I’ll put my pieces back together

I’m going to give you a heads up – this post is one of my most personal ones to date. This one is right from the pages of my journal so here goes…

Yesterday something really interesting happened while I was meditating at my boyfriends place. I found that I totally allowed myself to become absorbed by the meditation. It made me wonder what had been holding me back all the times I have been meditating over the past year. My best try at explaining the feeling is this: it’s like I am on edge and have to “protect myself” while meditating. This on edge feeling isn’t particular to meditating; it’s practically constant. I cannot fully allow myself to become absorbed by meditating because what if … what if while I’m sitting by the water I’m disturbing someone by taking up too much room on the bench…what if someone needs to grab my attention… what if someone storms in my room and criticizes me while my defences are down. It feels as though I am constantly trying to defend myself from being emotionally attacked.

It so sucks to realize this. I feel like I’m about to open a dam that will never be able to close again. My dam blocked out the tears. My dam blocked out the emotions.

Also, it’s important to mention that yesterday I was meditating in a new space. Normally I find it hard to meditate with someone else in the room but he actually allows me to be myself and feel. It’s like I’m ok. – every time I read that I choke up. It’s such a powerful, strong need of mine that has been unmet for so long. I’m not doing anything wrong. He makes me feel safe.

I’m also finding that while I’m in his apartment I have this worried feeling like I’m doing something wrong or being annoying. I have briefly talked about this in my blog post “how to explain rejection sensitivity dysphoria”. I wonder if that feeling will ever go away. It’s like I have a lifetime of being told that I’m annoying; to stop tapping, to stop breathing so loud, to stop chewing so loud, to stop being “hurricane Alyssa” and leaving my stuff all over the place. That shit adds up. It’s like I’m not allowed to take up space; I’m not allowed to just be…

Being in this apartment and working here I am catching myself thinking “wait- you’re okay with me taking up space?! It’s okay if I sit here!? It’s okay if my bag is here?!” Man, it’s exhausting. And I’m catching myself actively trying not to take up space which is exactly what I don’t want to do!

Okay, Alyssa…

It’s okay to feel.
It’s okay to take up space.
You’re going to feel emotionally safe one day. It’s just going to take time.
AND you’re going to practice taking up space.

I swear I have the feeling capacity of about 10 people.

Anyways, I wish that you all can’t relate to this but unfortunately I’m sure that you can. Find the people who love you for who you are! Take up space my friends <3

p.s. On a lighter note I just launched my new website! You can check it out here: https://www.coachalyssashaw.com/

Put a smile on

My favourite thing that my dad taught growing up is to go about your day with a smile on your face. Whether that be while getting groceries or waiting in line at the bank. When you are in a room with him it is like he is giving you this big ginormous hug of happy. I guess it is because he raised me but his happiness is almost contagious; when I’m unhappy and he walks into the room it makes me realize how stuck in my head I am.

The other day we went for a walk together and this older woman’s dog came running onto her driveway and then when it saw us it ran over to us. My natural thought and instinct was to nod a hello and keep on walking because I did not want to disturb her. My dad’s natural instinct was to ask her if she wanted help. He picked up the dog, walked over to the woman and began talking to her. The bit of this interaction that was like a punch to my gut was when I realized how lonely this woman is. She told us about how her husband and daughter passed away and how this dog is such great company for her. The reason why this hit me so hard was because my gut instinct is “keep to yourself, people don’t want to be bothered”. When in reality, she welcomed the interaction.

This is making me so emotional because somewhere along the way I lost my natural instincts to do what my dad did. I used to be the person that would pick up the woman’s dog and bring it to her. I like to think that I used to be the same person that brought happiness into a room. When I was younger I used to walk down the street and this funny thing would happen. The person would be approaching me with a frown on their face and as they got closer to me their frown would change into a wild grin. I used to be incredibly self conscious so I would wonder what they were smiling at – did I have something on my face? In reality, it was just that my smile was contagious. I now have this perma-frown on; my brows are furrowed and my mouth is slanted downwards rather than my old, natural grin.

What happened?

Life happened. Responsibilities happened. Worry happened. Did i mention responsibilities? It’s like since I now want to be independent and take care of myself, I am filled with worry. How will I do it? How will I live up to my expectations (oh, hello perfectionism).

