Posted by Coach Kim Collins on April 11, 2015
Have you ever said to yourself: “when I finally get my house organized, I’ll be happy” or “when I finally get caught up at work, I’ll be happy”?
Many of us are under the misconception that when we finally improve our productivity that we will be happy. We are constantly struggling to do the “must do’s” on our lists before we allow ourselves to do the “want to’s”. From this perspective, we rarely make it to Happy or Productive.
Have you ever noticed that when you have a good day or you’re just happy about something – that you actually feel like getting things done? It’s a simple concept. When we are happy, things don’t seem so hard and overwhelming. Happiness gives us the energy to conquer difficult tasks and to be more productive.
Studies have shown that people who watched a comedy, performed better on math tests afterword. In other words, after you have a pleasant experience that makes you happy, you tend to be more productive.
There are certain habits you can adopt that will increase your level of happiness thus increasing your productivity or your willingness to get things done. From the 10 happiness habits listed below, pick a few to weave into your day or week and see your happiness and productivity increase.
- Create A Life List – Make a list of activities that make you feel happy and alive. Then document your experiences by photographing your adventures. Looking at these pictures will inspire you to create even more happy moments.
- Express Gratitude – Expressing gratitude can increase happiness and overall life satisfaction. Every evening write down 3 things that you are thankful for. This practice will focus your brain on the positive things in your life.
- Get More Sleep – Not only does sleep help us be more focused and productive it also affects our positivity. Start by going to bed 5 minutes earlier until you begin waking up feeling rested and refreshed.
- Increase Your Physical Activity – Exercise can help you to relax and increase your brainpower. Walk, run, bike or engage in some form of physical activity that gets your heart pumping. Exercising for just 7 minutes a day can release proteins and endorphins that make you feel happier.
- Play More – Nothing can make us quite as happy as letting ourselves go in the act of play. Allow yourself the joy of play and productive work will follow. Every week make a play date for yourself to do something fun that unleashes your inner child.
- Meditate – Research shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness. Take 5 minutes a day to focus on your breathing, recite an affirmation, or practice progressive muscle relaxation.
- Laugh – Laughter is good medicine. Treat yourself to a good laugh. Rent some funny movies, watch your favorite sitcom, or look up some funny videos online.
- Help Others – Help others by performing random acts of kindness or volunteering and you will see your happiness level increase tenfold.
- Use Your Strengths – Find your core strengths and use them. Explore ways to use them in your work and personal life every day.
- Nurture Positive Relationships – Happiness is contagious so connect with people both on and off- line who support and uplift you.
Posted in Health Habits, Productivity | Tagged: Habits, happiness, Productivity | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Coach Kim Collins on September 27, 2012
Are you constantly getting distracted online? Check out the list of applications that I created to help you stay focused online and get things done.
Feel free to help me curate this list by adding any applications that you use. Make sure to follow the list so that you will be notified when additions are made to the list.
Posted in Productivity, Resources | Tagged: Applications, curated, Distractions, Focus, Listly, Resources | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Coach Kim Collins on September 27, 2012
In my experience most people procrastinate for several reasons. Here are some strategies that may help deal with some of them.
- The task or project is so big it seems overwhelming. Start immediately by defining the next physical action step you need to take. Remember it needs to be a physical action such as: find, read, write, gather, print, etc. Working with next action steps, shrinks the overall task or project into smaller, less overwhelming pieces.
- The task is confusing. When confusion isn’t cleared up it can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness which can then lead to escapist behavior (i.e. procrastination). The best way to avoid this is to ask questions immediately. Find out who you can go to for clarification. Be honest about needing help and have the courage to ask for it.
- The task is boring and /or you just don’t want to do it. First, ask yourself if the task really needs to be done, then ask, does it have to be done by you. If you have to do it, find a way to make it less boring. Try using music, TV, talk radio, an audio book, working with someone else in the room or even on the telephone; set a timer and plan a reward for when you are done.
