Yellow hazard sign lying on the floor. The text on the sign says cleaning in progress.

Surviving self-isolation part 2 – targeted tidying

As I said last week, I’m focusing my next few blog posts on strategies that help me cope with being an ADHD brain stuck at home, trying to minimise my stress while also maximising my ability to actually get things done.

This week: self-care through targeted tidying.

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Surviving self-isolation part 1 – building a morning routine with Brili

We are living through some very strange and scary times right now. Like many people, I am staying home – compulsorily, since New Zealand has entered total lockdown as of today. The good news is that I do still have a job; but since it’s a non-essential, outdoor job, for now I have no actual work.

Like many ADHDers, I find the complete freedom to do what I like with my time a bit of an executive dysfunction nightmare. It’s all too easy in this situation to end up doing nothing, while thinking about everything.

Luckily, I have some experience with managing long periods of unstructured time. I’ve developed a few tools and tricks for such situations, to help me stay sane and even get things done. So I’m going to devote my next few blog posts to sharing these, and hope that they help other people too.

First up: using Brili to get going in the morning.

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A mobile phone lies face-up on a table, with an image of a race track on the screen. A tiny, three-dimensional athlete crouched on top of the phone at the starting line of the race.

Forget habit tracking – ADHD brains need habit-rewarding apps

I’m pleased to report that my efforts to write a minimum of 200 words every day continue strong. I haven’t managed to write every single day, but I have managed to be forgiving of my slips, and to pick up where I left off after only a day or two. And that in itself is a big deal for me.

Still, I’m aware that like all habits I try to develop, the hardest part will be keeping myself motivated when I’ve been doing this long enough that the novelty factor of “I’m actually writing nearly every day!” wears off.

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Person buried under a doona and pillows, only their arm sticking out

Executive dysfunction – when laziness isn’t laziness

Let’s talk about laziness, and what it isn’t.

Recently a friend was telling me about how someone in his family – someone he by necessity has to live with – calls him lazy because he takes on too much and then doesn’t have the headspace to get it done. I told him, that sounds pretty toxic of them, and he responded, it’s understandable. It’s just me being a trash human.

“Lazy” is one of the biggest sticks that gets used to beat people who can’t achieve as much, or as regularly, as what’s considered “normal”. Other people use the “lazy” stick on us – and worse, we use it on ourselves.

It’s easy to think of ourselves as lazy, or useless, or trash humans, when we don’t live up to our own or others’ expectations of what we “should” be able to get done. Goodness knows I did, for many years.

I called myself lazy because my house is always a mess. Because there’s always another load of dishes waiting to be done. Because of the pile of clothes in limbo by the sewing machine, waiting eternally to be mended. Because even when I was doing a job I loved, many days I still had to drag myself, unwilling, out of bed and off to work.

It’s taken me many years to shed that way of thinking. But now I know: that’s not laziness.

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...honest.

Living with ADHD: why can’t I just do the things that need doing?

I didn’t have work today, or any other prearranged commitments. It was one of those rare days when I could, in theory, get anything done that I needed to.

And that makes it the perfect day to explore one of the defining elements of ADHD: the interest-based nervous system, a.k.a. the reason why the things I actually did today bore almost no resemblance to the things I intended to do.

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I’m back! I’m better! Well… sort of.

Right – I made it through Continuum, and it’s time to bring back my regularly scheduled blog posts. I have a lot to talk about, but some pretty important life changes came up during the lead-up to Continuum that I didn’t have time to write about at the time, so for context I want to start with a basic round-up of Where I’m At Now.

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