Hacking Your ADHD

By William Curb

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 Oct 9, 2019
Listened to all 3 immediately upon learning they were up from the ADHD Rewired community. Then, repeated... seriously around 3x each or more. Because, while they are short, they are packed with good info - some I've known about and some not (but regardless of knowing some, it still seems to take about 45x of relearning to *get* it). And also, ADHD...get distracted, lose track, rewind, start over. 🙄😂 So, thanks dude! Well worth the wait! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼💯

Description

ADHD can be a struggle, but it doesn't always have to be. Every Monday, join William Curb, as he explores ways that you can work with your ADHD brain to do more of the things you want to do. If you have ADHD or someone in your life does and you want to get organized, get focused and get motivated then this podcast is for you. Part of the ADHD reWired Podcast Network.

Episode Date
How to Find a Therapist
967

This week I'm bringing back an episode from the archives while I'm working on getting some new content put together.

One of the hardest aspects for me with ADHD is that I can quickly become overwhelmed when I can't find a clear path forward - I know I could do the research, but setting aside the time feels like it's going to be too much and so I just procrastinate forever on starting. For me finding a therapist was one of those things that seemed too murky to get started on. There were just so many things to consider and so many things that I don't know. Not only did I not know where to start, but I also didn't even know what questions I should be asking. In my mind, I knew it would be good for me, but the process just seemed too hard to get started on.

Today, we're going to work on clearing a path on how to find a therapist - we'll be looking into a few kinds of therapy and what we can expect to get out of therapy - and of course, we'll also be walking through how we actually find a therapist that is the right fit for us.

Find show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/findatherapist

Hacking Your ADHD around the web:

This Episode's Top Tip

  1. Find out what your insurance will cover and go from there. If you don't have insurance or it isn't covered, there are still a lot of options like University Clinics, Online Therapy, Group Therapy, and therapy offered in your community. For help finding a therapist check out psychologytoday.com/therapists
  2. The most common type of therapy for ADHD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing your automatic thoughts. Another common therapy practice for ADHD is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which focuses more on behavior patterns and mindfulness. Talk therapy is another common type of therapy, although it isn't specifically tailored to ADHD.
  3. When you go to your first session make sure you have a list of questions for your therapist - finding the right therapist is critical for you getting the most out of your therapy sessions.
Sep 20, 2021
How to Plan Your Day
1081

While working on the last episode on laziness, one of the themes that came up was how we can become paralyzed when we don't know what our next step is - this can often be seen as laziness from other people or even ourselves. We know we should be doing something, we just don't know what. And this is where the importance of planning comes in.

Today we're going to focus on how to plan our day because it's easy to let our days get away from ourselves when we don't plan them. It feels like we shouldn't need to do our planning because that's what we were going to do anyway. But planning lets us look ahead and fix problems before they come up. It lets us choose what we want to do with our time instead of just always putting out fires.

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/dailyplanning

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. When we don't know what to do next we can get paralyzed with indecision from a lack of executive function - we can help alleviate some of this paralysis through planning.
  2. While doing our initial planning it's important that we also set aside time to regularly do our planning. If we don't build planning time into our schedule it's easy for us to skip doing it.
  3. When planning it's important that we're not just scheduling things on our to-do lists but our breaks and things that bring us joy.
Sep 13, 2021
The Myth of Lazy
1038

In last week's episode, I talked about the Hot-Cold Empathy Gap and how it can be hard for us to really remember or predict how our state is going to affect our actions - one of the consequences of this is that we often label ourselves as lazy when we didn't do something. Our cold state brain tells us that we should have just done the thing, all the while neglecting how we felt. This disconnect is what leads to a lot of our self-judgment and in particular, those of us with ADHD often find ourselves labeling ourselves as lazy.

Why didn't I walk the dogs?

I was feeling lazy - or maybe I feel overwhelmed with work or maybe I couldn't find the leashes.

When we don't do something it's easy to label it as lazy, but often that doesn't tell us what was really going on.

Today we're going to be exploring the idea of lazy and how what we might want to start looking at it a bit differently.

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/lazymyth

Sep 06, 2021
Why We Make Decisions We Don't Understand
848

Why do we make bad decisions in the moment?

We've all done things that we regret doing right? yeah me, neither - but let's say hypothetically there was something that we regretted doing - something that we said or did that we feel like doesn't really reflect on as a person.

Why is it I can have the best of intentions and still when it comes time I still make the wrong decision?

Today we're going to be exploring the hot-cold empathy gap and why it can be so difficult for us to predict what we're actually going to do in the moment.

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/empathygap

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. The hot-cold empathy gap occurs when we fail to predict how our emotions are going to affect our decision-making when we're in that state.
  2. This doesn't only apply to things like being angry or depressed but can also apply to our motivation or energy levels. Our ADHD can easily let us overcommit on projects because we fail to predict that we might have less drive and motivation when it comes time to actually do the task.
  3. We can work on mitigating some of the effects of the hot-cold empathy gap by making the decisions we want to make easier to make in the moment. We can also use tools like accountability and breaking down our tasks to keep us on track.



Aug 30, 2021
The Trap of Low Quality Leisure Time
931

Hey team, good news, I am finally over Covid - it took me a bit longer than I would have liked but I'm healthy again and ready to get back at things.

This is an episode that I started working on before I got sick, and one of the areas that we had been looking into was that of planning and goal setting. So I thought it was time to shift a bit onto an area that we often forget about - leisure time.

Now, I want to be clear here, leisure time is not in opposition to goals and planning, in fact, it's just as important to our well-being. There are a myriad of health benefits we get from taking time off work, but not all leisure activities are equal.

In this week's episode, we're going to be looking at how we can work on reframing the ways we look at our free time, how we can be a little more intentional with how we're spending that time, and then look at a few of the things we can do to make that time, time well spent.

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/leisure

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. You don't have to earn your time off - denying ourselves real leisure time because we "didn't earn it" is counterproductive only leads to burnout.
  2. Don't rely on discipline to keep yourself from falling into low-quality leisure time like scrolling social media - use blocks on your phone to divert yourself from the path of least resistance.
  3. Our five pillars of quality leisure time are: 
    1. Prioritize doing, over consuming
    2. Prioritize things that take some skill to do
    3. Think about making something
    4. Seek activities that foster social interaction
    5. Prioritize Self-Care



Aug 23, 2021
The Wall of Awful with Brendan Mahan
1170

We've all got things that we think we should be able to just do - for example, I've had on my to-do list for weeks to make a phone call to the bank - it won't even take that long, but I keep putting it off. I keep finding reasons not to do it - what I've done is I've created a wall of awful around making this phone call (really most phone calls) and the more I put it off the more it builds it up. Today we've got Brendan Mahan from ADHD Essentials to explain what the Wall of Awful is and some ways that we can work on getting past it.

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Find the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/wallofawful

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. The Wall of Awful is the emotional impact of repeated failure and it makes activating on tasks even more difficult
  2. While our wall starts off being built up with failure bricks, it is also built with things like disappointment, rejection, and shame. It doesn't matter if these bricks are based in reality, it matters how you perceive them.
  3. There are 5 ways people try to get past the Wall of Awful, two don't work, one works, but is damaging to our relationships, and then two that work - the two that don't work are staring at it or trying to go around it - the one that works but is damaging is trying to hulk smash through the wall - the two that work that we want to focus on are climbing the wall and putting a door in our wall
  4. Climbing the wall is about sitting with the emotion that built up our wall and understanding what's stopping us - it can often look like staring at the wall, but it's more about gearing yourself up to get over the wall
  5. Putting a door in the wall is about changing your emotional state so that you can get past the wall - it could be doing things like taking a walk, listening to some energizing music, or watching a funny TV show to brighten your mood. Make sure that when you are trying to put that door in that you aren't actually just trying to go around the wall - it's easy to let that one TV show turn into four because you were just looking for a way to procrastinate.
Aug 16, 2021
Building Gratitude
1176

One of the hottest trends to come out of the self-help world over the last few years is gratitude. And it's no surprise, gratitude has been found to be one of the greatest indicators of overall well-being. I'm usually pretty skeptical about things that get hyped quite as much as gratitude has been - I mean when you see the list of things that a gratitude practice can help with it's pretty easy to roll your eyes. I mean can gratitude really do all those things that people say it can?

Today we'll be exploring the mechanisms that make gratitude work - and also perhaps tempering some of the hype around it - then we'll be looking at ways we can find things to be grateful in our lives as well as looking at some ways that we can start a gratitude practice.

And I'll admit, this episode is a little less ADHD-focused - but gratitude was something that was on my mind, for reasons that I get into during the episode. And so even though this episode is a little less ADHD specific I still think everyone can get a lot out of it.

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/gratitude

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Gratitude is showing thanks and appreciation and it has a tremendous impact on our brains. Gratitude can help us release build our relationships, regulate stress, improve sleep quality, build self-esteem and make us happier.
  2. One way we can practice gratitude is through mindfulness and seeing all the things in our lives that are going right. It's easy for us to latch onto the negative things that happen during our day. We'll miss all the things that went right because when things go according to plan they can often become invisible.
  3. We can also practice gratitude by journaling or writing a letter to someone in our lives that has greatly impacted us.
Aug 09, 2021
How To Save Time with Sequencing
1046

Sequencing is all about the order in which we do things. Sometimes it seems like it doesn’t matter what comes first, but also try putting your pants on after you put on your shoes.

Sequencing is something I’ve come to realize is a big deal with ADHD. The order in which we do things has a big impact on our overall productivity, but more than that, some of our other issues with ADHD make the sequence in which we do things much more important.

Today we're going to be exploring how the order we do things is important for our ADHD brains and then we'll be looking at some ways that we can use sequencing to our advantage.

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/sequencing

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Sequencing is order in which we do things and it matters because it can have a big impact on how we remember things and execute our plans.
  2. Planning can help with our ability to sequence things properly - one technique that can be especially helpful in making sure we don't forget steps is to start our planning from the end and working our way backwards.
  3. Part of sequencing is making sure that we're paying attention to tasks that will get us off track and making sure we're not putting those right before things we actually want to do.
  4. Batching tasks is a great way to make sure we're not getting ourselves off track - but remember we don't have to an entire batch at once, we can still break batches into reasonable chunks.
Aug 02, 2021
Beyond Time Management
855

Hey team, I'm going to be taking a little time off in August and I thought that I'd dredge up a few episodes from the archives.

Today we're going to be hitting on an idea that has been a reoccurring theme in the last few episodes and that's personal energy management.

While many of us have realized that we only have so much time in our day, we tend to still believe that we're going to have the same amount of energy from sun up to sundown. But we know this isn't true. Our energy levels vary throughout the day and if we want to be getting the most out of our days we have to try and work with these rhythms of energy.

Today we're going to be discussing how we can work on creating our schedules around when we do have energy instead of just when we've got a free spot on the calendar. We'll be looking at some of the different areas of energy management as well as how our energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. And we'll also spend a little time on how you can make a little more energy.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/energymanagement

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Energy management is about realizing it's not just about how many hours you have in the day, but also how much energy you've got during the day.
  2. Your energy levels are going to fluctuate up and down throughout the day, and if you want to get the most out of your schedule try scheduling your most important tasks during your high energy times, preferably early in the day.
  3. Limit your commitments so that you have enough time to work on the projects that are important to you.
  4. If you're low on energy try having some water or a healthy snack - you can also try to change your state by listening to some music or going on a short walk.

Jul 26, 2021
Celebrating Your Wins
962

I want to start this episode off by saying that this is something I'm bad at - and not in the sense that what I do to celebrate is bad or that I'm not celebrating the small wins throughout my day. It's bad in the sense that I almost entirely skip the whole thing.

Recently this podcast tipped past half a million downloads. That's a pretty big milestone and is pretty indicative of how successful this endeavor has been. But it was barely a blip for me. I didn't want to acknowledge the success because it can be hard for me to acknowledge when I do things well.

So this episode is as much for me as it is for all of you and in this episode, we're going to be exploring what it means to have small wins and also how we can celebrate them.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/winning

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Celebrating our wins is a way to boost our confidence and it will actively encourage us to seek out that same success again.
  2. We can differentiate intrinsic and extrinsic motivation by thinking of intrinsic as what to do because it's interesting and inherently satisfying. Extrinsic motivation comes from rewards or from avoiding punishment. Both can be important parts of how we celebrate our success.
  3. Start celebrating your wins by acknowledging when they happen and then letting yourself do something fun to celebrate that success.
  4. Don't get down on yourself when the wins aren't coming - we're not always going to have smooth sailing, but only focusing on what didn't happen tends to make us overlook all the good things that did happen.
Jul 19, 2021
Meeting Yourself Where You're At
1014

As we've been working on goals one place I want us to take a step back on and think about is meeting ourselves where we are.

As we get going with our planning we tend to decide that well we want to do all of the things. And I mean why not, there are a lot of things that I want to do, if I don't start now, when am I going to start? I can't tell you how many ill-fated adventures I've started because of that whole "if not now, when?" line - there are so many things that I should be investing my time in now. I need to be meditating and exercising more and eating healthier and saving money and work on business and building my relationships and learning new skills and on and on and on.

I'm sure everyone listening has that list of things they know that they should be starting on now because the sooner the better results you'll see down the line. But we're not starting on them... or when we do we don't stick with the changes.

Today we're going to be looking at what it means to meet ourselves where we're at and then some of the ways that we can work on making that happen.\

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/whereyoureat

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. We only have so much time and energy we can put into any given day - giving ourselves the self-compassion to accept this is our first step in meeting ourselves where we're at.
  2. When we're trying to add things back into our life that we've previously done it can feel like we picked up the wrong puzzle pieces and this is because we often don't think about how our circumstances have changed. Just because we did something before doesn't mean it will be necessarily easy for us to just pick right back up.
  3. After we approach what we're capable of with self-compassion we need to decide on some of the things that we're not going to do. This gives us the mental space to focus on the things we can do right now.
  4. Celebrate your small wins because they are the stepping stones to reaching your goals.
Jul 12, 2021
When to Quit
1126

The first thing we've got to understand is that when we ask, when should I quit? We're also asking, when should I persevere? And they often serve as the same answer - I should quit when it doesn't make sense to keep going. I keep going when it doesn't make sense to quit. Unfortunately is really easy to get those messages mixed up and with ADHD we've all got a trail of unfinished projects and ideas that are weighing us down every time we need to make this decision again.

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/whentoquit

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. We've got to give up the notion that winners never quit. Persistence doesn't guarantee success - we can persist at the wrong things forever and never make progress.
  2. There are two curves we've got to look for when starting something new - the dip and the cul-de-sac. A cul-de-sac is a dead end. The dip is the point where things start to get hard - we've got to stop quitting things when they get hard and embrace the dip.
  3. We'll often stick out things we should quit. There are a lot of reasons that we might stick something out like the sunk cost fallacy or the planning fallacy. Regardless of why we're sticking around, once we realize that we're in a dead-end we've got to accept that we need to quit and try something new.
Jul 05, 2021
Five Frameworks to Build Powerful Goals
965

Last week dove into how goals work and the science behind them - now we're going to be taking all of that and looking at how we can better create our goals through simple frameworks. A lot of these frameworks come from a business setting, but with a little tweaking, we can absolutely make them work for personal use as well.

Today we're going to be looking at a few of the different frameworks we can use for our goal setting as well as hitting the why behind setting those goals.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. You can make them SMARTER by adding a step to Evaluate our goals and then to Readjust them.
  2. Using the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework, we're looking for the specific things that we can do every day that will naturally lead us to reaching our goals.
  3. A big, hairy, audacious goal is something that exists on a large time frame and will push us out of our comfort zone. We can use these big goals to help guide our thinking behind the other goals we're setting.
  4. Ikigai is the Japanese ideology of finding the joy of life through purpose. We can use this idea to help create the kinds of big goals that are going to have real meaning behind them.
Jun 28, 2021
Freshening Up Your Goals
864

As we continue to think about our fresh start one clear area that we're going to hit is that of, well what should we even be focusing on. That's where goal setting comes into play and while I did touch on this in the original fresh start episode, I think it's worth giving more consideration.

