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Do you have a hidden advantage?

Maybe you live with ADHD and creativity comes naturally for you.

More good news; recent research shows individuals with ADHD have an innate creative potential that could put them among an organization’s most valued employees.

Researchers at the University of Michigan studied a group of college students with and without ADHD who were compared on lab tasks of creativity and found the research indicates that individuals with ADHD are:
  • More flexible in tasks that require creating something new, and less likely to rely on example and previous knowledge.
  • Less prone to design fixation or the tendency to get stuck in a rut,
  • Less likely to stick closely to what already exists when creating a new product.
This research provides more confirmation that the characteristics of ADHD can be an asset in creative endeavors. It also means that for those with ADHD, finding the right career to allow that creativity to flourish is essential

Is creativity alone enough to rise above the competition and put your innovations out in the world?

Of course, you also need the hard skills or technical skills, that you learn in school or training programs.
In order to ensure your ideas come to life you need a combination of technical (hard) skills and inter-personal (soft) skills.

Creativity is one of many soft skills that is essential in a world where innovation is paramount to an organization’s growth.

7 Other Soft Skills to Boost Your Creative Impact

  1. Communication
    With the number of emails, proposal and design documents, clear and compelling written communication is essential. Effective verbal communication is equally important.  If you work in the IT field, you often have to explain technical processes in clear, easy-to-understand terms for customers and employers. You must also be able to explain your ideas in such a way as to make others want to support and finance your projects. Without strong communication skills, your creative genius will be overlooked and your creative ideas will never make it to market.
  2. Determination
    A number of innovative projects stall because of a variety of issues: financial problems, issues with vendors, problems with software, hardware or processes, a lack of teamwork, or one of many other reasons. It is important for to stay focused on the ultimate goal and continue to work toward that result. Beginning a project with a clear and realistic timeline and budget can help you achieve your ultimate goal. Your employer will be impressed with your ability not only to plan a project, but also to see it through to completion.
  3. Flexibility
    Professionals often face setbacks or unexpected changes, ranging from a technical problem with their project to a last-minute issue with a vendor or a change in direction from management or the client. You must be open to suggestions and feedback, whether from an employer or client. Listen attentively to any feedback you receive, and be open to making necessary changes to improve satisfaction.You need to learn to be flexible, accepting these changes and immediately looking for creative solutions. Employers will appreciate this flexibility.
  4. Leadership
    Even if you are not in a management position, you will often be asked to manage a project or team. Being a project manager requires strong communication skills, the ability to delegate tasks, and a constant focus on the end goal. You may also be involved in client and vendor management. It is essential that you know how to communicate with clients and vendors effectively to ensure your company’s needs are being met efficiently.
  5. Listening
    It is not only important to communicate your own ideas, but you also need to listen actively to others. It’s important to listen closely to what the client or your employer wants so that you can give them exactly what they are asking for. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand the other person.
  6. Negotiation
    No matter what your position, you will need some form of negotiation skills, from making hiring decisions to collaborating with vendors or contractors to selling your idea to an organization. Being able to come to an agreement that satisfies both parties is a great soft skill that will make you stand out, particularly if you want to be promoted to a management position.
  7. Teamwork
    Innovation projects are often the work of a team of professionals rather than an individual. Therefore, teamwork is essential. You need to be able to communicate your ideas and listen to others’ suggestions, and know when to take a leadership role and when to be a team player.

Master these soft skills and your creative ideas will come to life!

“Lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin

If you have ADHD and/or are a chronic procrastinator, you’ve probably wondered why you can’t just get things done before the last minute. It’s not like you want to procrastinate; it’s this thing that just happens. And it keeps happening, no matter how many times you tell yourself it will be different next time.

Procrastination is a passive habit, which is partially why it is so hard to break. You have to be really creative and clever to outsmart your brain’s desire to avoid a project in front of you.

You want to be successful. And I want that for you too. So today I wanted to share with you some strategies that really do work. These tips work because they help you get around your urge to procrastinate. You don’t have to try to change who you are. Instead, you just need to change the way you work.

