Scheduling Yourself for Success in College

Here’s sneak peek at a tip that Roxanne Fouche contributed to the upcoming book, Inspirational Ways to Succeed with ADHD:

Ratemyprofessors.com and similar websites are popular because they help college students get a sense of prospective classes and professors.  In addition to choosing professors whose teaching style seems to match your particular learning style, you might also pay attention to when the classes take place.  Consider the following:

  • Do you do your best thinking in the morning, afternoon or evening?
  • Do you need time between classes to relax, study or perhaps finish up last-minute assignments?
  • Do you need to exercise before class to prime your brain for learning?
  • Do you need time to eat something nutritious between classes?

Schedule your classes according to what you know will help you succeed.  Recognizing what you need to thrive in college is the first step – the next step, of course, is doing what you can to make sure that your needs are met.

If we can be of assistance in helping you succeed in college, contact us at info@focusforeffectiveness.com. We’d be delighted to talk with you about how ADHD coaching might help you thrive!

Cutting Down on Chronic Lateness for Adults with ADHD

I was honored to be interviewed recently by Margarita Tartakovsky, Associate Editor of Psych Central.

Cutting Down on Chronic Lateness for Adults with ADHD

By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S., Associate Editor

People with ADHD have a distorted sense of time. Sometimes, the passage of time is excruciatingly slow. Waiting in line feels like hours, said Roxanne Fouché, an ADHD coach and consultant.

Other times, time flies. What feels like 15 minutes of engaging in a fun activity is really 45 minutes, she said.

According to professor and ADHD researcher Russell Barkley, Ph.D, many people with ADHD are “time blind.” They forget the purpose of their task and feel uninspired to finish it.

Psychiatrist and ADHD expert Edward Hallowell, M.D., talks about how people with ADHD have two times: “now and not now.” If a work project is due next week, you figure you have plenty of time- until it’s Monday, and you realize that it’s due the next day, and you have to conduct several interviews, on top of other tasks.

Chronic lateness can affect all areas of a person’s life, Fouché said. For instance, if you’re late to work or miss deadlines, you might not get a promotion, or worse, you might get fired.

You might be seen as someone who’s less engaged or can’t be counted on, she said. This might stop a supervisor from assigning projects that truly interest you.

Friends and family might think you’re disrespectful or you don’t care about them, she said. Young kids may get scared when you’re late picking them up from school.

Chronic lateness may even affect your sense of self. You start thinking of yourself as the one who’s always late, Fouché said. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You think, “Why even try? I’m always late!”

This also can trigger embarrassment and self-blame, she said.

The good news is that you can employ strategies to cut down on your chronic lateness in all areas of your life. Below, Fouché, co-founder of Focus For Effectiveness, shared seven helpful suggestions.

Figure out how long things take you.

People with ADHD often overestimate how much they can accomplish in a given time. You might think it takes you 20 minutes to get ready in the morning, but in actuality, it takes an hour.

Fouché suggested not just setting a timer for your morning routine, but also figuring out frequently traveled routes such as the grocery store.

You also can time how long it takes you to complete professional and other personal tasks.

Have something compelling to do.

For people with ADHD, arriving early spells boredom – something they try to avoid, Fouché said. Instead, plan on arriving early and having something compelling to do while you’re waiting.

Doing so gives you a cushion or buffer zone for the unexpected, such as traffic, she said.

For instance, if you’re picking up your child from school, arrive early, and bring a book, magazine article or catalogue you never have a chance to read. This means scoring a good spot and, more important, not making your child wait.

Set multiple alarms.

Set several countdown timers on your phone, computer or anywhere else, Fouché said. For instance, if you need to leave your house at 1 p.m., set an alarm for 10 minutes before. When it rings, note where you left off in a task (e.g., jot it down on a sticky note).

The second alarm gives you a few minutes to run to the bathroom, put on your shoes and get out the door, she said. It also stops you from thinking, “I just have to do this one more thing!”

Have a launching pad.

People with ADHD also might run late because they’re busy searching for their keys or wallet or anything else they need to be able to leave. Instead, keep a table by the door. This is a specially designated spot for your wallet, keys and phone charger – and unusual items you’ll need on a specific day.

For instance, you might need certain paperwork for a doctor’s appointment, coupons for the grocery store, or your USB drive for a presentation.

Rethink requests.

Sometimes people with ADHD run late because they have too many things on their plates. “People with ADHD have a tendency to over-commit,” Fouché said. They get excited about many things and are overly optimistic about their to-do lists, she said.

The next time you get a request, instead of saying, “Sure, I’ll do it,” simply pause, and say, “Hmm, that sounds great. Let me look at my schedule and get back to you.”

Build a routine.

For people with ADHD, routines can sound boring. But “it really makes things more automatic,” Fouché said. And that makes life a whole lot easier and less stressful.

For instance, have weekly schedules for going to the gas station, doing laundry and grocery shopping, she said. This way you won’t run late to work because you desperately needed gas, or fail to get your kids to school on time because you ran out of peanut butter and jelly.

It also helps to build routines at work, Fouché said. For instance, if you need to turn in progress reports every month, instead of scrambling and stressing several days before your deadline, spend 10 minutes every day working on the report.

Explore what’s worked.

“It’s rare that someone is never on time,” Fouché said. Maybe there’s an appointment you always make or a work deadline you never miss.

Think about the strategies you used. What worked in these scenarios? Then consider how you can apply these strategies to other situations, she said. (They might need to be tweaked depending on the scenario.)

“Often we pay attention to what doesn’t work and blame ourselves instead of paying attention to what does work.”

Overall, Fouché also underscores the importance of finding strategies that work for you.

Make A Plan For the New Year

January 1st is a natural time to look at our lives and contemplate change. The new year is a 365-page book with blank pages, ready to be written.

Unfortunately, it’s all too common to give up on our resolutions before we have given them a chance to become habits. So how can we do things differently this year? Make a plan. (No, really…)

Many people resist planning, but figuring out HOW we are going to reach our goals is important – it’s like using a GPS to get us from Point A to Point B. Below are some tips that can help:

As we make our plan, it’s helpful to think about the meaning the change has for us because focus on that motivation that will assist us as we move toward our goals. For example, we might decide to increase our exercise because we recognize that we have more focus and energy when we do so. 

It’s useful to be realistic about our plan. We can have big goals, but we need to take small steps, especially at first. In that way, we set ourselves up for success, making it that much more likely that we will actually achieve realize our goals.

It’s also helpful to share our intentions with others – whether it is a loved one, a colleague, a support group or our Facebook friends. In that way, we have others who may join us in our goals and/or cheer us on.

As we are making our plan, it is also useful to anticipate the obstacles that we might face so we can figure out ways around them. If we know that it’s hard to exercise when we get home from work, for example, we can plan to do so at a different time of day – maybe during lunch or first thing in the morning. 

It’s also helpful to recognize that lapses are often part of the change process. Studies have shown that backtracking is a common part of the change process. If something doesn’t go as planned, we can learn from our missteps, tweak our plans and try again.

Lastly, we need to plan some rewards along the way to keep us going. As we move toward our goals, we are strengthening neural pathways, making it that much easier to sustain our effort and reach our goals.

So what plans do you have to make 2014 your best year ever?

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