of the impending frustration and unpleasantness; perhaps some confrontation involved in the doing.
  2. Disarray: you don’t know which project to start with or where to start with that project. So, you don’t…start…anything!
  3. Indifference: You don’t feel the urgency. Nothing is compelling you to attack. Even if you KNOW it needs to get done and how to do it, you can’t get motivated — until the 11th hour when you’re in crisis mode (e.g., you’ve run out of clean underwear…or gas…or excuses).

In an earlier guest blog at coach Carol Gignoux’s LiveADHDFree, I showed how how the first barrier, irrational fear, keeps us from taking action, and I prescribed a simple one-two punch natural ADD remedy to knock down that barrier to progress. Be sure to check that blog out, but first, let’s dispatch with the next one…

Disarray as a Barrier to Action for ADHD Adults

As mentioned above, disarray has two sides: deciding what task to work on, and once that’s decided, figuring out how to get it started.

The first SHOULD be easily dispatched with: just ask yourself, of all the things on your to-do list, if you could only work on TWO of them today – what would they be? In most cases they’ll be among the tough and/or important things you’ve been putting off.

AH, you might say, “But my problem is that I can’t decide which two things because my mind is a jumble and I can’t evaluate them and…AHHHH!! – they ALL feel equally important!!”

Stickies-MULTITASKING-ADHD

Too many to-do’s = mental disarray – but there IS a way through it!

That’s OK. Classic ADDer dilemma. But think about this: if you truly can’t make priority distinctions between these things, you’re fully justified in picking ANY one and ATTACKING IT! So pick one – at random – and start attacking it. Pull the trigger. It beats the hell out of not starting ANYTHING cuz you’re unable to prioritize!

Disarray Random ADHD

Can’t prioritize among many to-do’s? Don’t let that stop you from action!

 

But I Don’t Know Where to Start!

Now, once the tough task has been identified, often you don’t know where to start or what the best approach is or how to yada yada yada…and a bazillion other thoughts that keep you from starting.

The trick is…START. It doesn’t matter which step is the first. We often procrastinate waiting for some brilliant insight that will make the project easy. But those insights only appear when the work is under way. So the longer you wait to start, the longer you postpone the solution.

So what if you’re not attacking it perfectly? Attacking IMPERFECTLY beats the CRAP out of not starting it!!!

There’s a great quote from Dr. Neil Fiore that sums up this simple truth powerfully: “Keep starting – finishing will take care of itself. If you must worry, worry about starting, never worry about finishing.”  Indeed, you can start many times every day. Always focus on what you can do next. One little step at a time. One start at a time.

Bottom Line: If you can get out of the trap of thinking you have to PERFECTLY choose the next task and then PERFECTLY execute and finish it, you can really start getting things done.

Next time out, the trick to crushing procrastination on things we know perfectly well how to do, but just…don’t…feel…like…doing…uggghhhh. (i.e., Indifference. Here’s the link to Death to Procrastination, Part 3.)

‘Til then, Crush away that disarray!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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Fire Up Your ADHD Brain in 2 Minutes with Power Poses – Natural ADD Remedy

Mentally fatigued? Nervous about an impending meeting or presentation? Just feeling a bit out of sorts? You can re-boot yourself by doing this for a couple minutes (understandable if you want to do it in private)…

Power-Poses-ADHD

This is not a joke. Not even hyperbole. It’s science – about as sciency as it gets. And it’s a powerful natural ADD remedy of sorts. Fact is, research shows that at least two things happen physiologically when this pose is struck and held for two minutes: stress goes down (cortisol reduction) and confidence and clarity go up (testosterone bump – yes, even for the ladies…in a good way).

Fire Up Your Brain in Two Minutes with Power Poses

Featured in a fascinating TED Talk, Dr. Amy Cuddy’s research on body language shows how we can change our own body chemistry — and even other people’s perceptions of us — just by changing our body position.

Posture not only can alter our emotions, it can affect how confidently we approach situations and solve problems, which in turn affects how powerful we appear to others.

In other words, power poses like the one above (a few others have been identified) not only result in greater self-confidence, they increase the confidence others have in us.

And here’s a kicker: We positively influence our own mood and the perception of others when we’re happy and smiley. Even when we force a smile (like, by holding a pen in our teeth). So you might say that, to feel happy or powerful, you can “fake it ‘til you make it” with power poses…and power smiles.

