Unique ADHD Strategies That Work! At least most of the time! • Part 3

We’re wrapping up our series on strategies from our community for living our lives with ADHD that work… most of the time! This week, we’re talking all about organizing, alarms, and acceptance!

Links & Notes


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello everybody. And welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on True Story FM I’m Pete Wright and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Hello everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.

Pete Wright:
Hello, Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
How are you on this fine day?

Pete Wright:
I’m good. I’m good. I’m feeling good. Feeling good. [Kung Fu 00:00:23] is strong. Sun is shining. It seems like it’s been a while. Maybe it’s even a metaphorical sun that is shining.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
Because we all come out of our COVID holes and begin to live again. It is very exciting. We are continuing our conversation on unique ADHD strategies that work most of the time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Most of the time.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, most of the time they keep working. And so we’re going to talk about that. I’m very excited. This should be the last one, right? I think this is last set.

Nikki Kinzer:
This is, yes.

Pete Wright:
That came through.

Nikki Kinzer:
This is the last set. And then we’re moving on to something new. It’s a secret.

Pete Wright:
[crosstalk 00:01:01] wonders do we have in store?

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s a secret. We have to come back and listen.

Pete Wright:
It’s going to be great. And before we do that head over to takecontroladhd.com to get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website, subscribe to the mailing list on the homepage and get an email each time the latest episode is released. Of course, you can find the show anywhere finer podcasts are served. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD. And if the show has ever touched you or helped you make a change in your life for the better head over to patreon.com/theADHDpodcast and join us, join the community, support the show. For a few bucks a month you get access to our super secret discord community channels. Lots of conversation going on there from talks about medication to ADHD support, to technology, to creativity, and music recommendations, and books, and wellness.

Pete Wright:
And of course, that’s where we talk about the show. Lots going on there and of course you get to join us for the live stream of the podcast. If you want, you can come hang out with us while we record this crazy thing. And that often comes with its own special je ne sais quoi. There’s just something special usually happens that gets cut out of the final show. If you’re into that, come hang out with us. patreon.com/theADHDpodcast to learn more. Do we have any announcements?

Nikki Kinzer:
Not this week?

Pete Wright:
Oh my goodness.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’m sparing people from announcements this week.

Pete Wright:
Outstanding. Well, then let’s dig in and talk about strategies that work.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely

Pete Wright:
Most of the time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well actually, first of all, I want people to know that we’re talking about general organization like of space, things, whatever. Medication management, because we had a couple of great recommendations on how to deal with your medication and how to remember them, and remember to take them, and then acceptance as well. General organization, I think we’ll probably at some point this spring, or maybe this summer we’ll have a whole show on that again. Because I love how people have such creative ideas with organization.

Pete Wright:
Well, and it changes. Like new strategies come up. It’s worth doing it again.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. Absolutely. From Patricia, color coding. In school, each class had their own color ink and highlighter. Now I find ways to color code client files. I have four funding streams with different regulations for clients. Each stream has its own colored sticker on my desk files to help me keep track.

Pete Wright:
That’s awesome.

Nikki Kinzer:
I think color coding is fantastic.

Pete Wright:
How do you use color coding yourself? What do you color code?

Nikki Kinzer:
I color code two major things. I color code my calendar. If it’s a client or anything that has to do with work, it’s green, if it has anything to do with my family or home it’s blue. And if it’s anything that’s personal, like me going out to lunch with a friend or something like that, it’s red. That’s one area that I do. And then the second I do is my priorities. I have on my things list, I will color code priorities. If it’s important, it has to be done pretty quickly. It’s red. Anything that needs to be done maybe this week, but not today is green. And then anything that doesn’t have to be done this week. I don’t have on my today list, but I would have it color coded as blue. Because it’s not something I have to worry about right now. I love color codes, it works.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, me too. I look at my calendar and it’s full of just purple and red, and yellow, and blue, and green. And I’ve got colors for everything and it’s all automated. I don’t do any manual, like in my calendar, if it’s a type of appointment or on a certain calendar, it’s just automatically that color. I also color code files to indicate status. Like if I’m producing a podcast, there’s a folder for the logic studio pro files that go with it and I’ll color code that green, which means it’s in progress, it’s in motion. And then when I’m finished with it, it’s gray and I have some scripts running on my computer so when I color code something gray, it automatically takes that whole file, which is sometimes very, very large and copies it to my cold storage drive in the right place, based on the file naming and then removes the tag from it.