When we think about goals there's a ton of different ways to think about them, but at their basics, a goal is simply a future result that you are directing your effort. Now there are a lot of different ways that we can go about setting those goals and we'll get into that more next week when I go through some of the various frameworks. But before we get into those frameworks it's important to understand how goals actually work and why we even want to set them.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/freshstartgoals

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. There are 4 mechanisms we need to keep in mind when trying to complete our goals, those are focus, effort, persistence, and strategy.
  2. We can think of goals fitting into three broad categories - outcome, performance, and process. Outcome and performance goals focus on things we can measure and process goals focus on the things that we do.
  3. With an any benefit approach to our goals we're going to end up trying to focus on doing everything - instead, we need to prioritize those things that are most important and do them before we even think about those lower priority goals.
Jun 21, 2021
Fresh Start: The Deep Clean
901

One of the things I never quite got a grasp on is seasons... I mean I grew up in Hawaii and we basically had hot and not quite as hot. But this comes up for me because technically we're still in Spring right now so I guess this could still be a Spring Cleaning episode - officially Summer starts on the Solstice in June on the 20th... so I made in by like a week if you're listening to this when it comes out.

Regardless of if this is Spring Cleaning or not, cleaning can be a great way to signal the start of something new. We all get used to the mess in our space and freshening things up can not only signal the start of something new but also shift our mindset.

Today I'll be exploring the benefits of cleaning, how we can update our space, some tips on accountability, and then get into a few of the specific things that you can do.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/freshstartcleaning

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. You can help spur your fresh start by rearranging your space - this doesn't have to be a big move, but sprucing up your environment can help it feel new and like you are starting fresh.
  2. Getting rid of our old stuff can help lift mental burdens and take care of old open loops. Our accumulated stuff often carries more mental weight than we really know.
  3. To help keep on track during cleaning make sure you create some accountability. It can be a great way to help you follow through with your planning and also in the moment through body doubling.
  4. Leave yourself notes as to where you left off in your cleaning so when you come back you can pick it back up without having to try and figure out what you were trying to do. While it may seem like we wouldn't forget, it's easy to lose track of where we were at in our plans.
Jun 14, 2021
Get Going With A Fresh Start
918

In just one more month we're going to be coming up on the halfway point of 2021 — I know, I have no idea how it got here either.

But with this mark in time we're starting to see a shift going on - while COVID certainly isn't a thing of the past, the vaccine role out has opened up a lot of possibilities for what we want our future to look like.

At the end of 2020, I did some planning for 2021, but I knew that a lot of it was going to be uncertain so I didn't make too many specific plans. But now that I'm getting a better grasp of what the future might hold — although let's be honest, with ADHD we're always going to have a lot of uncertainty — I felt like it was time to go over those plans again and maybe give myself a fresh start.

In this episode, we're going to be talking about the fresh start effect, go over some stuff on planning, and how we can work on sticking to those plans.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/freshstart

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Fresh starts can help us let go of our past performance and embrace our new self.
  2. We can effectively create motivation with financial incentives, but often that isn't enough for us to follow through on some of the things that we really do want to do. We also need to create reminders and a plan on how we want to accomplish our goals.
  3. Don't try and do all the new things at once - pace yourself and create a plan on what you want to do first. Try and focus on doing the things that by doing them will make everything else easier.
  4. We need to be flexible with our plans because we are going to hit speed bumps - while we can't plan for everything we can work on ways to help us get back up when we get knocked down.
Jun 07, 2021
Exploring ADHD with Eric Tivers
1793

This week I'm talking with Eric Tivers - the host of the ADHD reWired Podcast and the head of our podcast network. He just opened up a new membership community for something called Adult Study Hall, which is an online accountability program to help you get stuff done. The way it works is that you enter a zoom room with a bunch of other people who are working - you state what you are planning to work on and get to it. It is pretty amazing how effective just having someone else there is even if it's just virtually. I actually use Adult Study Halls fairly frequently when I'm working on this podcast.

In this episode, Eric and I talk about planning for the rest of this year, adult study hall, and his upcoming 25th season of reWired Coaching and Accountability groups. Also, there may be something in there about a book, I really wouldn't give it much thought.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/rewired

Register for the upcoming ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability groups at reWiredCoaching.com

May 31, 2021
The Happiness at Work Business with Will Henshall of Focus@Will
1048

In this week's podcast, I continue my conversation with Will Henshall, CEO of the music service Focus@Will

In this part of the interview we talk about how we can use music to affect our state of being → and to jump on this because I realized I didn't really hit this in the interview, by state of being I mean how you are currently experiencing things - so this encompasses your mood, energy level, and your motivation level - okay, back to our intro - we also discuss a number of various ADHD tips and how Focus@Will is really in the happiness at work business.

And if you're wondering you don't have to have listened to the first part of the interview to enjoy this episode - in this part, we focus a lot more on ADHD and some of the ways that you can work with your ADHD to get more out of your day.

You can check out Focus@Will at https://www.focusatwill.com/

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May 24, 2021
Using Music to Create Focus with Will Henshall
994

Whenever I sit down to do some serious writing I always make sure to have something to listen to - music is often a key piece of how I keep myself engaged in the task I'm doing. In today's podcast, I'm going to dig into that idea, by I won't be doing it alone.

Today I'm joined by Will Henshall, CEO of Focus@Will which is kind of like Spotify for concentration music.

In this episode, I talk with Will about how music can be critical in our ability to focus while working, how ADHD brains need a certain level of stimulation to really get engaged, and you'll get a taste of what you might hear on Focus@Will

I had a great time with this interview and I hope you'll enjoy it too.

You can check out Focus@Will at https://www.focusatwill.com/

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May 17, 2021
Habit Challenge: Obey Your Thirst
954

Today we’re going to be talking about a chemical that is responsible for countless deaths worldwide every year - a chemical so ubiquitous that it can be found practically everywhere - in the air, in our homes, and even in our bodies.

I’m of course referring to dihydrogen monoxide or its more common nomenclature H2O

Yes, we’re finally going to be talking about water.

One of the tips I go back to over and over again to help manage ADHD is that of making sure you are properly hydrated. It's absolutely something that I have to constantly remind myself of because it seems just a little too easy. I mean just drinking water shouldn't have that big of an effect right? But as something that makes up 45-75% of your body weight and 80% of your brain composition, it is incredibly important.

Today we'll be going over what hydration means, the importance of staying hydrated, and then some ways that we can be better at making sure we don't get dehydrated.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/hydration


Today's Top Tips

  1. There is no set amount of water that you need to be drinking every day because our water needs are going to vary with things like gender, age, activity level, temperature, humidity, diet, and any medications we're taking. Our best bet is to follow our thirst and keep water available to us throughout the day.
  2. Symptoms of mild dehydration include fatigue, brain fog, headaches, mood swings, and poor decision-making. We can often identify dehydration from dry mouth, chapped skin, or those headaches.
  3. To help us follow our thirst we can work on setting up a mindfulness practice that helps us identify what proper hydration feels like. Track your water intake throughout the day for a few weeks and journal about how you feel when you've been drinking various amounts. Remember we're not trying to hit any number here, we're just trying to find what the right levels are for us.
May 10, 2021
Putting the Hyper in Hypersensitivity
1034

With ADHD we often have trouble filtering things out - we can't ignore the hum of the air conditioner, we can't ignore the scratchy tag on the back of our shirt, we can't ignore the fact it seems like the lady standing next to us in line seem to have marinated herself in perfume.

We don't want to pay attention to these things, but we can't get our brains to focus on what we want to in the best of times, so how do we expect them to when something is calling for our attention so urgently.

Many people with ADHD are hypersensitive (sometimes also called being a highly sensitive person) which means they are simply more sensitive to the things that stimulate our senses. So anything from touch, taste, smell, sound, or things we see. We can also find ourselves overwhelmed with emotions or too much information.

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Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/hypersensitivity 


Today's Top Tips

  1. Many people with ADHD also report being hypersensitive (or being a highly sensitive person), which means that they process certain emotional and/or physical stimuli more intensely or thoroughly than others. It also means that we tend to process more aspects of our environment than other people.
  2. To help limit all the stimuli we receive we can do things like wearing comfortable tagless clothing, using noise-canceling headphones, and use proper lighting to help reduce the number of distractions we get in a day.
  3. Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is extreme emotional sensitivity that can be triggered by the perception of rejection or failure. The intense feelings can even manifest as physical pain. RSD isn't easy to deal with but can be worked on with the understanding that the feelings won't last forever and knowing you can get past them.
May 03, 2021
Tweaking Your Habits for Better Results
866

This week we're going to be exploring the power of habit and how small changes to our routines can have a big impact. One of the easiest ways we can help our ADHD is by working on routines and habits. It's easy to let our default habits run our lives but when we consciously choose what habits we actually want to cultivate we aren't hamstringing ourselves. 

In this episode we'll be learning why we don't need to use discipline nearly as much as we think, the importance of sequencing in our habits and how we can make tweaks in those sequences so that we can change our habits to the ones we actually want.

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Today's Top Tips

  1. Don't rely on discipline, instead use your habits to help you navigate the hard stuff.
  2. Our habits are so ingrained that we don't always realize what we're doing while we're doing them.
  3. Our habits follow the path of least resistance - if you want to change a bad habit, add resistance. If you want to form a new habit, reduce the resistance to that habit.
  4. You can automate processes in your habit sequences so that you aren't relying on discipline.

The ReWired Podcast Network


Apr 26, 2021
Rationalization and the Stories We Tell Ourselves
917

Resistance is the embodiment of the I don't wanna's - the part of us that keeps us from doing our work - or anything for that matter. And a big part of resistance comes from our ability to rationalize what we're doing - I'll jump into one task and find myself doing something else and then my brain will come up with a reason why I needed to be watching youtube instead of working on this week's episode.

In today's episode we're going to be exploring what rationalization is, some of the ways that we do it, and also some of the ways we can start working on reducing the amount of rationalization that we are doing.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Rationalization is our brains attempting to explain or justify our behavior or an attitude with logical reasons. The difference between reasoning and rationalization is that with reasoning we are trying to apply logic to come to a conclusion, when we're rationalizing, we have a conclusion and we're making up reasons for it.
  2. One way we use rationalization is through the stories we are telling ourselves - we come up with reasons to explain why someone is acting the way they are (which we have to because we don't have access to their thoughts) but we're not always very accurate in our assessment as to why people act the way they are acting. We can use the phrase, "the story I'm telling myself" to help navigate the reality of a story.
  3. We also tell stories about ourselves - these are often based in fear and lead us to create more and more rationalizations. Use getting upset as a signal to get curious and explore these stories - and remember that you don't have to do it alone.
  4. One of the easiest ways to make rationalizing harder is to have a clear goal - this means knowing what the goal is and also knowing the reason why behind the goal. Since we have ADHD we've also got to work on making sure that we are creating reminders about what our goals are - just because a goal feels important when we make it doesn't mean we're going to remember why we're doing it 2 weeks from now.
Apr 19, 2021
A Nudge in the Right Direction
872

Making the right choices isn't always easy - we've got so many options of what we can do and when I'm tired I don't want to weigh all my options. It would be great if I could just get a gentle push in the right direction. Something that would make the choice I want to make easier to make.

What I'm talking about here is a nudge and that's what we're going to be talking about today. We'll be learning about what a nudge is, why they work, and when they don't. We'll also be looking at some of the various ways we can nudge ourselves and why it's so important for us to know when someone else might be nudging us.

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This Episode's Top Tips

1. At its basics, nudging is an attempt to change someone's behavior by changing the environment or conditions. A nudge shouldn't alter the incentives, it just makes the option we want to pick the easiest option.
2. Nudges works because our decision-making isn't rational, in reality, we actually usually just take the path of least resistance.
3. We can nudge ourselves in several different ways. One way many of us already use nudges is through reminders. We can also alter our environment (like having a water bottle on our desk to nudge us to drink more water) or we can change our default options (like having our web browsers default to a blank page instead of opening up to countless tabs). 
4. It's important to be aware of nudges because many companies use them to influence our behavior. When we know that we're being nudged we can decide if that's really the decision we want to be making or if there is actually a better option for us.

Apr 12, 2021
The Wandering Mind and Hyperfocus
1288

One of the thoughts I kept coming back to while working on my episode's on multitasking was what it really meant to be multitasking. I settled on using the idea of doing two cognitive tasks at the same time, but that left me with another quandary - what about when I'm doing one thing and just thinking about doing something else. Surely just thinking about something else wouldn't count as multitasking.

But still... There have absolutely been times when I've been thinking about something else and found myself getting engrossed in my thoughts and losing track of conversations or what I was doing. Clearly, my thoughts can play a big role in what I'm doing and if my focus is somewhere else then it certainly isn't here in the present.

Today we're going to explore what our brain is doing here - how our thoughts can kind of run away with us. We'll also be looking at hyperfocus and then bringing together how these things relate.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. The Default Mode Network is a collection of brain regions that are responsible for daydreaming, mind wandering and are primarily active in our wakeful resting state.
  2. In neurotypical brains the Default Mode Network disengages when we start working on task-specific work - this relationship doesn't hold up in ADHD brains and is why we can drift off in thought while trying to do complex tasks.
  3. Hyperfocus is when our concentration engages so much that we kind of just tune out the rest of the world. It can be a double-edged sword, however, because we can also miss cues to eat, use the bathroom and overuse our executive functions, and leave us completely drained when we come out of it.
  4. We can help both our default mode network and our hyperfocus by taking breaks throughout the day. We can go further by using those breaks for positive constructive daydreaming where we let our minds wander with purpose.
Apr 05, 2021
Multitasking Deep Dive Part 2
1246

To recap from last week we learned that are there are three kinds of multitasking - Classic Multitasking where we're trying to perform more than one task at the same time. Rapid task switching where we're just going from one task to another in quick succession. And interrupted task switching where we're interrupted from one task and switch what we're doing without finishing what we were doing.

We also covered how we're more likely to try and multitask with things we're familiar with but how that actually creates more of a cognitive penalty from breaking up our tasks and how we often just don't realize how much concentration we're using to complete a task - as evidenced with how dangerous texting and driving is.

This week we're going to be exploring more of the cognitive and biological costs of multitasking, then get into some specific kinds of multitasking that can really drain us and we'll finish up with some ways we can work on reducing the amount of multitasking we do.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Multitasking has both cognitive and biological costs that accumulate as we do more and more task switching. These costs can be especially hard on those of us with ADHD because they can serve to drain our executive functions.
  2. Multimedia multitasking is one of the worst ways we can multitask because often we're essentially binge multitasking where we multitask for a sustained period and really drain our systems.
  3. One of the biggest appeals to multitasking is that we don't have to prioritize what we're doing, we can just choose to do both. To help stave off multitasking work on knowing what your priorities are and create systems where you can focus on just doing those things.
  4. One of our best defenses against multitasking is mindfulness - if we can be specific about what we want to do and then become aware of what we are doing throughout the day we can help ourselves focus on doing just one thing at a time.
Mar 29, 2021
A Deep Dive Into Multitasking
1167

This week we're going to be deep-diving into multitasking - this is one of those topics that I frequently mention in episodes, but I've never featured before. Not because it doesn't deserve its own episode, but because multitasking is actually a fairly complicated issue and is going to take a bit of time to dissect. So this is actually just going to be my first episode in a series on multitasking and we'll really try and dig into the nitty-gritty of it.

In today's episode, we're going to be talking a bit about what multitasking is and what it isn't - then we'll work on some ways to really drive home the time costs of multitasking and well finish up by looking at some of the ways that multitasking can actually put us in harm's way.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. There are three kinds of multitasking - Classic Multitasking where we're trying to perform more than one task at the same time. Rapid task switching where we're just going from one task to another in quick succession. And interrupted task switching where we're interrupted from one task and switch what we're doing without finishing what we were doing.
  2. When we're talking about multitasking we're primarily concerned with doing two cognitive tasks at the same time that require sustained attention. This means something like walking and listening to a podcast is fine to do because neither carries a huge cognitive load.
  3. We often try to multitask with things that we're already fairly practiced at, but this means that we're going to suffer even more of a penalty as we try to combine doing them with other things.
  4. Don't text and drive - or even just play with your phone while behind the wheel. When we're mentally juggling all of these different things we're dividing our attention and it takes time for us to refocus on what we need to be doing.
Mar 22, 2021
How To Apply What You Learn
1155

One of the questions that I frequently get is how people can actually apply what they're learning - in this podcast and from all the other things we learn. I know this is a particularly pernicious problem for ADHD because often we see things that we think would really make a difference in our lives, and yet we can't seem to get ourselves to apply these ideas.

Today we're going to exploring how we can start working on getting a better understanding of what we're learning, why we might want to start limiting what we're consuming and how to solidify those learnings into our lives.