“Poses are powerful,” said Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard. And her studies build on earlier research showing that “expansive” poses (as opposed to low-power poses, e.g., slouching, or “closed” stances) can…

  • Help recovering alcoholics from relapsing.
  • Help subjects take the initiative and take risks.
  • Even increase pain tolerance.

But back to firing up the ADHD brain:

Bottom line, expansive poses can re-set your weary mind, improve mental performance and positively affect how you’re perceived. And the physiological change lasts for 15 to 20 minutes – or longer.

So, when feeling fatigued or stressed, or before heading into a stressful situation, strike a two-minute power pose. And always avoid slouching or otherwise “folding into yourself” or “making yourself smaller.”

“It’s about becoming so comfortable and feeling you have so much control over how you present yourself that you become more your authentic self,” says Dr. Cuddy. “It’s about quieting all those voices that say ‘I don’t belong.’ ”

Hmmmm. Sound like something that might help an ADDer? I do it all the time. And it @#$@&! works.

So give it a go and crush it, you Wonder Woman/Superman/King of Siam!

-Alan

PS — Anything you’d like me to write about? Any particularly stubborn challenges vexing you? Leave a note below and chances are I’ll help you crush it. Seriously. -ab

P.P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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3 Simple Tricks for Battling ADHD Overwhelm

How do you deal with the feeling of overwhelm?  You know — when your to-do list is so long it hurts to even look at it…there’s a constant nagging worry that things are falling through the cracks and you’re gonna get burned big-time. Worst of all, no solution or end in sight. Reality is, few of us really deal with a surge of overwhelm. Some just keep chugging through it, some temporarily check out (escape), others totally freak out.

Before my adult ADHD diagnosis, my way of “dealing” was booze and drugs. I checked out whenever I could…and ended up a junkie. Not very effective. Post-drugs, my new way of battling overwhelm was to just work harder. More hours. More coffee. More ignoring friends and family. Not healthy.

Gradually I adopted what I call Practical Zen Brain Hacks. And as I write this blog, I’m about to head to the ADHD Coaches Organization Conference in Phoenix, where I’ll present some of my Zen Brain Hacks to ADHD coaches from around the world, among whom such natural remedies for ADD adults are an important addition to their toolbox.

Here are three of the tricks I’ll be sharing, each a simple-yet-powerful way to quiet the gut-churning, totally unnerving, emotionally disturbing state of overwhelm…

1. Check Into the Now

We’re naturally wired with a bias towards negativity.  Seeing things as more “threatening” kept us from becoming lunch when wandering away from our cave. But we’re not living in caves any more.

So when you’re tempted to check out or freak out when in a state of overwhelm, step back from the edge and recognize that, right here and now, even in this moment of overwhelm and stress, there actually is no serious threat or problem – because if there were, you would already be attending to it.

In other words, if you really faced a serious issue right now, you would’t be reading this blog – you’d be dealing with that issue. Upshot: there is no problem in the Now.

In the Now, we are freed up to act more powerfully:

…to NOT be paralyzed by that intimidating to-do list.

…to NOT check/freak out.

…and instead, to think more clearly and creatively about dispatching with a to-do.

One-Thing-To-Do-ADHD

Get into the Now more often, and your to-do list can start looking – or at least feeling — a lot more like this.

2. Stop Trying to Finish

Overwhelm is made worse when we realize that finishing even a few to-do’s seems impossible. That feeling paralyzes us…so we can’t even START, let alone finish. I say, screw finishing! Forget about finishing!

The brilliant Dr. Neil Fiore says, “Keep starting – finishing will take care of itself. If you must worry, worry about starting, never worry about finishing.” I.e., never look at a big project and say, “I have to finish that dang thing”. Cuz the thought of having to finish abets procrastination: the more painful a task is perceived to be, the more we try to avoid it.

So never set out to “finish” anything. Just start it. Again. And again. You’ll be more likely to take action (and ultimately, finish).

