Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh, Spiders...I hate thee...

OK, full disclosure: this has nothing to do with ADHD, Professional Organizing, running the PTO, or any of my other many interests. It's simply about spiders; and I hate them. And since it's Halloween, I feel like venting. They're everywhere. And they're huge. And they have way too many legs.

On the other hand, I like to watch Arachnophobia in the dark, and photograph their webs coated with Autumn dew, and study their mating rituals on Animal Planet. Many years ago, like twenty or so, my family developed an affinity for scaring the living sh-- out of each other. And a well-placed rubber spider always delivered. It started when I was living at home with my folks in a great, big, early 1900's house. There were creaky stairs and creepy rooms, and every corner was an open invitation for a good scare. We'd hide behind doors and place props in the dumb waiter and take full advantage of the dank, dark basement. We screamed like schoolgirls and planned our revenge.

Then came my marriage, and the sickness lived on. Plastic lizards in a shoe was good for a jump, but once he put an army-clad mannequin head on top of the dryer. It scared the crap out of me when I opened the closet door, and then POW! He got me. Another one IN the dryer!

We swore off scaring for years when we had unsecured guns in the house. Then we had kids, locked up the weapons, and the scare tactics resurfaced.

Now, our two kids are in on the act. And no one is safe. There are certain assumptions you make in your own home. Like there are no tarantulas in your sheets, snakes in your cereal, or ghosts in the closet. Not in my house. And it has nothing to do with Halloween. We've gone absolutely crazy with scaring each other. We take every possible opportunity to lurk in the dark, catch someone unawares, or grab an ankle from beneath a bed.

We scream, we swear, we lash out physically. The louder the scream, the harder we laugh. We love it. We hate it. We're all into it.

Happy Halloween everyone. And beware, there are scares around every corner!

ADHD: The Agony and the Ecstacy

Last week I participated in a panel discussion on ADHD. Four of us presented at the monthly chapter meeting of the National Association of Professional Organizers - Oregon Chapter (NAPO Oregon). There was a physician who treats ADHD patients and three Certified Professional Organizers® (CPOs) - one was an ADHD coach, another was the parent of an ADHD child (me), and the third had an ADHD spouse.
The meeting got a perfect score from the attendees (a rare NAPO Oregon success!),and as a panelist, I gave it a perfect score, too; because I learned so much.

Three themes that all four panelists agreed upon:

The Agony - with ADHD comes pain. And the pain is shared with many: he who has ADHD, his family, his coworkers, his teachers, and more. There is self-hatred, frustration, irritation and misunderstanding. Even when treated, ADHD can wreck havoc on a life. As one panelist put it: "The one consistency of ADHD is the consistent inconsistency" - which can result in hopelessness for all involved.

The Ecstasy - despite the hardships, ADHD is a wonderful gift. To spend time with someone who has ADHD is to buzz in their energy, their creativity, their multi-interests, and their new ideas. When properly treated, ADHD can become a person's major asset. Their leadership skills, inventive ideas and extraordinary intelligence can lead to a lifetime of success. I, for one, have sat in awe of my ADHD child. I wouldn't trade his gifts for anything.

It's Pervasive - meaning it impacts every aspect of your life. This is important, because ADHD is still much misunderstood, and everyone thinks they have it. One way to differentiate it from similar symptoms is by its pervasiveness. ADHD rears its head at home, at school, at work, in relationships, on weekends and weekdays. It impacts reading, communicating and understanding. Those who have ADHD live with it every day, all day long.

Those who attended the NAPO Oregon meeting seemed truly interested in this interesting diagnosis. They had non-stop questions, particularly of our physician panelist. Proof positive that even though only a fraction of people have the diagnosis, seemingly everyone is impacted by ADHD.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Tornado in my Brain

The tornado in my brain: call the client, update the website, write the newsletter, create the agenda, call the painter, cook the dinner, chair the meeting, plan the weekend - you get the picture. This constant onslaught of ideas and projects and tasks used to be like a hurricane in my head - swirling around with an occasional crack of thunder. Then I found OneNote, and quickly fell in love.

OneNote by Microsoft is the perfect answer for those who wear many hats, are over committed, are super creative, like to brainstorm, or have ADHD. It's a software program that allows you to create electronic three-ring binders and stuff them full of all the scraps, notes, pictures, and ideas you can gather - minus the pinch-y rings and three-hole puncher.

I am classically over committed. I have a professional organizing business, am a PTO president, also the NAPO Oregon president, and, most importantly, have a family. So I created four "notebooks" in OneNote - one for my business, one for each board, and one for my family. Within each I have tabs and pages. For instance, I have a notebook for my business, Totally Orderly. Within that notebook I have "tabs" for marketing, social networking, ADHD, website, writing, etc.. Within any tab, I have pages. Under ADHD I have pages for adults, women, children, students, books, blogs, etc. It's so easy!

I use OneNote exclusively for projects in action, but some of my friends store reference items as well. You can post notes, documents, links, thoughts, plans, lists, tables, pictures, scans and more! OneNote is the first program I open in the morning and the last one I close at night. I'm in and out of it all day, toggling between notebooks and making progress in all areas.

Try the free trial of OneNote. Let me know if it's calmed the storm for you!