- Multiple studies have shown that focusing on the journey increases motivation and helps us to see greater change and personal growth.
- An insider guide is like your own how-to manual; Moira has many each for a different part of her life—having a pop-up trailer, how to get ready for a trip, how to take care of her yard, how to take care of her house over a year
- They reduce guesswork, increase certainty, and save time, energy, capacity, and even money.
- It has instructions and information in an easy reference format, for your priorities and it makes doing them easier
- Can be a document, a folder, a binder, a spreadsheet, checklists, photos, anything that brings together details you collected
- Starting with something smaller and less complex helped Moira to learn how to do this
- They can be built over time compiled from experiences, online articles, and lists
- Moira gives examples, tips on what helped to include, and how she’s benefitted
- we often struggle to get going at all or are eager to get it over with
- something we must do the way our thinking works
- it is harder for us to break down tasks into stages or pieces
- it’s harder when we don’t have what we need to complete the tasks
- the solution is to adapt for our ADHD brains to plan for the different stages of a project or task
- 4 parts to everything we do: set up, doing the thing, finishing, and she’s added a fourth—the after effect.
- Small steps, doing things in progressive stages, creating a foundation, and allowing for the necessary time to pass do lead to progress and growth that wouldn’t have been possible any other way
- Results include:
- we do the thing
- we have detailed information to do it again
- we practiced the skills needed to break down a project into tasks
- when we use the guide the next is the biggest payoff—don’t have to figure it out again
- we get to speed up
- This one-episode idea has now expanded into five, a really deep dive into getting started doing, and finishing things.
- Do you know what type of listener you are? What brought you here? And what are you looking for? Knowing that gives us a direction on what to do with all this information on getting things done.
- Rosier writes about the wanderer, the puzzler, and the laser-focused
- Wanderers are here because someone shared this or their interest was piqued, they can take what they need and leave what they don’t
- Puzzlers want to know and understand more, have questions answered, untangle myths and stereotypes, grasp ADHD complexities
- Some puzzlers feel ADHD is ever-present, all-consuming, overwhelming, and disheartening
- Breath, breaks, outdoors, and reminders that it’s not possible to figure it all out or has to happen all right now
- The laser-focused, and Moira, are about going deeper with the information, questions, prompts, learning, applying, and managing ADHD
- Knowing what type of listener, you are is helpful if you want to make it easier to do stuff and on the journey with ADHD
- We are complex and multifaceted
- Creating Insider guides helps manage our limited resources, time, energy, and capacity to spend them on the things we value. It does take more work in the short term to set up but the payoffs are worth it
- Multiple studies have shown that focusing on the journey increases motivation and helps us to see greater change and personal growth.
- A journey with ADHD is going to have bumps along the way, and insider guides are a way to get rid of some of them.
- An insider’s guide brings together details you collect that make it easier to do again. We can make them for anything, built over time, your own guides, or how-to manuals can be compiled from our experiences, online articles, and lists. They can include photos of how things look or where they are, checklists, and spin-offs that start as one thing and then became more specific to the person or activity.
- They reinforce starting small and building skills: choose something you’d like to not have to remember the steps to, it took me a few years to try this for a hard project.
- There are many payoffs: 1) we complete something; 2) we have the detailed information to do it again, and 3) we get to practice the skills needed to break things down into steps, and my favorite is not having to figure it all out again. I always will add notes, feedback, or improvements when I see them. Being able to trust myself, and use instructions I truly understand? That’s when I speed up.
Moira Maybin 00:17
To experience less wear and tear in our days, creating our own Insider’s guides can help us manage our limited resources, time, energy, and capacity to spend them on the things that we value. What started as one episode about getting started continuing and finishing something we want to do, but are struggling with, has now expanded to five episodes, each one focused on different aspects of the struggle and solutions that are working. When we have ADHD, we can easily forget hard-won wisdom and insight. Today I’m sharing several ways to make that easier, how to capture those ideas, create an individualized Insider’s Guide by breaking down what needs to be done and have what you need on hand to do the things. Not sure if you’re ready for that? I’m also going to discuss what to do if you’re just dipping your toes into the waters or if you’re on a deep dive like me. When we have ADHD, one size does not fit all.
