But where have all the spoons gone??

Have you ever made a bowl of cereal, only to discover there are absolutely no clean spoons?  There is a myriad of other silverware, but for some reason, the spoons always go missing first.

I tend to use this as a metaphor for life. I run out of spoons.  By “spoons”, I mean motivation, energy, focus, or any other mental requirement that’s necessary to complete a given task.

For example, showering.  Showering is hard!  Once I’ve made it into the shower, everything is great, but for some reason, getting in the shower takes a ton of energy and motivation.  I seem to procrastinate, find excuses, tend to 10 other tasks, and ultimately put off showering.  Brutal honesty here – I’m doing really well to take more than 2 showers in a week.  Showering takes a handful of spoons.

What I’ve come to realize is that I start each day with a drawer full of spoons.  Each activity that requires mental exertion, energy, focus, or causes me stress takes spoons away.  By the end of the day, I’m left with zero spoons, and quite often not a lot to show for it.

So I’ve been working on a spoon budget of sorts.  I map out what I need to accomplish in a day and I assign a number of spoons to each task.  Things I enjoy take less spoons, while things I dread take the most.

Let’s say I have 10 spoons for today.  My morning routine (coffee, getting dressed, brushing my teeth, doing something with my crazy hair, etc.) is 1 spoon.  Writing this blog is 1 spoon.  Balancing my finances will cost me roughly 3 spoons.  That’s half of my budget gone for the day and it isn’t even noon!  Add in there laundry, cleaning house, making dinner, and (ugh!) taking a shower, and that’s all I’m realistically going to accomplish today.

The tricky part is that some days I have more spoons than others.  I’ve had to spend some time tracking my patterns to realize that at BARE MINIMUM, I have 10 spoons for each day.  I try to make sure I focus my energy on the important tasks, and I spread those things out throughout the day.   Then, if I have extra spoons, I can use them to accomplish something I’ve been putting off, or maybe I can go the extra yard on dinner.

If all else fails, there are things I can do to regain a spoon or 2 if I need to, such as take a nap, do something fun, or spend some time by myself.  I try to make sure I set aside time each day to allow this.  Even just spending an hour outside can help refresh my mind and give me a little extra oomph to finish out my day.

I hope this is helpful, and that I’m not alone.  Let me know your thoughts!



Is there an ADHD friendly planner??

The short answer is: YES!

It’s called a Bullet Journal.  Designed by Ryder Carrol, and backed by nearly 3,000 people on kickstarter.com, it allows you the flexibility of an entire pack of sticky notes, but a method of organization that makes it easy to find and refer to anything you’ve added.  It allows for notes, to-do lists, schedules, sketches, or anything else you want to jot down so you don’t forget.  Watch the video below from bulletjournal.com to see how to create your own.

Why is this system so great for ADHD’ers, you ask?

The system is COMPLETELY customizeable, and if you forget to write in it for a day (or several months), you can just pick back up where you left off!  No more wasting dozens of pages because you misplaced it or forgot about it.  (I’m guilty of both – multiple times!) Check out the video below from How To ADHD for even more reasons this system is perfect for us!

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What is Executive Funtion?

Executive functioning is something that is greatly affected by ADHD.  These are also the things that often frustrate us the most.  Things like remembering where we set our car keys or walking into a room and forgetting why are common mistakes that happen to everyone, but with ADHD, it’s almost daily.  Things that would be easy for a neurotypical person are sometimes excruciatingly difficult for someone with ADHD.  The list below explains the basic executive functions, what they are responsible for, and how they impact ADHD.

  1. Activation: organizing tasks and materials, estimating time, prioritizing tasks, and getting started on work tasks. Patients with ADD describe chronic difficulty with excessive procrastination. Often they will put off getting started on a task, even a task they recognize as very important to them, until the very last minute. It is as though they cannot get themselves started until the point where they perceive the task as an acute emergency.
  2. Focus: focusing, sustaining focus, and shifting focus to tasks. Some describe their difficulty in sustaining focus as similar to trying to listen to the car radio when you drive too far away from the station and the signal begins fading in and out: you get some of it and lose some of it. They say they are distracted easily not only by things that are going on around them, but also by thoughts in their own minds. In addition, focus on reading poses difficulties for many. Words are generally understood as they are read, but often have to be read over and over again in order for the meaning to be fully grasped and remembered.
  3. Effort: regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and processing speed. Many with ADHD report they can perform short-term projects well, but have much more difficulty with sustained effort over longer periods of time. They also find it difficult to complete tasks on time, especially when required to do expository writing. Many also experience chronic difficulty regulating sleep and alertness. Often they stay up too late because they can’t shut their head off. Once asleep, they often sleep like dead people and have a big problem getting up in the morning.
  4. Emotion: managing frustration and modulating emotions. Although DSM-IV does not recognize any symptoms related to the management of emotion as an aspect of ADHD, many with this disorder describe chronic difficulties managing frustration, anger, worry, disappointment, desire, and other emotions. They speak as though these emotions, when experienced, take over their thinking as a computer virus invades a computer, making it impossible for them give attention to anything else. They find it very difficult to get the emotion into perspective, to put it to the back of their mind, and to get on with what they need to do.
  5. Memory: utilizing working memory and accessing recall. Very often, people with ADHD will report that they have adequate or exceptional memory for things that happened long ago, but great difficulty in being able to remember where they just put something, what someone just said to them, or what they were about to say. They may describe difficulty holding one or several things “on line” while attending to other tasks. In addition, persons with ADHD often complain that they cannot pull out of memory information they have learned when they need it.
  6. Action: monitoring and regulating self-action. Many persons with ADHD, even those without problems of hyperactive behavior, report chronic problems in regulating their actions. They often are too impulsive in what they say or do, and in the way they think, jumping too quickly to inaccurate conclusions. Persons with ADHD also report problems in monitoring the context in which they are interacting. They fail to notice when other people are puzzled, or hurt or annoyed by what they have just said or done and thus fail to modify their behavior in response to specific circumstances. Often they also report chronic difficulty in regulating the pace of their actions, in slowing self and/or speeding up as needed for specific tasks.Executive-Functioning-Infographic


Welcome to Executive DysFUNction!

I have created this page to spread awareness of ADD/ADHD in children, as well as adults, and to hopefully provide insight for those that are seeking answers.

My goal is to help not just those with ADHD, but parents, significant others, teachers, and friends of people with the disorder.  Often those of us with ADHD find it extremely difficult to communicate with those we care about regarding our symptoms and the things we struggle with.  I would like to help make this a littel easier by offering insightful information, tips, resources, and some of the things I’ve learned from my own experiences.

ADHD is difficult to diagnose, and it’s equally as difficult to manage.  I hope that by coming here, you are open-minded and committed to trying different methods to conquer the challenges we face.  If you are newly diagnosed, be warned.  It’s very rare to find something that works for you right away.  Try not to get discouraged with this process, though.  Try to see this as an opportunity to finally understand what makes you so unique.  If you are here to find ways to help a loved one, let me first say ‘thank you’; but I should tell you, too, that this may be an arduous journey.  Try to be patient and compassionate as your loved one tries to find new ways to manage symptoms and cope with their challenges.

Thank you so much for coming here, and please let me know if you have specific questions or suggestions.  I hope to create content around what it is you would like to know.

Thanks again!