3. Flush the Brain Toilet

Overwhelm grows out of accumulation. Things build up. Stress builds up. And our brains get backed up. Yet a healthy shot of brain Drano® is simply to do something exhilarating, or at least invigorating. E.g.:

  • About once a month I have to race my motorcycle. I call it “flushing my brain toilet”. If I don’t, my brain plumbing starts to feel clogged. Seriously. Granted, that’s an extreme form of exhilaration; but you can flush your pipes with something that’s a little scary (try something new!), really beautiful (a fabulous sunset) or somehow inspiring (see an intense live performance).
  • You can also do something invigorating right now. Drop and do 20 push-ups. Stand up, head outside and go around the block. I guarantee when you get back in your chair you’ll be less stressed and better able to get stuff DONE!

Alan-Flush-the-Brain-ADHD

How do you flush your brain toilet?

What exhilaration and invigoration have in common is changing your brain chemistry: boosting your good stuff (dopamine, etc.) and repressing your bad stuff (cortisol, etc.). Super-simple. Super-effective.

…as are all such Practical Zen Brain Hacks. More of these to come in future blogs, and of course a few are taught in the Crusher videos.

Hope you can soon put these to work undercutting that overwhelm!

Flush ‘til you crush!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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3 Deadly Time Wasters -and Fixes- for ADHD Adults

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

…and boy, do the days tend to run us ADHD adults, cuz we let so much time slip away needlessly.

 Indeed, if there’s one thing we ADDers need more of, it’s TIME. So if there’s one thing we should never be doing is WASTING IT. And here are three of the deadliest (and most common) time-wasters, along with some simple time management fixes that act as natural remedies for ADD

1. The But-First Syndrome: Heard of this one? Even if not, I promise you’ve experienced it. You start on a major, important task…but just before getting fully engaged, you say, “But first I gotta…” and you dart away to do that other thing. During which you blurt, “Oh, and let me also just do this one other thing…” and then another…yada yada. You know the rest. Hence The But-First Syndrome – a massive time waster, cuz NOTHIN’ gets completed, least of all, the major, important task you first set out to complete.

The Fix: The key to staying on task and resisting But-Firsts is to LABEL thoughts and things. If you were to use a mental labeling gun to forcefully label the task at hand as “What I’m Doing Now”, you’d be less likely to But-First yourself away from it. All the more so if you then label potential distractions as “NOT What I’m Doing Now”. Here’s free access to ADD Crusher™ Video II, Way 8, with the full treatment on this alternative ADHD strategy: Do What You’re Doing Now

 

2. Screensucking: A term coined by Dr. Ned Hallowell, it refers to wasting time in front of electronic screens. For instance, TV has rightly been called the great preventer. It sucks precious hours from our life and undercuts our productivity. The three hours a day the average American is watching TV are three hours preventing growth and accomplishment. And we ADHD adults are more likely to have addictive attachments to TV – and all electronic consumption.

So for anything with a screen – Facebooking, video games (including the particularly stupid ones on our phones), online shopping or gambling, etc., we must ask ourselves – what is the VALUE of the time we spend with these vs the VALUE of doing other things?

Screensucking

The Fix: Make a list of your top electronic behaviors. Go ahead – do it right now, cuz otherwise you’ll never do it! All electronic behaviors – necessary and frivolous. Rank them in descending order of time spent over the course of a typical week. Circle the biggest offenders: those eating most time and being least important to your success. Then make a pledge, right here on the spot, to reduce or eliminate one or more of those behaviors.

Think about it: How often do we say to ourselves, “I just don’t have enough time to do everything I need to do”?  Yet, NOTHING horrible is gonna happen if you do NOT watch another re-run of Two and a Half Men or check Facebook every 10 minutes. By honestly facing up to our screensucking crimes, we can free up gads of time.

 

3. Doing It All Ourselves: We ADDers waste HUGE amounts of time trying to do things at which we suck – or just needn’t be doing ourselves. Things that people around us can and will do FOR us – if we are WILLING and ABLE to hand them off.

Delegate-Authority-ADHD-ADDCrusherIf you could delegate just two things this week, you’d free up tons of time. I know, easier said than done. We’re terrible at delegating because 1) it requires giving a subordinate a clear roadmap to completion of a task, which we suck at; and 2) delegating means asking something of another person, which we don’t feel entitled to do…we’re always aiming to please.

