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Tag: ADHD and Cleaning

“I Had 9 Things to Do So Instead I Took a Nap” – A Story of ADHD Paralysis

It’s NOT laziness! Delving into the mind maze that is ADHD Paralysis.

Sometimes, those of us with ADHD get stuck. We end up horizontal on the couch, wanting to do the next thing on our mental “to do” list, but somehow unable to make ourselves get up even though we really do want to do the thing that has us feeling frozen! This is an important distinction between ADHD paralysis and old fashioned laziness: if you’re lazy, you don’t want to do The Thing. In the “stuck” headspace, we might even feel shame that we can’t make ourselves do it. The antidote to shame is acceptance, and we hope that by understanding ADHD paralysis, you can start to love and accept yourself (and maybe even finally get the laundry done.).

A Short List of Things You Might Relate To

When I say “ADHD paralysis”, you might already have an exact picture of what it feels like in your head. If so, go ahead and skip to the next section. If you’re still left, you might be experiencing it if you…

  • Have a long list of things to do, but you can’t seem to pick which one to start with
  • Experience time blindedness (struggling to gauge how much time has passed)
  • Know exactly what you “should” be doing, but can’t seem to force yourself to do it
  • Overthink and overanalyze, even to the point of being unable to make decisions
  • Experience a lack of clarity or brain fog

Self-Care Tips for When You’re Stuck in the Paralysis Pit

Now you have a name for the phenomenon going on in your brain. Let me guess what you’re thinking.. “Great, random internet blogger, what the heck do I do about it?” Great segue, random internet reader.

The first step toward self-acceptance is self-compassion and self-care. When you recognize that you can’t make yourself do The Thing, or if you can’t even make it do anything, then stop trying to fight it. You’re not going to work on that project right now anyway, so you can spend an hour beating yourself up about it or you can spend an hour taking care of yourself – the hour will pass either way. And I’d bet that after an hour of meeting your needs, you’ll be in a better position to do The Thing.

Self care isn’t just chocolate cake and bubble baths. It’s not NOT that, but there’s more! A few self care options that have helped me and the people in my life are listed below. If you have any that you can share too, please leave a comment!

  1. Embrace the Pause: Remove yourself from the environment in which you need to do The Thing. If you’re working from home on a laptop, this might even look like getting up from your desk and moving to the couch. Or, maybe it’s a walk outside. You might go try out a new coffee shop in town. Whatever you decide to do, if you remove the looming pressure of obligation and give yourself permission to take a break, you’re on the right track.
  2. Take a Nap: Let’s all appreciate that I remembered to mention the nap from the article title. Especially if you’re feeling tired or mentally exhausted, a nap might be just what your brain needs to recover from the last dozen things you did.
  3. Physical Activity: It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, a walk around the block or 20 pushups can help to get your blood flowing.
  4. Embrace Your Inner Plant: Get some sun and make sure to hydrate! Humans need natural sunlight, and so many of us don’t get enough in a day. One of my absolute favorite activities is laying on a rock in the sun. I call it “lizarding”.

Tactics for When You Can’t Put Off Doing The Thing Any Longer

Body Doubling

Body doubling is the strategy of having a friend present with you while you do your work. The friend doesn’t need to help you do it, they just hang out so you have company! They might even nudge you back toward accountability if you get off task.

Timers Galore

Setting a timer is one of the tactics that shows up in our Cleaning Tips for ADHD article, but it doesn’t just apply to housework. You might be aiming to finish your homework or a blog for you business (lol). Set a timer to just work on it for 15 or 20 minutes, and see how far you can get in that time! This is when the hyperfocus super power of your ADHD might just save you. You might be able to knock out an hour’s worth of work in 20 minutes if you can engage that hyperfocus muscle.