- Perfectionism. When you feel that you have to do something perfectly you are usually setting yourself up for trouble. First, you have to change your standards. Not everything has to be an “A” job. Before you begin a task define what an “A”, “B” & “C” job would look like. Focus on working towards the “C” job. If there is still time left once you’ve completed your task, you can take that extra time to bring it up to a “B” or even an “A” job. Next, give yourself permission to write a bad first draft just to get something on paper. Once you get started it’s usually easier to keep going. Finally, limit your time. It’s amazing what we can produce when we are down to the wire with a limited amount of time. Sometimes simulating a time crunch can get you moving past perfection.
DISCLAIMER: All information contained in this post is based on the author’s personal and professional experience and is provided for informational purposes only. Tips and recommendations are provided to help adults with ADHD and Executive Function difficulties but may not work for everyone. So, please accept this information in the positive spirit in which it is given. Positive comments and experiences that will help others are always welcome.
Posted in Productivity | Tagged: Perfectionism, Procrastination, Projects, Tasks | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Coach Kim Collins on May 3, 2012
Poor nutrition is associated with low morale and decreased productivity in the workplace. Think about the last time you were starving… how productive were you?
Whether you are skipping meals or eating poorly, your nutritional choices have an impact on your health and productivity.
Studies show that when your blood sugar drops, your brain is less able to focus and control your impulses. So, when you have ADHD, eating right is even more important to help manage your symptoms.
1. Make sure to eat a brain-friendly diet:
- Fewer simple carbohydrates (candy , sugar, white flour)
- High in protein (beans, cheese, eggs, nuts)
- More complex carbohydrates (vegetables, oranges, apples, pears)
- More Omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, walnuts)
2. Remember to eat. Let’s face it – when you get caught in hyper-focus sometimes it’s easy to forget to eat. That’s why establishing certain times of day that you consistently stop what you are doing and eat, is a good idea. Set an alarm to remind you to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, make sure that you always carry a healthy snack with you so that you are never caught without an energy boost.
3. Make meals simple. Don’t make meals more complicated than they need to be. Make a list of the foods you and your family like and create a meal plan around them. It can be as simple as having chicken on Mondays, pasta on Tuesdays, fish on Wednesdays, and then adding a vegetable and a side. If you don’t to cook or are short on time, try using a food preparation service like Let’s Dish or Dream Dinners. You can have them prepare a month’s worth of meals for you to pick up and stick in your freezer. If you like to cook – focus on simple 3-ingredient meals during the week or prepare big batches over the weekend to eat throughout the week.
Posted in Health Habits, Productivity | Tagged: Dream Dinners, Healthy Eating, Let's Dish, Meals, Nutrition, Productivity | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Coach Kim Collins on April 24, 2012
Believe it or not, sleep has a big impact on your productivity in the workplace. Studies show that one in four American adults struggle with insomnia at least 3 times per month. Because these insomniac workers show up at work tired and functioning at a low capacity, they are costing their employers an estimated $67 billion a year in lost productivity.
When you’re sleep deprived, your brain has an especially hard time ignoring distractions and controlling impulses. Sleep recharges your brain so you wake up ready to face the challenges of the day.
Arianna Huffington editor of The Huffington Post shares a story on TED about how she was so sleep deprived that she fainted from exhaustion, broke her cheekbone and had to have several stitches in her face. Sadly it took an incident like that for her to realize the importance of sleep. She now preaches the restorative power of sleep and believes that we can all sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness.
Here are some things you can do to improve your sleep habits:
- Discuss your sleep issues with your doctor to make sure that there is no underlying medical condition causing your sleep problems.
- Change your bedtime in increments. So, instead of going from a 1am bedtime to a 10pm bedtime. Try going to bed 10-15 minutes earlier until you’ve worked your way to your bedtime goal.
- Set a bedtime alarm go off an hour before bedtime. If you tend to get caught up watching TV or on the computer, place the alarm clock in another room so you will be forced to get up to turn it off.
