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Zebra Stripes for ADHD

A monthly newsletter of stories tips and news for those concerned with ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, No. 17

Sarah Jane Keyser : ADHD Coach

Clang! Clang! Clang! Where's the Fire?

The fire bell rings, the firemen slide down the pole , the horses run
to their places, click, click the harness is attached. In one minute
they're out the door. Whoops, we forgot to attach the reins; not to
worry, at full gallop the horses turn right, turn left and pull up in
front of the burning building. They too can count the bells which
signal the location of the fire. 

What an ADD moment! Full of excitement. I think people with ADD are
secret arsonists. DO we set fires for ourselves just to have the
excitement of putting them out?  

Do you breath fire and smoke from your ears when your telephone is cut
off because you didn't pay the bill? Your income tax still hasn't been
filed months after the due date?  Your agenda goes for a walk-about
just when you have an important meeting and can't remember when?  Why
do we do this to ourselves? Is it because shaking the falling ashes
from the mane is exhilarating? Well what is it then?

What's the alternative? Fire prevention! That's called organizing.

What is so difficult about fire prevention? Well first of all it's
boring. It's repetitive. It lacks the stimulation of falling embers in
your mane. You know what it means. You've heard it probably many times
from yourself and from others. "Just do it." "Open the mail every day
and put bills to be paid in one place." "Put your keys in the same spot

when you come in."

We make resolutions by the dozens, but they just don't stick. You
forget, I forget.  

So here's a plan. 

First, select two or three tasks that would make your life easier if
you could do them regularly. "Opening the mail" for example. One I'm
working on is "clean one shelf in my kitchen cabinet per day". These
tasks should be reasonably simple. Define specifically what you expect
of yourself. Decide the time of day when you will do it and how often
per week, perhaps not every day.

Second, create a reminder. How to remind yourself depends on you. If
you are a verbal person, write yourself a note and post it where you
can't miss it, like on the coffee machine. If you are more aurally
inclined, leave a message on your voice mail or program your computer
to give you a spoken message. Some people respond better with pictures
so cut out some meaningful pictures from magazines (have fun with it)
and paste them on index cards. Post the index cards on the kitchen
table or another place that you can't miss.

Next you need a wall calendar (if you don't already have one) hanging
in a prominent position where everyone can see it and a packet of gold

Now the work begins. Each time you do a task, put a gold star on the
calendar.  "But that's for kids!"  I hear you say? Exactly!  With a
gold star you are rewarding your inner child. And as the calendar fills

up your inner child will be jumping for joy. You are enlisting your
inner child as captain of the fire prevention team.

If I've got this right, that calendar won't get a lot of stars, at
least to begin with.  You'll forget. There's not time; there never is.
But PERSEVERE. ADHD is a problem which perseveres so you have to
persevere to defeat it. If you forget for a few days, don't give up. It

takes a few weeks for your inner child to get the feel of the game.
Talk to it, ask it to help you.

When you've mastered the first tasks, add some new ones.

Celebrate, take your inner child to a park and have fun.	       

For more about me, Sarah Jane Keyser, About Sarah Jane

Do you need a safe place to talk?   email me today for a free coaching session.

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