Pete Wright:
So it gets archived and put away. And I have a red, which means this needs to be produced, but it doesn’t have all the assets in place. Somebody better send me their audio file, that kind of thing. I definitely, I use tags and color codes in the file system all over the place. It’s hugely helpful. It’s the same thing. Just anything that allows you to get a quick glance at information and make an assessment. I think that’s incredibly useful.

Nikki Kinzer:
That it means something to you.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Without having to open and flip through and yeah. We have Eleonora in discord says, “Spatial intent.” Oh, I like this one. “If I have a space in my house, it has a purpose. The office is a distraction free zone with nothing but work equipment and a printer. The living room is nothing but media consumption stuff. I have an area for practicing my instruments, et cetera.”

Nikki Kinzer:
What did we used to say when we were in the organizing podcast world?

Pete Wright:
For every place there is a purpose.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right. For every place there is a purpose.

Pete Wright:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
So you can find what you need when you need it.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh gosh. You have good memory. Fantastic. Yeah. That’s exactly what she’s practicing. It’s great.

Pete Wright:
I fall down a little bit on that because I like to have … I can’t just have work stuff. I’ve tried that, I have to be surrounded by things that make me smile and laugh because anxiety gets me down, stress gets me down. And I need something that gives me that little jolt of joy sometimes. Sometimes you need it. And so my spaces tend to co-mingle. Like I have toys and stuff. I have all that little fun gadgets and trinkets to decorate around me and I can pull those off the wall and just fidget with them as I need them. I have my handy, you can’t go too far without your Shocktato, the potato that shocks you.

Nikki Kinzer:
What is a Shocktato? I’ve never seen that before, what is that?

Pete Wright:
You’ve never seen the Shocktato. Nikki, have I not told you about the Shocktato?

Nikki Kinzer:
Is it like a hot potato?

Pete Wright:
It is a hot potato and I’m showing this in the live stream. It is a brown, looks like a clump of dirt that’s about, I don’t know, two fists in size and it’s covered in metal plates. Now the metal plates are electrified. And so if I turn this on, first of all, it’ll play the music to Psycho, the theme song to Psycho. And then when the music stops, you have to, it’s like hot potato. You got to be throwing it to somebody else. Because whoever catches it, they get the crap shocked out of them. And it’s a wholly diabolical game. It has three settings, normal, lame and extreme. And it hurts a lot. But I get such a smile out of this for some reason, this stupid thing that it exists makes me laugh all the time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Okay so you’re not-

Pete Wright:
It’s actually in reach. I just keep it just around.

Nikki Kinzer:
Are you throwing it at yourself. Like I can see you doing this, like juggling move, like it’s in your left hand. And then you throw it in the air and you catch it on your right hand.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Yeah, no you could. But I often shock myself and I’ve used to make this. I would demonstrate it, but because I used to make this mistake of holding it, like in my fingers so I’m not touching the plate and putting the speaker up to the microphone so you can hear the sound. But I made the mistake of not recognizing that my finger was on a plate once and I did it live on a podcast and just destroyed myself and it shoots electricity up your wrist.

Nikki Kinzer:
What is the purpose of it?

Pete Wright:
And it really hurts. It’s a gag gift.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s a gag gift. Okay.

Pete Wright:
I mean, it’s a dangerous kind of made in unregulated China, manufacturing house and it somehow got across the border. And I think it’s hysterical.

Nikki Kinzer:
And you love it.

Pete Wright:
I love it. [crosstalk 00:09:24]. It’s weird. It’s a weird thing, but it is my Shocktato so.

Nikki Kinzer:
There you go.

Pete Wright:
I feel like back to the purpose of this is I need things in reach that make me smile like that. And so I count it as a fidget, it’s just another thing to keep the noise level just high enough so I can work.

Nikki Kinzer:
Focus. That’s right. All right, Lynn from Facebook says, “When I need to remember to take something out to the car, grocery bags, library, books, et cetera, I put it on the floor immediately in front of the door where I would literally trip over it.” Love that idea. And I have to say something that my husband and I do, which is really funny because we’ve done it for years since we’ve lived together. Is if one of us is thinking about something that we have to do, we’ll put something in the middle of the floor so you can’t like step over it. You would actually fall into it or whatever.

Nikki Kinzer:
And whenever that happens, we know it’s because one of us have thought about something that we don’t want to forget. Every once in a while there’ll be like some random, I don’t know, shirt or something in the middle of the hallway. And it’s because my husband-

Pete Wright:
Because the other of you doesn’t necessarily know what it’s supposed to be.

Nikki Kinzer:
No, but we both know that it means that somebody is thinking about something that has to be remembered in the morning.