In life, we can tend to get wrapped up in our responsibilities and where we want to be. What about where we are? What about the happiness and ease that currently exists in our lives? We can make our lives as easy or as complicated as we want; it’s all about our perspective.

I invite you to join me in this challenge for the next month. I am encouraging myself and you to see what you can do to go about your day with a relaxed smile on. Unfortunately this is not natural to me anymore so I have set a reminder on my phone. The reminder will go off once a day and it says “Put a smile on, it’s contagious!”

Remember, put a smile on. It could not only change your day but you could change someone else’s day too!

Desire smuggling; RSD’s cousin!

I have talked about RSD (rejection sensitive dysphoria) a few times now! Just in case you missed my blog posts (How To Explain Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria & Why rejection sensitivity dysphoria makes relationships so hard) here is a quick definition:

RSD is when you feel both physical and emotional pain because you experience real or perceived rejection.

Now that we have RSD covered, here is a new one: desire smuggling! I first heard the term yesterday from my friend, Sam, who is a fellow ADHD coach! When Sam told me about desire smuggling I could not believe that I had never heard of it before. My wheels kept on spinning because I was floored by all of the places that desire smuggling can show up in our lives. Naturally, I had to share it with you all!!

Desire smuggling: What is it?!

Essentially, desire smuggling is when we don’t ask for what we want. To elaborate it’s “hiding what you really want from yourself and/or a loved one, then, finding covert strategies to get (at least pieces of) what you want.”

the main reason we don’t ask for what we want is fear.

Fear of rejection, humiliation, and judgment.

Fear of disappointment, shame, loss, or guilt.

Fear of repeating the past, missing out, hurting your partner, or feeling like a failure.

Fear of “what they will think,” not getting what you want, or putting too much at stake.

Red flags that you are desire smuggling:

– Expect telepathy– Get drunk/high to remove inhibitions
– Makes wishes
– Ask if the other person wants the
thing you want
– Fake spontaneity– Rationalize cost/benefit
– Hint– Send articles about the thing
– Emotional withdrawal– Give statistics about the thing
– Make unspoken deals– Tack on obligation to a “gift”
– Issue ultimatums– Minimize by saying “just” or “only”
– Emotional blackmail– Say “people like…” (instead of owning it
– Be passive-aggressive– Look for other, less-scary places to get it
– Non-consensual taking– Punish your partner for not giving it to you
– Bully– Attack/judge someone asking for what you
– Get needs met without owning them– Attack/judge someone getting what you
– Tell a story about the
thing desired
– Shame yourself for having that
– Force– Shame others with the same desire
– Wait for a sign– Want the other person to guess
– Withhold– Wait for the right time
– Try to convince– Try to get the other person to say it
– Blame– Complain that you don’t get it
– Guilt-trip– Be “nice” and hope to be rewarded
– Be macho– Buy into a romance myth (“If you really
loved me…”)
– Avoid it altogether– Assume they should “just know”
– Settle– “Purchase” it by doing other things
– Compromise– Be loud and bombastic
– Criticize after the fact– Make sugar-coated demands
– Substitute something else– Martyr yourself in hopes of getting it
– Spiritually bypass– Don’t explore internal dissonance
– Play options roulette (where
one option is the one you want)

(list taken from https://www.askingforwhatyouwant.com/desire-smuggler)

An example of desire smuggling from my life

I first noticed this through journaling. I spent a really nice day with my boyfriend last Saturday and I wanted to know how he felt about it. Rather than simply asking him how he felt I went fishing aka desire smuggling. I said to him “It was so nice spending the day with you”. He responded “yaaaaaaa”. My immediate thought was “what the heck, I give you that and you give me yaaaaaa…”. I felt a little bit hurt and my brain leaped to “uh oh, he didn’t have fun and he thought today was boring”. When I was journaling this I realized how ridiculous I was being; I was making total assumptions and ruining the day for myself. Before I even told him that I enjoyed our day I was expecting him to say something back. I am now laughing at myself at how silly it all was. Thanks to journaling, I also realized that the reason I wanted to know what he thought of our day was out of fear. I was scared that he was starting to think that our relationship is getting boring. We are coming up on 6 months of knowing each other and have gotten into this routine of asking each other what we want to do, coming up empty and then hanging out watching Netflix & chilling type thing. We then joke that “we are so boring”. This is perfectly okay with me but I actually don’t really know if it is with him.. It’s worth a discussion plus I want to explain to him that I have this tendency to desire smuggle.

