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Archive for the ‘ADHD’ Category

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

The (10 +2) x5 Rule?

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest  

A February 2017 Inc. Magazine article by Dan Scalco titled Four Ways to Stop Procrastinating Right Now provided some helpful tips for managing procrastination such as creating false (earlier) deadlines, donating $5 to a charity for every hour you waste, and moving tasks to the afternoon if you idled away your morning. His first suggestion, however, was the (10 +2)x 5 rule.  This process reportedly makes a work task “less intimidating.” The (10 +2)x 5 rule goes like this: do 10 minutes of focused work with a 2 minute break and to repeat this interval 5 times which results in 50 minutes of work. The (10 +2)x 5 rule will keep you on your toes, but it is flawed.

This rule feeds your distractible nature and discourages concentration on a task. The (10+2) x5 rule may come in handy for folding laundry or doing yard work, but not for work that requires analysis, processing, or integration of complex information. Here’s why:

  • As clock ticks closer to minute #8 there’s the tendency to start looking forward to the break or rushing the work to beat the clock, again wasting time.
  • If most of your work involves the computer, your 2 minute break will likely be spent on the Internet or on your phone (Good luck keeping those breaks to 2 minutes!).

The (10+2) x5 rule also assumes that you will make nice, clean transitions from the break to the task. Unfortunately, research shows that your brain will continue to reflect on the entertainment from break time for at least a few minutes before you can steer your concentration to the task. Therefore, if you factor in transition time, time needed to re-engage in the task, and time anticipating your break you may end up flipping those numbers – it’s more like 2 minutes of work and 10 minutes or more of break time!

A better system is to keep your phone and any other controllable distraction in another room. Allocate 30 minutes of work and 5-10 minutes of a break. Do that interval 5x and you’ll get close to a good 2 hours of work. Make your breaks screen-less – a brisk walk or some stairs will make the mental transition time shorter. Physical exercise will help you process the portion of the task you just completed, improve your focus and your attitude about the task you’re trying to complete. This (30+10)x5 is much more productive way to get things done.

Just as there are different brains, there are different ways to avoid procrastination. To learn more and to come up with a system that works for you, contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Stimulants and ADHD

May is Mental Health Month. This video is about stimulant medication, more specifically the general stigma that steers people away from trying them as part of treatment for ADHD.  Used properly under medical supervision, stimulant medications are safe and effective, but most people are terrified of them and do not want to even consider trying them. I address this issue in this video

This month, my Note from Ned is a Video from Ned.  That’s a first for us, but I think we will do it more often, as people like video often more than print.

I hope you like this piece and share it.  Please send us feedback about the video format and let us know what you think.  You can always email me directly at drhallowell@gmail.com

When medication works, it works as safely and dramatically as eyeglasses. Medication helps about 80% of the time in the treatment of ADD. Make sure you work with a doctor who can explain the issues around medication to you clearly. Most people do not realize how safe and effective stimulant medications truly are, when they are used properly. Make sure you work with a doctor who has plenty of experience with these medications. The stimulants include medications like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Vyvanse, Focalin, and others. As long as you take them under proper medical supervision, they can help you immensely.

More on ADHD treatment

ADHD TREATMENT

TOP 10 QUESTIONS on ADHD

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Your “Guy In The Basement”

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Several years ago at a National Speaker’s Association meeting, I heard a motivational speaker who planted a metaphor in my mind that I’ll never forget. He described a friendly fellow somewhere between our conscious and subconscious, who works mostly behind the scenes and is loyal to the core. He is, figuratively, your Guy In The Basement, your GITB.

Your brain’s CEO, located in the penthouse (your prefrontal cortex), orders the GITB to dig up information, and deliver the data for the CEO to synthesize and execute. For example, when the CEO is trying to recall the name of your 6th grade teacher, he directs the GITB to do a search, and a few minutes later the GITB runs up the stairs to the CEO and announces: “MRS. CRUM!”  Although it may take awhile, your GITB is good at retrieving data.

The GITB also loves autonomy. He likes to scan your existing knowledge base, integrate anything in view that is novel and shiny and interrupt your deep work (including your sleep), to proclaim his findings. Be kind to your GITB; he is always at work. But he is impulsive, gets bossy when restrained and has no sense of time.

Instead of getting mad at your GITB, shutting him out and blaming him for all your unfinished deep work, let him get his ya-ya’s out. When you’re working on a task that requires a lot of focus, have a pad of paper handy to capture ideas that your GITB sends forth. Keep a notepad at your bedside for his middle-of- the-night revelations. He’ll quiet down once he’s been heard. You can come back and elaborate on those ideas later. If he just can’t settle down, take your GITB for a walk. Remind him of your goals, problems you’d like to solve, or visions you have for your project. After the romp, your reliable GITB will gladly hunker down with his new orders, mind his own business and get to work, giving you the peace and concentration you need to do your CEO thing.