Check out the next registration event for ADHD reWired's Coaching and Accountability groups on Thursday 2/18 at 1:30 PM CT - coachingrewired.com

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This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. When writing notes from books, podcasts or videos create summaries and write them down in your own words to solidify your learnings.
  2. Be discerning about the media that your taking in so that you don't overwhelm yourself with too many topics. We can only work on a few ideas at any given time, so you've got to be choosy about what you want to work on.
  3. Create a plan to follow through with what you're learning and use an accountability system to help you stay on track with your plan.
Mar 15, 2021
Understanding the ADHD Subtypes
1067

When it comes to understanding our ADHD it can be a bit of a minefield to navigate - one of our most pernicious problems is that often we're never really educated in what it means to have ADHD. And to top that off, what we learn from pop-culture just reinforces stereotypes that don't really reflect what ADHD is actually about.

One of the most important ways to help manage our ADHD is to accept it, but that can be really hard to do if we don't actually have a good grasp of what having ADHD means. So in today's episode, we're going to be diving into the ADHD subtypes (or presentations as it's now being called) → there are the 3 kinds of ADHD that you might be diagnosed with, hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, and combined.

Today we're going to be exploring these presentations of ADHD and working on understanding how this can help define our own ADHD.

Check out the next registration event for ADHD reWired's Coaching and Accountability groups on Thursday 2/18 at 1:30 PM CT - coachingrewired.com

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/subtypes

This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. ADHD is a spectrum disorder, which means that it includes a wide list of conditions and severity which means that your ADHD is just that, yours. No one is going to have the exact same symptoms that you do, so don't worry about comparing yourself to others even if you do resonate with a lot of the stories you hear in the community.
  2. The three presentations of ADHD are Hyperactive-Impulsive, Inattentive, and Combined. We can roughly estimate that about 10% of diagnoses are hyperactive-impulsive, 30% are inattentive, and 60% are combined.
  3. I know this was basically in the first tip, but it bears repeating - we're all going to be ADHDing in our own way - make sure you're not going to struggle with all the same things that everyone else does so focus on what's going to make the biggest difference for you.
Mar 08, 2021
Building Your Touchstones | Listener Q&A
1157

 All right everyone, we've got another listener Q&A episode coming your way today with questions looking at ways we can declutter our phones, re-establishing our routines when life is in flux, and how to recover after taking on a heavier workload.

Be sure to checkout ADHD Diversified with MJ

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Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/buildingtouchstones

This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. A lot of our digital clutter comes from stuff that we just build up over time - one of the easiest ways to reclaim some of that space is to go through and look for those Keepers, Maybes, and Rejects. It's easy to get rid of the keepers in the first step and then go through and decide on the maybes after we've cleared some stuff out.
  2. Once we've clear out that space it's also important to back our data up - and the name of the game while backing up that data is redundancy. I use Google's Cloud service for my first level and then also have an external hard drive that I keep more of my files.
  3. Routines can be really helpful for creating structure for our ADHD brains and so when our structure needs to change for things like school or work we need to look for touchstones in our schedule that we can keep the same and then build out our schedule from there.
  4. Remember that when we're trying to do new things that we're not always going to be 100% successful at implementing our strategies. That doesn't mean that we failed, it's often actually a sign that we're heading off in the right direction. We want to think about iteration and what went well and what didn't and then try and build on that stuff that did work for us.
Mar 01, 2021
Digital Declutter: Tabs, Tabs, And more Tabs
1017

Did you think I was all done with tabs last week... well I wasn't because there's actually a ton we can still talk about. Tabs are one of those small things in our life that can have a fairly outsized impact. Don't think so? Well, keep listening to find out why.

Today we're going to be talking about how tabs can literally change the way our brain works, some ways we can cull having all those tabs open, and then talk a bit about those precursors to tabs... bookmarks.

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This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. Tabs can serve as an easy way to try to multitask - however, multitasking is just task switching. As we switch from task to task to task we're actually decreasing our overall productivity, not increasing it.
  2. Switching tabs can give a hit of dopamine, which only increases our desire to switch tabs more often. We can work on this by being mindful of what kind of tabs we leave open.
  3. A great way to limit tabs is to use services like Pocket or Instapaper that allow us to save articles we want to read for later. By storing them in an external system we remove the temptation to just switch to those articles in the middle of other tasks.
  4. Another alternative to just leaving tabs open is to use your bookmarks for sites that you either visit frequently or just sites that you know you're going to have to come back to eventually. What we don't want to do however is create bookmarks for sites that we just need to keep open temporarily.
Feb 22, 2021
Digital Declutter: Too Many Tabs
1109

A few weeks ago I asked around on Facebook the number of tabs that my friends had open at the time.

Answers I got included:

500 on their phone and 20 on their computer, 50-60 across 5-6 windows, 4-5, 16, 3, 80 across 9 windows, 2, 4, 7,  45, 112 over 17 windows…

and of course, at the time of my asking, I had 70 across 12 windows, although as I mentioned earlier I'm down to just a few right now - oftentimes these episodes are just as much about helping me as they are about helping you.

Clearly, a lot of people use their browsers in a lot of different ways. Now one thing that was fairly apparent to me is that my more neurodiverse friends tended to be those people who had the most tabs open, although to be clear having too many tabs open isn't just a neurodiverse condition, anyone can easily find themselves overwhelmed by tabs.

Today we're going to be looking at why we tend to have so many tabs open and then some of the ways we can work on reducing that number.

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This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. We tend to trying and use tabs as an extension of our working memory, but as we open more and more tabs we stretch our mental resources and it can become overwhelming to figure out what we need to take care of.
  2. One of the reasons we open so many tabs is that we're afraid of missing something - be it an article to read, a video to watch, or something in your social feed, our brains tell us we want to see it all. Unfortunately, we're never going to see everything so we've got to work on being choosier about what we focus our attention on and be okay missing some things.
  3. We can install extensions into our browsers to help limit the number of tabs we have open, or install a tab manager to help us keep better track of everything we have open.
Feb 15, 2021
Decluttering Your Digital Life
1098

We all have an idea of what clutter is - it's just all that stuff. It's that frustrating feeling when you can't find something just because there are too many other things to look through. Clutter is disorder.

While we typically see clutter as a physical thing - the junk on our desk. The pile in the corner of the room. The stuff spread out all over our counters - we can also experience its digital counterpart because we also amass a lot of stuff digitally.

Today we're going to start our journey of working on our decluttering our digital lives - in this episode, I am going to be focusing on email and the files on our computers - next week we'll be continuing this series with an episode on all those tabs we have open in our browsers. I also considered doing an episode on our phones, but for now, I'm just going to direct you to Episodes 17 & 18, How to Make your Smart Phone ADHD Friendly - although I'm definitely going to have to update those episodes at some point.

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This Episode's Top Tip

  1. Digital clutter is just all that stuff that builds upon our devices. It can have a real effect on our mental health and is something to be especially aware of with ADHD because it can create a lot of distractions.
  2. To help manage our email we want to work on processing our email only a few times a day and then making sure that when we do that we're not treating our email as a task manager → don't leave things in your email to do later, either put them in a real task manager or deal with them right then.
  3. Work on creating actual organization for your files → by keeping your files in places that are logical for your brain to find them you make accessing your files easier when you need them.
  4. Back up your files. Seriously, you don't want to lose something you've been working on because your computer crashed. There are a ton of services that make this process easier than ever now.
Feb 08, 2021
Masquerading As Adults
1100

#Adulting

Now there's something a lot of us can relate to - or relate to the idea that adulting is something we sometimes do, but being an adult is not something we are.

ADHD can make us feel like we're not really adults.

An adult would get their bills paid on time.

An adult wouldn't let their house get this messy.

An adult would be eating healthy meals for dinner every night.

Now it would be a stretch to say that I feel like an adult all of the time, but I'm certainly getting there. A big part of the is probably having kids - it can be hard to not feel like the adult when you are literally the adult in the room. Also, there's the whole losing track of what going on with slang - I mean I know what straight fire is and but I still have to look up what a VSCO girl was and I'm only mildly sure I understand what being on fleek means. Although really that's more of a confirmation that I'm old rather than I'm being an adult.

Regardless - today we're going to be exploring those feelings of not being an adult and how that interacts with our ADHD.

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This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. No one has everything in their life together all of the time - instead of focusing on what your missing try giving yourself credit for the things you are doing.
  2. ADHD can amplify these feelings of not being an adult because we're not neurotypical - there are absolutely things that are going to be harder for us to do, but we can do hard things.
  3. To help celebrate everything that you do throughout the day try creating a ta-done list → this is just a list of everything that you do throughout the day, from filling up the dishwasher to making a call to a friend to sending those emails you need to send. It's easy for us to forget what we've actually accomplished in a day and a ta-done list can help remind us that, yeah, we actually did somethings today.
  4. At some point all of us find ourselves doubting our ADHD, it's okay - ADHD is a spectrum and you're never going to have all the symptoms that everyone else has. Be reassured that you're not alone in this feeling and that even if you didn't really have ADHD, you're still doing the right things to help your brain.
Feb 01, 2021
The Surprising Magic of Setting a Deadline
897

When I was in school, I always wanted to be the kind of student who able to finish a project well before it needed to be turned in. I loved the idea that I could write a paper and still have a week left to polish it. Of course, I was never actually that student. For me to get started on a paper, I had to actually be able to feel that pressure from the deadline building up on me. That usually meant that I was mostly working on papers the night before - I'm sure a lot of you can relate. Since I was still able to get good grades with this strategy, I never really changed it - but I always wished that I wasn't always riding by the seat of my pants. Despite having a good track record, there were times that I missed those deadlines.

And a funny thing about it was that I always wanted more time to write my papers. In my brain, if the deadline was pushed farther out I would have had more time to start, and yet experience has taught me that it really didn't matter how much time I was given to complete a paper. Given a week or month, I would still procrastinate until the last minute. When those deadlines were moving in on me, I was able to focus like no other. The time pressure allowed me to block out all those other distracting ideas vying for my attention.

Today we're going to be exploring how we can use this time pressure to complete those nagging tasks that we otherwise might not get done and also those things we want to do but just can't seem to prioritize. We'll also be looking at better ways to set deadlines so that we can follow through with our intentions.

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Today's Top Tips

  1. Time pressure from deadlines allows us to focus on the tasks in front of us and distill our work down to the most important parts.
  2. When setting deadlines we want to make sure that they are relevant to either us or the project. A great way to do this is through accountability and getting someone else to check in on your progress.
  3. Deadlines need to be realistic if we plan on meeting them. Time blindness can make it hard to know how long something is actually going to take, but if we break down our projects into chunks we can work on hitting milestones with mini-deadlines.
Jan 25, 2021
Breaking Down the ONE Thing
923

In this week's episode, I am going to be going over the book The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan - I was introduced to this book by Eric Tivers through the ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability groups. I can't remember if it was required reading or just strongly encouraged when I took the groups, but the messages in this book were key to getting through the coaching groups.

My first reading of the book was on audiobook and since then I've listened to it three more and read the physical version of the book twice. The subtitle of the book is, "The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results" - and as I've mentioned before, just because something is simple doesn't make it easy. Each reading has helped me understand the concepts a little bit better and I was always able to pick up a few new things.

Today I'm going to be going over the "surprisingly simple truth" in the book and discussing how we can better apply it for our ADHD brains.

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Today's Top Tips

  1. Use the focusing question to help you determine your one thing - the focusing question again is: "What's the ONE Thing that you can do such by doing it that everything else is easier or unnecessary?"
  2. Change your thinking and value your time by saying "no" more and time blocking time for your ONE Thing
  3. You can have a ONE Thing for each of your life domains, but they should all be working toward a common purpose
  4. If you liked this episode I'd recommend you check out the book the ONE Thing and read through it on your own - I skimmed a lot of parts for this episode so I'm sure you could get a lot more out of it. You can find a link to the book on the show notes page.
Jan 18, 2021
Among Us
1034

Last year there was a surge in the popularity of the game Among Us - 1000's of people jumped on to be funny little scientists running around there spaceship running various little tasks... all while trying to find out who among them didn't belong - the one who was trying to sabotage the mission. The one who was an imposter.

I definitely played my fair share of the game, but always felt like I didn't get to play as the imposter nearly as much as I wanted to... yet in real life, far too often I feel like I'm playing the imposter. I'm sure that many of you can relate to feeling like the only reason you are where you are is that you tricked people into thinking that you belong. Maybe you think that you're not really qualified for your job, or maybe you got into a program that you're sure someone else would have been better qualified for, or maybe you feel like you're friends are just pretending to like you.

This is called imposter syndrome and it is shockingly common - I say shockingly common because when you're feeling it, it's hard to imagine anyone else feeling quite like you do - and yet almost everyone feels imposter syndrome to some extent.

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This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. Imposter syndrome is the feeling of self-doubt around your skills, talents, or accomplishments where you fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
  2. By understanding what causes imposter syndrome you can begin to work on overcoming it - understanding that it's not just you and that even if we're chalking up all our success to luck that we still had a hand in creating that luck.
  3. Talking about and reflecting on our imposter syndrome is a great way to work on overcoming it - when we bottle up those feelings it can be hard to have real perspective on the situation. By acknowledging the feels and removing our beliefs about all or nothing success we can work through those feelings of being an imposter
Jan 11, 2021
On The Razors Edge
1046

Occam's Razor is a philosophical rule (and that's rule in a very soft sense) that we can use to help us with problem solving. In philosophy a razor is a tool used to eliminate (or shave off) options that might lead us astray.

Occam's Razor is one of the most popular examples and has made it's way into popular culture from the movie Contact to Sherlock Holmes to The Big Bang Theory.

I imagine that a lot of you have heard of the famous razor before, which states that: plurality should not be posited without necessity. Now I'm sure that's perfectly clear for most of you, but for my benefit I'm going to do a bit of unpacking on that phrase, cause plurality should not be posited without necessity seems a bit dense to me.

The basic idea here is that when we're looking at competing ideas we want to go with the one that has the fewest assumptions - or that the simplest explanation is often preferable to a complex one.

Of course the rule on simplicity also isn't as simply as it seems. Today we're going to be exploring Occam's Razor and also looking at how we can apply it to coming up with better solutions for our ADHD.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Occam's Razor states: plurality should not be posited without necessity - or more simply when we're looking at competing ideas we want to go with the one that has the fewest assumptions - or that the simplest explanation is often preferable to a complex one.
  2. With ADHD we can use Occam's Razor to help when we're trying to overcomplicate something - often we go all in on ideas and don't let ourselves see the forest for the trees.
  3. While the simplest explanation is often preferable we also have to keep in mind that we have ADHD - what might be a simple solution for a neurotypical might not be a viable solution for us.
Jan 04, 2021
Lagging Indicators
790

I'm going to be diving into some more aspects of planning in the coming months - I know, shouldn't I have done this before the end of the year? Well I'm going to us my being completely unprepared for the end of the year to illustrate a great point - it's never too late to start working on planning.

One of the most important aspects of planning is knowing where you've been and this typically comes from some kind of review process. The reason for the review is so that we can plan an accurate course based on where we are now. But that review is also a lot easier said than done. I've sat down for many a review sessions and realized that I don't have a great way to look back. I'll skim through my calendar and wonder what exactly happened over the last few weeks or months and kind of shrug and go... stuff?

And what that means is that we want to look at how we measure our success - so today we're going to be talking about how we set our goals, how we can work on measuring their outcomes and also questioning what actually makes a good measurement.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. When we're setting goals we should focus on the small changes we can make that we can keep up for the long term.
  2. When we're think about goals we need see if we're measuring them lagging or leading measures. Lagging measures are the outcomes based on what's happening with our leading measures. The best goals have a mix of the two measurements.
  3. What we choose to measure matters and influence our future actions. Make sure that what you're measuring is incentivizing the outcomes you actually want.
Dec 28, 2020
Top 5 ADHD Tips
774

Hey there team, we're nearly at the end of 2020 and I thought I'd deliver a bit of a shorter episode this week focusing on some of the strategies that I find are the most important for managing my ADHD. This is definitely not a definitive list and as for the order of things... well I moved things around a number of times trying to decide what the best order would be and honestly I'm not sure there really is an order or truly a most important thing. When we're trying to manage our ADHD an important to remember is that it's all connected - anyone step we take is going to make the rest of the steps easier and while somethings really are more important than others, what we've really got to focus on is doing what we can, because anything we do is going to be helping everything else. So while there may be things that might be more effective to do in managing your ADHD, don't worry if you're not there yet. Do what you can now and you'll get there eventually.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Work on Accepting your ADHD and giving yourself what you actually need to thrive.
  2. Realize we're all snowflakes and that our ADHD is unique - what works for me might not work for you.
  3. Learn about your ADHD by embracing your ADHD community and finding out what it means to have ADHD.
  4. Don't rely on willpower for the things that are really important - set up systems that will work even when you don't want to.
  5. Work on creating realistic expectations - too often we overestimate what's possible and end up feeling like we let ourselves down just because we couldn't actually juggle all 100 projects we wanted to do.
Dec 21, 2020
Sequencing
1033

Sequencing is all about the order in which we do things. Sometimes it seems like it doesn’t matter what comes first, but also try putting your pants on after you put on your shoes.