How perfection gets tied up in all this

Sam and I were also discussing perfectionism a while ago and I shared with her that I don’t think I struggle with perfectionism. Boy was I ever wrong… the reason why I felt that way was because I struggle with perfectionism on so many levels. It was hard for me to see perfectionism in my life because it is so normal to me.

What does perfectionism have to do with desire smuggling? I have perfectionism around expectations of the way a situation should (there’s that pesky word!) turn out. I often expect the situation to go the way I thought about it/planned it in my head. So, not only does the situation have to be perfect but the way people respond also has to be perfect. If it doesn’t match my expectation, then it’s a problem.

Reasons why people may resort to desire smuggling

  • People who ask for what they want may be labeled as demanding and/or bitchy.
  • It is a way of avoiding rejection (not really, but our brains think so!)
  • Indirect way of saying what you want (you aren’t putting your feelings on the line as much).

What I’m going to do about desire smuggling

It’s so nice to have a term to label my thoughts with! As soon as I catch myself asking things in such a way out of fear, I can catch myself and label it “desire smuggling”. I have done this with my RSD and I can’t even explain the difference that it has made in my relationships & life.

I’m going to explain this all to my boyfriend/friends/family and ask them to help me come up with a way to realize if I am asking someone out of fear. I have nooo idea what this would be but already today I have caught myself asking what someone else wants at least 5 times! Just thinking about putting this into place feels like a huge weight off of my chest. Think about it: we are not responsible for the reactions of others.

Why RSD + desire smuggling go hand in hand

Desire smuggling stems from the fear or rejection and RSD is the pain from perceived or real rejection. In case you haven’t caught on.. they are both related to rejection! It could be said that desire smuggling is a coping mechanism of RSD; we have a fear of being rejected so rather than asking for what we want, we ask for it in a roundabout way.

If you would like to read up a bit more on desire smuggling, here are a few articles that I found:

So friends, remember: Ask for what you want!! But first, figure out what you want 😉

Procrastivity and what it means for us with ADHD

Procrastivity! It’s the idea that we procrastinate by doing something else that is productive, like tasks around the house.
Example: doing laundry when the high priority is writing your paper due tomorrow.

I first heard this term while listening to the talk from J. Russell Ramsay in the ADHD Women’s Palooza.

Here are some of my takeaways from the talk on procrastivity:

  • Procrastivity allows us to get the dopamine from finishing a task, we feel like “I’m getting something done”.
  • The interesting thing about procrastivity is that the task that we are now doing (like laundry) was something that we were procrastinating on before. So: what is it about the procrastivity task (the laundry) that now makes it easier to do?
  • Procrastivity tasks tend to be more manual, physical and hands-on.
  • We underestimate the positive feelings of getting things done
    • We ignore our successes (as my clients already know, I encourage everyone to have a success journal! These can remind us of our accomplishments which we can use as motivation to start & finish our future tasks).
    • We also do this because in general we are conditioned to believe that we will fail; unfortunately we have a lot of past failure and others telling us that we are not living up to our potential. **The success journal can be our light at the end of the tunnel reminding (and proving to) us that we can do it!

Let’s use a table to highlight the differences:

Procrastinating on (writing paper due tomorrow):Procrastivity (doing laundry):
Broad, vague & non-specificManual, physical, hands-on
Uncertainty More actionable/doable
High cognitive demandLower cognitive load
Steps are unclearIdentifiable sequence of steps
– Grab laundry
– Throw laundry in machine
– Put soap in machine
– Press start
Unclear endpoint
(which makes it hard to
get engaged)
Clear & achievable outcome
– Clear sense of making progress
-Clear endpoint (this is why I like focusmate so much!!
See below

How I have noticed procrastivity pop up in my life:

Since hearing the term I realized just how much I procrastinate by doing tasks!! For example, this afternoon I wanted to do some work for my group coaching (that launched yesterday!) and since I cannot make a decision on how exactly I want to present the work.. I am finding myself stuck and procrastinating!