Let me help you manage distractions, get things done well and on time! Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Make Attention Training a Habit

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Jordan, a student in a major entrepreneurship program in Massachusetts, had a rough first semester. He has trouble sustaining attention for the necessary and “less interesting tasks” that require planning, prioritization and writing. Like many entrepreneurs, Jordan reports having ADT (Attention Deficit Traits) and possibly ADHD. He recognizes that weak attention can mask the positive traits associated with ADHD and, consequently, affect his success in a startup (smart boy!). Jordan wanted ways to strengthen attention and focus.

I suggested several non-medication approaches known to enable improved attention. But these methods (exercise, better sleep, etc.) prepare the brain to perform at higher levels. What’s also needed is practice paying attention. Attention is like a muscle; it takes regular practice to develop. It behooves every serious student or entrepreneur pinged by chronic distractions to practice attention control on a daily basis. Every day set aside 30 minutes to an hour to pump up that attention muscle:

  1. Find a place with little or no distractions. Read an article or two and write down the major takeaways and how you might use the information (see my April 2018 MCM newsletter for more details). When you notice your thoughts straying to a new idea, jot down a key word regarding that new idea for later and return to your reading. How frequently you stray doesn’t matter. What matters is how often and how quickly you get back to the task.
  2. Attention training is a form of self-defense. Our control over our attention protects us from the ravages of distraction. Sign up for a martial arts class that will challenge your attention and concentration. It’s worth checking out different schools to be sure that aspect is a high priority. As a martial arts student and instructor, I know that this kind of training is one of the very best ways to hone extreme focus.
  3. Take up a musical instrument (I practice piano); learn chess or poker; memorize a prayer or an inspirational passage.

Your attention control is the most critical resource in your entrepreneur toolbox. Pump it up!

Need more help with concentration and focus? Getting things done well and on time? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com  

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Young Adults, Risky Behavior & ADHD

Sex, drugs, trust, medications, alcohol, and accommodations are just some of the topics discussed in this conversation that’s all about the big issues young people with ADHD and their parents face in today’s  world.

Listen here.

Looking for more information on ADHD & Teens? Click here.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

ADHD CollegeCORE Coaching program by phone, Skype or in person            

Hallowell Center MetroWest, (978) 287- 0810 or (978) 255-1817 Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC – Speech/Language Pathologist and Executive Function coach

CollegeCORE Coaching (by phone, Skype or in person) helps high school upperclassmen and college students conquer the most common problems associated with ADHD or Executive Dysfunction. Rebecca provides effective, practical and non-medication solutions for getting things done well and on time. She has worked with ADHD students and entrepreneurs for over 20 years. Read more at www.MindfulCommunication.com.  Rebecca’s coaching and training approach builds the core skills and routines that enable success in school and greater marketability for the workplace.

CollegeCORE students will learn:

  • core skills and routines for managing anxiety and improving focus, follow through and communication
  • to become more independent, and how to be the CEO of YOU, even if you don’t plan to be an entrepreneur
  • basic organizational skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • note-taking skills
  • more efficient study and test-taking skills
  • why good sleep is a major ally for the ADHD student, sleep’s powerful role in learning and ways to improve sleep quality
  • how exercise regimen best promotes clearer thinking and improved productivity
  • how to apply Rebecca’s 80/20 approach for managing procrastination
  • how to self-advocate – a competitive life skill.

How CollegeCore Coaching works: The process begins with a complimentary 15-20 minute inquiry call with Rebecca. Call to set up that inquiry session (978) 287-0810 or (978) 255-1817. This is a brief discussion to answer questions about the program and to determine whether the CollegeCore coaching approach is appropriate for the student.

A 90 minute meeting (in person, Skype or phone) follows to get background information, identify personal strengths, establish personal objectives, deadlines (if imposed) for improvement, and to determine best approaches. $325.00

Based on that meeting an action plan is created and the frequency of coaching sessions is determined. The goal is to identify the best starting point(s), select a couple small steps that are fairly easy to implement consistently that will yield some early and notable results. These new routines become habits.  Minor adjustments are made along the way. For some, the compound effect will work best, for others a multi-target approach is better. The process is customized to the student and his/her needs. Coaching sessions are $150/hour, $75/30 minutes. Sessions may be 1-3x a week; duration and frequency is determined by Rebecca and the student. A spouse, partner or co-founder may also be involved, if desired. Progress is addressed at each session. As the gains become more consistent and the student more independent, the coaching sessions wind down. Check-in sessions are monthly or bi-monthly, then every six months or as needed.

To set up a CollegeCORE inquiry session or to make an appointment with Rebecca Shafir, contact the Hallowell Center BostonMetroWest in Sudbury MA at (978) 287-0810 or her West Newbury office (978) 255-1817 to schedule sessions in person or by phone or Skype. Sessions are $150/hr and may be reimbursable through your insurance.

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