Time Blocking

Time blocking can allow you to focus more effectively on each task. Instead of making a to-do list for your day, you schedule short bursts of effort on individual tasks. Each thing might only take 5 minutes, but time blocks allow you flexibility regarding when you do it and still get it done. For example, you might make your day look like this:

  • 9-9:30 I WILL accomplish Thing #1
  • 9:30-10:30 I’ll take a break and eat something because Thing #1 was exhausting
  • 10:30-11:30 I’ll do Thing #2

Never forget that the goal is acceptance, and this is an absolutely shame-free zone. Keep reading our other content to learn more about your brain!

adhd, ADHD and Cleaning

Double Your Productivity: Unleash the Power of Body Doubling for ADHD

Executive Function & ADHD

Living with ADHD has plenty of good things that we love, but it also means sometimes grappling with executive dysfunction. This can interfere with home- and self-care tasks that we all need to complete on a daily basis. The fluctuations in dopamine levels affect cognitive processes like attention, planning, and organization, which can make it difficult to start chores. This executive function deficit can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed and frustrated about their obligations.

What is body doubling?

Incorporating body doubling into your ADHD toolkit can be a game-changer. This strategy involves a friend, family member, acquaintance, or stranger you met on the street (just kidding!) keep you company while you handle the tasks that might be challenging for you. Having a friend in the room while you work can help you stay focused, engaged, and motivated to knock out your to-do list. It’s helpful to have someone to talk to and joke with, and hopefully this person can point it out if you get off-track. They definitely don’t need to do your work for you or even help – just hanging out while you work is enough to make a big impact.

Harnessing the Power of Body Doubling

What can body doubling help with?

Everyone is different, so you might find that body doubling is more helpful with some types of work than others. We’ve put together a list of things that we’ve seen body doubling help with:

  • Cleaning and organizing
  • Homework
  • Budgeting and paying bills
  • Writing reports or essays
  • Exercise
  • Working from home
  • Studying for exams
  • Preparing presentations
  • Reading
  • Creative hobbies
  • Home improvement projects

Suggesting Body Doubling to Someone Else with ADHD

For parents, caregivers, and other adults charged with helping a kid with ADHD, navigating a child’s executive dysfunction can be a challenge. Being understanding about the way their brain works, while still trying to teach them to be accountable, is a fine line to walk. Body doubling is one tool that can help to empower the kiddo to still do their chores or homework while keeping them on-track and focused.

A few tips for suggesting and implementing body doubling with a child or teenager:

Open Communication

Have an open and honest conversation with them about their challenges. Explain body doubling, why you think it might help, and ask if it’s something they would like to try.

Set Clear Expectations

Define the tasks that you’ll use body doubling for and be clear about the outcomes you’re hoping to see. Establish boundaries together, like what types of work the body double can/will help with, how often the child can take breaks, etc.

Identify Body Doubling Partners

If you live in the same home as the child/teen, then you might be a great option. If you don’t, or even if you do and sometimes have other things you need to do (you know, like a normal person), then talk with them about other people who might be able to help as body doubles. Make sure the body double knows their role, understands what they are/aren’t expected to do, and feels comfortable speaking up if something isn’t working.

Collaborate and Participate

When you can, participate in body doubling sessions alongside the child. This not only shows your support but also strengthens your bond with them and increases accountability.

Celebrate Achievements

Recognize and celebrate the accomplishments! Positive reinforcement can boost motivation and reinforce the effectiveness of this strategy, especially if you can make sure the kiddo knows that you saw how hard they worked.

Try it Out!

Body doubling is a clever life hack for people with ADHD. Experiment with the strategy, adapt it to your specific needs, and witness the positive impact it can have on your ability to stay focused, engaged, and motivated. Remember, everyone’s journey is unique, so explore different approaches and find what works best for you.

adhd, ADHD and Cleaning

8 Powerful Tips for Cleaning with ADHD

When you have ADHD, cleaning is a daunting task. In this article, you’ll learn practical tips and strategies to stay on top of your house (and teach your kids to do the same)!

Why is it harder to stay on top of cleaning when you have ADHD?

Living with ADHD comes with plenty in the “W” column, but it can also present some challenges. Daily tasks, like staying on top of household cleaning, feel overwhelming due to executive functioning issues and the fact that cleaning is just not fun or interesting. ADHD paralysis can make it particularly challenging to start a task. Below are eight powerful tips that we’ve found to be effective for us and our little neurospicies. These strategies will help you conquer your own cleaning challenges – and supercharge your next cleaning sesh with the family.