 

The Fix: The above two barriers to delegation apply mostly to major, complex tasks. But there are lots of to-do’s and routine tasks that can be easily delegated – either to a family member (e.g., laundry to one of the kids) or a paid service (e.g., laundry to a wash-and-fold service). Take the time right now to identify one or two things you could delegate, even if just on a trial basis. Keep it simple. Key thing is to flex that delegation muscle so you can begin to build it up.

 

Lets’ face it. We can’t stop time. But what we CAN do is cut it down to size and start taking control of it by pulling on our Big Boy or Big Girl Pants and facing these time wasters head-on. So there ya go. Three deadly time pirates that, if reduced even modestly, would make your ADHD waaaay more manageable.

‘Til next time…

-Alan

PS – If you like no-BS insights and suggested fixes, think about how powerful a video “virtual coach” could be in slaying some of these classic ADHD miseries. We are humbled and honored that thousands have benefited from the Crusher approach to treating ADHD symptoms, and I hope you’ll give our videos and tools a no-risk try one of these days. Check out the various packages here. -ab

P.P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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Lies ADHD Adults Tell and Really Believe

ADHD-Adult-Lies-ADD-CrusherOK, that’s not a very polite way to open a Crusher blog – calling ourselves liars. But we’re all liars, including me.

I co-hosted a great ADDA Webinar recently with the brilliant Eric Tivers, who laid out what he calls “Top Lies People with ADHD Tell Themselves…and Really Believe”. Whoppers such as…

“I’ll remember that.”                      “I’ll do it later.”               “I’ll be done in five minutes.”

“I’m just going to check my email.”               “I’ll just do one more.”

 

Now, these seem like fairly innocuous lies, but you don’t need to be a Board Certified psychiatrist to know what kind of trouble and overwhelm can result from buying into these lies.

Eric’s talk reminded me of a strategy I hatched a ways back but that didn’t make it into the ADD Crusher™ videos, or even a blog, ‘til now. It’s a ‘brain hack’ I call, Know What You Know and then KNOW It, and it gets right at the heart of upending these lies we tell ourselves. Here goes:

We ADHD adults know deep down such little lies aren’t true (“I know I WON’T do just one more, but I don’t care cuz I’m having fun hyperfocusing”). We also know a bit deeper down the kind of mayhem believing these lies creates (“My husband’s gonna be p.o.’d if I’m late again”). But we don’t KNOW something truly until we act according to that knowledge. To “know” is one thing. To DO RIGHT (i.e., take action) is to really KNOW.

“We lie to ourselves because we don’t have the psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the consequences that will follow.” @DrCortneyWarren   TWEET THIS

Once you adopt and adhere to the above assumptions, you can begin to put this powerful strategy to work for you. For instance, given this classic internal dialogue…

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“I’m just gonna check a few more emails before I leave for my daughter’s play…” [Lie #1 — Deep down you KNOW you’re in the middle of a nice comfy hyper-focus session].

“…Besides, it’ll only take me a minute to get ready…” [Lie #2 – You’ve never timed your getting-ready. You’re just smooth-talking yourself to gain permission for continued hyperfocusing.]

“…and probably only 15 minutes to get there.” [Lie #3 – If you think about it, 15 minutes is the least it’s ever taken you to get there – you’re engaged in wishful ADHD-time-warp thinking.]

And overall, you know deeper down that this same or similar situation has resulted in you being late to this, that or the other thing many times before. Now, the pivotal question before you is whether you will choose to KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW, and then KNOW IT – by getting out of that chair and heading off to your daughter’s play with a shot at actually being early. Think of how good that will feel! That’s the power of knowing what you know and knowing it.

So next time you catch yourself in one of these little lies, ask yourself: Don’t I KNOW this is really BS? Don’t I KNOW nothing good will come from ignoring this knowledge? And do I KNOW the power of DOING the right thing instead of believing the lie?

Knowingly,

-Alan

An important P.S.: There are two more powerful lie-busting strategies you can use. I wrote this blog a while back, but more recently I expanded on this blog, dedicating an entire Episode of Crusher™TV to this topic, and in it I shared more ways to slay this habit of self-sabotage.

It’s Episode 100, The Self-Sabotage of Lies and Loopholes, and below is the preview of that episode.