Sequencing is something I’ve come to realize is a big deal with ADHD. The order in which we do things has a big impact on our overall productivity, but more than that, some of our other issues with ADHD make the sequence in which we do things much more important.

Today we're going to be exploring how the order we do things is important for our ADHD brains and then we'll be looking at some ways that we can use sequencing to our advantage.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Sequencing is order in which we do things and it matters because it can have a big impact on how we remember things and execute our plans.
  2. Planning can help with our ability to sequence things properly - one technique that can be especially helpful in making sure we don't forget steps is to start our planning from the end and working our way backwards.
  3. Part of sequencing is making sure that we're paying attention to tasks that will get us off track and making sure we're not putting those right before things we actually want to do.
  4. Batching tasks is a great way to make sure we're not getting ourselves off track - but remember we don't have to an entire batch at once, we can still break batches into reasonable chunks.
Dec 14, 2020
Even More Automations
988

 Part of the reason that automations is such a ripe topic is that it can help in almost all areas of our life - this week we're going to focus more on the work side of things, because when it comes to our jobs there are a ton of things that usually can be automated fairly easily, because we all have those little tasks that we have to do all the time that aren't that hard but do require us to shift our attention to them for just a little bit. And that's what I think is the best benefit of setting up automations for our ADHD brains - we've only got so much executive function for the day and task switching can be such a drain on us. When we set up these automations we can make it so that instead of wasting our days doing little nit picky things, that we're actually focusing on the things that matter.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Use programs like Zapier or IFTTT to create connections between other programs to help automate some of your workflow.
  2. The first step in making your inbox more manageable is unsubscribing from all those newsletters you don't read and then setting up filters to direct the rest of your mail to various folders.
  3. You can use predictive text and canned responses to reduce the amount of time it takes to respond to your emails.
Dec 07, 2020
More Automations to Make Your Life Easier
1223

In this week's episode we're going to focus on the money side of things and go into how we can use automation for our shopping and then also how we can use automations with our finances.

And as a reminder, automations are things that we can set up in our life that are just going to happen regardless of what else we do. So think clicking a button and having a form filled out or even more basically think about something like your dishwasher, you put the dishes in, click a button and then all your dishes automatically get cleaned. Breaking down the dishwasher example, we still have to load up the dishes and we also have to unload them, but they take care of that process of actually getting them clean. And that's a huge part of automation - it isn't going to solve all of your problems, but often they're worth it because it takes care of those parts that are time consuming or that you just don't want to do.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. The best tasks to automate are tasks that don't require higher-level thinking, things you do regularly and that take away from what you really want to be working on.
  2. Automating everything isn't always the right answer, we need to make sure that we're still thinking about our transitions.
  3. There are tons of ways we can automate our shopping from using meal planning to know what we really need to creating reoccurring purchases for all those things we regularly need.
  4. We can automate our finances with things like direct deposit, automatic bill pay, using budget tracking and making sure that we're putting away money for the future.
Nov 30, 2020
Automating Your ADHD Life
1144

One of the paradoxes of ADHD is how much work we can get done when we're interested in something... but then how little we get done when something is boring. Unfortunately in life there are a lot of things that are going to bore us. And this becomes especially true with those boring tasks we have to do over and over again. So this is where automation comes in - automation is simply something that accomplishes tasks for us without our intervention.

Whether we know it or not, all of us already use a lot of automation in our lives already. We often don't think of simple things like setting an alarm as an automated process, but it's a way we can externalize a reminder that will go off with no other input from us.

Today we're going to take a look at how automation can be helpful with ADHD, some of the ways that we can take advantage of automations and then go into some specific things we can look at automating. There was actually a lot to cover here so I'll be going into even more automations next week as well.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Automation is a way for us to frontload our work so that we can save time in the future - it can be helpful for ADHD because it can reduce decision fatigue, reduces chances of us forgetting a step, and just saves us time.
  2. When we're thinking about automating a process the first things we need to think about are how to systemize the task and then if we can reduce the number of steps it takes. Sometime during this process, we find that maybe we don't need to use automation but we still find a better way of doing the task.
  3. We can use automation to help with accountability by setting up automations that will let our teammates know when we have (or haven't) done what we said we were going to do. This can be helpful because it takes the reporting process out of our hands.
  4. There are a ton of things we can do around our house to automate our everyday tasks that will make our lives easier - from automatically locking the doors at night, to getting notifications that we left the garage door open, to getting a smart speaker to read out our daily schedule - our biggest limitation is usually just what we think is possible, so go explore some options.
Nov 23, 2020
Fighting Resistance (Rebroadcast)
1040

"There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What's keeping us from sitting down is resistance." 

This is how Steven Pressfield introduces the idea of resistance in his book the War of Art, and to me, resistance is the root of the "I don't wanna's." 

While I don't agree with many of the things in Pressfield's book (I mean, he states that ADHD was made up by pharmaceutical companies), I do think resistance is a great way to express this idea. Because when I don't want to do something, it's not necessarily that I just don't want to do it - it's that I can't get myself to start.

If I'm planning on going on a run, I know that I'll feel better once I start running - but it's in the starting that I feel resistance. It's putting on my exercise clothes and slipping on my shoes. It's the getting out the door. Once I start putting one foot in front of the other, it isn't so hard anymore. I mean, sure there is the physicality that can become difficult, but the mental block has lifted. 

And this is just going to be an introduction to this topic. While I was writing this episode I discovered I had a lot to say and so I've split it into two episodes. 

Today we're going to be exploring the idea of resistance and how it keeps us from doing meaningful work. We're then going to look at some of the ways resistance sinks its claws into us, but also how we can work on loosening up that grip.

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For show notes go to HackingYourADHD.com/resistance

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Resistance is the inertia that keeps us from starting. It is also the inertia that slows us down and stops us in our tracks. If we want to be doing meaningful work we need to look at ways we can fight our own internal resistance.
  2. Comparing ourselves to others is an exercise that is never going to lead us down a good path.
  3. We need to abandon struggle as a metric for success. Everything gets easier as we do it more and just because something is difficult to do doesn't mean it is more worthwhile.
  4. What we crave and what we need to grow don't always match. This means we have to work on rewiring our desires so we're not always fighting resistance to go on a walk. We can do this by being mindful and taking note of how we feel after we do things that are good for us.
Nov 16, 2020
Cleaning House (Rebroadcast)
1232

I'd say I have a love-hate relationship with cleaning, but that implies that there is a part of me that loves cleaning. There isn't. I like having cleaned and having a clean home, but I seldom enjoy the actual cleaning part.

ADHD tends to not make cleaning any easier. Time blindness makes me think most of the cleaning tasks I need to do are going to take forever. I have a natural propensity for clutter, and that clutter often fades into the background of what I notice - so I just stop seeing that stack of mail on my counter.

Today we're going to be looking at why we should stop treating cleaning our house like a project. Ways that we can make consistent cleaning easier and also how we can get rid of some of the junk that has accumulated in our homes.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Stop thinking of cleaning your house as a project - we've got to understand that cleaning is about the small tasks that we do consistently that is going to keep our house clean.
  2. Work on creating that routine of small tasks that you can do every day to improve the base level clean of your house - focus on starting small at first. Think about what you can do in the morning and what you can do right before you go to bed.
  3. Time your cleaning tasks so that you know how long they actually take to do - a lot of the tasks that we put off doing actually take way less time than we think they do.
  4. Use temptation bundling and listen to a podcast while cleaning so that you can stay motivated while tidying up.
  5. Make sure everything in your house has a place to live - it doesn't have to be an exact spot, but if you know where to put something then you won't waste mental energy figuring out where stuff needs to go when picking up.
  6. Spend some time decluttering your house by asking better questions about the objects you are thinking of getting rid of - if we can identify the reason we want to keep something it makes it easier to pare down what we have.
Nov 09, 2020
One Year of Podcasting: Interview with Kari Gormley
1309

This week's a little bit different - today you're going to be hearing an interview I had with my friend Kari Gormley - now I say interview with a bit of hesitation because our conversation absolutely did not start out that way.

Kari is a Certified Applied Positive Psychology Practitioner, Coach, and Trainer as well as a fellow podcaster - her show is The Flourishing Experiment.

but so, I was having a zoom call with Kari and we were just chatting to catch up on a few things and I had mentioned that I had just passed the one year mark on my podcast. She started asking some questions and then went wait wait wait, we need to record this and so we shifted into recording mode and went from there - I know, that's a pretty ADHD way to record a podcast.

In this episode you get to hear about some of my lessons learned from podcasting for 1 year - we talk about some of the systems I use, gratitude, and get into something like how long it takes me to produce an episode from start to finish.

Go check out Kari's Podcast The Flourishing Experiment

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Nov 02, 2020
Give Yourself Some Slack: Self-Compassion (Part 2)
1088

Last week we started our journey of self-compassion.

Self-compassion is key part of cutting ourselves some slack - it's the combination of empathy and action. We're doing the things that'll let us put ourselves at the front of the line when it comes to self-care.

But self-compassion isn't easy.

When we're being self-compassionate we're trying to relate to ourselves in a way that's forgiving, accepting and loving - many of us have grown up with the view that the only way for us to push ourselves forward is by being overly critical of ourselves.

A typical self-compassion practice has three parts:

  1. Observing what is going on right now - that's mindfulness
  2. Actively developing and building a healthier self-perspective (self-kindness)
  3. Connection with others (often called “common humanity”)

In this episode, we'll be going over Self-Kindness and Common Humanity as well as looking at how we can combine all three of the ideas.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Self-Kindness is about understanding that we have unconditional worth and accepting ourselves even with our short-comings.
  2. One way we can practice self-kindness is by being kind to ourselves with our words - one would that can cause lots of harm is the word "should", which often brings connotations of shame and unworthiness.
  3. Common-Humanity is about connecting with those around us and understand that what we're going through isn't unique. We're all part of the human experience and even when we're feeling alone we can know that there are people who have also gone through what we're going through.
  4. When we put together mindfulness, self-kindness, and common humanity you can create your own practice of self-compassion. When we're being self-compassionate we're able to cut ourselves some slack and learn to be happier with who we are.
Oct 26, 2020
Give Yourself Some Slack: Self-Compassion (Part 1)
1143

In this episode we're going to focus on the difficulties of self-compassion and then talk a little about mindfulness - next week we'll be going into the ideas of self-kindness, common humanity, and some other ideas I've been playing with.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Self-compassion can help with ADHD because it can help us realize that our self-image and self-doubts are not hardwired - we can change and we don't have to beat ourselves up to make that change happen.
  2. We need to understand the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is: I did a bad thing. Shame is: I'm a bad person. Guilt is a healthy coping mechanism, while shame can lead to self-destructive habits and behaviors.
  3. One of the most effective ways to counteract shame is to shine a spotlight on it, but be sure to do so only when you're in a safe supportive environment.
  4. Mindfulness is a way that we can practice seeing the world for how it really is - a great mindfulness exercise is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercise where you list 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing that you can taste.
Oct 19, 2020
Q&A: Writing Past the Hard Parts
1131

In today's episode, we have a listener question about writing and how to get back into it after quitting at the hard parts.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Use prewriting to focus your thoughts and to help build your momentum into writing so that you aren't relying so much on inspiration to keep working on your project.
  2. Create notes as you're writing so that you know what you were working on when you come back to it and to record ideas as they come to you so that you're not jumping around the page so much.
  3. You can't skip Day 2 - you've got to forge through the messy middle if you want to get to the other side. Knowing this ahead of time can help you plan on how to get through the hard parts.
  4. One of the most powerful ways you help get yourself through that messy middle is to find an accountability partner. Your accountability partner won't make your work easier - instead, they just help provide perspective and let you see that you can actually do the things you want to do.
Oct 12, 2020
Give Yourself Some Slack: Perfectly Imperfect
1166

One of the reasons that many of us have trouble giving ourselves slack is because of our internalized perfectionism - it's something that controls our workflow and prevents us from ever taking a break because in our head we know we could be doing more. Even during the writing of this episode I had to fight off some of this internal perfectionism - this episode wasn't supposed to be entirely about perfectionism, but it was going to take a lot more than just one section to really tackle the topic - so now what was just going to be a two-part episode on giving yourself some slack is a series - and had I come into this knowing it was going to be a series I would have definitely approached it differently, but that's okay, it doesn't have to be perfect.

In today's episode, we're going to be exploring the idea of how perfection acts as a coping mechanism - and why that's not a great thing. We'll also be looking at some of the different types of perfectionism and then we'll be exploring some of the ways that we can start to work on conquering our own perfectionism.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Many of us with ADHD have picked up perfectionism as a coping mechanism to try and deal with the mistakes that have come from us having ADHD - however, perfectionism is a maladaptive coping mechanism that often leads to more problems than it solves
  2. There are three types of perfectionism - self-oriented perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism and socially-prescribed perfectionism.
  3. The first step in dealing with our perfectionism is understanding that our perfectionist expectations of ourselves are unrealistic and that having those unrealistic expectations is unhealthy - if we can relax those standards we will often save time, effort, and stress.
  4. Practice Imperfection by choosing small tasks that you can be imperfect at, such as using multiple colors of pens (without a pattern), not correcting typos in texts to friends or even something like wearing mismatched socks (I mean as long as they're the same kind - I just mean two socks with different colors or patterns not like wool socks and cotton socks, I'm not a monster).
  5. Look for feedback before you're 100% done with a project - try out asking for feedback at 30% and 90% and be sure to be specific about the type of feedback you're looking for at each point.
Oct 05, 2020
How To Give Yourself Some Slack
1088

Often when I think about productivity I envision something like a well-oiled machine - everything fits together, everything has it's placed and when it is running smoothly it produces amazing results. But the part that my imagination doesn't usually pick up are a few important words - well-oiled machine... what does it mean to be well oiled - well, for one thing, it means that there is someone maintaining the system. It means, that left to its own devices that the machine would breakdown - and for a machine like this, it means it's either running at peak capacity or not at all.

As you can imagine this isn't exactly the route we want to be going - we're going to have setbacks in life and we're going to have times where we have to do less - we're not machines.

In today's episode, we're going to be exploring this idea of capacity, as well how we sometimes go above and beyond and then also how we can work on build some slack into our systems.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Always doing more isn't always our best option - it is easy for us to overreach our capacity and find ourselves doing more than we're able to handle. Once we get past capacity we're more like to drop the ball on everything we're doing. Giving ourselves breathing room isn't being lazy, it's a way for us to focus on what's most important.
  2. When we're in times of crisis many people with ADHD can thrive by using their surge capacity - however, our surge capacity is limited and we can only access it for so long before we start burning out.
  3. We can add more capacity to our schedules by adding more slack to our calendars - that is buffer time that allows us to "pick up the slack" when we're running overtime on something unexpected or just need more time to finish something than we thought we would.
Sep 28, 2020
Building Gratitude
1189

One of the hottest trends to come out of the self-help world over the last few years is gratitude. And it's no surprise, gratitude has been found to be one of the greatest indicators of overall well being. I'm usually pretty skeptical about things that get hyped quite as much as gratitude has been - I mean when you see the list of things that a gratitude practice can help with it's pretty easy to roll your eyes. I mean can gratitude really do all those things that people say it can?

Today we'll be exploring the mechanisms that make gratitude work - and also perhaps tempering some of the hype around it - then we'll be looking at ways we can find things to be grateful in our lives as well as looking at some ways that we can start a gratitude practice.

And I'll admit, this episode is a little less ADHD focused - but gratitude was something that was on mind, for reasons that I get into during the episode. And so even though this episode is a little less ADHD specific I still think everyone can get a lot out of it.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Gratitude is showing thanks and appreciation and it has a tremendous impact on our brains. Gratitude can help us release build our relationships, regulate stress, improve sleep quality, build self-esteem and make us happier.
  2. One way we can practice gratitude is through mindfulness and seeing all the things in our lives that are going right. It's easy for us to latch onto the negative things that happen during our day. We'll miss all the things that went right because when things go according to plan they can often become invisible.
  3. We can also practice gratitude by journaling or writing a letter to someone in our lives that has greatly impacted us.
Sep 21, 2020
When To Quit
1095

The first thing we've got to understand is that when we ask, when should I quit? We're also asking, when should I persevere? And they often serve as the same answer - I should quit when it doesn't make sense to keep going. I keep going when it doesn't make sense to quit. Unfortunately is really easy to get those messages mixed up and with ADHD we've all got a trail of unfinished projects and ideas that are weighing us down every time we need to make this decision again.