I am procrastinating by:
– Doing the laundry
– Tidying up the kitchen
– Writing this blog post
– I foresee myself making my Instagram posts for the week

The interesting part is that I almost want to knock out the things that I do know how to do and can race through. That way I can just sit with the momentum of having accomplished tasks PLUS all of my attention can now focus on making the decision because I knocked all the other “to-do’s” out of the way.

I have been thinking and saying this a lot lately but my nemesis is decisions. Decisions are really what kills my momentum and pulls me down.

Here are a few tips to beat the procrastination & also skip the procrastivity:

  1. I like to use focusmate! If I take a step back and analyze the days where I am the most productive, those are the days when I use focusmate! So what is focusmate? It’s an online tool where you match with someone and for 50 minutes you focus on one task. The reason why it works so well is because the other person is on the other end “watching you” (not really .. but they are there and you know that they are there!). There is the accountability that you have to the other person to complete your task! Also, you choose one task to work on for 50 minutes and it works wonders! The website can tell you more!
  2. Ask yourself: “What is the most actionable step that I can take?” –> We have learnt from the table above that we like action (that’s what we base our procrastivity on). So, when we find that we are procrastinating, take a look at the task you are procrastinating on and find the actions in the task. Example: if you are trying to write a paper, the action could be to open the word document and save it on your computer. (I used to make a template of the points that I needed to hit in my essay as per my teachers instructions). The action usually gets the ball rolling and builds up some momentum so you can dive into your task!
  3. Make yourself a menu of steps!
    • Mail a letter:
      • Write the letter
      • Find an envelope
      • Write the address on the envelope (maybe you need to find the address)
      • Find a stamp (maybe you need to buy it)
      • (put the stamp on the envelope)
      • Put the letter in a place where you’ll remember to mail it
      • Mail the letter (put it in the mailbox or bring to post office)
    • It seems silly to write the menu of steps just to mail a letter but once you do it, you can see there really are a lot of steps!! Hello, executive functions!
  4. Be careful and set yourself some end points! An end point can be in terms of time or task.
    • Task: I will move onto something else once I finish ________ in my project.
    • Time: I will set a timer for _____ min and once the timer goes off, I will move onto something else
    • The reason why it’s so important to set yourself an end point is because we have the wondrous gift of hyperfocus! If we aren’t careful, we can fall into the hyperfocus hole and give ourselves a hyperfocus hangover!
      • Don’t sacrifice your self-care and well-being just to finish a project.

Sometimes it’s hard to see how we may be getting in our own way. If you are continuously avoiding tasks and want to start knocking projects out of the park, consider working with me as your coach! I offer free “get to know you sessions” so that you can get an idea of what coaching is like!

Outward appearance of success

Do you appear put together and successful?

I was having a conversation the other day and I was explaining that I have ADHD and what it is like working with my clients. She was so surprised that I have ADHD because you “cannot tell” since I appear so put-together. Everything about my ADHD is internalized unless you know me well enough or read my blog. The reality is I am in pain. I struggle every.single.day. You don’t know how hard it is for me to do the simple task of showering, drying my hair, straightening my hair, putting makeup on and deciding what it is that I want to wear. Not to mention deciding what it is that I want to eat all day!

Sorry, that all sounds so depressing but it is true! I was joking the other night that my boyfriend puts a lot more attention and care into his appearance than I do. The whole reason why I bring this up is because he doesn’t actually care more about what he looks like. It just appears that he does! All of this is not to say that I don’t enjoy looking good. I always feel better when my hair and makeup is done and I am wearing comfy clothes that make me look and feel good! The whole process of getting myself ready to appear “put together” and successful is what is so painfully hard!

Why did I want to blog about this? I am listening to the ADHD Women’s Palooza and while listening to the session “The Mysterious Paradox of Being a High Achiever With ADHD” with Linda Roggli and Casey Dixon I was inspired to pause and write this post!

There is an illusion that if you look put together you ARE put together and the kicker… everything is easy for you!! What I am trying to say that it is grossly unfair to women and anyone with ADHD who has to try extra hard to do anything and everything to look at them and think that being put-together and outwardly successful means that everything comes easy to them.

Women are just EXPECTED to know what the hell is going on and organize everything “just so”.

