"Do the crap first," she told me. "As soon as you sit down in the morning, tell yourself:" I have to do the crap first. "Then the crap."
It was perhaps one of the most valuable advices I've ever received, but it was so easy. I was having trouble paying bills, reading important e-mails, making the necessary phone calls, etc. But on my very first meeting with my ADHD coach she got me on the right track. From that moment on I knew that I had made the right decision.
I have known my ADHD ( Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder ) for many years. Towards the end of elementary school, I was officially diagnosed. But when I was young, it was essentially explained to me in a messed up way – that I had trouble concentrating – and I never did. At that time, my parents never sought medication or therapy for me, and I did not receive any teaching assistance or special instructions on how to deal with my symptoms. The only intervention, if you can call it that, came from my mother, who asked for my homework at the kitchen table, so she could readjust me if I got distracted. I barely thought about ADHD when I was growing up, and after college, I felt I had forgotten it completely.
When I examined interventions for my own children with ADHD a year ago, I began to research the condition with respect to adults, as I did. At the age of 38, I finally felt I really understood how this disruption affected my work and my private life, and I knew I could benefit from real interventions in adulthood.
First, I researched and found a psychiatrist who worked with patients with ADHD. He reaffirmed my diagnosis (it had been many years since I judged my childhood assessment), and we discussed medication. He first prescribed a low-dose medication and slowly increased the dosage until we decided on a prescription that proved helpful and suited me well.
But "medications" alone do not "fix" ADHD; it just helps me to temporarily manage my symptoms. The actual habits and behaviors that I had already developed as a result of my diagnosis can not be changed.
"ADHD medications work only as long as you have the chemical in your body so you have several hours to pick and build skills, knowledge and buildability" Oksana Hagerty Ph.D., an educational and developmental psychologist at Beacon College, Florida (a university that supports people with learning disabilities, such as ADHD, dyslexia, and others) tells SELF. It can be beneficial to combine medication with other interventions, such as therapy and coaching, to teach habits that will help you treat your ADHD beyond the effects of medication, Hagerty explains.
So I hired an ADHD coach.
How ADHD coaching works.
With ADHD, it is not easy to build habits that aim to improve productivity and focus. ADHD can be represented very differently from person to person – – in general, however, we are quickly distracted from tasks that do not interest us, have problems adhering to deadlines or fulfilling orders, instead jumping from task to task let our thoughts wander. My brain, like many others with the disorder, also prefers instant gratification. Therefore, it is a real challenge to do things that do not bring me immediate pleasure or contentment, and in which I have no real interest, such as: For example, punctual payment of bills. For example, while I know that the lights can be turned off, it is not until I receive a notification in the email that I'm actually motivated to pay – late fees are not enough.
But coaching can help to change that way of thinking motivational block. As? Hagerty provides this metaphor: When a child comes home dust-covered after playing outside, he or she wants to go to bed, watch TV, or whatever the next thing interests him. But mom tells them that they have to take a shower first. Mom does that every time. When they grow up and do the same thing (for example, come home exhausted after a long hike), they want to take a shower, because Mom has introduced this routine and adheres to the natural contingencies – they feel better ; clean.
This is essentially what ADHD coaching does, Hagerty explains. "You artificially build these routines so you can handle the positive consequences, try them and get used to them," she says. "And then these routines become your own routines because you want those consequences all the time."
There are many online courses in which you can learn how to organize and explain your life, but is behavior coaching in that sense different . It provides a one-to-one approach to teaching and improving leadership skills that can be tailored to the person's and specific symptoms and the behavior of their ADHD. Coaches may use a number of "curricula" or address the biggest problems (or the smallest issues, depending on the person and approach they think makes the most sense in their case) first. There may be homework, check-ins with your trainer, and some trainers offer psychological counseling to help you understand your ADHD. (Trainers can also work with parents of children with ADHD.)
"Generic Interventions [such as general courses that teach organization] assume that a person has the motivation and ability to become active, to associate with things [a person with ADHD] with Joel Nigg is fighting. " Joel Nigg Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and Director of the ADHD Program at Oregon Health & Science University, tells SELF. "ADHD trainers implement motivational activation tactics to help you overcome this problem and to do chunks that work for you."