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This Episode's Top Tips

  1. We've got to give up the notion that winners never quit. Persistence doesn't guarantee success - we can persist at the wrong things forever and never make progress.
  2. There are two curves we've got to look for when starting something new - the dip and the cul-de-sac. A cul-de-sac is a dead end. The dip is the point where things start to get hard - we've got to stop quitting things when they get hard and embrace the dip.
  3. We'll often stick out things we should quit. There are a lot of reasons that we might stick something out like the sunk cost fallacy or the planning fallacy. Regardless of why we're sticking around, once we realize that we're in a dead-end we've got to accept that we need to quit and try something new.
Sep 14, 2020
Rationalization and the Stories We Tell Ourselves
932

Resistance is the embodiment of the I don't wanna's - the part of us that keeps us from doing our work - or anything for that matter. And a big part of resistance comes from our ability to rationalize what we're doing - I'll jump into one task and find myself doing something else and then my brain will come up with a reason why I needed to be watching youtube instead of working on this week's episode.

In today's episode we're going to be exploring what rationalization is, some of the ways that we do it, and also some of the ways we can start working on reducing the amount of rationalization that we are doing.


Find the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/rationalization

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Rationalization is our brains attempting to explain or justify our behavior or an attitude with logical reasons. The difference between reasoning and rationalization is that with reasoning we are trying to apply logic to come to a conclusion, when we're rationalizing, we have a conclusion and we're making up reasons for it.
  2. One way we use rationalization is through the stories we are telling ourselves - we come up with reasons to explain why someone is acting the way they are (which we have to because we don't have access to their thoughts) but we're not always very accurate in our assessment as to why people act the way they are acting. We can use the phrase, "the story I'm telling myself" to help navigate the reality of a story.
  3. We also tell stories about ourselves - these are often based in fear and lead us to create more and more rationalizations. Use getting upset as a signal to get curious and explore these stories - and remember that you don't have to do it alone.
  4. One of the easiest ways to make rationalizing harder is to have a clear goal - this means knowing what the goal is and also knowing the reason why behind the goal. Since we have ADHD we've also got to work on making sure that we are creating reminders about what our goals are - just because a goal feels important when we make it doesn't mean we're going to remember why we're doing it 2 weeks from now.
Sep 07, 2020
How to Find a Therapist
955

One of the hardest aspects for me with ADHD is that I can quickly become overwhelmed when I can't find a clear path forward - I know I could do the research, but setting aside the time feels like it's going to be too much and so I just procrastinate forever on starting. For me finding a therapist was one of those things that seemed too murky to get started on. There were just so many things to consider and so many things that I don't know. Not only did I not know where to start, but I also didn't even know what questions I should be asking. In my mind, I knew it would be good for me, but the process just seemed too hard to get started on.

Today, we're going to work on clearing a path on how to find a therapist - we'll be looking into a few kinds of therapy and what we can expect to get out of therapy - and of course, we'll also be walking through how we actually find a therapist that is the right fit for us.

Find show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/findatherapist

Hacking Your ADHD around the web:

This Episode's Top Tip

  1. Find out what your insurance will cover and go from there. If you don't have insurance or it isn't covered, there are still a lot of options like University Clinics, Online Therapy, Group Therapy, and therapy offered in your community. For help finding a therapist check out psychologytoday.com/therapists
  2. The most common type of therapy for ADHD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing your automatic thoughts. Another common therapy practice for ADHD is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which focuses more on behavior patterns and mindfulness. Talk therapy is another common type of therapy, although it isn't specifically tailored to ADHD.
  3. When you go to your first session make sure you have a list of questions for your therapist - finding the right therapist is critical for you getting the most out of your therapy sessions.
Aug 31, 2020
Energy Management: Spiritual Energy
957

I know the term spiritual energy is going to throw a lot of people - so let's start off by getting clear on what I mean here. When I'm talking about spiritual energy I'm not talking about anything religious here, I'm simply referring to the idea that you have an energy reserve that you can tap into when you're doing something that matters. And specifically, something that matters to you - this doesn't have to be some higher calling type of idea.

One thing that really illustrates the idea of digging deep into that energy reserve for me is when I'm doing something like weight lifting. As I get to the end of my set I can find myself flagging, I can feel like I'm not going to be able to push the bar the 3 more inches it needs to go to rack my bar - and yet I can have my spotter tell me "you've got this" and my brain hears that and I push just a little bit harder and I finish out. Where did that energy reserve come from? As far as I was concerned I was already pushing as hard as I could and yet, with just a few words I was able to find that motivation to push a little harder.

Access to the human spirit isn't just limited to athletic endeavors. And our motivation to dip into this energy source often comes from doing meaningful work. Many people don’t recognize meaning and purpose as potential sources of energy, but when we're doing work that aligns with our values we are able to accomplish so much more. 

Today we're going to be looking at three areas that we can use to access our spiritual energy: living their core values in their daily behaviors, doing the work that we do best and enjoy the most, and allocating time and energy in our lives for the things we deem most important.

Show note at HackingYourADHD.com/spiritualenergy

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. There are three areas we need to focus on for our spiritual energy: Living our values, working with our passion, and scheduling time for those things that matter to us.
  2. Spend some time exploring your values by asking yourself what you can't stand - when you define what you won't put up with it is often helps define what we do stand for.
  3. Work on finding what you are passionate about by defining what you are willing to put up with - further refine your passion by finding your work "sweet-spot" by finding where you are effective, effortlessly absorbed, inspired, and fulfilled.
  4. Use your calendar to schedule your most important work - follow your energy patterns and try to schedule those most important tasks early in the day.
Aug 24, 2020
Energy Management: Emotional Energy
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Emotional Energy isn't as cut and dry as physical energy - there are no emotional calories that we can track and measure. And while there is no scientific delineation of how to measure emotional energy it’s still something that we can all feel - we're not robots. We know that when we're feeling those positive emotions that sometimes we can barely contain the energy we're feeling - when we're seething with rage it can feel like we're going to burst. When we're sad it can feel like we want to melt into our beds and never be seen again. When we're overstressed it can feel like if we don't do something our skin is going to crawl off but even the idea of attempting that first step still feels like too much

Our emotions play a big role in our energy levels throughout the day. Just because we don't have a good way to measure them doesn't mean that we should write them off.

Find the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/emotionalenergy

This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. Our emotions play a big role in our energy management throughout the day - but emotions are complicated. While we can derive energy from both positive and negative emotions, we're better off using the energy from our positive emotions - The energy we draw off of emotions like fear or anger often comes with a price.
  2. We want to build our emotional intelligence by trying to observe ourselves - check-in with yourself throughout the day and ask, what am I doing? and how is that making me feel? You can also go beyond that by asking how you feel about the emotions you're feeling.
  3. When scheduling your day make sure that you are giving yourself time to recover after emotionally draining activities. 
  4. If you need a quick fix to calm yourself down, try taking deep belly breaths. Deep breathing creates a physiological response that encourages your body to relax - as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
  5. Give yourself some time to let yourself think. With ADHD we spend a lot of our day go from one distraction to the next - but when we let ourselves have the goal of just letting our minds wander it can help us explore how we're feeling and recharge our emotional batteries.
Aug 17, 2020
The Wall of Awful with Brendan Mahan
1170

We've all got things that we think we should be able to just do - for example, I've had on my to-do list for weeks to make a phone call to the bank - it won't even take that long, but I keep putting it off. I keep finding reasons not to do it - what I've done is I've created a wall of awful around making this phone call (really most phone calls) and the more I put it off the more it builds it up. Today we've got Brendan Mahan from ADHD Essentials to explain what the Wall of Awful is and some ways that we can work on getting past it.

Find the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/wallofawful

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. The Wall of Awful is the emotional impact of repeated failure and it makes activating on tasks even more difficult
  2. While our wall starts off being built up with failure bricks, it is also built with things like disappointment, rejection, and shame. It doesn't matter if these bricks are based in reality, it matters how you perceive them.
  3. There are 5 ways people try to get past the Wall of Awful, two don't work, one works, but is damaging to our relationships and then two that work - the two that don't work are staring at it or trying to go around it - the one that works but is damaging is trying to hulk smash through the wall - the two that work that we want to focus on are climbing the wall and putting a door in our wall
  4. Climbing the wall is about sitting with the emotion that built up our wall and understanding what's stopping us - it can often look like staring at the wall, but it's more about gearing yourself up to get over the wall
  5. Putting a door in the wall is about changing your emotional state so that you can get past the wall - it could be doing things like taking a walk, listening to some energizing music, or watching a funny TV show to brighten your mood. Make sure that when you are trying to put that door in that you aren't actually just trying to go around the wall - it's easy to let that one TV show turn into four because you were just looking for a way to procrastinate.
Aug 10, 2020
Energy Management: Mental Energy
811

Today we're going to be looking at ways that we can work on cutting down distractions and staying focused. We'll also be looking at ways that we can better schedule our time to focus on when our brain is going to be working best and we'll also be looking at better ways to end our workday.

Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/mentalenergy

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Mental energy is about our ability to focus and keep our focus. To effectively do this we need to stop trying to multitask and reduce the number of distractions we have around us. This means limiting notifications and creating a work environment where we won't be easily interrupted.
  2. We can create smarter time blocks using our ultradian rhythms to guide us - breaking our scheduling into these 90-120 minute cycles allows us to focus on working when we've got the most energy and taking breaks when we're going to need them the most.
  3. Schedule your most important tasks for early in the day. By completing what's most important first you'll never find yourself at the end of the day having missed those tasks. You can decide if it's best to eat the frog with this task or to ease into it.
  4. End your workday with a shutdown routine to signal to your brain that you are really done with work. By only working while you are at work you'll make better use of your time and you'll allow yourself real time to relax and recover while you are at home.
Aug 03, 2020
Energy Management: Physical Energy
1065

Before we get going here, I just want to make sure you know that I'm not a doctor, and while this episode is a lot about your health, it is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Just because I say something on this show doesn't necessarily mean it will be the best advice for you - be smart and be safe. And when in doubt always consult your doctor before changing your diet or exercise routine.

Today's episode is a follow up to last week's on Energy Management, but this week we are just going to be going over the area of physical energy.

When we think about our energy levels, our physical energy is what we tend to primarily think about. We think about being tired or just needing a quick pick me up to get through our day. And our physical energy tends to be a basis for all our other types of energy (quick reminder those were: mental, emotional and spiritual along with our physical energy) - when we're physically exhausted it's hard for us to draw on our other wells of energy. Have a bad night's sleep? You might be feeling that brain fog all-day - blood sugar low? You might be more likely to snap at a family member over something not that important.

We need our foundation of physical energy to power our bodies and to let us fully engage with our other energy sources. In today's episode, we're going to be covering the three main areas that we get our physical energy from: sleep, diet, and exercise.

Show note at HackingYourADHD.com/physicalenergy

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our energy levels. To help get a good night's sleep make sure you are allowing yourself to get 4-6 sleep cycles of 90 minutes. You can improve your sleep quality with a dark, cool room and by creating a routine to get you ready for sleep by your bedtime.
  2. Instead of focusing on what foods you should or shouldn't be eating, focus on ways that you can make the habits of eating the right foods easier. By making the lifestyle changes you are more likely to stick to your new dietary plan - making mistakes isn't a set back it's just part of the path to changing your habits.
  3. Aim to get 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise per day - we're just trying to get our heart rate up here. If you are just starting up, then maybe try starting with a light 10-minute walk and work your way up.
  4. Along with getting enough exercise during the day, you also are going to want to be moving more throughout the day. During your breaks be sure to get up and stretch a little and don't let you're self stay in one position for too long.
Jul 27, 2020
Personal Energy Management
775

It's an hour after lunch and your staring at your computer monitor. There are words in front of you, but you've read the same sentence over and over again five times in a row. Your eyes are glazed and curling up under your desk for a quick nap like George Costanza is seemingly a better and better option by the minute.

Except you have things to do - you have stuff on your schedule and taking a nap is just not an option.

Enter Personal Energy Management - this is an idea of scheduling your work around when you have the energy to do it rather than just when it's entered in on your calendar. Now to be sure this is more than just doing things when you feel like doing them - we know how that can turn out. Instead, this is about using your calendar and understanding that you aren't going to be at peak performance all day.

Today we're going to be discussing how we can work on creating our schedules around when we do have energy instead of just when we've got a free spot on the calendar. We'll be looking at some of the different areas of energy management as well as how our energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. And we'll also spend a little time on how you can make a little more energy.

Find show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/energymanagement

This Episode's Top Tips


1. Energy management is about realizing it's not just about how many hours you have in the day, but also how much energy you've got during the day.
2. 
Your energy levels are going to fluctuate up and down throughout the day, and if you want to get the most out of your schedule try scheduling your most important tasks during your high energy times, preferably early in the day.
3. 
Limit your commitments so that you have enough time to work on the projects that are important to you.
4. 
If you're low on energy try having some water or a healthy snack - you can also try to change your state by listening to some music or going on a short walk.


Jul 20, 2020
Taking Breaks
814

We all know that one of the biggest hurdles from ADHD is starting, but paradoxically one of our other hurdles is stopping. Sometimes it feels like we're better off if we just power through until we're done, but if we really want to get the most out of our workdays, we need to have some breaks.

In today's episode, we're going to be looking at the benefits of taking breaks, some different ways that we can take breaks, and also exploring going beyond breaks and actually taking some time off.

For show notes go to HackingYourADHD.com/breaks

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Taking breaks allows us to separate our work into more manageable chunks. They let us refresh and come to our tasks with more energy.
  2. We should be scheduling our breaks so that we don't forget to take them. To help out our future selves we should also be planning what we want to be doing on those breaks as well.
  3. As important as knowing what we are doing on our breaks, we should also know what we shouldn't be doing on our breaks. Avoid things like phone games and social media that are going to be hard to tear yourself away from at the end of your break.
  4. It's also important to take time off entirely from work to recharge your batteries. While it might be hard to take a traditional vacation right now, we can still work on thinking about other ways that we can take time off, like working on fun projects at home or just taking a few days to catch up on Netflix.
Jul 13, 2020
A Nudge in the Right Direction
853

Making the right choices isn't always easy - we've got so many options of what we can do and when I'm tired I don't want to weigh all my options. It would be great if I could just get a gentle push in the right direction. Something that would make the choice I want to make easier to make.

What I'm talking about here is a nudge and that's what we're going to be talking about today. We'll be learning about what a nudge is, why they work, and when they don't. We'll also be looking at some of the various ways we can nudge ourselves and why it's so important for us to know when someone else might be nudging us.

Find the full show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/nudge

This Episode's Top Tips

1. At its basics, nudging is an attempt to change someone's behavior by changing the environment or conditions. A nudge shouldn't alter the incentives, it just makes the option we want to pick the easiest option.
2. Nudges works because our decision making isn't rational, in reality, we actually usually just take the path of least resistance.
3. We can nudge ourselves in several different ways. One way many of us already use nudges is through reminders. We can also alter our environment (like having a water bottle on our desk to nudge us to drink more water) or we can change our default options (like having our web browsers default to a blank page instead of opening up to countless tabs). 
4. It's important to be aware of nudges because many companies use them to influence our behavior. When we know that we're being nudged we can decide if that's really the decision we want to be making or if there is actually a better option for us.

Jul 06, 2020
Fighting Resistance - Part 2
915

Last week we started off our discussion of resistance - a term that I got from Steven Pressfield's book, the War of Art.

While there are parts of the book that aren't that ADHD friendly, I do like this idea of resistance. And basically resistance is what is keeping us from doing our work. It's procrastination, rationalizations, comparison, perfectionism, and everything else that keeps us from working all rolled into one idea. It is the embodiment of the "I don't wanna's

In part one I talked about some of the ways resistance keeps us from starting, how comparing ourselves to others slows us down, and what we crave and what we need to grow don't always match.

Today we're going to keep exploring the idea of resistance. We'll be looking at ways we can work on overcoming resistance by planning, setting our intentions, and even calling in a little help.

You can find the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/resistancepart2

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Our first step in fighting resistance is accepting that we are always going to be facing resistance. Resistance wants us to believe it doesn't exist because when we don't believe we don't do anything to stop it.
  2. Planning is a critical part of overcoming resistance. Without a plan, it is easy for us to get off track and not even realize it. 
  3. When we're creating our plan it also important to break down our tasks into their component parts so that we are able to clearly state our intentions when we start our work.
  4. We don't have to fight resistance alone, by enlisting the help of our accountabilibuddies we can get clear on our intentions and help strengthen our resilience in fighting resistance.
Jun 29, 2020
Fighting Resistance
974

"There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What's keeping us from sitting down is resistance." 