Moira Maybin 01:16
Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle. I’m your host, Moira Maybin a woman mom, educator and I have late diagnosed ADHD. This is the place to practice getting rid of guilt and shame and spending more time with our strengths and passions. There are things that I wish I had known about my ADHD sooner that are allowing me to make different decisions to make my life more ADHD friendly, and I want to share them with you. For show notes including next steps, resources, and articles on this topic, visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com.
Moira Maybin 01:54
Okay, let’s get started. I’ve gradually accepted that the only way to take control of my life is by slowing down. It goes against the messages we are given. Do more with less. Squeeze the most out of every day, and hurry to get to the finish line. What does the finish line even look like? Is it a finish we want? What about the journey there? Does that count for anything? When the path we have traveled these last few years have changed more than we could have ever imagined that question looms large in my brain. We’ve all had to adjust and readjust, again and again, trying out ways to cope and manage life. The journeys have been hard, and the destination is unclear. Multiple studies have shown that focusing on the journey increases motivation and helps us to see greater change and personal growth. Well, okay, that’s something I could use some help with. The Journey Matters. And it’s not been easy for most of us. One thing that has made the journey better and decreased many of my struggles has been my Insider’s Guide.
Moira Maybin 03:02
An insider’s guide reduces guesswork increases certainty and saves me time, energy capacity, and even money. It has instructions and information in an easy reference format for things that I want or needs to do. But for a whole bunch of reasons. It’s not working or felt just too hard. The guide can be a document, a folder, a binder, a spreadsheet, anything that brings together details you collect that will make it easier to do something. I have multiple versions. Well, I guess different volumes might be more accurate. I’ve talked a lot lately about creating one for my writing process. That has been one of the hardest, I did not start there. One of the first was a small binder for when we got a 20-year-old pop-up trailer. It included the manual, the original 1997 brochure found online guides for different parts, receipts, and most importantly, clear simple directions for taking up putting it up, taking it down. Maintenance and towing safety. All in checklist form. I find details too easy to miss. I needed to have a step-by-step checklist to reduce the chance of glossing over anything.
Moira Maybin 03:35
I have an insider’s guide volume for travel, built over time. It’s been compiled from our experiences, online articles, and lists. Most of them are checklists that started as one thing and then became more specific to the person or activity. We have multiple camping plus two for packing, one for people and one for the trailer, a camping menu, a camping grocery list for leaving a camping grocery list, and one for what must happen with the trailer when we get home. For traveling in general, we have checklists for what to do the week before we go away. One for the day we leave, a grocery list for coming home, a list of what happens when we return and one if our dog can’t come with us.. I also have packing lists for kids going to camp and variations for different times of the year. I have developed these over the years. And now when my kids are going somewhere they asked me to print one-off. We can easily adjust numbers for shirts or socks and feel assured we won’t forget anything we need. I wanted to put an end to having to go emergency shopping because my then four-year-old son had only one pair of underwear for two weeks. or my daughter didn’t have a swimsuit and rubber boots on a trip she needed both. If you don’t see a need for this, great. For me, it meant that on my most recent trip, when I was short on time, I could grab my list and pack in a very short time, without anxiety that I would miss something. It also means I don’t have to come up with the same ideas or list repeatedly. Moms tend to be the executive function of the whole family and when we also have ADHD, that can drain our tank very quickly. And that can make this mom cranky. I now take those lists with us so when we are getting ready to come home, we use them to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything. I used to repeatedly check and recheck to avoid forgetting something. There were two unexpected benefits. First, I have begun to pack a little bit less–the list helped me have a way to know if I brought too much. Second, I accept that I will always pack more than my husband. I dress based on how I am feeling at the moment and I can’t know how I will feel five days from now, what my mind and body will want to wear. So if I must pay for a checked bag of luggage to get that, it’s an ADHD tax I have accepted. Now, if I only had the suitcase with the button that pops out when the suitcase is too heavy, that would be a treat.