1. Always know what you will work on next

For me, the worst procrastination happens when I finish something and I’m wondering what I should do next. Big projects on my to-do list can start to seem like such a big commitment that I don’t even know where to start. So I don’t start, and the day gets away from me.

This won’t happen to you if you are prepared.

Every night, look at your to-do list. Decide which goal or goals are most important to work on tomorrow. What work will be the most meaningful?

Put 5 tasks on your to-do list, so that when you get to work tomorrow, you have 5 choices for where to start. When you finish one, now you have 4 choices of what to do.

You can even get more specific and rank them in order of importance. Start with the most important thing, and work from there. Don’t give yourself any option to deviate from the list — this is your plan, and this is what you will do.

2. Create super specific to-do tasks

If you procrastinate on big project because you are afraid to start or afraid to fail, try turning the project into as many tiny steps as you possibly can. Maybe you don’t feel confident that you can give a huge proposal to your company’s executive team. But I know you have the ability to google examples of good executive proposals. I know you can open a Word doc and write a paragraph about your idea.

Small steps are easy to do. They aren’t scary. And once you do one, the next one seems even easier.

It’s easy to go days without making progress on a big project because when you look at a task that’s too large, you know there’s no way you’ll be able to complete it today — so there’s little motivation to start chipping away at it.

You can fix this by turning every big project into a series of really small steps.

Spend time once a week (or even daily) turning your to-do’s into really specific actions. Close your eyes and visualize these specific actions.  Instead of “edit blog post”, you might write:

  • read blog post
  • make changes in the doc
  • send feedback/notes to the writer
  • create title
  • add blog post to the content calendar

Just like the last tip, this one is about leaving yourself no choice but to make progress. Every task should be so small that you can clearly answer yes or no if you did it.

3. Change your environment

If a place that you “work” frequently has become more of a place that you procrastinate frequently, you are more likely to fall into procrastination mode out of a kind of muscle memory. If you can, leave that place and go somewhere new like the library, a coffee shop, or another office or conference room in your building.

If you’re in an office where you can’t leave your desk, there are small ways to change your environment and make it easier to start working.

Instead of typing on your computer, see if there are steps you can do with on paper first. For example, outline a report you need to write using a pen and paper before typing it up on the computer. This accomplishes two things:

  • it gives you an easy task to start with
  • it changes what you’re looking at, so you approach the project with fresh eyes

4. See the value in certain kinds of procrastination

Do you ever use negative self-talk when you’re procrastinating? Do you think about how you’re lazy or stupid or how you always leave things to the last minute? This ADHD mind chatter is deafening.

That perspective is not motivating. The worse you feel about yourself, the less likely you are to feel ready to do the work you need to do.

Instead, consider this: sometimes procrastination is actually part of the process of doing amazing work.

When our minds are clear (like they are when we do things like taking a shower), our brains start using that free space to make connections. Information starts to fall into place. This free space is where great ideas come from.

So the next time you’re choosing to do a little task before starting on your big to-do, don’t get down on yourself. Acknowledge that this is part of the process. It is just one of many steps you will take in completing this project. Know that when you are done with this task, you’ll move on to the next step of your project.

Your confidence and new perspective will help that to actually come true.

5. Think about why you procrastinate – and work with it

Do you procrastinate because you need the pressure of a deadline? We know for the ADHD brain, that pressure increases dopamine and adrenaline and allows you to get stuff done. In fact, while neuro-typicals often crumble under this pressure, the ADHDer engages in hyper-focus and meets the deadline. If this works for you, try setting smaller deadlines for yourself over the course of a project. Break the project down into steps that you can complete in the weeks leading up to the due date.

Treat these deadlines like you would any other – even if that means working up to the last minute. The idea here is that by getting things done along the way, you have more overall time to do a better job than you would trying to do every single thing under the gun.