The reality is we have trouble with our executive functions (activation, focus, effort, emotion, memory, action) so we end up overcompensating and burning ourselves out trying to keep it all together. It is EXHAUSTING.

As women, there is an internal and external pressure to meet a certain standard all the time throughout every aspect of our lives (work, home, children, spouse/partner, friends, etc.).

I am almost always on time but what you don’t see is what it takes and all the effort that I have to put in so that I am on time.

Anyways, I feel a bit like this has become a b!t#$ fest but if you are a women with ADHD, let me tell you… I get how hard it is to stay afloat!

My biggest advice to you is to be true to who you are and embrace your unique self. This means respecting who you are, your wants, your needs and at the end of the day, fully charge your battery by putting yourself first! I’m just going to repeat that: PUT YOURSELF FIRST… you deserve it! <3

Doing one thing when you have ADHD

Have you ever heard that before? “Do the one thing”.

Well, today (I am writing this on a Monday) my brain is in TOTAL overdrive. My anxiety is sky high and I don’t feel like I am able to do anything. Every.single.task. seems overwhelming!!

I can trace todays overwhelm to two things:

  1. Going away for the weekend and deciding that I wasn’t going to do any work at all; I didn’t want to be “that” person who can’t even take a weekend off of work!!
  2. Just plain old having too much stuff on my plate and putting a lot of pressure on myself to “do all the things”. Side note: I really dislike doing anything half-ass, it’s honestly not in my vocabulary. When I am doing anything “half-ass” I start to feel overwhelmed and anxious because I am not respecting my values and what I want/need to be doing. Having to do things half-ass is the product of having too much on our plate. (yes, I know this sounds like perfectionism but I’ve talked it out with a few friends and it isn’t; one of my top strengths is appreciation of beauty and excellence. I truly believe in giving everything that I do a fair amount of my energy and time!)

Here’s what I do when I am in a situation of overwhelm:

Decide if I am going to “shut down” or if I have things that are high priority that are important to complete.

  1. Shutting down usually looks like completely turning off my phone; notifications, e-mails, social media, etc. I tend to Netflix binge and essentially shut off my brain. Usually a good nights sleep is all I need to “reset”. I have somewhat trained my friends and family not to expect immediate responses from me. The reason why I do this alone is because I get so stuck in my head and don’t want to talk to anyone. I am so short tempered and grumpy and I don’t like to subject that onto others. Lately I have been toying with the idea of reaching out to someone but I think being with someone in-person is what I would need.
  2. High priority things like sessions with a client or work that really does need to be completed will be able to get me to pause from my overwhelm. I tend to take a step back and take a look at my day. Then I make a deal with myself and rationalize: “Okay, Alyssa… once you are done with your coaching call (the one thing) you can totally shut down”. This almost always works and I am able to keep on keeping on until my call is over. There are times however when I realize that I am just not in a headspace to be able to coach or do the work and I do need to cancel my sessions or call it a day and shut down.

I actually took my own advice from my recent Instagram post and took a step back and told myself “choose one thing that you can do; just pick one thing.”

My takeaway:

I always try and find the lesson or the thing that I can do differently next time! Here are my lessons from the “Monday overwhelm”

  1. Since I am in the process of starting my business it is important to be realistic with myself. I do have a lot of work to do which is completely natural at this stage. From now on I am giving myself the permission to “be that person” and take an hour on Saturdays and an hour on Sundays to do the work that will make it possible to escape the Monday overwhelm.
  2. Setting myself up for Monday before I leave for a weekend vacation. Arriving back home on Sunday at 11pm and starting work at 8am the following morning is not ideal and I did not set myself up for success! Next time I hope to organize myself so that if I do arrive back home at 11pm on the Sunday night, I will be all organized and ready to go on Monday morning!

What do you do to deal with the overwhelm??

Here’s another post about planning “Gain back your control; plan away!

Why it’s important to re-sparkalize when you have ADHD!

Re-sparkalize! You know when you are in your space and you just aren’t digging it anymore… Your productivity is lacking and you just don’t want to do the work. I just went through this today! My office is situated at the back of the house and does not get the beautiful sun throughout the day nor the interesting street traffic. I was cold and under-stimulated in that back office and knew that I needed a change!