Moira Maybin 06:54
Another volume I have been working on for many years is my garden and yard binder. It’s taken a while because my need for it is seasonal. And while the travel and camper guides have significant consequences in terms of money or safety, if I dropped the ball, our garden was mature when moved in and if I make a mistake or don’t do something, there won’t be any real consequences. I wasn’t much of a gardener before. I can now name most of the plants, shrubs, and trees, but cannot keep their care straight in my head. I also don’t want to, because the effort that would take isn’t necessary when I can create a chart that tells me each month what needs to happen. General garden and lawn care are easily adapted from the many lists that are already online. It was also easy to find care sheets for the living things in my garden. There are so many that it was easy to find one that I liked the look of better than others. We don’t have to suffer that way. I group them by where they are in the yard. That way when I read about one, and I instantly forget it, I can look again. Both lists helped me to prioritize what must be done and what would be nice to get to. I found ways to simplify lawn care, and how to have a more weed, drought, and bug-resistant lawn so we aren’t out there for hours on end when we don’t want to be. From year to year having and growing this guide makes it easier to pick up where I left off.
Moira Maybin 08:22
One thing I hope to include this year, after many years of feeling thwarted, is to have a way to tame my hoses, including connectors, and adapters. I have dealt with the nemesis known as tangled hoses. I don’t know if you know but I have ADHD. And one way it shows up for me is not paying very much attention to hoses until they bug me because they don’t do what I want them to do. The main result is getting wet a lot. Then I found out about connectors and adaptors. So I could stay dry and wrangle hoses because who wants to go back and forth turning taps on and off all day. I swear this is a true story and there is no embellishment. Anyway, I did not know that hoses, nozzles, connectors and adapters, sprinklers come in both male and female versions that will only work when matched up with the other type. That meant while I was dry, I was still wandering around the yard trying to figure out how to make this all work. I want a world of hoses where any adapter or connector will work. Since it doesn’t seem I live there yet to solve this grave problem in my life. I will need to take some more time to wander around my yard and figure out a setup that works for me and the hoses. Then I want to take that last step and record what I did so that next spring, it will be there in my Insider’s Guide and I will appreciate that greatly.
An interesting thing happened after I wrote that paragraph. I didn’t have a position one way or the other about actually sorting this out. Then I thought through what would happen if I didn’t do it. I could see that it wasn’t just an anecdote because all humor aside, the hoses frustrate me. They take time and attention I don’t want to spend on them, they can consume capacity. That is a limited resource. And I don’t want to spend it there repeatedly. Anything that I spend this much time grumbling about for this many years deserves a solution, especially when there is one available to me. One that I will appreciate every time I go out there and use the hoses every time it will make me happy. Developing my yard and garden, and its Insider’s Guide over the last five years has been helpful for me and other ways to together nature and my guides have been tangible ways of seeing, and then accepting that small steps, doing things in progressive stages, creating a foundation. And allowing for time to pass does lead to progress and growth, that wouldn’t have been possible any other way. To be clear, with anything we want to do, that we find hard to do. It is valuable to remember, it’s easier when we start small and build skills for all the stages involved. So often, it’s a struggle to get where we are going and do the thing at all. Sometimes, it could also be that we are so eager to be done, that we will do just about anything to be at the finish line.
Moira Maybin 11:36
Starting small and building skills don’t sound like a fast way to get things done. Especially when we can look around and see so many things that we need or want to do. It’s almost a case of something we must do. The way our thinking works, it’s harder for us to be able to break down tasks into stages, and pieces. And we often find it hard because we don’t have what we need to complete the tasks. The way to get around that is to specifically have ways we adapt what we want to do for our ADHD brains. We can have plans for the different stages of a project or a task. There are three at a minimum, setting up, doing the thing, and finishing. As I mentioned in my last episode, I’ve created a fourth after effect, by allowing ourselves and then protecting that time to slow down and start smart to slow down and start small. Pick one area to try this with, as I did with my camping binder. When we work on the skills we use in all tasks or projects, there are so many wins to this approach. We get something done. I got my trailer done for that first summer. We also have the detailed information to do it again. We’re practicing the skills needed to break down a project into tasks and fourth every time since then, that I have pulled out that binder, that’s when I get the biggest payoff. I don’t have to figure this all out. Again. I can trust the work I put into this. I can follow the steps. That’s how and when I get to speed up. Don’t miss the value of starting small building skills and going slow. We’re used to montages with corresponding mood music showing slow laborious growth and change in mere seconds after seeing that again and again, we don’t get to understand what happens along the way. It’s not the destination we’re after it’s the journey and having a good one too.