6. Hold yourself accountable – get an accountability partner

If you procrastinate because you struggle with motivation or accountability when you’re working on your own, try involving other people. Often, the pressure to not let other people down is far more motivating than the desire just to get the work done.

Ask a peer to help you put together an outline for your proposal, and set a date where you will have all of the necessarily materials ready for them to meet with you and help you.

Identify what’s really causing your procrastination, experiment with any of these strategies and soon you will make progress towards your goals, one step at a time.

Do you keep a to-do list? Some of us do and maybe we lose the darn thing. Perhaps our to-do list makes us feel like garbage at the end of the day when we only notice what we did NOT get done.

I have a complicated relationship with to-do lists. They are undeniably useful for plotting out your day or week ahead of time, and they can be a great way to hold yourself accountable for getting things done.

But they are designed to remind you of all the things you haven’t done. As soon as you cross off one task, another one or two or 10 await you. The whole exercise can be a dispiriting reminder that no matter how hard you work or how much you accomplish, there will always be more work to do until you die.

Focusing on what’s next (for example: our to-do lists) means we skate right past our wins, no matter how big or small they are. Students don’t celebrate a good grade on a test but instead start worrying about the next test. You finish a project at work and you rush to start the next thing you’re behind on.

Because of the discouraging nature of to-do lists, I’ve added a Ta-Da or Done List to recognize what I’ve accomplished. I call my Done List a Ta-Da List because it sounds more celebratory and fun. After all, celebrating your wins is the whole purpose of the Done List. 

A ta-da list is a log of the tasks you’ve completed. Keeping a ta-da list has the power to feed your motivation, and heighten positive emotions like joy and pride. It can make creative productivity more sustainable by helping you experience a sense of progress for work that matters to you.

The idea behind the Ta-Da or done list is simple, regardless of what the list looks like. Keeping track of what you do makes you feel productive, which makes you feel happy and energized, which translates into more productivity going forward.

The simple act of writing down and keeping track of what you accomplish is motivating. Your done list gives you credit for the full breadth of your accomplishments, capturing everything that came up during the day that might not have been preordained by your to-do list.

To be honest, the main reason I keep maintaining my Ta-Da list is that it feels good. Unlike most productivity hacks, it doesn’t feel like a chore or like something I’m making myself do; it feels like a pleasure. I get a buzz of self-satisfaction every time I update it. (For what it’s worth, it does not take much time to maintain—I spend maybe 30 seconds a day updating the list.)

You might roll your eyes at me for wanting to pat myself on the back for every little thing I get done. Butmost productivity techniques require a little self-trickery.

The process of reflecting and writing down what you’ve done – creating a  ta-da list,  has the almost magical effect of amplifying motivation and productivity at tasks that matter. 

When we reflect on progress, we practically metabolize it. Jot down completed tasks, and view them as “wins,” or progress towards your final goal(s), and you can externalize and recognize them. ” 

Small wins have power beyond themselves – Momentum

Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.
If reflecting on our wins makes them seem more “real,” and small wins help generate more and often larger wins, the least we can do is write down our accomplishments, right?

Wins also heighten positive emotions and intrinsic motivation, which result in more creative productivity.

Given that we can’t always control external sources of motivation, like recognition from our boss, family and peers, drawing from our internal well of motivation by recognizing wins is a success strategy. The ta-da list means that we can create motivation no matter where we find ourselves or what’s happening around us.

How to implement a Ta-Da List

Keeping a done or ta-da list in addition to your to-do list is a quick and simple way to increase success and well-being. How do you create these lists in a way that fits your needs?

Here are some approaches to try. 
  • At the end of each day, jot down your wins for the day. Research suggests that handwriting activates different, critical areas of the brain that affords us clarity over typing.
  • At weeks end, review your ta-da list. Share with a friend, boss, co-worker or spouse your wins and ask them to share their wins. Speaking, requires translating thoughts into words, which externalizes those thoughts and allows us to see them for what they are so we can celebrate and move forward.
  • Got a project that feels overwhelming? Keep a done list for each project you work on. This can help you experience a sense of progress towards completing the project. 
    Why not trick yourself into feeling better about your work, just by paying closer attention to how you actually spend your time?