What’s Crusher™TV? It’s not just a weekly online TV show that teaches ways to have more control in your life. It’s a LIBRARY of over 95 20-minute videos teaching ways to beat procrastination, get prioritized, get organized, manage your time, and more. You might get a lot out of watching the entire Episode 100, The Self-Sabotage of Lies and Loopholes, where I dig deeper into this topic. (To watch full episodes you can become a member for a buck and cancel any time you like, but either way, you can preview that episode by clicking the image below.

Episode Description: We lie to ourselves all day long: “I’ll remember it – no need to write it down.” “I’ll do that later, for sure!” But little lies and “loopholes” can cause big trouble. I’ll share 3 Loophole-Killing Hacks that’ll help you stop the self-sabotage. And we’ll be joined by coach/therapist Eric Tivers.

 

 

Bless!

ab

Alan P Brown CrusherTVAlan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to get more done in less time with less stress. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Alternative ADHD Treatment: Stop Losing and Forgetting

LineOfSightWe ADDers tend to forget important things and lose important stuff. Not just misplacing a business card and forgetting to water the plants – but misplacing the car and forgetting to feed the kids! The culprit is weak working memory: inability to temporarily store and call up info.

A Built-In ADHD Alternative Treatment Solution

Sure, medication, diet, exercise can help us mitigate that weak working memory. But we have a kind of built-in natural, alternative ADHD treatment solution: Our unique way of seeing the world. See, we ADDers tend to be visual-spatial thinkers — we learn and handle information better visually and with pictures than with our ears and through text. Knowing this relative strength can help us with our weakness for losing and forgetting.

For ADDers, Seeing is Remembering

Putting something in a drawer or in a pile –- and therefore out of sight — is the same as burying it in the Sahara. It’s not just ‘out of sight, out of mind’, it’s ‘out of sight, out of EXISTENCE.’ So we ADDers must do everything we can to keep important and easily-lost items IN OUR LINE OF SIGHT.

Therefore, associate every losable item with an easily VISIBLE SPACE that it will call home. Good example is an “entrance center” near the front door. When you get home, keys, glasses, phone, umbrella, etc., all go there. It’s a table or a cabinet or just a cleared space on the dining room table. It also of course functions as an “exit” center for when you head out.

An Action Step to Help You Stop Losing/Forgetting

Here’s an Action Step from ADD Crusher™ Video I, Way 5, that takes less than 10 minutes and will help you stop losing your stuff…and your mind!

 

 

Finally, go back through the list and with each item and location, call up the mental picture of it — really visualize each in your mind’s eye: the keys on the hook, the remote in the tray, etc.

When you can see them IN YOUR MIND’S EYE in their proper place, and also WITH THE TWO EYES IN YOUR HEAD, you’re on your way!

And if you like simple, evidence-based tips and strategies to help you (or a loved one) manage your ADHD, then you will love the award-winning ADD Crusher™ multi-media program, which is endorsed by over 100 ADHD coaches around the world. And here’s an opportunity to get the program at 25% off: Just go to ADDCrusher.com and use promo code BLOG25 to get that steep discount. It’s 100% effective, with a 100% money-back guarantee.

Bless,

Alan

P.S. Be sure to forward this to anyone you know who might have a losing/forgetting handicap — whether ADHD or not! ab

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Memory Tips for the ADHD Brain, Part 1

1I’m still a criminal. I admit it. In my dark, pre-ADHD-diagnosis past, I was a grand larcenist. But the only things I steal these days are magazines. From doctors’ waiting rooms. And a while back, while waiting for my ADHD meds prescription, I took a five-finger discount on a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine on the subject of memory. Just leafing through it I got a million ideas for #CrusherTips (on Twitter), Facebook posts and, of course, blog topics. So here’s the first of what will be a series of blogs on memory and the ADHD brain.

In ADD Crusher™ Video I, I teach the power of using our unique ADHD way of seeing the world – visually and spatially – to stop losing and forgetting things. It’s prefaced by the fact that we adult ADDers so often lose and forget things because of our weak working memory. And this report, called simply, “Memory”, yields tons of scientific background for buttressing that weak memory.

 

In the last few decades, we’ve gone way beyond the simple notion of long- and short-term memory as its key types. We now distinguish four types of memory:

  • Episodic: Ability to remember personal experiences – a recent phone conversation or a movie you saw last week.
  • Semantic: Ability to store and receive general knowledge and facts – the number of days in a year…the names of the planets in our solar system.
  • Procedural: Ability to learn skills that will then be performed automatically or with little conscious effort – like riding a bike or driving a car.
  • Working: Ability to pay attention, focus and keep needed info in short-term memory, like a phone number or directions to a party.