Moira Maybin 13:46
Is this all sounding like more work than you’re interested in? Maybe what I want help with doesn’t make you go whew, I’d love that. Let me ask you, what you do at least annually, and you find yourself having to relearn or hunt down what is needed, all while feeling resentful that you need to do that. Those are the things you need to include in your Insider’s Guide. To be honest, I also did some of the trailer stuff knowing that I would want to be able to hand it off to my kids and that they could follow it without my involvement. So, is there something you want to be easier and you want to make it easier for someone else to do? If you have littles It could even be how to sort laundry or empty the dishwasher. The process is the same if it will free up time and energy in the future.
After writing this episode, I was planning a meal for Easter. There were no surprises because there’s a meal I like to have once a year. Every year the preparation is the same. Make a list of what we’re having, find the recipes, check ingredients, make a grocery list, and figure out the steps and timing to bring it all together. This year, I wrote it all down. So that next year, I can save that time and energy for something else. It only took me 20 years of making that dinner to come up with that hack. But I hope to have it once a year, for decades more. So that’s a win to me. Having a shortcut for a holiday family dinner is what will help me. That may not be your thing. Having different things we want to make simpler is to be expected. It’s necessary for us. One size does not fit all with ADHD. Our ADHD and how it impacts our lives is a personal thing.
Moira Maybin 15:37
This one-episode idea has now expanded into five. That’s a deep dive into getting started doing and finishing things. Most people don’t spend the amount of time steeped in all things ADHD that I do. One episode on this topic may have been enough for you. Or it may give you an idea for another area of your life. The episode still to come is more specifics on how do I get my butt in the chair? What do I do so I can pause? And maybe even finish.
When considering what you want to do with this episode, this series, or whether you even can consider that right now. I wonder if you know what type of listener you are. What brought you here? And what are you looking for? Knowing that gives us a direction on what to do with all of this information on getting things done.
Moira Maybin 16:34
I had three types of listeners in mind when I created the podcast. I got so excited when I opened up Dr. Rosier’s book, the author of Your Brain’s Not broken and she describes three types of readers she envisioned. I’m really starting to think or is it hope that she and I would be good friends if we knew each other. I just love her ideas and how her mind works, too. Dr. Rosier writes about the wanderer, the puzzler, and the laser focused. The wanderers are here because someone shared this episode with you, or your interest was piqued. I welcome you. If all of this is new to you, and you’re dipping your toes into ADHD waters. Take what you need and leave what you don’t. The puzzlers want to know and understand more. There are questions to be answered. They’re trying to understand ADHD by untangling myths and stereotypes, along with realizing that ADHD is far more complex than they first thought. For some who are puzzling, ADHD can feel ever-present and all-consuming. It can feel overwhelming and disheartening. We don’t need to figure it all out. And actually, that’s impossible. Remember to breathe, take breaks, and go outside. Again, take what you need, leave what you don’t, it doesn’t have to happen all right now. Then there is the laser focused, I count myself in this group. There is no doubt a lot of my life is about ADHD, learning, applying, managing, and sharing all of that learning, understanding ADHD, and helping others have the knowledge and tools for a satisfying and sustainable life with ADHD is my purpose. For those of us, we are hungry to follow up on the information, questions, prompts, and links in the areas we’re focused on.