    How amazing would it feel to end each day focusing on your accomplishments, rather than the never-ending mountain of tasks waiting for you come morning?

    How do
    you recognize your progress for maximum results? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Video 1 – Is It Social Anxiety?

Learn where social anxiety comes from and what it looks like. Use the Social Anxiety Symptom Checklist to discover if you or your kids have Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

 

SAD & ADHD   Right Click to Download

Social Anxiety Symptom Checklist Right Click to Download

I INVITE YOU TO SHARE YOUR KEY TAKE AWAYS BELOW IN THE LEAVE A REPLY BOX Read More

SERIOUSLY? Why am I crying?”

I was shocked as tears welled up as I hugged my daughter goodbye at the curbside of her dorm, as she launched into 2nd semester of her freshman year.

My daughter reassured me she was going to be ok. But, I already knew that.

“THIS is why I’m crying,” I sobbed, as she squeezed me tighter.

“You’ve grown up so much in the past few months, and I’m proud of the young woman you’re becoming and it makes me miss you in a whole new way,” I said

“Uh-huh” she replied with a goofy face, reverting back to the girl I knew.

“Keep making good choices, please,” I reminded her as my mind swirled with some of the stories she’d shared that painted a much-too-vivid picture of the actual reality of her stressful, anxious life at college.

This goodbye was different from the one in August, when we dropped her off at college for a brand-new chapter of her life and ours. That was a monumental goodbye—a milestone moment signifying the end of an era—full of hopes, dreams, and the anticipation of the unknown.

The second semester departure contained the anticipation of the “known”—a recognition of her new reality and the good and bad that came with it.

Read More

Are you a people pleaser? Has being busy and stressed out become a badge of honor you wear every day? Do you struggle with saying “no” to someone or something? Are there particular people in your life where “yes” comes flying out of your mouth before you even stop to think about what you actually want?

Most of us have been there too because generally speaking saying yes is easy. Saying no, well, that takes a little more courage!

In reality, saying yes all the time to please others is actually incredibly fake, builds resentment, and is a complete disservice to those you are saying yes to, when really you want to say no.

For some saying no comes easier than others. Studies have shown, women suffer from this more-so than men. Many of my ADHD clients describe themselves as “people pleasers.” Fear of saying no is real. The best way to avoid these fears is simply to say yes.

When you can’t say no, do you:

  • Fear being rejected or thought poorly of by others
  • Worry that the other person won’t like you anymore or badmouth you
  • Hold a belief that you are being selfish if you say no
  • Fear conflict with others
  • Want to be “nice” and seen as someone who contributes selflessly to others (even if you resent saying yes and contributing!)
  • Attach your self-worth to how many things you do for others
  • Allow other people’s priorities to become your own priorities (for reasons above)
  • Let others start to get used to you saying yes all the time, making finding your no even more challenging.
We have mostly been trained from a very young age that saying no is wrong or not okay. How many times did your parents get angry at you if you said no to doing something? Did you get sent to your room or grounded? Many of us have been stripped of our permission to say no from very early on.

So it’s no wonder that many of us have lost the art of saying no. But it’s not all bad news, because saying no is just like a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. You can still train it back into shape!

Here are some tips that will help get your “no”-muscle back into shape so that you can focus on what matters to you and start prioritizing what you want for your life.  Read More

As I send my two oldest daughters off to college my fear of them sitting alone at lunch or hiding by the gym lockers have moved to fear of them locking themselves up in their dorm rooms isolated and lonely.

I think my own social anxiety is triggering these fears. In my heart, I know my girls will push through the “uncomfortable” that always accompanies new experiences. I’m also a realist and know anxiety is a heavy load to carry.

For some students, be it 6th graders, high schoolers or college students, another year of school is another year of anxiety filled moments. Academic stress, athletic competition, social pressures and personal insecurity makes the start of school overwhelming and intimidating.