As mentioned above, we ADDers suck at the latter type. But, as the Johns Hopkins report says, even if all your memory types are working well, “some memories will be stored and recalled more easily than others.” For instance, those with an emotional component (you’ll never forget where you were on September 11, 2001), or those that are recognized as most important. Or those related to something already stored. These three areas represent tricks Crusher teaches in both the videos and audio companions, and that we’ll recap perhaps in the next installment on memory. But meantime, here are some simple memory tips for ADHD offered or inspired by my stolen materials:

1. Say it out loud. We’ve all heard the trick for remembering names as “make sure you say, ‘Nice to meet you, ROBERT!!’ – you’ll be more likely to remember his name!” Well, this also applies to things you need to remember to do, e.g., “I will turn off the oven in five minutes!”

2. Visualize it. We ADDers tend to be visual-spatial thinkers, so when we associate something we need to remember with a visual or dimensional cue, we’re more likely to remember it. The obvious application is in remembering names: “Bob Taylor is a tailor with a sewing machine that bobs as it sews.”

3. Gamify it. More than anyone, we love to have fun, and it’s easy to create games around remembering things. For instance, you have a short list of items to get from the store. Create a game for remembering them. Maybe you’ll match each item to a part of your body. Or you’ll create a word out of the first letters of each item.

4. Don’t sweat it. Remembering things takes concentration, and concentration is made more difficult when we’re stressed. The more relaxed we are in approaching a task, a problem, or the need to remember something, the more powerfully our brain performs. So don’t tense up with worry about not remembering – just stay cool and get ‘er done.

keep-calm-and-crush-it-ADHD

I have a lot more to say about memory, and will do so in upcoming blogs. I also have a lot more magazines to steal from doctors’ offices – so I have to go now and make my next appointment.

Crush on!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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Eight ADHD Myths — Crushed

Not for nothin’, Crusher believes in facts. Erroneous beliefs about ADHD are fueled by ignorance, emotion and plain ol’ BS. And we all have a stake in promoting scientific fact, because myths stunt advancement of knowledge and discourage people from seeking help. With this in mind, here are some of the most common ADHD myths, and the myth-crushing facts that we all need to make sure the world knows…

Myth #1: There’s no such thing as ADD/ADHD – it’s a pharma conspiracy to make $$$ from us inattentives.

  • Myth-Crusher: It’s real. It’s documented. It’s accepted by the medical profession at the highest levels. If your doctor is not among the enlightened, switch to a reality-based one. Meantime, here’s a good primer on the topic.

Myth #2: It’s is a new phenomenon.

  • Myth-Crusher: ADHD kids are cited back to 1845. Our culture of gadgets and mega-multitasking didn’t start it. Harvard’s David Urion says, “People have this idea we live in a world that causes ADHD.” While of course one shouldn’t text and drive, “for a harbor pilot bringing a four-masted sailing vessel into Boston Harbor, paying attention was a good idea then, too.”

Myth #3: Only the USA uses medication for it.

  • Myth-Crusher: An NIMH study of data from 1993 to 2003 says while the US remained by far the leading consumer of ADHD medications, other high-income countries, particularly Canada and Australia, had significant increases in medication use, and that more countries have begun to use them — from 31 in 1993 to 55 in 2003. Surely many, many more by now.

Myth #4: Poor Parenting Causes ADHD.

  • Myth-Crusher: While poor parent management (being critical, negative) can exacerbate ADHD and increase risk of comorbidities, the fact is, genetics account for 80% of the variance in ADD symptoms. It’s worth noting that the belief that symptoms are intentional and controllable often results in harsh, punitive parenting practices.

Bad Parenting ADHD

 

Myth #5: Medication is the only treatment option that works – nothing else helps.

  • Myth-Crusher: the most authoritative voices (Barkley, Ratey, Hallowell, etc.) will tell you that medication can be the single most impactful remedy. BUT they ALSO say it’s not the ONLY treatment option, and that meds can have greater impact with the addition of other practices. Just beware of BS miracle claims.

BTS ADHD1

 

Myth #6: ADHD meds are mind-control that turn people into zombies & junkies.

