Category Archives: General

If my brain is working really hard, can I be expected also to make the best decisions?

Cake or fruit?
That is the question.

Willpower and cognitive processing draw from the same pool of resources.

I should be making the handouts for my talk on SEO at the upcoming ACO conference. But it’s complicated:  the writing, the editing, the figuring out what is enough and what is probably too much.

I think I need a snack. Mmmmmmm … Sugared nuts my sister-in-law made for Christmas.  Probably not the best choice at 9 AM.  But that’s what my brain said I wanted.

Why did I not choose an apple, or an orange or one of those pretty-close-to-too-ripe bananas? And what does this have to do with people who live and work with ADHD?  As it turns out, a lot.

Kathy Sierra wrote in her blog, Serious Pony:

…165 grad students were asked half to memorize a seven-digit number and the other half to memorize a two-digit number.

After completing the memorization task, participants were told the experiment was over, and then offered a snack choice of either chocolate cake or a fruit bowl.

The participants who memorized the seven-digit number were nearly 50% more likely than the other group to choose cake over fruit.

Researchers were astonished by a pile of experiments that led to one bizarre conclusion:

Willpower and cognitive processing draw from the same pool of resources.

Said a different way,  if you (or someone you love or work with) is working on a problem—homework, moderating behavior at work, designing an algorithm or a grocery list—you’re using the same brain power as you’d use to choose to eat healthy, or exercise, or perhaps, remember to call your mother regularly.

If a person is pulled from a hyperfocus haze, the probability of that person choosing appropriate behavior—say civility to spouse or boss—is pretty low.

Here’s my question:

If ADHD coaches try to help clients get better at making decisions, what if the mere act of repeated deciding decreases the probability of making “good” decisions at all?

If too much information makes it hard for a client to “track” what you’re saying, then not only are you confusing them, you’re making it harder for them to choose “right.”

When I was editor of Circle, above all, I wanted what we published to be useful.  As a professional organization, I believe that what we publish should help others in the field find success using the lessons of those who are wiser. I’m glad if you were on TV. But how did you get there? That might be useful.

Now the better question seems to be:

..instead of “Is this useful?” perhaps we should raise the bar and ask “Will they use it?”

Maybe I’m rambling here. But I think there is something useful here. If you have an idea about that, I’d sure like to know about it. Write something in the comments!

Kerch McConlogue, We Fix Broken WebsitesKerch McConlogue, CPCC, used to be a coach and somehow can’t stop thinking about deciding and how coaches and coaching works for people with ADHD.  Now she helps coaches and other businesses people decide about their websites  at WeFixBrokenWebsites.com

Keeping track of time

I do a lot of different jobs for lots of different people. Some is paid, some is volunteer. The paid work I have to be able to bill for. Some of the paid work has parts that are not paid. And the volunteer work, well, I’d just like to know how much of my day I’m giving away.

mechanical clockI just learned about a great program called Grindstone from Epiforge.

When you start working on a job, you click the name in the list you’ve made up yourself. And start the timer. When you’re done. You stop the timer. At the end of the day, or the week, or any span of time, you can get a report that tracks your time by project, by task or by profile (which I currently can’t quite figure out how to use). You can get a pie chart or a regular report. It’s great! You can print out a time sheet!

And the best thing is if you walk away from your machine, it tracks how long you’ve been idle. And then asks what you were doing for that last period of time. You can set that interval for whatever best suits you. If you were doing something you need to track time for, you can manually add that time. Or you can just click the button that says Grindstone shouldn’t worry about what you were doing.

I’d been doing pretty well using a Google side bar simple timer. Clicking to start and stop and then writing down the numbers in a journal. At the end of the month I look back thru it and tally up the numbers. But Grindstone is way more accurate.

Because the timer only keeps track up to one hour, and because sometimes I get so involved I forget about the time, then I might not know if that was 1 hour and 20 minutes or 2 hours and 20 minutes. Grindstone knows the right answer. And it’s way more accurate!

Oh, and by the way, did I mention it’s FREE!

Reusing grocery bags

Grocery storeI have learned that if you that if you take your own bags to the grocery store, even if you only pack their bags into them when you get to your car, it takes A LOT fewer trips to get all that crap (er, food) into the house.

AND the worst part about grocery shopping, in my opinion, is carrying that stuff up the steps into the house.

Because by that time, you have already touched the stuff FOUR times:

  • once from the shelf to the cart,
  • once from the cart to the belt,
  • once from the belt to the cart again and
  • once from the cart to the car.

Yes, you still DO have to touch it to get it out of the bags and away.  But I figure, just ONE fewer time, especially THAT one time,  is at least a 20% saving in energy.

Making a plan and sticking to it

Once upon a time, long long ago, my husband and I had a party.

Actually, we’ve had pretty many since then. But I digress.

At the time of that particular party, we were in the middle of doing planning  a lot of projects around the house. We had the list of all those projects posted on the wall in the kitchen.

Here’s a party hint.

todoimageSome stuff you can’t clean up before people come over. But if you post a larger than life list, it WILL give people something to talk about. And they’ll focus on your list instead of the half painted walls.

At another party, when the hallway needed paint, I went to the wall paper store and got a bunch of samples. I taped them all over the hall way and asked people to vote on the one they liked best.  Another great conversation starter!

(The Christmas tree went away and the dining room got painted.)
I sure wish I had a picture of that original list. But I tell you what, everyone who came to the party remembers that list and that the lynch pin task was fix the gutters!

Personally, I never understood why the gutters needed to be replaced before a bedroom was painted, but some how, in the mind of some-other-adult-with-whom-I-live, there was no point in doing anything until that task was completed.

The point is this: sometimes you need more than just a list.

Sometimes you have to figure out which parts of the project come first and then what happens next.

I love a good list. But stuff can get missed if it’s just linear. Or, as in my case, in a notebook on many pages.

Gantter: Cloud-based project schedulingHowever, I just read or at MakeUseOf.com about this cool new online project manager called Gantter.com You don’t have to sign in, or make an account.

The MakeUseOf guys say it’s a  lot like MS Project.  But it’s freakin’ free!  You work on the plan, you save it to your own machine, you upload it when you want to come back to it. You can print it out as a pdf and carry it around with you. OR blow it up really big, post it on the wall in your kitchen and have a party!

It’s surely over kill for figuring out a normal weekly schedule.  But if it’s a complicated week, or a project with many steps, I think it will really rock.

How to get up in the morning Redux

Funny how one of the most viewed posts on my blog is one called “How to get up in the morning.”

I thought it a bit of an odd fluke til I read over at MakeUseOf.com that THEY also noticed it’s something people search on a lot. So they reviewed an online alarm clock that allows you to pick the song you want to wake to.. and a lot of other stuff. And it’s on your computer so it will even work when you’re traveling—presuming you travel with your computer. (HA! Silly me, of COURSE you travel with your computer! Doesn’t everyone?)

And they this other link to a  great DIY project: World’s Loudest Alarm Clock

Hope you don’t live next door to me!

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/a-great-online-alarm-clock-metaclock/