Pete Wright:
That’s awesome.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
That’s fantastic. Somebody named Pete from this podcast-

Nikki Kinzer:
I wonder who that is.

Pete Wright:
Said, “I have to shout out again to Command Strips, did some more organizing this week and I’m constantly blown away at how handy these things are from tools to equipment, I can keep things organized with reduced friction and maintain line of sight to everything so that I can find what I need when I need it.” That’s how I remember it, because I just wrote it.

Nikki Kinzer:
You just wrote that. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
This week I have a piece of electronic equipment and it usually sits on top of my desk. It’s an audio box that manages this microphone, but when it sits on top of my speaker, that’s on my monitor speaker on my desk, it creates audio interference so there’s a constant buzz in my headphones and I was trying to figure out how can I do this? And I realized I can Command Strip it under my desk. I’m on a standup, so I Command Strip this box under to the front side of my desk. And now I can reach the volume and all the stuff that I need, the gain and all the knobs that I need right here on my desk. And it’s so secure. Then I went crazy again and I started Command Stripping tools.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh geez.

Pete Wright:
So I have this handy screwdriver that I love and it was made of this rubber that the Command Strip doesn’t stick to. But if you cover the screwdriver in gaffers tape, I can then put a Command Strip on it and it sticks perfectly.

Nikki Kinzer:
Of course you can.

Pete Wright:
And now I have the screwdriver, and my wall is covered now. And in fact, there’s so much stuff on the walls of my closet next to me here that it’s now, you know how there’s the, it’s a sliding door and there’s like a rail, and then about a foot and a half of wall on the inside edge of the closet. I now have lined the inside edge of the closet on the ceiling with gear and stuff that kind of hangs down a little bit. So at a glance, I can look up and see everything that I want in there. And my closet is staying miraculously clean because I’m sticking stuff to walls. Don’t underestimate how incredible it is to stick stuff to walls with Command Strip. Because it’s amazing.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’m not because it’s really, it’s a good idea. Because then you don’t even have to think about where its home is because really you know it’s on the walls. If it’s not in the exact place that it was that’s okay. Because you’re still going to see it on the wall.

Pete Wright:
It’s on the wall.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s a great idea.

Pete Wright:
It is fantastic.

Nikki Kinzer:
I like it. I like it.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. And even for stuff like temporary storage, I know it’s a little bit wasteful, but I keep these in my briefcase and my backpack. And so when I go to places, I stick the Command Strip on the wall if I want to put my iPhone charger on the wall. [crosstalk 00:13:24] all my chargers, because I have the new iPhone, the iPhone puck, the magnetic puck. So I stick to a Command Strip right by my bed. And so I can magnetize my phone and it charges medically stuck to the wall. It’s amazing.

Nikki Kinzer:
Everywhere in your house you’re going to have like something stuck on the wall. That’s hilarious.

Pete Wright:
A 100%. I really need to try to get my kids stuck on the wall with Command Strips. They’re incredible. This under the desk area is what I’m really excited about today, because it’s just so useful. And it’s not something that I had … I just forgotten to consider, I guess, is more under the desk space. Okay.

Nikki Kinzer:
Wow.

Pete Wright:
That’s what I got.

Nikki Kinzer:
You’re going to have stuff stuck on the ceiling too.

Pete Wright:
Oh, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
You’re going to Go all over.

Pete Wright:
Oh yeah. I’ve got lights. I’ve got, oh, the works. It’s amazing. Let’s talk about medication.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes. Medication management. Rachel from discord, “One of the things I do is with my med management, I take more than a few pills, my ADHD one included, I have one of those week long pill dividers. When I fill it, if one of my pills doesn’t feel each box or it does, but it only has a few left in the bottle. I leave the pill bottle out so it reminds me to order more. If I forgot to do this or underestimated how many pills I have left, I do the same thing, but turn my pill bottle upside down.” Brilliant. “To show that I’m out. I don’t throw away the empty bottle until I get the new one in.” Which is great too, because then you know, whether you’ve ordered it or not or whatever. Yeah. But I love that. That’s great.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, totally. And let’s see, we also have this bit from Laura on Facebook, who says, “To take my meds on time. I started using Medisafe. It’s an app. It has a paid version, but I use the free one. You can schedule your meds and it has notifications, multiple notifications for each dose, pretty much until you mark it as taken. And there’s an option to add a critical alert if you are X time late to take your meds. Extra useful for when I decide to ignore the notifications.” Yes.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’ve had a client who used this before too. And this may be the paid version, but I remember you can share it with people. If you share it with like a partner or friend or your ADHD coach, for example, they can look and they can notify you too, or they can help you remember. I don’t remember exactly how it worked, but there is a feature there in that app that you can share it with others.