  • Myth-Crusher: Actually, it can be just the opposite. Having UN-treated ADD increases risk that an individual will abuse drugs or alcohol. Proper treatment reduces that risk. And ADHD meds have on balance been proven safe/effective for 50+ years. (And NO, Crusher is not a tool of Pharma. Just the messenger.)

zombie-warning

 

Myth #7: ADHD affects only boys.

  • Myth-Crusher: Girls are just as likely as boys to have ADHD, though they tend to be less hyperactive. And as a result, girls are less likely to be diagnosed and treated. Some research also suggests higher rates of overall distress, anxiety and depression in ADHD girls. Read this previous Crusher blog that expands on these sad stats.

Myth #8: Kids with ADHD eventually outgrow their condition.

  • Myth-Crusher: More than 70% of childhood ADHD cases continue into adolescence. Up to 50% will continue into adulthood. And of the up to 6% of the adult population with ADHD, the majority remain undiagnosed, only one in four seeking treatment. Without help, these adults are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, to name a few. More sad stats at another Crusher blog.

Well, that’s enough myth-crushing for one sitting. Don’t “myth” the next Crusher blog!

– Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a library of over 100 videos teaching hacks and strategies that “unleash the power of your unique brain” to beat procrastination, get prioritized and take control of your time. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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The Relationship of ADHD and Substance Abuse

Recently I blogged about the power of AWARENESS as an ADHD alternative treatment. Awareness of the impact of diet…of the full range of treatment options…of the damage of unchecked negative self-talk…of your own strengths and weaknesses, etc. All things that can empower you if you have greater awareness. Well, you can add to that list, awareness of the frightening statistical friendship of ADHD and substance abuse. Once again, I’ve listened to an archived show on Attention Talk Radio – this time, an interview with clinical psychologist Dr. David Teplin – and come away with a must-write blog on substance abuse as one of the top adult ADHD symptoms.

Some Hallucination-Inducing ADHD Statistics

Did you know that those with ADHD are six times more at risk for substance abuse than the general population, and will suffer with the abuse for a longer time? It gets uglier…

  • Up to 45% of adults with ADHD are alcohol abusers.
  • Up to one third abuse illegal drugs.
  • Between 35% and 71% of all alcoholics are also ADHD!
  • Between 15% and 25% of drug abusers are also ADHD.
  • ADHD adults are disproportionately represented among patients in treatment centers (not to mention also among the prison population, which I blogged about from the 2012 ADHD Coaches Organization conference).

Wow, not lookin’ so good for us!! And that’s not all – don’t forget all the behavioral issues that result from these abuses: drunken driving, arrests, failed relationships, poor career prospects…and on and on. As if the ADHD alone weren’t bad ENOUGH!!!

But wait! There’s more! Then we of course have to contend with the frequent ADD/ADHD co-morbidities of anxiety, depression, bi-polar, oppositional defiance disorder, and so on – that make matters worse, as well as confounding proper diagnosis and treatment.

Substance Abuse Kid

WHAT is Going ON Here?!?

Well, as a former alcohol and drug abuser myself, I’m not surprised at all these ugly stats and the isolation of substance abuse as one of the most prevalent adult ADHD symptoms.

Looking back at my teen years, it’s pretty clear how I got my start. They say marijuana is the gateway drug – but I feel regular old cigarettes are a bigger gateway for ADDers. And sure enough, we ADDers start smoking earlier that the average kid smoker – and are less likely to quit. And the gateway effect is aided and abetted by the gravitation to permissive peers and like-minded others who’ll accept us and our behaviors, making for a snowball effect. Here are some of the why’s that Dr. Teplin touched on…

  • Both we ADDers and substance abusers tend to lack sufficient amounts of dopamine. Abuse, just like all risky behaviors, counters that dopamine deficit. (Hmmm. Is THAT why they call it dope?)
  • Nicotine is a mild stimulant. Its mild ‘upper’ effect probably contributes to the attraction and difficulty in quitting.
  • Alcohol and marijuana are both depressants that might have a calming effect on hyperactivity.
  • As ADHD sufferers, we’re likely to be defined as failing, outcasts, not up to par – all great reasons to go have a drink!