How coaching looked to me.
I usually gave an update on my professional and personal life to my trainer, Andrea Jaffee, LCSW (I connect with her through someone who knew who had coaching success) at the beginning of each session. I shared my accomplishments and challenges, and she always offered a tremendous amount of empathy, pointing out the areas where it looked like my ADHD had a role to play, why I thought or felt a particular way.
Then we got down to work. For example, in my first session, I explained my current approach to organizing and completing my work as a freelancer, and we've discovered why these approaches do not work for me. In the past, I had completed a business course designed specifically for freelance writers. It contained several useful spreadsheets to monitor my finances, my bills, my ideas, and my tasks. There was also a template for my biggest tasks – to-do lists – with a suggestion on how to work my days off as a freelance writer. But it just did not work for me, and I never understood why.
I explained all this to Jaffee and she analyzed why these tools do not help me. Although the spreadsheets were great, I was not motivated or interested enough to use them, so I rarely did.
We talked about getting rid of the crap at first: these spreadsheet templates were part of what needed to be done every day first even though I did not find it exciting. There was no immediate satisfaction in organizing a chart, but I needed to do so to relieve my stress and ultimately improve my quality of life and happiness. If I did the crap every morning over a period of time, it would eventually become a habit that I would appreciate, just like a kid who has to bathe, finally, the feeling of being clean. "It's such an effective tool, and so many of us, even those without ADHD, will never learn," said Jaffee. "If you leave everything you do not like until the end of the day, week, or month, you're really unhappy. You will spend the whole day, the whole week, or the whole month thinking about what will burden you. But if you do it first, this stress is lifted. It gives you a happier life. "This feeling of happiness had to activate my motivation.
Other things I had to do first were opening my mail and paying the bills in a timely manner, reading and answering my emails and making calls. Since I was so far behind in every category, she told me to pay the bills and spend only one hour every morning collecting the other things. I should deal with a category, eg. Updating the spreadsheets or organizing my e-mail inbox until I was drafted. I started the next morning and she regularly sent me a text message to hold me accountable. When we met two weeks later, I was busy paying bills and started updating these spreadsheets. I already felt better.
Another session focused on time management, another common challenge related to ADHD and a big fight of mine. Jaffee explained how to plan and prioritize my days, create a weekly schedule, and even use a timer correctly. We first discussed my typical to-do list approach: write a long list of millions of things that I knew I would have to do at some point, but with no real structure or strategy. I felt overwhelmed and disappointed when I (as I believed) had under-achieved each day.
Jaffee first helped me to understand that my expectations were unrealistic. Something I've learned about myself and through conversations with others with ADHD: We often assume that things are done faster than we can actually achieve them. Jaffee also pointed out that I was diminishing the many things I accomplished every day . She reminded me of my accomplishments when I raised my two children as a single mother, ran a household, and ran my own business. She put things in the right perspective and told me that I had accomplished so much that was an aha moment for me. Immediately I felt better and understood that I was miserable trying to make the impossible possible. This realization helped me shape the entire session and motivated me to finally understand the time.
Next, we've retooled my task list approach. The business course recommended that I spend a few hours each day in the four main categories required to run my business (storytelling pitching ideas, interviewing and writing, customer work, and new business relationships). However, I explained that I would deal with tasks in one category and skip the next one to make up for the lost time. Instead, Jaffee suggested that I reserve one day a week for for each category and leave the fifth day of the week to finish what was not achieved on the other days. And I had to be flexible, she reminded me. The category of the day can vary from week to week, depending on my appointments or other variables. and if it took me two days to write a week, that was fine.
To help me manage my time better, I needed to understand exactly how long it actually took me to complete each task. She recommended that I measure each task for a week to better plan how much I can achieve daily. To be honest, I was shocked by how long it actually took. However, it helped me to put less emphasis on my daily and weekly task lists. And because I regularly lose track of time, I began to mark the end of my breaks with an alarm or, if I needed to be reminded, what time it was at different times of the day.