I decided that I could sacrifice one hour of my day to do the old switcheroo and move my desk to my bedroom (yes, I know. Not ideal for work to be in the bedroom) in the front of the house.

Check out my new beautiful office view! Could you blame me for wanting to re-sparkalize?!

So… What in the world is re-sparkalizing?! My teacher at the ADD Coach Academy, Barbara Luther, uses this term. Re-sparkalizing is when you make your environment (the things around you) more interesting and exciting so that you can in turn be more excited and motivated to be your most productive self! This also applies to re-sparkalizing tasks or processes. Let’s say that you aren’t getting into that morning routine that used to get you jumping out of bed. Maybe it’s time to take a second look at your routine and figure out what needs to be adapted (re-sparkalized).

Reasons why it may be time to re-sparkalize

  1. Your productivity just isn’t where you want it to be.
  2. You find another room or space calling at you.
  3. You skip over or forget tasks that used to come so easily to you.
  4. You are in a never-ending frustration loop!
    • The situation may need some re-sparkalizing! It’s important to dive in and take a look at what might be getting you frustrated to begin with. That way you can better see where you may need to re-sparkalize.
  5. Creativity!
    • Sometimes when our creativity isn’t where we want it to be, it may be because we are in a cycle of automation (get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, repeat). If this sounds familiar, it may be time to add some sparkle to your life!
  6. You feel like you are juggling too much.
    • If you are feeling this way, take set an hour aside and do the following:
      • Dump (write) all of the things/tasks that you are doing onto a paper
      • Next, take a step back and recognize all that you are doing!
      • Once you have realized all that you are doing, ask yourself these questions:
        1. What can I delegate?
        2. What can I hire someone else to do for me? Example: clean the house, a nanny to pick up kids from school and start dinner, laundry service. Obviously this is something that you need to be able to afford but it’s worth thinking about!
        3. What can I completely remove from my task list that isn’t actually as important as it seems?
        4. Where can I get some help? Yes, these seems like delegating but it’s different because this could be something like asking a friend to do your grocery shopping together to make it more exciting.
        5. What am I doing for other people? Yes, it’s nice to be there for other people but does a boundary maybe need to be implemented? Are you doing too much for others? Can you say “no”?

How to re-sparkalize

  • Re-organize your furniture
  • Beautify your stuff!
    • You don’t necessarily have to spend money to do this!
    • This is an opportunity to get creative!
  • Check out second hand stores for new furniture/decorations. I personally like to use an app called Varagesale to find second hand furniture or anything really!
  • Create a home for your things
  • Start planning!
    • …wait. Plan to re-sparkalize?! Definitely! If you want things to be new and exciting in your life you’re going to have to actively plan! My last blog post can help you out with that!
    • This could mean planning an exciting trip or planning to spend time with friends and family.
  • Journal. Journaling really helps to figure out what you want and need. The reason why this is so important is because if you don’t know what you want or need how can you figure out where you may need to re-sparkalize?
  • Start a new hobby or activity

Looking to throw some sparkle into your life and not sure how to make that happen? Do you feel stuck? It may be worth considering working with an ADHD coach! Follow this link to schedule a free, 30 min, get to know you session with yours truly! No strings, no commitments!

Marie Kondo for ADHD

For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you may already know but one month ago I decided to dive headfirst into my mountain of clothes! The reason why I have waited a month to blog about it is because I wanted to test myself and see if I would actually stick with the method.

My mountain of clothes that took me 4 hours to sort through!

Guess what… I stuck with it! I continue to fold my clothes the Marie Kondo way!

The steps I followed:

  1. Dumped ALL of my clothes on my bed
  2. I picked up one article of clothing at a time and asked myself:
    • Does this article of clothing bring me joy?
      • How does it make me feel? e.g. I picked up a nice shirt but it did not bring me joy at all.Then i caught myself trying to rationalize with myself saying that it was actually a nice shirt and I should keep it because I would like to wear it… Try to catch yourself if you fall into this trap! There is a difference between the shirt “being nice” and something that you are actually going to pick up to wear!
  3. Once I decided how I felt about the article of clothing it went into one of the three piles:
    1. Donate
    2. Trash (these had holes and/or stains on them)
    3. Keep
  4. I decided that the articles of clothing that were going into the “keep” pile weren’t actually going to go into a pile at all. Rather than putting the article of clothing down, I decided I was going to fold it and put it into its designated drawer.
  5. Once the new-ness of the situation started to fade and the decisions I had to make were adding up, I started to get bored and overwhelmed. It is very important to have a plan for when you hit this mark; decide in advance what your motivation will be.
    • I decided to put on “How I met your mother” in the background to keep me entertained while I powered through!
    • I also reminded myself of what the end goal would be and pushed myself through the process.
    • I told one of my friends what I was doing and sent her messages with my progress to keep myself motivated.