This is how Steven Pressfield introduces the idea of resistance in his book the War of Art, and to me, resistance is the root of the "I don't wanna's." 

While I don't agree with many of the things in Pressfield's book (I mean, he states that ADHD was made up by pharmaceutical companies), I do think resistance is a great way to express this idea. Because when I don't want to do something, it's not necessarily that I just don't want to do it - it's that I can't get myself to start.

If I'm planning on going on a run, I know that I'll feel better once I start running - but it's in the starting that I feel resistance. It's putting on my exercise clothes and slipping on my shoes. It's the getting out the door. Once I start putting one foot in front of the other, it isn't so hard anymore. I mean, sure there is the physicality that can become difficult, but the mental block has lifted. 

And this is just going to be an introduction to this topic. While I was writing this episode I discovered I had a lot to say and so I've split it into two episodes. 

Today we're going to be exploring the idea of resistance and how it keeps us from doing meaningful work. We're then going to look at some of the ways resistance sinks its claws into us, but also how we can work on loosening up that grip.

For show notes go to HackingYourADHD.com/resistance

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Resistance is the inertia that keeps us from starting. It is also the inertia that slows us down and stops us in our tracks. If we want to be doing meaningful work we need to look at ways we can fight our own internal resistance.
  2. Comparing ourselves to others is an exercise that is never going to lead us down a good path.
  3. We need to abandon struggle as a metric for success. Everything gets easier as we do it more and just because something is difficult to do doesn't mean it is more worthwhile.
  4. What we crave and what we need to grow don't always match. This means we have to work on rewiring our desires so we're not always fighting resistance to go on a walk. We can do this by being mindful and taking note of how we feel after we do things that are good for us.
Jun 22, 2020
Moving From Defense to Offense
757

Years ago now, before I started this podcast, I worked as a sports writer. It was fun work and I also found that a lot of the things I was writing about could be applied to real life. One of the areas that I really saw it was in the difference between teams playing offensively and defensively.

No matter the game teams are going to be playing on both offense and defense, but what I often saw was that teams that had an offensive mindset often were able to take advantage and play better. What I mean by playing offensively is that you are setting the terms of engagement. Instead of reacting to what the other team is doing, you are making them react to you.

It's easy to see how this works on offense, you control the ball the other team has to respond to what you are doing. But you can also do this while you are playing defense. A good defense dictates the ways that an offense can move the ball and once the defense controls where the ball is going they can force the turnover.

Today we're going to be looking at how we can work on being more proactive than reactive. The role planning will play in the process and also how we can protect our time by saying no more often.

Find the full show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/defensetooffense

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. To focus on doing the right things, you have to know what your priority and goals are first.
  2. Planning doesn't have to be hard and we can focus on just planning one day at a time.
  3. We got to say no more often - especially ourselves. We tend to have more ideas than we can ever hope to complete. By saying no to some things we are leaving time for the things we really want to do.
  4. When we're telling someone else no we should focus on a simple no. When we try to hedge our no's it gives the other person the impression that we actually want to do the thing and they will always try and accommodate which will make future no's even harder.
Jun 15, 2020
Take a Picture, It'll Last Longer
974

Following up last week's rebroadcast about creating better reminders I thought I'd add in some more ideas on how we can remember things. One of the tools that I most often use is the camera on my phone.

I think the first time I tried to use a photograph to remember something was when I was a kid and saw a commercial on TV for a bow and arrow and shield set - it looked like the best toy, but the only way I could think of to record the phone number to call for it (yes this pre-internet) was to take a picture of the TV screen.

I of course forgot about it until the picture was developed several weeks later and then promptly told by my parents that they weren't going to order it anyway.

Today we're going to be learning just how taking pictures can affect our memories, what things we can turn from physical to digital with pictures, and how we can use photos to assist with cleaning.

Find the full show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/takeapicture

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. When taking pictures we narrow our focus and this helps us remember more of the visual aspects of what we are photographing - however, this also tends to reduce the amount of information we can recall from what we heard.
  2. We can take pictures of our physical reminders like todos, grocery lists, and journal entries to create digital copies to take with us.
  3. Picture taking while cleaning can reduce the amount of input we're getting at one time by changing spaces from 3D to 2D. We can also benefit from having before and after photos to see the work we've done and to also create a reference of what a room is supposed to look like when it's been cleaned.
  4. We need to go through our photos periodically so that we don't get overwhelmed by having too many to sift through at once - we also want to create action items on our to-do list from the pictures we take so that we don't forget what we wanted to be reminded about.
Jun 08, 2020
How to Create More Effective Reminders (Rebroadcast)
932

When you've got ADHD making reminders is a given. There's just too much going on in any one given day for me to keep track of it all and without reminders I know I'm going to drop the ball somewhere. I've got reminders for big things like when I need to leave to pick up my kids from school and little things like having a cup of tea in the evening but not too close to bedtime.

So when I get told I just need to create a reminder to remember something I just want to shout that I already am using a lot of reminders. A big problem with a lot of reminders is that they just aren't effective at getting us to do the things they are supposed to be reminding us of. Today we're going to be exploring the ways that we can make better reminders so that we're actually following through on them. We'll be looking at what we're creating reminders for. How and when we are getting those reminders and also look at how we are creating our system of reminders.

Find the full show note at: HackingYourADHD.com/EffectiveReminders

Today's Top Tips

  1. The most important aspect of a reminder is having it delivered when you can do something about it - you can do this by thinking through the context of a reminder. If you need a reminder at work make sure you are getting it when you are at work. 
  2. Reminders are great for reminding you of things, but not for doing unscheduled tasks. Leave projects on your to-do list and actually schedule a time for them instead of creating a reminder that you are never going to do. 
  3. Reminders can either be short-term or long-term but regardless of what kind of reminder you are creating you want to make sure you are giving yourself enough information to follow through on what you were trying to remind yourself about. 
  4. Create a combination of physical and digital reminders so that you can get the most out of your reminder systems. Physical reminders tend to be faster to set up but digital reminders can be more robust in how they are reminding you.
Jun 01, 2020
How To Make Time For The Important Stuff (Rebroadcast)
1126

One of the things I want to look at while I'm taking my break is what my prioritizes are - it's easy to let yourself just get pulled along with the flow of things and often that means you aren't following your prioritizes. What you end up following is the path of least resistance and overtime you going to find that you just aren't able to make the time for the things that are important to you.

So during this break I thought it would be a great time to revisit this episode on how to set your priorities. I know that we're not going to be able to do everything that we want to right now, but we certainly work on finding at least a little time to work on our most important projects.

Let me ask you, what's the most important thing on your to-do list? What's the thing that if you did it would make you satisfied with what you accomplished today? Sometimes we've got a clear picture of what our most important thing is - usually it's something that's due that day - maybe even something that was due, yesterday. But we can't always rely on urgency to be our guide for prioritization.

If you're struggling to figure out what's the most important thing to do, you're not alone. Picking out the tasks that are going to make the biggest difference is a hard thing to do and something that we're kind of just expected to understand - yet often there's no clear reason why doing task A is better than doing task B.

Today we're going to be exploring how we can determine what those most important tasks are and how we can make them a priority.

Find the show note for this episode at HackingYourADHD.com/priorities

Today's Top Tips
1. To really get the most out of setting your priorities you've first got to understand what your values are
2. You can use the Eisenhower Priority Matrix to separate your tasks into Important and Urgent, Important but not Urgent, Urgent but Not Important and Not Important and Not Urgent
3. Large projects should be broken down into their component parts, once they are broken down look for tasks that are bottle necks or that will make other tasks easier to complete - those should become your priorities



May 25, 2020
Burnout (Rebroadcast)
949

This week we were supposed to have a new episode going up but I'm really starting to feel it. I feel like I've been stuck for a while now and pressing on the gas is just spinning my wheels, so I've realized that I need to step back and take a break. And I thought what better way to start off that break than rebroadcasting my episode on burnout. I know I'm going to have to work on picking up a few lessons from this episode again so I though you might appreciate them too.

Exhausted, empty, overloaded, unable to cope - these are some of the words I'll find myself using when I'm feeling burned out or on the path to burnout. We tend to find ourselves in burnout after prolonged periods of stress - it isn't something that sets in all at once. It isn't that we finally have a straw that breaks the camel's back, instead we just eventually find ourselves waking up one morning and realizing we just can't even. We find that we've lost our passion and drive for everything in front of us. We might still find ways to be productive but we tend to be robotic about it and it just drains us more and more.

Burnout is hard. Today we're going to start out by discussing what burnout actually is and I'm also going to talk about some of the times I hit burnout. We're also going to be looking at what we can do to prevent burn and then what to do if we still hit burnout anyways.

For full show notes go to:
HackingYourADHD.com/burnout

Today's Top Tips

  1. Burnout consists of three parts - exhaustion (both mental and physical), loss of meaning in our work, and a feeling of ineptitude. Burnout is a slow grind and we've got to pay attention to why we're feeling unmotivated when doing tasks we normally enjoy.
  2. We want to prevent burnout by setting healthy boundaries around our work, prioritizing self-care, and remembering to take time off. Not comparing ourselves to others and accepting that our ADHD makes things hard will also help us with not feeling like we're so far behind everyone else.
  3. If we do hit burnout, we need to reassess what are needs are and identify what was causing us to burnout. Take some time off and figure out what really matters to you. We often hit burnout when our rewards don't match our efforts.
May 18, 2020
How to Think (Critically)
828

The ADHD brain has a strange relationship with thinking. One of my biggest gripes is that it often feels like I can't ever turn my brain off. No matter what I'm doing, I'm thinking about something. I could be washing dishes, but I'm thinking about what else I need to do before I go to bed. I could be walking to get the mail, and instead of wondering what's in the mailbox, I'm thinking about a conversation I had three years ago. Even when I'm trying to meditate, I'll often find myself thinking about what it means to be meditating. I'm not really sure that thinking about meditating while meditating is actually meditating - but hey, I'm still putting in the effort, it's called a practice for a reason.
But just because our brains are whirring away doesn't mean that we're producing quality thoughts. Today we're going to take a dive into how we can better direct our brains. We'll be looking at why we should stop multitasking. The value of critical thinking and then explore ways that we can improve that thinking.

Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/criticalthinking

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Stop trying to multitask. Multitasking reduces the efficiency that we can perform any task and prevents us from really thinking through our problems.
  2. Critical thinking is valuable because it helps us make hard decisions and it makes us harder to manipulate.
  3. Ask yourself more questions to improve your critical thinking skills. Always challenge your assumptions.
  4. Find ways to help facilitate your thinking time such mind mapping or taking a walk.
May 11, 2020
Cleaning House
1170

I'd say I have a love-hate relationship with cleaning, but that implies that there is a part of me that loves cleaning. There isn't. I like having cleaned and having a clean home, but I seldom enjoy the actual cleaning part.

ADHD tends to not make cleaning any easier. Time blindness makes me think most of the cleaning tasks I need to do are going to take forever. I have a natural propensity for clutter, and that clutter often fades into the background of what I notice - so I just stop seeing that stack of mail on my counter.

Today we're going to be looking at why we should stop treating cleaning our house like a project. Ways that we can make consistent cleaning easier and also how we can get rid of some of the junk that has accumulated in our homes.

Find the show note at HackingYourADHD.com/cleaninghouse

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Stop thinking of cleaning your house as a project - we've got to understand that cleaning is about the small tasks that we do consistently that is going to keep our house clean.
  2. Work on creating that routine of small tasks that you can do every day to improve the base level clean of your house - focus on starting small at first. Think about what you can do in the morning and what you can do right before you go to bed.
  3. Time your cleaning tasks so that you know how long they actually take to do - a lot of the tasks that we put off doing actually take way less time than we think they do.
  4. Use temptation bundling and listen to a podcast while cleaning so that you can stay motivated while tidying up.
  5. Make sure everything in your house has a place to live - it doesn't have to be an exact spot, but if you know where to put something then you won't waste mental energy figuring out where stuff needs to go when picking up.
  6. Spend some time decluttering your house by asking better questions about the objects you are thinking of getting rid of - if we can identify the reason we want to keep something it makes it easier to pare down what we have.
May 04, 2020
The Science of Fidgets
789

My desk usually has a least a few fidget toys on top of it. I say usually only because my children sneak into my office and steal them. But the rest of the time I have a couple infinity cubes, a tangle and a piece of sea glass I use as a worry stone. I love having them to play with as I think through sentences while I'm writing and also as something to keep my hands busy while I'm reading.

Today we're going to talk about the rise of fidgets in over the last few years and then dive into how they are supposed to work. We'll also be discussing what makes a good fidget.

Show note at HackingYourADHD.com/fidgetscience

Today's Top Tips

  1. There are a lot of sketchy claims about fidget toys. Be wary of marketing claims, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater - figure out which fidgets work best for you.
  2. Fidgets work by helping us manage our attention and focus. It can be hard for us to direct our attention when we're either over or under-stimulated.
  3. The best fidgets are things that we can do with our hands without looking at them - we don't want to be drawing too much of our attention to use them, just enough to help drown out the other outside stimuli around us.
Apr 20, 2020
Best-Laid Plans and COVID-19
964

Trying to plan in a pandemic has been... well really what's been a problem is all the plans that I made before the lockdown. Every week I look through my calendar and have canceled events and plans that just aren't going to happen. I mean this was the first Easter I didn't have to pretend to be sick during to avoid going over to the in-laws, but that's a pretty weak silver lining.

We've got a lot going on so planning is more important than ever - I mean going to the grocery store takes a lot more forethought than it used to. But planning also seems harder than ever before as well, so today we're going to be looking at what to do when plans go awry and how to adjust our long-term planning.

Find the show note for this episode at HackingYourADHD.com/BestLaidPlans

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. No one really wanted to hear me read poetry.
  2. When our plans go wrong it can be frustrating and debilitating. We can mitigate some of this by thinking through what can go wrong with our plans and coming up with contingencies.
  3. Right now a lot of our long-term plans are disarray - while it is hard to plan for the future because when we are faced with uncertainty, we can still look at our underlying goals and base our planning around them.
  4. Give yourself a break - it's okay to do less. While it is still a good idea to plan our days, we can also just plan on doing less.
Apr 14, 2020
When Good Science Goes Bad
856

Going online has its perks - we've got a wealth of information at our fingertips - but with so much information it can be hard to find the truth. Often we can't find the signal for the noise because well, it is just really noisy. And by noisy, I mean there is a lot of bad information out there.

In today's episode, we're going to be looking specifically at science journalism, but really most of what we're going to be talking about can be applied to everything that we read online. We want to be getting the best information and so we've got to be cautious about our sources. So we're going to be looking at ways that research can be manipulated to support a flimsy claim, why we've got to go beyond reading the headlines and what to watch out for when we are reading those articles.

Find Today's Show Notes at HackingYourADHD.com/badscience

Today's Top Tips

  1. While most scientist aren't trying to create bad science, lack of funding and time can make many studies suspect. To help validate claims, read into the study methodology and see what other research supports those claims.
  2. Make sure that you are reading beyond just headlines. Many over zealous reporters will embellish headlines to garner more clicks.
  3. Watch for words like "proved" about science. Science doesn't prove anything, it just creates evidence that supports a claim or refutes it.
  4. Be skeptical of claims that seem to good to be true, they usually are.



Apr 06, 2020
Controlling What You Can When Everything Feels Out of Control
677

I hope everyone is staying home and staying safe. I know that everyone is going through a hard time right now and ADHD isn't making it any easier. So today we're going to be talking about what we can do to try and regain some of that control you may feel you have lost in your life. We'll be talking about staying in contact with friends, setting up routines and using accountability. We'll also be talking about ways to get in a little more self-care.

For show notes go to HackingYourADHD.com/ControllingWhatYouCan

Today's Top Tips

  1. Make sure you're scheduling time to be social - figure out ways to stay in contact while you are apart.
  2. Create a routine to follow and use accountability to help you follow through with your intentions.
  3. Prioritize self-care somewhere in your routine.
  4. Give yourself some slack.
Mar 31, 2020
Compassionate Ass-Kicking For The Win (Rebroadcast)
874

When I'm working on this podcast sometimes I wish my boss would be a little harder on me because it can be easy for me to get behind - but my boss is kind of laid back and lets me get away with more than I should - and that's probably because my boss is me. When I can't count on myself to get the things I need to turn to others to help me out. A lot of us with ADHD can have trouble turning to others when we need help, but we don't have to do things alone. And one of the best ways others can help you is through accountability. Today I'm going to talk about what accountability is, what it isn't and ways that you can get some more into your life so that you can follow through with your intentions.