ADHD Cleaning Tips for Adults

1. Just do it for 15 minutes.

“Clean the kitchen” might conjure images of scrubbing on your hands and knees until the end of time.. Try setting a timer for 15 minutes and focus on cleaning during that time.. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you can make within a short burst of concentrated effort. If you’re cleaning with the family, make it a race! Once the timer goes off, you might even find yourself motivated to continue and finish the job.

2. Body Doubling

Sometimes, having someone in the room with you while you clean can provide the extra support and accountability you need to stay focused. Consider inviting a friend or family member to hang out with you as you tackle your cleaning chores. Their presence can help you stay focused, engaged, and motivated. A little company goes a long way when you’re doing something that’s not very fun.

3. Clean a room top-down.

There isn’t one single “right way” to clean a home, so try a few different methods to find what works for you! You might have fun starting with the highest items and moving down. Start by dusting or wiping down high surfaces such as shelves, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. Then work your way down to lower surfaces like countertops and furniture. Finish with vacuuming and mopping the floor. By cleaning from top to bottom, any debris or dust that falls will be captured when you clean the lower areas, preventing the need for re-cleaning.

4. Invite friends over for accountability.

When you know your friends are coming over, it’s easier to want to get those dishes in the dishwasher or get your laundry off the floor. After all, they’re going to want to sit on your furniture, not your dirty socks. One thing to note with this method: if you’re comfortable with your guest seeing your mess, the strategy is less likely to work.

4 More Tips: ADHD and Cleaning with Kids

5. One-minute pickup

This is like the 15 minute cleaning strategy, kids edition. Engaging children in cleaning activities can be a challenge, but the one-minute pickup strategy can make it more manageable (for both you and the kids). One minute is such a small amount of time, that it’s much easier to get kids to help than if you’re trying to get them to tackle an hour-long project. You’ll be amazed at how much tidying up can be accomplished in such a short burst of focused effort. You can pair this with other ideas to make it even more fun, like racing or adding a silly element. This helps to teach kids that cleaning doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

6. Make it a (friendly) competition

Lots of children love friendly competition, so why not turn cleaning into a fun challenge? Start by saying, “I bet I can pick up ten things before you can!” and then just begin picking up items. Make sure to count out loud and show enthusiasm, so the kiddos can see that if they don’t start, you’re going to win! As soon as your kiddo sees you getting started and playing the game, they’ll be motivated to join in and maybe even beat mom or dad..

7. The (cleaning) power of choice

Empower your children by giving them a sense of autonomy and control over their chores. Instead of micro-managing the way they help, let them choose a category of things to pick up. This might sound like, “Let’s begin by picking up everything in this room that’s just one color. Which color do you want to focus on?” Or, you could give them options: “Do you want to put away all the green things in your room first, or all the blue ones?” By involving them in the decision-making process, children will feel more invested in the cleaning process and more motivated to help.

8. Body doubling (Kids edition)

Okay, so it might seem like we’re cheating by counting “body doubling” as a tip twice. But the earlier tip focused on how you benefit from having someone hang out while you clean. This tip flips the suggestion to how you can be an effective body double for kiddos. See? Different tip.

It’s important that you clarify to your child that they’re still the ones doing the cleaning, you’re just hanging out with them. If they are old enough to be responsible for cleaning their room, then they should own that responsibility. You can help them stay on task, though, by making it a fun environment (ex: “You start with putting your clothes away while I get some music going!”) and by giving them positive prompts to get back on task when they get distracted. We’ve found this to be most effect when there’s less of a focus on correcting behavior, and more focus on what’s next. For example, the kids in our lives respond better to, “Yes, that toy IS really cool! Where does it belong when we’re not playing with it?” than, “Put the toy away and please get back to cleaning, I need you to focus.”

Cleaning together can turn an otherwise tedious chore into a fun and social activity, plus you get the opportunity to teach them the cleaning strategies that work for you.

Try Out Different ADHD Cleaning Strategies

Living with ADHD doesn’t have to mean constantly struggling to keep a clean and organized living space. Try these strategies out and see what works for you! Something is bound to help make the process easier and more manageable, you just need to keep trying new things until you find things that work. If one strategy works for a while and you get bored of it, that’s completely normal, too.

Now, select your favorite tips and start cleaning with confidence!

adhd, ADHD and Cleaning

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