But back to the awareness lesson here. Whether or not we are grappling with some substance, having the knowledge about this dysfunctional relationship can help our overall mission of greater understanding, facing new challenges – and maybe even equip us to help a fellow ADDer in need. If someone you suspect of having attention disorders also has this most pernicious of adult ADHD symptoms, approach gently….Bless!!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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Natural ADHD Treatment via 6 Executive Functions

Executive Function – “EF” – is quite the fashionable phrase the last few years. But what does it really mean, and what does it mean in terms of natural ADHD treatment strategies or to better understanding ourselves?

Fact is, as Dr. Russell Barkley recently pointed out in an interview on Attention Talk Radio, there’ve been too many definitions floating around out there, and no definitive one. But his new book seeks to wrap this matter up in a neater bow for us ADDers.

Executive Function: 6 Tools for ADHD Success

He breaks down EF into six ‘mind tools’ that together make for a kind of Swiss Army knife for adult ADHD. They go a little something like this:

  1. Self-Restraint: Ability to inhibit your automatic actions/reactions.
  2. Self-Awareness: Ability to monitor yourself and what you’re doing.
  3. Hindsight Informing Foresight: Ability to visualize past imagery and make better-informed choices.
  4. Self-Speech: Ability to talk to yourself privately with instructions.
  5. Self-Regulation of Emotions: Ability to control your emotional state, a natural ADHD treatment that requires practice! Take it from me!
  6. Problem-Solving: Ability to play with ideas in your mind to create constructive solutions.

For me, each one of these is a juicy box of possible topics to riff on – cuz each conjures one or more ADHD alternative treatment strategies that are either somehow expressed in the ADD Crusher™ videos, or that I’ve begun writing/developing for future Crusher™ videos. So if I were to let loose on all of these, I’d write a freakin’ book. I’ll spare both of us and, for now, just talk about Self-Restraint and how understanding it can be put to work for us.

If self-restraint is the opposite of impulsiveness, then we ADDers reaaallly suck at it. Even a cursory look at the role of impulsivity in the ADDer’s life explains much of the pain in our often tortured existence.

  • It’s the unintentially offending remark that alienates a friend or acquaintance.
  • It’s the poorly considered – or the NOT-AT-ALL considered – purchase of something we don’t need…and the financial woes that result.
  • It’s the walking out of the house without our keys…or phone…or child.

The Pause That Refreshes

These are all areas where a PAUSE could be enough self-restraint to mitigate the bad results. Yes, the pause is the thing. If you could pause to first consider the impact of your words, you’d have the opportunity to edit them. If you could pause to first consider how stupid buying that motorcycle is right now, you might recall that you just bought one last week. If you could pause to inventory your important personal items, tasks, family members, etc. In other words, you could change the course of what follows.

This raises two questions. One, if I’m inherently impulsive, how the @#$%$ am I supposed to remember to pause?!? And two, even if it occurs to me to pause, what do I do in that pause to make things any better?

How to Cause the Pause

We’re gonna need an external cue that reminds us at the appropriate time to pause – or at least to be ready to pause. And here’s the cue: entrance/exit. If you were able to associate the idea of entrance and/or exit with preparedness to pause, you’d be much more likely to do so and reap the benefits of self-restraint. And by this I mean both literal and figurative entrances/exits. To wit:

  • When you enter a room full of people or enter into a conversation or argument, this is your cue to pause and be prepared to exercise self-restraint.
  • When you enter a store or enter an e-commerce website, this is your cue to pause and ask yourself if you’re about to make an impulsive purchase.
  • When you exit your house, that doorway is your cue to pause and pat down your body to be sure you have everything you need; and when you exit your car, before you slam that locked door or trunk lid shut, pause to make sure your keys are firmly in your hand.

Awareness of how exective function plays into life’s successes and failures is one of the natural ADHD treatments utilized by the great coaches.

Stop…Feel…Go!

And you can see in the above examples the answer to the second pause-related question – i.e, once you’ve caused the pause, you need to execute what I call Stop/Feel/Go. You stop your motion to feel your emotions, feel your surroundings or literally feel your pockets/keys/phone – and only then permit yourself to go forth.

Stop Feel Go ADHD Solution

 

I’ve been doing and teaching this for years – but listening to Barkley made me realize this is absolutely foundational to strong Executive Function. Thanks, Dr. Barkley!

-Alan

P.S.  If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab

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