Pete Wright:
That’s very cool. I actually, I build all my meds into my to-do app. And so I have like … I’m still on. Can you believe it’s been nine months, almost 10 months since I dealt with this whole ridiculous COVID thing. And I’m still on one, two, three, four, five, six, seven meds three times a day. And so I actually have a morning meds task with sub-tasks for each medication and dosage. And then midday meds with each medication dosage, and evening meds. I have to go in and check them off as I take them. And that is useful enough for me, because I can set that particular project to send me all kinds of notifications. If I miss them, if I’m ignoring them, I’ll get texts, I’ll get emails, I’ll get all kinds of things. That’s been really useful for me. And this was the first time that I’ve really needed any sort of accommodation around medications, because there’re just so many right now that … I mean, it’s been a useful accommodation.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. Okay. Our last one is around acceptance and I love this. I love that this is our last strategy, recommendation, inspirational type of thing, because this is what it’s all about. This person says, “Remember that you will have bad days, days when the meds don’t seem to work or your usual strategies fail you. Recognize these days when they come and accept them, forgive yourself and move on. If you it’s a low function day, there isn’t always something you can do about it. Don’t beat yourself up because that will achieve nothing. Accept it and plan for a better tomorrow.”

Pete Wright:
Aww. That’s lovely.

Nikki Kinzer:
Love it. I love it because it’s so true. I mean, that’s why we even say these strategies work most of the time, because they’re not always going to work. And if you get a bad night’s sleep, your ADHD may be a little bit louder. If you didn’t get your exercise in, it may be a little bit louder. Transitions can be hard. There’s so many different things that can come in to play.

Pete Wright:
How do you coach yourself through the acceptance stuff when you’re feeling low? Because that’s the point where you really need to remind yourself that these aren’t supposed to … We know these aren’t going to work all the time and when I’m clear-headed, when I’m at my very best, I know that just because it failed today, doesn’t mean it’ll fail tomorrow. But when I’m not clearheaded, when I’m overwhelmed, when I’m stressed, when I’m anxious, when I’m having a particular ADHD day, that one failure is magnified to all failures here to forth throughout the universe forever and ever on end.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes. I mean, I think that, that’s true for sure, but this is what I’ve witnessed in the last several years of coaching and I stand with group coaching too. And even just last week, I heard this in the GPS group. I think that the more you practice the acceptance, the more forgiving you are of yourself, the more you pay attention to those internal things that you’re saying to yourself, which you know aren’t true. It does start to happen. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve witnessed people say, I don’t beat myself up so much about this anymore. It’s not to say that they won’t ever, or that ADHD is not going to have a bad day, but I’ve seen it Pete. And it’s a beautiful thing to witness, because to me that is more important than any strategy in the world.

Nikki Kinzer:
If you can see that, okay, this is an ADHD thing. It got in the way it’s okay. I can recover from this. And even if you can just make the recovery a few hours shorter than it was, that’s a success. If you can come out at the end of the day, at the end of the moment and say, I’m not going to beat myself up over this, then you are getting closer and closer to some kind of acceptance. I don’t know if we ever a 100% accept that we have anxiety or a 100% accept that we have ADHD. I mean, the stuff sucks. I mean, I look at my husband and with MS, we haven’t accepted that he has this debilitating disease. We don’t want to accept these things, but they are what are given to us. It’s that listening to that internal conversation and recovery just a little bit quicker.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Because it’s not your fault. And that’s what you have to keep remembering.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s not my fault. We’ve talked about guilt and shame. You can feel guilty. Because yeah, I made a mistake or I was late again. I’m sorry. I will pay attention more to that. But when you get to that shame of I’m a bad person, because this happened then yeah. That’s what we have to keep fighting with and challenging.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, right. Well, this is good stuff. And it’s been a great, I feel like it’s been six weeks now. We’ve been talking about all these fantastic user, listener, community submissions.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, I love it.

Pete Wright:
This has been an epic series. And I just have to say, thank you so much, everyone for writing in, for joining us on the show for recording your interviews with Nikki. I mean, they’re just so incredibly valuable to have your experiences documented this way.

Nikki Kinzer:
And we’ll do it again, because we got such great feedback from listeners and already have people saying I’ll be on it next time.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s fabulous. Thank you so much.

Pete Wright:
It’s really fabulous. Thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. We so appreciate your time and your attention. Don’t forget if you have something else you’d like to contribute. Keep the train on the tracks, keep it rolling. We’re heading over to the show talk channel and the discord server. You can join us right there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. And we’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.