But at a later meeting, I had fallen behind and had stopped doing the boring crap on a regular basis – I was overwhelmed. I felt terrible. I let her down. I had not experienced the positive effects long enough to really take advantage of the new system I wanted to implement. My impulsive tendencies had taken over. But instead of being disappointed, Jaffee encouraged me to practice a little self-love. People with ADHD can often be very anxious, have perfectionist tendencies, have depression symptoms, and / or have low self-esteem, which skews our sense of what needs to be achieved and makes us even more critical. 19659036] Jaffee helped me accept that there may be days when deadlines and other demands take all day and the crap must be postponed. But when these days come, I should remember how good it feels to be able to do the crap first – and then make the crap again the next day without being hard on myself for missing a day ,
I had a total of six sessions with my ADHD trainer, which spread over several months as we did not meet every week. In our off-week weeks, I worked on the skills discussed and regularly checked with Jaffee. In the end, I was much more organized and knew how to make my time better. I did not hesitate and most of all, I did not feel overwhelmed and taken aback. My inbox (I have three) went from thousands to less than a hundred. I have my finances under control. I will not pay any more late fees. I rarely work late. I even design a daily schedule for my work and personal life.
How to Find an ADHD Trainer.
Start with a self-assessment to determine your needs. For example, do you think you could benefit from psychiatric care to control your emotions and morals in your coaching? Are you already working with a therapist and looking for a separate executive coaching coach? The former requires a mental health expert, while the latter can be looked after by a teacher who specializes in helping people with ADHD.
Once you have determined which coach is best for you, you can start your actual search. This can be difficult as there is no accredited website or organization that acts as a list of ADHD trainers. However, there are many organizations that provide excellent resources for connecting with ADHD trainers, such as Edge Foundation (which connects students with ADHD with trainers) as well as the Institute for the Advancement of ADHD Coaching (IAAC) and the International Coach Federation and ADDitude which have online directories that can be well-informed. You can also ask for any referrals or referrals from any mental health professionals and / or physicians you work with in person. And of course there is always word of mouth, so I found my coach. If you can not find a coach in your area that suits you, you can also work or call Skype in another city or state.
If you have a list with a few names put together, be sure to learn about their education, background and education. You should also ask them how to structure their coaching and what specific skills you will learn. "Fortunately, or unfortunately, we do not yet have standardized licensing for ADHD coaches, and the existing certifications are not yet reliable in terms of quality at this point in time, so a little buyer needs to be considered," warns Nigg. "It's important to be careful, especially because people with ADHD sometimes end up in deep waters, which may not be appropriate for some of these trainers."
For example, some people with ADHD are simultaneously dealing with other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and they may also have to treat symptoms that accompany those conditions at the same time. Therefore, a coach with a strong pedagogical background may not be well-equipped to deal with these issues, and it could be very useful to work with a therapist if your ADHD coach can not provide psychiatric interventions. "Therapists are trained in all emotional issues. So, if something emerges during a coaching session that does not specifically relate to the skills that the coach teaches, a therapist can handle it and not have to deal with the problem. "Jaffee explained to me when I spoke to her again for this article. "These issues are often brought to the surface during coaching sessions because the customer listens, understands and asks questions."
The price of coaching varies depending on the place of residence and the person who is hired, but the costs are usually similar to talk therapy. While ADHD coaching is not covered by insurance, some experts may offer a rolling payment plan while others are willing to discuss ways to work with your insurance company.
You do not necessarily need a coach forever. "Coaching is a short-term proposal," says Hagerty. "If it works, it will work within a few months. If it does not work, something has to change. The purpose of coaching is to improve the life of the individual. So if you do not see any improvement, it will not work. "
If it does not work, Nigg says you should check your self-assessment to determine if you are right with your requirements and if you have hired the right professional for those needs.
The results of ADHD coaching, if it works for you, will be pretty obvious to you and probably even the people around you, like colleagues and family, says Jaffee. [A client’s] Deferral is virtually eliminated. Your organizational skills, time management and priorities will improve significantly, "she says. "Your self-esteem will increase and the fear will decrease. You will feel that your life is in balance and manageable. "