” Rather than putting the article of clothing down, I decided I was going to fold it and put it into its designated drawer. “

Side note: You also have the option of doing something like this… This is from one time when I moved!

This is very overwhelming but it worked because it was “in my face”. I started box by box and would gradually take items out of the box and sort the items in their designated piles!
Once the different piles would build up I would place the items in their new designated home!
For the record: my room was like this for weeks because I wouldn’t spend extended amounts of time working on it.
Depending on you and your situation, this may or may not work!


We are BIG on motivation. We are driven by what we like and don’t like so why not set up your closet so that you like it?!

  • When it looks organized and clean it will motivate us to keep it pretty and organized.
  • When we open our drawers, we only see what brings us joy so we want to take the time to get dressed!
  • The act of touching our clothes (to do the detailed folding) actually makes us appreciate them more.
  • Most, if not all of us that have ADHD are very visual. With this in mind, it is important to us to be able to see our clothes. Because out of sight, out of mind! This is why I love this method of storing my clothes oh-so-very-much!!

The results

My brain actually feels less cluttered and I have less decisions to make! I don’t pass clothes that bring back bad memories. Yes, it’s weird but I had some clothes that I wore on an occasion that I affiliate with bad memories (nothing serious). They were nice and I liked how they looked on me so I kept them but I would never actually wear them because they took me back to the time when “the occasion” happened. So no, those articles of clothing did not bring me joy and I decided to sell them!

How nice is it to see all of your pants AT THE SAME TIME!! 😀

I sold some of my clothes and received money for things that were just taking up physical and mental space.

Want to dive in? Questions to ask yourself before you start:

Not all of us are believers in the method; this blog post titled “worst adhd organizing advice ever heard” by a fellow ADHD coach is warning against using this method. With this blog post in mind, it is important to figure out why you are going to take the time and effort to organize your clothes. Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • What do I hope to gain out of going through this process?
  • What drawers/baskets/boxes will I use to store my folded clothes?
    • e.g. Which drawer will my shirts go in?
      • Do I need a small box to store my underwear?
  • How much time do I have to spend on organizing my clothes?
    • How long do I think I will spend on organizing my clothes?

Work with a coach

Would you love to do something like this but it never seems to work or it is very overwhelming? This may not be the plan for you! Schedule a 30 minute discovery session to work with me as your ADHD coach and come up with a plan that is specific to you!

Gain back your control; plan away!

It’s been a little over a year now since I decided to dive in headfirst and “get my shit together”.

Let me just start this off by saying it is not easy! I didn’t just flick a magical wand and tada my life is now magically planned! I need to actively plan every.single.day. and update my plan multiple times a day. The beginning of this week did not go according to plan and is what inspired me to write this post.

Here is what happened…

I dropped the ball this week.

Tuesday (two days ago) was an absolute, complete disaster! Yes, I’m exaggerating but that is what it felt like! I was running around consistently behind; I showed up to my last appointment 1 hour late (luckily this was not with a client)! Guess what I realized: I forgot to plan!!

When something “goes wrong” in my life I think it’s a good idea to analyze what happened so that I can learn from my mistake(s) and hopefully correct it so that it does not happen again (one can always dream!).

My analysis:

I can rewind all the way to Sunday to see where I didn’t set myself up super well. I had the opportunity to lie around and do nothing at my boyfriend’s and I took it! I reasoned with myself that I had been working hard and I deserved a day of nothingness and relaxation! (This is true and I still believe that I needed it). I had originally planned to do a bit of work on Sunday (including setting my week up). In hindsight it would have been a good idea to break up my day into “lie around and do nothing” AND “get some planning done”.