Find the full show note on my web page: HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/CompassionateAssKicking

Today's Top Tips

  1. Accountability is about stating what your intentions are to someone else so that you can accountable to them about whether or not you followed through with those intentions
  2. There are a lot of ways that you can build accountability into your life - like body doubling and accountability teams
  3. When forming an accountability team make sure everyone is on the same page when you are starting up so that everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them
Mar 23, 2020
Working With Your ADHD (Updated and Rebroadcast)
720

This week we're going to be hitting Working With Your ADHD. One of my biggest struggles with ADHD often comes from my belief that if I just tried harder I'd be able to overcome anything that my ADHD was throwing at me, but surprise surprise that just isn't the case. In today's episode, we're going to be looking at why we don't want to just keep trying to do the same things as neurotypicals, why we struggle so much with the idea of trying harder and also some of the strategies that are going to support us the best.

Find the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/WorkingWith

Today's Top Tips

1. Pretending that we're neurotypical is exhausting and will lead us to use the wrong strategies for our brains.
2. We shouldn't focus on just trying harder. It's okay for us to just do less, especially when we are staying focus on what matters most.
3. The best strategies for working with your ADHD starts with accepting your ADHD. Make time to educate yourself about what's really happening in your ADHD brain and get involved with the ADHD community.

Mar 16, 2020
The Surprising Magic of Setting a Deadline
925

When I was in school, I always wanted to be the kind of student who able to finish a project well before it needed to be turned in. I loved the idea that I could write a paper and still have a week left to polish it. Of course, I was never actually that student. For me to get started on a paper, I had to actually be able to feel that pressure from the deadline building up on me. That usually meant that I was mostly working on papers the night before - I'm sure a lot of you can relate. Since I was still able to get good grades with this strategy, I never really changed it - but I always wished that I wasn't always riding by the seat of my pants. Despite having a good track record, there were times that I missed those deadlines.

And a funny thing about it was that I always wanted more time to write my papers. In my brain, if the deadline was pushed farther out I would have had more time to start, and yet experience has taught me that it really didn't matter how much time I was given to complete a paper. Given a week or month, I would still procrastinate until the last minute. When those deadlines were moving in on me, I was able to focus like no other. The time pressure allowed me to block out all those other distracting ideas vying for my attention.

Today we're going to be exploring how we can use this time pressure to complete those nagging tasks that we otherwise might not get done and also those things we want to do but just can't seem to prioritize. We'll also be looking at better ways to set deadlines so that we can follow through with our intentions.

Check out the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/deadlines

Today's Top Tips

  1. Time pressure from deadlines allows us to focus on the tasks in front of us and distill our work down to the most important parts.
  2. When setting deadlines we want to make sure that they are relevant to either us or the project. A great way to do this is through accountability and getting someone else to check in on your progress.
  3. Deadlines need to be realistic if we plan on meeting them. Time blindness can make it hard to know how long something is actually going to take, but if we break down our projects into chunks we can work on hitting milestones with mini-deadlines.
Mar 09, 2020
Getting off the Hamster Wheel (Before You Burnout)
949

Exhausted, empty, overloaded, unable to cope - these are some of the words I'll find myself using when I'm feeling burned out or on the path to burnout. We tend to find ourselves in burnout after prolonged periods of stress - it isn't something that sets in all at once. It isn't that we finally have a straw that breaks the camel's back, instead we just eventually find ourselves waking up one morning and realizing we just can't even. We find that we've lost our passion and drive for everything in front of us. We might still find ways to be productive but we tend to be robotic about it and it just drains us more and more.

Burnout is hard. Today we're going to start out by discussing what burnout actually is and I'm also going to talk about some of the times I hit burnout. We're also going to be looking at what we can do to prevent burn and then what to do if we still hit burnout anyways.

For full show notes go to:
HackingYourADHD.com/burnout

Today's Top Tips

  1. Burnout consists of three parts - exhaustion (both mental and physical), loss of meaning in our work, and a feeling ineptitude. Burnout is a slow grind and we've got to pay attention to why we're feeling unmotivated when doing tasks we normally enjoy.
  2. We want to prevent burnout by setting healthy boundaries around our work, prioritizing self-care, and remembering to take time off. Not comparing ourselves to others and accepting that our ADHD makes things hard will also help us with not feeling like we're so far behind everyone else.
  3. If we do hit burnout, we need to reassess what are needs are and identify what was causing us to burnout. Take sometime off and figure out what really matters to you. We often hit burnout when our rewards don't match our efforts.
Mar 02, 2020
How to Create More Effective Reminders
972

When you've got ADHD making reminders is a given. There's just too much going on in any one given day for me to keep track of it all and without reminders I know I'm going to drop the ball somewhere. I've got reminders for big things like when I need to leave to pick up my kids from school and little things like having a cup of tea in the evening but not too close to bedtime.

So when I get told I just need to create a reminder to remember something I just want to shout that I already am using a lot of reminders. A big problem with a lot of reminders is that they just aren't effective at getting us to do the things they are supposed to be reminding us of. Today we're going to be exploring the ways that we can make better reminders so that we're actually following through on them. We'll be looking at what we're creating reminders for. How and when we are getting those reminders and also look at how we are creating our system of reminders.

Find the full show note at: HackingYourADHD.com/EffectiveReminders

Today's Top Tips

  1. The most important aspect of a reminder is having it delivered when you can do something about it - you can do this by thinking through the context of a reminder. If you need a reminder at work make sure you are getting it when you are at work. 
  2. Reminders are great for reminding you of things, but not for doing unscheduled tasks. Leave projects on your to-do list and actually schedule a time for them instead of creating a reminder that you are never going to do. 
  3. Reminders can either be short-term or long-term but regardless of what kind of reminder you are creating you want to make sure you are giving yourself enough information to follow through on what you were trying to remind yourself about. 
  4. Create a combination of physical and digital reminders so that you can get the most out of your reminder systems. Physical reminders tend to be faster to set up but digital reminders can be more robust in how they are reminding you.
Feb 24, 2020
Life Lessons From Video Games
941

Talking about video games so much last week got me thinking about games a lot and so I ended up getting a new game for myself called Stardew Valley. The game was originally released in 2016 but because it was so popular it has been released for a bunch of other systems - I got my copy on the Nintendo Switch. In Stardew Valley you escape the hustle and bustle of the city by moving to a farm you inherited from your grandfather. And then the gameplay is basically just running your farm. Clearing your land. Cutting down trees. Planting crops. Watering them. Talking to people in town. Upgrading your farm. I'm simplifying but honestly, the gameplay is pretty straight forward.

I know, that doesn't sound all that engaging and yet I've gotten hooked on this game. And so have thousands of other people. Last week we spent some time discussing specifically why the ADHD brain can latch on to video games so well - this week we're going to veer into specifically how games can easily get me to do things that essentially are boring - like watering my crops - and trying to figure out how we can apply that to real life.

For the full show notes go to: HackingYourADHD.com/VideoGameLessons

Today's Top Tips

  1. Operant conditioning is a learning process in which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment.
  2. We can use what we know about operant conditioning to help us modify our behavior by figuring out the right rewards and punishments we need to complete tasks.
  3. Video games make it incredibly easy for us to pick them up and play - for anything else in our life that we want to do more of we should reduce the steps it takes to start.
  4. Video games don't punish us harshly for messing up - in fact many video games make it easy to restart after we fail making it easier for us to learn from our mistakes. If we want to fail well in real life we've got to accept that we are going to screw up sometimes and figure out easy ways to dust ourselves off and try again.
Feb 17, 2020
ADVGD: Attention Deficit Video Game Disorder
1111

I've played video games since before I was able to read - although that statement loses some of its weight once you find out that I didn't learn to read until I was in 4th grade - you know, dyslexia and all. Nonetheless, video games have been a part of my life for a long time. I mean, games are so ingrained in me that while I am writing this, I am listening to video game music - it's excellent for creating a relaxed focus. Video game music was specifically designed to help with attention - I'll link to some of my favorite game soundtracks in the show notes.

Today we're going to be talking about why video games can engage the ADHD brain so well and how that can lead to video game addiction. We're also going to be discussing some of the more positive traits of video games as well as discussing some ways that we can cut back on how many video games we play.

Check out the full show note at: HackingYourADHD.com/videogames

Today's Top Tips

  1. Video games engage our brains through instant feedback and making us feel successful.
  2. Video games can be a great tool for learning and for your social life.
  3. We want to set sensible limits on video games in our lives - not all games are created equally, so choose what you play wisely. Be wary of the games you install on your phone.
  4. Game Addiction can be defined as problematic and compulsive use of video games that results in significant impairment in your life - if you're seeing signs of video game addiction in your life or you simply need help quitting playing so many video games I'd like to urge you to go check out GameQuitters.com
Feb 10, 2020
ADHD in the Gym
1064

This week we're going to be jumping - yeah, jumping because we're talking about exercise. I hope you're ready for some Jazzercise - but if that's not your groove I've got some other options for you as well. Somewhere in our heads, we all know that exercising more is something we "should" do, but it feels like the easiest thing in the world to put off. I mean just because when I look out my window and I can see it's raining doesn't mean I need to stay on my couch right now. 

In today's episode, we're going to be learning some of the reasons exercise is great for our ADHD brain. How we can work on making it easier to fit exercise into our schedules so that we actually do it, some different ways we can get our blood flowing and our hearts beating. And finally a few things we can do to make sure that we are keeping up with our routines.

Find the full show notes at: HackingYourADHD.com/ADHDGym

Today's Top Tips

  1. Exercise is great for our ADHD brains by increasing our levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
  2. You want to try to get in 20-30 minutes of exercise a day, but if you're just starting out make sure that you're easing into it to avoid burning out.
  3. Find a type of exercise that you find fun and switch it up sometimes. A great way to do this is through sports and classes.
  4. Build-in some accountability for your exercise routines to make sure that you keep them going. 
Feb 03, 2020
How to Make your Smart Phone ADHD Friendly (Part 2)
941

This is the second part of the series on how to better manage your smartphone with your ADHD - you don't have to have listened to part 1 to listen to this episode, but if you like this episode I'd definitely recommend going back and listening to last week's episode as well. In that episode, we covered how we can limit the distractions that our smartphone can present and also how to make it easier on our ADHD brains when we're setting up our smartphone.

This week we're going in a bit of a different direction - while smartphones can be easily distracting and endless entertaining, they also provide us with some great tools to help us manage our ADHD. In this episode I'm going to be discussing a number of the apps I use to help me navigate my day - since I use the iPhone that means most of the apps I specifically discuss are going to be iPhone apps; however, I do try and provide alternatives for Android. 

Find the Full Show Notes at: HackingYourADHD.com/ADHDPhone2

Today's Top Tips

1. Make use of reminder apps on your phone - make sure to use lots of different sounds and to create recurring reminders for things that you need to be reminded of frequently.
2. Use your calendar as a reminder app as well - for important events make sure to have reminders well in advance so that you can plan for them ahead of time.
3. Get a good note-taking app for your phone and create a reminder to also look at the notes that you take throughout the day or week.
4. Take advantage of shortcuts on your phone so that you can do complicated tasks without getting distracted.


Jan 27, 2020
How to Make your Smart Phone ADHD Friendly (Part 1)
1044

I've been carrying around a smartphone in my pocket for more than 10 years - I started off with the first iPhone and have since gone over to Android, dabbled with the Windows Phones for a few years and then ended back up with an iPhone again. Through my years with my phone I've learned that it can be a great asset and help me with a number of my ADHD difficulties; however, I've also felt the dark side of the phone as well. Games, social media, email and all those notifications. 

ADHD makes it really easy for us to get off track so we want to be making sure that we're not letting our phones dictate our next actions. Through trial and error phone designers have been making it harder and harder for us to put down our phone. Since we have ADHD this means that it is almost too easy for us to get distracted when we pop open our phone to just check the time. The screen lights up and suddenly we're hit with a hundred different ways our attention should go. 

This week we'll be focusing on ways to set up your phone to be less distracting and we're going to work on setting up our phones intentionally to make sure that we're paying attention to what apps we have on our phone and where those apps are located. We'll also be looking at other ways to reduce the constant stream of distractions that our phones can produce.

Find the full show notes at: HackingYourADHD.com/ADHDPhone

This Episode's Top Tips

1. Purge any apps that you don't need on your phone - both unused apps and also apps that pull you in too much.
2. Organize your apps so that your most useful apps are easy to open and your distracting apps are hidden.
3. Turn off most of your notifications and make use of your Do Not Disturb feature.
4. Check out your phone's screentime feature and set some sensible restrictions on how much time you are spending on your phone.


Jan 21, 2020
Tweaking Your Habits for Better Results
828

Find the full show note at HackingYourADHD.com/habits

This week we're going to be exploring the power of habit and how small changes to our routines can have a big impact. One of the easiest ways we can help our ADHD is by working on routines and habits. It's easy to let our default habits run our lives but when we consciously choose what habits we actually want to cultivate we aren't hamstringing ourselves. 

In this episode we'll be learning why we don't need to use discipline nearly as much as we think, the importance of sequencing in our habits and how we can make tweaks in those sequences so that we can change our habits to the ones we actually want. 

Today's Top Tips

  1. Don't rely on discipline, instead use your habits to help you navigate the hard stuff.
  2. Our habits are so ingrained that we don't always realize what we're doing while we're doing them.
  3. Our habits follow the path of least resistance - if you want to change a bad habit, add resistance. If you want to form a new habit, reduce the resistance to that habit.
  4. You can automate processes in your habit sequences so that you aren't relying on discipline.
Jan 13, 2020
Breaking Down The ONE Thing
923

Find the full show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/TheONEThing

In this week's episode, I am going to be going over the book The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan - I was introduced to this book by Eric Tivers through the ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability groups. I can't remember if it was required reading or just strongly encouraged when I took the groups, but the messages in this book were key to getting through the coaching groups.

My first reading of the book was on audiobook and since then I've listened to it three more and read the physical version of the book twice. The subtitle of the book is, "The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results" - and as I've mentioned before, just because something is simple doesn't make it easy. Each reading has helped me understand the concepts a little bit better and I was always able to pick up a few new things.

Today I'm going to be going over the "surprisingly simple truth" in the book and discussing how we can better apply it for our ADHD brains.

Today's Top Tips

  1. Use the focusing question to help you determine your one thing - the focusing question again is: "What's the ONE Thing that you can do such by doing it that everything else is easier or unnecessary?"
  2. Change your thinking and value your time by saying "no" more and time blocking time for your ONE Thing
  3. You can have a ONE Thing for each of your life domains, but they should all be working toward a common purpose
  4. If you liked this episode I'd recommend you check out the book the ONE Thing and read through it on your own - I skimmed a lot of parts for this episode so I'm sure you could get a lot more out of it. You can find a link to the book on the show notes page.
Jan 06, 2020
Dear ADHD
504

Find show notes for this episode at HackingYourADHD.Com/DearADHD

Thanks for joining me for the very last episode of 2019 - in this episode, I'm writing a letter to my ADHD. This is an exercise I got from Eric Tiver's ADHD reWired Coaching and Accountability groups. I'll be honest, I wasn't all that keen on writing a letter to my ADHD when I first heard about the exercise, but it was surprisingly refreshing to address that part of myself. 

Since my first letter to my ADHD I've tried to write another one about four times a year. When I write these letters it gives me an excellent chance to check in with how my relationship with my ADHD is going. Sometimes it's going really well, while other times I've found myself to be really struggling. 

If you'd like to write your own letter to your ADHD, just set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write whatever feels right to say to your ADHD. There's no wrong way to write your letter - and don't worry, I've heard a number of these that start with Dear ADHD, F - you.  The great part about doing this exercise is that you get a nice record of how your relationship with ADHD is going - I can look back and see how I was doing mentally when I last checked in.

Dec 30, 2019
How to Plan Your 2020 Without Getting Overwhelmed
1078

Be sure to check out the full show notes at: HackingYourADHD.com/planning2020

Today we're going to be working on planning out our 2020. If you haven't given much thought to planning your year before I think you'll get a lot out of this episode - planning is one of those things that we sometimes think doesn't play well with ADHD, but I've learned that planning is actually one of the most effective ways to manage my ADHD. We're always going to be impulsive and that's not a bad thing but sometimes we want to want to rein that in and our best chance at reining in impulsivity is forethought. 

In our session today we're going to be going over how to set goals without making them too challenging, figuring out where our focus is going to be next year, updating our calendars with the most important stuff first (you might be surprised with what that is) and then going over why we want to be doing our most important goals first.

This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. Find your Goldilocks Zone of Challenge for Goal Setting
  2. Examine your life domains and choose one to focus on this year
  3. Re-write your goals from outcome based goals into process goals
  4. Once you have set dates scheduled into your calendar, schedule out your vacation and planning time before anything else
  5. Plan to do your 2-3 most important goals in the beginning of the year
Dec 23, 2019
Looking Back on 2019 for a Great 2020
791

Today we're going to be walking through the process of how to conduct an end of year review by letting you in while I went through my own review.

Head over to the show notes page to grab a copy of the Review Your Year PDF that I use in this episode: HackingYourADHD.com/2019Review

Since I've started doing yearly reviews, I've realized that I'm pretty bad at looking back. Often I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels, but it turns out that it's just that my rearview mirror is broken. The problem is that when I look back I tend to only remember a small fraction of what went on over the year. I mean even when I've tried doing a weekly review I find that I can't actually accurately remember what went on that week. But that doesn't mean that we can't do something to help jog our memories.

This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. List out your goals for 2019 and see which ones you completed (and it's okay if you didn't get them all - I didn't hit many of mine this year)
  2. Go through your calendar week by week and find all the things that you've forgotten about over the year
  3. Separate everything you did this year into their various life domains so you can see where you've spent most of your time
  4. Using all the information you gathered, spend some time writing and reflecting on how your year went
  5. Keep all this information handy for next week when we start planning our year

And be sure to connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to let me know what your top takeaway was from this episode.

Dec 09, 2019
How To Make Time For The Important Stuff
1098

Let me ask you, what's the most important thing on your to-do list? What the thing that if you did it would make you satisfied with what you accomplished today? Sometimes we've got a clear picture of what our most important thing we've got to do is - usually it's something that's due that day - maybe even something that was due, yesterday. But we can't always rely on urgency to be our guide for prioritization. 

If you're struggling to figure out what's the most important thing to do, you're not alone. Picking out the tasks that are going to make the biggest difference is a hard thing to do and something that we're kind of just expected to understand - yet often there's no clear reason why doing task A is better than doing task B. 

As we are approaching the end of the year I've been thinking about what I want to do next year and what things are going to make the most difference in my life. So today I'm going to be exploring how we can determine what those most important tasks are and how we can make them a priority.

Check out the full show notes and episode transcript at: HackingYourADHD.com/Priorities

This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. To really get the most out of setting your priorities you've first got to understand what your values are
  2. You can use the Eisenhower Priority Matrix to separate your tasks into Important and Urgent, Important but not Urgent, Urgent but Not Important and Not Important and Not Urgent
  3. Large projects should be broken down into their component parts, once they are broken down look for tasks that are bottle necks or that will make other tasks easier to complete - those should become your priorities
Dec 02, 2019
Prioritizing Your Needs For a Better Holiday Season
474


We all picture different things when we think about the holidays. Some people think about family and food, others think about putting up all those sparking lights and some people think about the shopping - but one thing we all probably think about is all the things we have to do.

Find the full show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/holiday

This Episode's Top Tips

  • Pick and choose your events - let your mantra become "I'll have to check my calendar"
  • Prioritize self-care by adding it to your calendar
  • Have escape routes planned for events that might overwhelm you - identify your co-conspirators to get you out of the worst situations
  • Your best weapon against impulsiveness is forethought - knowing when you are most impulsive let's you come up with strategies to curb that impulsiveness
  • Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack
Nov 25, 2019
Compassionate Ass-Kicking For The Win
863

When I'm working on this podcast sometimes I wish my boss would be a little harder on me because it can be easy for me to get behind - but my boss is kind of laid back and lets me get away with more than I should - and that's probably because my boss is me. When I can't count on myself to get the things I need to turn to others to help me out. A lot of us with ADHD can have trouble turning to others when we need help, but we don't have to do things alone. And one of the best ways others can help you is through accountability. Today I'm going to talk about what accountability is, what it isn't and ways that you can get some more into your life so that you can follow through with your intentions.

Find the full show note on my web page: HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/CompassionateAssKicking

Today's Top Tips

  1. Accountability is about stating what your intentions are to someone else so that you can accountable to them about whether or not you followed through with those intentions
  2. There are a lot of ways that you can build accountability into your life - like body doubling and accountability teams
  3. When forming an accountability team make sure everyone is on the same page when you are starting up so that everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them
Nov 18, 2019
How to Get Refocused After Your Vacation
810

Last week was all about getting there and this week we're focusing on what to do when you get back. Travel disrupts our routines and habits - and we should take those disruptions seriously. One thing that I've had to learn over and over again is that ADHD makes transitions hard - and coming back from a trip is a big transition.

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Identify your routines and habits before your trip so that when you get back you know where to pick things back up. Make sure you are paying special attention to your 
  2. While you are traveling try and keep up as many of your habits and routines. If you need to, you can make small tweaks to them to make them easier while you are away.
  3. Make sure you are planning your days and regularly checking that plan once you get back. You can use a habit tracker to make sure you are follow through with all of your intentions.

Find all the show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/RefocusedVacation

Nov 11, 2019
Seven ADHD Friendly Travel Hacks For An Awesome Vacation
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ADHD loves novelty and what could be more novel for an ADHD brain than going to a new place? While you might love the destination, getting there can be really hard for those of us with ADHD. The process of traveling some place new takes a lot of work and a lot of attention to detail that can even escape neurotypicals. Recently my wife was booking our tickets to go visit family during Thanksgiving - except after she booked the tickets she realized she booked them for the wrong weekend. Fortunately she caught it early and it wasn't too hard to fix.

But travel is a lot more than just booking tickets and getting to the airport on time. The entire process of getting out the door with all your bags to sitting wait for your plane to leave takes a lot of executive function and we can really find ourselves wiped out just thinking of everything we're going to need to do. With a little bit of planning ahead though we can make traveling a lot easier on our ADHD brains. 

Here are my top seven tips for smoothing out your travel plans.

#1 - Making a list and checking it twice

#2 - Drink More Water

#3 - Bring a fidget toy for down time

#4 - Avoid overbooking yourself and schedule breaks

#5 - Get comfortable

#6 - Be mindful of traveling with your Medication

#7 - Take Advantage of Your Apps

Check out the full show notes and all the tool mentioned in this episode on the show notes page: HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/TravelHacks

Nov 04, 2019
How to Journal Even When You Have ADHD
921

Find the Full Show Notes:
HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/journaling

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Journaling allows us to think through our problems and improve our emotional well being
  2. You've got a lot of options for how to journal - be it with pen and paper, digital, or an audio or video journal make sure you are choosing the option that is best for your ADHD brain. 
  3. To be successful at journaling we've got treat it like any other habit that we want to form and start off easy - by thinking ahead we can come up with strategies that will make it easier for us to sit down and actually write. 
  4. Remember to approach your journal with compassion - you're not going to be solving any problems just by beating yourself up.
Oct 28, 2019
Goals, Strategies and Tactics
814

Find the full show notes at HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/GST

Today we're going to be exploring the differences between goals, strategies and tactics.

Simply put:

  • Goals are a desired result we want to achieve.
  • Strategies are the processes we use to achieve goals.
  • Tactics are actions we take to implement strategies.

Let's take a look at an example.

A while back I decided to set the goal planning my week every week. My strategy at the time was to do my planning on Monday's right when I started work. This was a bad strategy, but it was compounded by the fact that I didn't have any specific tactics to make sure that I was doing my planning right when I got in. Coming in on Mondays I'd find myself just jumping into whatever needed to be done first and telling myself that I'd get to my planning right afterwards. That rarely actually happened. And while it might have been a good idea to actually try some different tactics here I didn't realize that was the issue, so I instead opted to change my strategy.

I decided that I wanted to try and start planning my week over the weekend. This was a great idea in theory but ended up being a mess because I again didn't implement any solid tactics to make sure that I was getting my planning done. With all my family commitments on weekends I found that I had trouble finding time to do my planning. I liked the results when I did manage to plan on the weekend but I wasn't able to do it consistently.

I ended up changing my strategy again and was able to get it to stick, because this time I also decided to add some tactics. Now I plan my next week on the Friday afternoons and instead of just trying to find time on Fridays, I created a reoccurring event on my calendar specifically for planning on Friday afternoons. By blocking off that time ahead of time I couldn't schedule any other projects then without moving that time block (which sometimes I do have to do).

The biggest reason this has worked for me is because let's be honest, you never just find time to do things - if it isn't in your calendar it probably isn't a priority. When I'm at my office I'm able to respect my time blocks a lot more easily. When I'm at home with the kids they are my priority and so I can't rely on having as consistent time blocks - and this comes back to the idea of working with your ADHD and what works for you. Sure I'm "sacrificing" my Friday afternoons to make my planning happen, but planning is important for managing my ADHD and so it is totally worth it.

SMART Goals

Now that we've got a better understanding of the differences between strategies and tactics let's talk a little bit about goal setting. There are a lot of ways to set your goals but today we're just going to be talking about SMART goals.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

When I'm sitting down during the goal setting process I'll often start with a nebulous goal such as: I want to get in better shape. To gain clarity on what I actually want out of this goal we'll run it through the SMART goal methodology.

We'll start by getting specific. What does getting in shape mean? For me getting in shape might mean getting to the gym more and eating healthier. The key when making things specific is to also focus on making them into ways that can also be measurable. Looking at that first part we can say I want to go to the gym at least 2 times a week. This makes it both specific (we know exactly what needs to happen) and measurable (we know the frequency, twice a week).

Eating healthier is a lot harder to quantify, so we're going to have to change the wording so that we can make this measurable - let's go with I want to eat 3 healthy meals a week. If we want to get real nitty-gritty we might also want to define wh

Oct 21, 2019
Working With Your ADHD
824

It's easy to get caught up in what neurotypicals do for productivity that we can forget that we're not neurotypical, we have ADHD. And when you've got ADHD sometimes you need to do things differently because our brains are wired differently. Even though neurotypicals sometimes struggle with a lot of the same issues that we are struggling with it doesn't mean we should always be trying the same strategies and tactics to get over those hurdles. 

What we need to do is find ways to work with our ADHD brains. Working with your ADHD brain is all about finding the strategies that work with your brain and avoiding the ones that are going to cause problems.

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Working harder isn't always our best option - more often than not we just need to take a different approach
  2. It's okay for us to just do less - especially when are staying focus on what matters most to us
  3. The best strategies I've found for working with your ADHD are education and community

For all the tools and other goodies mentioned in this episode, check out the full show notes at: HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/WorkingWith

Oct 14, 2019
How to Remember Anything
749

ADHD can make it hard to remember all the things that you need to remember on a daily basis. Things get forgotten and we end up missing important appointments because they simply slipped our mind. While everyone can have trouble with memory, it can be especially hard on those of us with ADHD because of how memory works with executive function.

When we are thinking about memory it is important to distinguish between long-term memory and short-term memory. Long-term memory holds memories from weeks, months or years ago - while short term memory is all about the now with those memories lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of days. Short-term memory is also sometimes also referred to as working memory

To keep the information we store in our working memory we must put in effort to keep it there. If we don't put in effort to retain those memories they will be forgotten. We can hold about 5-9 memories in our short-term memory. It is important to note that when we are holding things in our working memory we are using our executive function. Since ADHD can also be considered a disorder of the executive function this means that it is harder for people with ADHD to use their working memory. 

To be clear we can simply define executive as what controls our ability to get thing done. It helps with things like time management, paying attention, remembering details and planning. You can think of executive function kind of like a well that you draw out of every time you do these things. Our reserve of executive function has ups and down with things like sleeping and eating helping to restore that reserve. We rely on executive function for a lot of thing so we don't want to drain it unnecessarily.

The easiest thing we can do to reduce the strain on our executive function is to stop trying to store these memories in our heads and instead write them down. When we are writing down these reminders to ourselves we need to focus on creating reminders that are specific so we actually know what we were supposed to be reminded about. The second key is to create cues for these reminders so that we get reminded about these things when the information is actually relevant to us.

In the instances where a written reminder isn't warranted such as going into another room just to get an object we can also struggle with remembering things. In a study from psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky of Notre Dame found that doorways "serve as an 'event boundary' in the mind." In his study Radvansky found that subjects were more forgetful after walking through a doorway compared to when they walked the same distance across a room.

To help with these instances of forgetfulness we can implement solutions like vocalization and visualization to help us remember what we needed.

This Episode's Top Tips

  1. Storing things in our working memory relies on us using our executive function and we don't want to unnecessarily drain our executive function to just try and remember everything
  2. When we are creating reminders for ourselves we need to make sure that they have a good cue for us and that they are specific enough that we will actually know what we were supposed to be reminded of
  3. Doorways serve as event boundaries in our mind so we need to be mindful of trying to remember things when we are going to be going through a doorway.

For all the tools and other goodies mentioned in this episode, check out the full show notes at: HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/RememberAnything

Oct 07, 2019
Timing Your Day
860

ADHD can make it very hard for us to accurately tell what time it is now, how much time is left, and how quickly time is passing. This is referred to as time blindness and it creates a host of issues for those of us with ADHD. When you are unable to accurately tell what time it is, you are going to be late. When you don't know how long something is going to take, you are either going to take too long to finish or finish well before you predicted.

When we are unable to accurately gauge how much time has passed we often are going to be late and when it comes to time predictions we often find ourselves woefully inaccurate, either predicting we can finish a task in no time at all or deciding a task is going to take way more time than it actually will. Our brains are great at confusing large and small tasks, making us think that doing the dishes will take an hour while figuring we can type out that ten-page paper in the same hour.

We can work on our time blindness by making predictions of how long a task will take and then taking accurate measurements of how long it actually takes to do. As we do this more often and learn how long things actually take we create time wisdom.

Often we will find ourselves falling to time blindness because of the invisible parts of a task. One common example is parking. If we have a 2:00 PM appointment and it takes 30 minutes to arrive at our destination we can't just allot 30 minutes for the drive. Once we arrive we still have to find parking and go into the building - both of those tasks take time that is usually unaccounted for.

One of the causes of these invisible parts is because we tend not to acknowledge that a task is built up of three parts - set up, the doing of the task, and clean up. In the going to an appointment example, getting ready to go and getting in the car could be considered the set up, driving to the appointment the doing part, and the parking and going into the building is the clean up.

When you start timing yourself you need to get an actual timer that counts up like a stopwatch so that you can create accurate time measurements. Once you have your timer create reminders about what you want to time and also reminders to turn off your timer once you've finished the task.

Also remember that you don't need to judge yourself if you aren't hitting your time predictions. This is called time blindness, which means we have trouble seeing time, so sometimes our time predictions are going to be fairly inaccurate. Timing yourself is about helping you correct your bad predictions and creating time wisdom, not about telling yourself you should be doing things faster.

This Episode's Top Tips:

1. Get yourself a timer, you don't need anything fancy, but try and find something that isn't your phone and that counts up.

2. Tasks are made up of three parts: the set up, the doing, and the clean up.

3. When you are timing yourself make predictions on how long your tasks are going to take - accurately predicting time is a skill and the more you practice the better you will get.

For all the tools and other goodies mentioned in this episode, check out the full show notes at: HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/timing

Oct 07, 2019
Building Your Toolbox
726

ADHD can make it hard for us to work on our intentions. This is even harder when we forget the things that we want to do. When you are learning about new ADHD strategies while reading books or listening to podcasts (like this one!) it is really easy to forget your intention of implementing those strategies. In these instances when we learn about a new tool, what we can do is write down our intended strategy and put it into our ADHD Toolbox. Our toolbox is simply a way for us to record the strategies and ideas we have for working with our ADHD - a place we can go and look at our intentions when we are off track.

While new strategies are fun to add to our toolbox, we should also focus on adding things that are already working in our life to our toolbox. If you've found a great bedtime routine? Stick it in your toolbox. Figured out a great way to plan your upcoming week? Stick it in your toolbox. Found a great tool for keeping you focused? Stick it in your toolbox.

Just creating a toolbox for yourself isn't enough. We all know that we forget things. That we get off track. And sometimes when we are off track it takes us a while to realize what we are doing wrong. Use your toolbox to speed up the process of getting back in the groove of things. To do this you've got to set up regular times to check your toolbox.

But we also know that sometimes even when we set aside time to check something we aren't always going to get to it, which means we've got to set up redundant reminders for ourselves to make sure we don't miss out on our most important intentions.

This Episode’s Top Tips

  1. Set up a toolbox for yourself containing any tools or strategies you are currently using in your life
  2. Set up times to regularly read through your toolbox
  3. Create automated systems of redundant reminders so you don't forget about your toolbox

For all the tools and other goodies mentioned in this episode go to the full show notes on our web page: HackingYourADHD.com/podcast/Toolbox

Oct 05, 2019