Moira Maybin 18:36
Do you see yourself in any of those for this episode and trying to make it easier to do stuff? It’s a good idea to be aware of where you are in your journey with ADHD overall, but also in getting things done. If you’re currently a wanderer, this series may have been too much, or you may have enjoyed listening to it, and you’re giving yourself permission to just leave it there. Take what you need, leave what you don’t. One thing to consider, especially if you’re in the puzzling or laser focus territory, it can be easy to plan ourselves on one of them and want to go all-in with all the things. Even though I was laser-focused reading Dr. Rosier’s book, and I’m pretty engaged in the podcast content I realized, in fact, we are and need to be all three. No one has the capacity to be laser-focused all the time. Trust me I’ve tried. And it doesn’t work over the long run. Does anyone need a reality check here? Given a list of the things you want to focus on or change? Would you be able to identify which ones were more important to you? Or would you be tempted to tick the boxes? It a very important for all of them. We can’t change or do everything at once. Yes, my personality can tend toward laser focused, especially in areas of keen interest but even in that, I am still limiting my focus. In working on my writing ability. The learning spilling over into other areas of my life is incidental. I am also a puzzler. Right now, in relation to my ADHD, I am wondering if I will be able to create that time and space I talked about so often lately. If you heard my spring announcement, you know that there have been some changes. Fulfilling the commitments I made to others had to be reshaped in a way that is taking up a huge amount of my time. More than I can manage. That must be temporary. I’m telling myself that it is. But there’s that small voice of doubt in my head. I think my trust in myself and my commitment to the life I want is stronger. And if this persists beyond a week or two, then it will be time to come up with some new questions and look for some answers. And I’m a wanderer. They’re always things that pique my interest and that I am curious about. I love having time at least every week when it can’t be daily, to free-range and check out some things. Just following where my mind wants to go. And looking up and doing what I want to do. I recently stumbled on an interview with Bill Hayes, author of Sweat, the history of exercise. My first degree was in social and cultural history. I’ve always loved movement and exercise. And in the interview, he and the interviewer were incredibly engaging. I wandered into this book, and I’m joining it on Audible as a break from all things ADHD.
One thing is for certain when you have ADHD, we are complex and multifaceted. There’s no putting us in a box. To experience less wear and tear in our days. creating our own Insider guides can help us manage our limited resources, time, energy, and capacity. So we can spend them on the things we value. It does take more work to set up but the happiness and being able to see and feel the benefits of what you did to help yourself are awesome.
Moira Maybin 22:24
Okay, you’ve done the hard work by staying to the end. Your reward? Here are the main takeaways from today’s episode. Number one, multiple studies have shown that focusing on the journey increases motivation and helps us to see greater change and personal growth. Number two, a journey with ADHD is going to have bumps along the way. An Insider’s guides are a way to get rid of some of them. Number three an insider’s guide brings together details you collect that makes it easier to do again. We can make them for anything, built over time, your own guides, or how-to manuals can be compiled from our experiences, online articles, and lists. They can include photos of how things look or where they are, checklists and have spin offs that start as one thing and then became more specific to the person or activity. Number four, they reinforce starting small and building skills–choose something you’d like to not have to remember the steps to, it took me a few years to try this for a hard project. There are many payoffs: 1) we complete something; 2) we have the detailed information to do it again, and 3) we get to practice the skills needed to break things down into steps, and my favorite is not having to figure it all out again. I always will add notes, feedback, or improvements when I see them. Being able to trust myself, and use instructions I truly understand? That’s when I speed up.
Moira Maybin 24:06
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show and would love to hear your thoughts. To get in touch you can write me an email at ask@ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. Connect with me on my website, Instagram, and Facebook at ADHD Friendly Lifestyle or Twitter @ADHDFL. Every episode has a website page with show notes, transcripts, next steps, resources, and articles related to the topic. To get these visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. If you’d like to support the podcast, the best way is to subscribe on the podcast player of your choice and by taking the time to rate and review it there and here are other podcasts for your listening pleasure. On Hacking your ADHD Will Curb gives tips, tools and insights. Brendan Mahan hosts ADHD Essentials focusing on parenting and education. Thanks for listening. See you later.