So much focus is put on academics and we forget the highest anxiety moments are the social ones. Since when is lunch the highest stress point of a student’s day? Sadly, it is the reality for more students than you’d think.

For students who live with ADHD, anxiety and depression, the “back-to-school” period is especially troubling. For many the fear of the unknown – like a new teacher, new school, or new schedule – can cause or exacerbate feelings of social anxiety. For students with ADHD these fears are magnified as their over-active minds play out one potential social catastrophe after another.

Read More

College drop-off day is around the corner – Again!

Two years ago I hugged my oldest of 3 daughters goodbye at college and watched her walk into the next chapter of her life.

It was hard.

Really hard.
It was one of the hardest, most dreaded days of parenthood I’d ever experienced.

Sounds dramatic. I know I was sending her off to college, not war.

And still, the memory of that day is seared into my brain, along with some unexpected painful moments that snuck up on me in the weeks and months that followed.

And now only two years later I have another child packing up her room to head to college.

Recently, I’ve been rehashing what I learned the first time around. What I know for sure is that looking back and feeling sad robs me of being present for the moment I’m in now.

This time I give myself permission to feel sad, to miss them and then to get on with finding my new normal.

From drop-off day to the months that followed, this is how finding my new normal went down the first time.

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Wouldn’t you just love to see your teen beaming with confidence, accepting herself for who she is, not for what others want her to be, and feeling strong on the inside?

It’s so important that your teen cultivate self-confidence now.Following are  5 powerful strategies that can help build up your teens confidence from the inside out.
Read More

The shocking answer…anyone who is in your teen’s contact list or in their social media feeds. That’s a lot of people your teen is curling up with every night.

Statistics bore me. But these stats hit a chord with me.

  • 95% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their phone right next to their bed.
  • 25% of people don’t silence their phone before going to bed.
  • 10 % of people are woken by notifications of texts, tweets, snapchats and emails.
  • 50% of people will check their phone if they wake in the night.

And our teens are always “on” because of FOMO (aka Fear Of Missing Out) Read More

Do you remember being a kid and wanting to be a grown-up? Did you think this was what you were in for?

If you’re like many American’s you’re overworked, anxious and maybe even depressed.

Weekends give most of us the chance to downshift and recharge. But we don’t treat them as sacred. Downtime almost always gets pushed aside to catch up or get ahead on our work instead.

You’re exhausted. But you’re not happy. Not really happy.

When did being happy become second to being productive?

It can be especially difficult for those with ADHD because you’re constantly feeling like your behind and aren’t as productive as you or others want you to be.

PLAY may be the cure to, low productivity, unhappy relationships, boredom and depression.

Read More

You suspect that, “I may have a bit of that ADHD.”

Perhaps you took my ADHD quiz.

Or you read an article. Someone showed you a checklist.
Maybe a family member has been diagnosed.

Now you’re worried. Wondering, “Do I have this mindset? Or could it be something else?”

Adult ADHD is real. It is estimated that 85% of adults living with ADHD are undiagnosed.

The general public is often surprised to learn that adults can have ADHD. While most people are aware children have ADHD, they don’t realize it also affects adults too. However, ADHD doesn’t disappear on your 18th birthday!

ADHD changes into adulthood. Hyperactivity lessens with age, and adults develop coping strategies; both consciously and unconsciously to help them succeed in the world. It means that ADHD is less visible to the casual observer.

Some adults have known since childhood that they have ADHD. However, what they are now experiencing are different challenges. Learning skills on how to do well in school, are now replaced with the need to learn how to do well in a work environment, manage a household and take care of finances etc.

You may wonder what’s the point of getting a diagnosis? You’ve made it this far in life, why bother?

You think the only reason to get a diagnosis is if you want to use medication as a treatment and you’re not interested in medication.

Fact, if you are an adult with ADHD, getting a diagnosis is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Here’s why: Read More