Not one, but two online summits came out on Monday morning and just so you know I ADORE these! I’m not sure what you know about these but they are extremely informative and amazing. Here’s the kicker… each day in the summit is only available for 24 hours. This means that you need to be able to devote large chunks of your day to watching them! So naturally, Monday morning rolls around and I was pumped to dig into and learn as much as I could from the summits! The mistake: I got carried away by the summits and spent the time that I was meant to be organizing myself and planning watching the summit videos!

The Bright & Quirky Summit

The Motivated Child summit

I wasn’t sitting at my desk. This is a humongous deal for me. It was sunny out and I wanted to take advantage of it so I moved myself to a room with lots of sun! The result: I did not keep myself on track with my planner etc. My setup was different and I lacked some serious structure.

I got my period yesterday (sorry guys for TMI!). I’m bringing this up because it explains A LOT. I’m not a doctor or anything but from what I understand, when our estrogen levels start to drop (the week before our periods) our ADHD symptoms are magnified! I have also spoken about this with my friends who have ADHD and they all notice the same things.

Here’s an example of how much of a space cadet I can be! It was the morning, I was starting my day and going through the motions of my routine; applying face cream! I have a morning face cream and a “night repair” face cream. I ended up taking a blob of the “night repair” cream by accident. I wiped it off because I really wanted the morning cream…. then what did I do?! I took another friggen blob of the “night repair” cream!!! I decided I wasn’t going to waste any more face cream so I dubbed Wednesday as “night repair” cream day! …I want to note that this is a small example. My days consist of silly mistakes like this! I need to be fair with myself. I am juggling a lot of new and exciting things and I haven’t quite figured it all out yet!!

I’m starting a women’s ADHD podcast with a friend and fellow ADDCA graduate.

In March I’m launching online group coaching so I’m spending quite a bit of my time preparing that.

I am still organizing/co-running an adult ADHD support group.

Building my business with the help of a coach.

I have my amazing clients!

Working on “add-on” worksheets for my existing and future clients.

I make daily posts for my Missleadingly ADHD Instagram account

I write these weekly blog posts to try and spread awareness/educate as much as I can!

Plus, as I am writing this I’m realizing how I would love to start a Pinterest account AND be more active on my LinkedIn. Unfortunately, I’m only one person and can only do so much (this is what planning helps us to realize!).

…umm this is a lot of stuff to do!! No wonder I need some planning!

How I’ll get myself back in control

  • Schedule!
    • Google Calendar
      • Go back to starting my day and sitting down to transfer what is in my Google Calendar to my physical planner
  • Physical planner (because I’m visual)
    • Once I transfer everything from my google calendar into my planner I can now insert things like:
      • shower
      • eat breakfast/lunch/dinner
      • travel time
      • whatever else is in my “to-do’s” or “top 3” for the day

** It’s important to point out that the reason why my day was so berserk on Tuesday is because I didn’t sit down and take note of everything that I had going on.

  • TimeTimer
    • The TimeTimer is my buddy! I would be in La La Land without it! For those of you that know me, you already know how I feel about it. But really, it is my lifesaver! The TimeTimer allows me to stay on track with what I am doing and when that timer goes off I know that it is time to move onto the next thing. The reason why I like it so much compared to a regular phone timer is because I can see the time winding down out of the corner of my eye. It is like a constant reminder. With the phone timers I literally get upset when they go off because I feel as though it came out of nowhere and it is interrupting me (can you guess I usually ignore them?!)
    • p.s. I have had mine for almost a year and I still use it everyday! I haven’t gotten bored of it yet haha.
  • Plan ahead
    • For some people this is oh-so-very borrrrringggg! I used to feel that way at least. Now I have come to realize how much control I have when I plan and it is super exciting!! Imagine actually doing what you want to do with your days?! That’s the gift that planning can give you.
    • I was recently told about the app/website Every Dollar. It is a huge game changer for me and the only financial planner that truly gets me excited to plan my finances!

** Please note that just because you plan it doesn’t mean that everything will fall into place. It takes time and patience to find out what works for you. Also, working with an ADHD coach can drastically improve your success rate because they help you to break everything down and plan according to your unique brain wiring 🙂

Interested? I am an ADHD coach and offer free 30 minute sessions to give you an idea if coaching would be a good fit!

Check out my other posts on planning and building habits to get yourself going: