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The Roman myth of Janus is an example of our thoughts this time of year. Janus is a two-faced god who is looking forward to the future and backward at the past. It's believed the month of January is named after him.
For college students, Winter Break is an excellent opportunity to look at the past and plan for the future. Oftentimes, students with ADHD, LD and Executive Function challenges look at past attempts to succeed as failures. They harbor negative thoughts about their mistakes. This often creates a downward spiral that can impact self-esteem and motivation to move forward in a different manner. Planning for the future is sometimes challenging as well. Planning and Prioritizing are identified Executive Function challenges. For college students who would like to change their direction and take a more effective path towards college success, there are strategies that can support that process.
For high school seniors who want to be proactive and enter college prepared, it isn’t too soon to start thinking about what has worked in high school and what hasn’t worked. How can you take this information and apply it to your future as a college student? How do you think college will be different from high school and what can you do now to prepare yourself for a different experience?
Using the wisdom of Janus, looking backward and planning forward, consider the following thoughts:
- Celebrate your successes. What did you do “right”? What were the outcomes of those actions?
- Look at past outcomes that didn’t turn out as you wished. What led to a result that you are not happy with? How can you do things differently and possibly end up with a more desired outcome?
- Turn unsuccessful attempts into learning experiences that will allow you to chart a more successful course using self-talk to reframe your thoughts in a way that will move you forward not backward.
- Find and accept support from someone who can help you look at learning experiences of the past then together explore some new and different ways of moving forward more successfully.
- Plan for the future semester with renewed energy and optimism based on what you have learned from the past.
If you would like the opportunity to do some reflecting and future projecting for college success, click here to join us for a free webinar, January 8th, 2018 at 4:30 PT, 5:30 MT, 6:30 CT, 7:30 ET.
Kay Axtell, ADHD and Executive Function Skills Coach is the Managing Director of the Center For Living Well with ADHD in Colorado. Kay works with adults, college and youth, To contact Kay, email her at Kay@adhdcoach.life. Or visit our website at www.CenterForLivingWellwithADHD.org to learn more about Kay and schedule a complimentary Get Acquainted Session with her.
Embracing it! Did I really forget . . . again?
I think this picture speaks loud and clear for many of us. My colleague and I were in Colorado on our way to… so many places. We gathered everything we could think of for our full day of sightseeing. Then we got in the car - for the second time.
Can you guess what happened? Yep! We forgot about 4 things. Back inside Kay went and gathered a few more things we forgot. I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned to hate the phase “did you forget anything”? In my mind I would say, Of course I did - what is it? It seemed that every day as I was leaving for work, I’d have to go back in the house for one more thing. It was frustrating and at times humiliating. Some people think it’s fun to see you go back and forth two and three times to get everything you needed. It was never fun for me. But I’d laugh with them as I went back inside to gather what I needed.
But notice the smile on Kay’s face - that’s called “Embracing It”. Rather than beat ourselves up internally or make excuses, people with ADHD need to embrace it. This is how we are and it’s important to not look at it as a failure, but to look at it as “I simply have to go back and get what I needed.” If anyone forgets something, what do they do? They go back and get it. It doesn’t really matter how many times or the fact that others don’t do it as often as we do. Embrace it!
You need to think about the perception you give others. Is it possible those with ADHD are verbalizing in front of everyone that “I’m so tired of forgetting things” - and then act exasperated. Isn’t this the same as walking late into a business meeting and calling ourselves out - “Sorry, I’m late again.” Try practicing being more INvisible in these instances. Don’t reassure others that you don’t have control.
Yes, there are some things you just don’t have great control over. But you can help gain better control by making a list of what you will need the night before. Then stick it to the door. I feel a sense of calm when I make a list, rather than trying to remember the morning of the event. Some people make the list and that night put everything in the car.
You know, you could have someone take your own picture of ‘Embracing it!” Put it up where it will make you smile.
Joyce Kubik, Certified Master Coach and ADHD Coach is the Managing Director at the Center of Living Well with ADHDin Ohio. She coaches college students and adults virtually across the nation. You can reach her at Joyce@adhdcoach.life or through the website at www.centerforlivingwellwithadhd.org to schedule a complimentary session. See her profile here.
Oh My! Where Did This Day Go?
Have you ever paused at the end of your day and thought “Where did all my time go?” Or perhaps you started your day with a long list of written out to-do’s, and when finally stumbling upon your list at the end of the day, you realized hardly anything was done. This scenario can happen to anyone. But when it happens a lot, it is a clue there are challenges associated with time management, organization, and planning and prioritization. These are what I call the Big 3 Executive Function Skills that are often weaker in adults with ADHD. Add difficulty focusing and staying on task with your list and life can definitely present its challenges. What’s the upside? You can minimize their impact and strengthen their skills by developing ADHD friendly strategies and approaches which makes life a whole lot better.
All these challenges were mine too. They had a big impact on how my day would play out. Trying to balance my career and personal life, which included a young busy family, was really difficult. I would budget my time in ways that didn’t match priorities. I would get carried away with ideas that were not part of the plan. I felt in a constant shuffle of trying to meet deadlines, arrive places on time, or follow through on commitments I had made. I would get stressed out, overwhelmed and shut down. I realized something had to change and I needed a better way to plan, prioritize and approach my day more effectively.
Now I am asked, “How is it you have ADHD and get so much done?” Here is my secret. I had to create the systems and structures that worked for me to manage time, stay organized, and plan and prioritize effectively. For starters, I don’t start my day without a road map, on how the day will play out. I keep it in front of me all day long. Being able to build that road map is easier because of the systems I have put in place to stay on top of priorities. When I work with clients, I like to build their systems that helps them to plan, prioritize and approach their days in ways that work for them. Keep in mind that everyone is a little different on what works for them. So don’t try to do it like someone else. Find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to ask me for help.
Robin Nordmeyer is a Certified Life Coach and ADHD Coach with the Center For Living Well with ADHD - Minnesota. Robin coaches with adults, parents and youth to live their strengths and manage ADHD-related challenges in effective ways to help with achieving their goals. You can reach Robin at Robin@ADHDCoach.life.