- Establish a wind down routine that slows your brain down in preparation for sleep. Choose a quiet relaxing activity like taking a warm bath, reading, listening to music, or meditation.
- Post reminders of the importance of sleep in your life.
Posted in Health Habits, Productivity | Tagged: Arianna Huffington, Habits, Sleep, TED, The Huffington Post | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Coach Kim Collins on November 1, 2011
Use a timer to get you started on something that feels overwhelming. Set it for 5 minutes to just get started.
Use a timer to keep you moving. For example, if you want to clean several rooms in the house, set the timer for a 20 minute work session in each room.
Use the timer to create a sense of urgency. Only allow yourself 45 minutes to work on or finish up a project.
Use the timer to take a break. Set your timer for a 5 – 10 minute break several times a day.
Use the timer to track your time use. Increase your time estimation skills by actually timing how long certain routine tasks really take. For example – do you know how long you really take in the bathroom? Time it and find out!
Posted in Clever Container Products, Productivity, Time Management | Tagged: Clever Container, Timers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Coach Kim Collins on August 31, 2011
Are you spending the weekends the way you want to? Most of the time we are so focused on creating structure during the weekdays, we forget about planning how we will use our time on the weekend.
The weekend presents a challenge for many people with ADHD because the built in structure of work and school are not present.
The first thing you want to think about is, how exactly do you want to spend your weekend? Do you want to use your weekend to take care of household chores so that your weeknights are free? Or do you prefer to take care of your chores during the week so that your weekends are free for rest and recreation? Another option is to balance your chores between weeknights and weekends so that you will have time for finish up chores and get some recreation.
The important thing is that you think about how you want to spend your time and plan a loose structure so that you control your weekend instead of your weekend controlling you.
- Make a list of things that must be done on the weekend and post it where you will see it.
- Plan weekend activities as a family and put things on the calendar.
- Make a habit of getting the kids to prepare for the week (doing homework , chores, and getting clothes ready) Friday night or Saturday morning to avoid the last minute Sunday night chaos.
- Alternate weekends with other parents to shuttle kids around for weekend activities.
- Choose at least one fun or relaxing thing to do every weekend.
- Try to establish one weekend a month where you don’t do anything you don’t what to do.
Posted in ADHD, Productivity | Tagged: Weekends | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Coach Kim Collins on May 5, 2011
- Do something physical. Every time you exercise you are helping your brain’s executive functioning abilities. I usually recommend doing some jumping jacks, running up and down the stairs a few times or taking a quick walk.
- Meditate before you jump into a difficult or boring task. Just take 5 minutes (set a timer) and focus on your breathing, take a quick power nap or visualize yourself successfully completing your task.
- Drink some water. Dehydration can impact your ability to stay focused and can impair your short-term memory and the recall of long-term memory.
- Take a Green Break. According to Kathleen Nadeau, PhD “Taking breaks to refresh your energy and concentration is an effective way to increase your chances of completing your task.” Because the color green has a calming quality, Nadeau suggests facing something green (particularly something in nature) and focusing on it while taking deep breaths.
- Get motivated with music. Music has to power to change your state of mind. So, pump up to music to get you in the mood to work.
- Be accountable. Tell someone else what you plan to do and when you will be finished. Then arrange to check back in with them when you are done.
- Try the 5 minute method. Set a timer and just start the task for 5 minutes. Once the timer goes off you can decide whether you want to continue or transition to something else.
- Create a Benefits & Consequences Card. The ADD brain rarely remembers the pain of the past and the goal of the future. So it may be helpful to write on an index card what the benefits are for getting the task done and what the consequences are for putting it off. Post the card in front of you so that you are reminded of these things in the moment.
- Talk through your task with someone else. Sometimes you just need to talk about a task with someone to clear your mind and organize your thoughts. Set a 5 – 10 minute timer and call someone you can use as a sounding board. A brief conversation may be all you need to get started.
- Create an endpoint. Write out what your goal is for a single work session, define how long the work session will be and plan a reward for when your are done .
Posted in ADHD, Productivity | 1 Comment »