How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

Dr. H shares his advice for knowing when a person or project is not worth any more of your time and effort. Whether you’re struggling with a job,  relationship or something else, this mini episode can help you figure out your next steps. Plus, hear about the project Ned walked away from after investing a ton of time and energy, and why he’s better off for it. 

Reach out to us! Send your comments and questions to [email protected]

This episode was originally released in February 2019.

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Q&A with Dr. H: Finding the Right Career

Q&A with Dr. H: Finding the Right Career

Dr. H answers a question from a listener named Victor who is bored with his job, his co-workers and working from home in general. Victor reached out looking for advice about how to find a new job that suits him. Listen to hear the three main components Ned says are integral to finding the right career. This advice is applicable to everyone, with or without ADHD! 

We hope you enjoy this first episode in a series of Q&A episodes we’ll be releasing every Monday, made possible by our new sponsor, Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut.

If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in an episode just like this, reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Learn more about our new sponsor, Forman School, a coed college prep school dedicated to empowering bright students who learn differently in grades 9-PG. Forman School provides the individual attention these students need. Ned loves Forman!  

Get a copy of Ned’s newest book, ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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2 Ways to Overcome Burnout

2 Ways to Overcome Burnout

The new year has brought some change, but life still feels a bit like Groundhog Day for many. Ned offers a couple of techniques you can employ to deal with feelings of overwhelm, burnout and the “sameness” of daily life right now. 

If you have a question or comment about the podcast reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Ned’s NEW BOOK is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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Strategies for Successfully Working From Home with ADHD

Strategies for Successfully Working From Home with ADHD

Being prepared and developing routines are key to staying organized and being productive if you have ADHD and are working from home. Our go-to productivity expert and ADHD coach, Kristin Seymour, offers a ton of simple life hacks you can utilize to help you stay on track in your job and increase your overall happiness.

Kristin’s website is ADHDFogLifted.com. Get her book and her resource binder!

Pre-order Ned’s new book, ADHD 2.0 on Amazon.

Check out Dr. H on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What’s your opinion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

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A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com… and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E… omegabritewellness.com

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell, your host. So glad you’re with us once again. Today, we have one of my favorite… and I can say our favorite… guests. I can’t remember how many times she’s been on the podcast, but more than twice. She’s a remarkable woman. She’s one of those people who just gets it when it comes to ADHD. There are experts and then there are people who get it and she is, yes, an expert, but she also gets it. That just means when you’re with her, if you have ADHD, you feel understood. For a lot of people, particularly adults, they almost never have that feeling of being understood without being marked down, without being judged negatively. They feel understood, appreciated, and it’s just being with her, for many adults, is in and of itself pretty much all the therapy they need.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In terms of credentials, she’s got them all. She’s a board certified clinical nurse specialist. She works with cardiology patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She also is an author. She wrote a wonderful book called The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey with ADHD. I highly recommend it. The Fog Lifted. She works with ADHD kids and their families, as well as adults. She consults to businesses, hospitals. You just can’t slow her down. Of course, she has ADHD herself, as she’s the first to tell you, and she’s just a tremendous gift to this world with her energy, her knowledge, her expertise, her empathy, and her undying devotion to all the people she serves, which is quite a few people. I can tell you, I’ve called her on a Sunday and she’ll say to me, “I can’t talk long. I’ve got another client coming in.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I don’t think she ever stops working. In addition, she’s married to a wonderful man and has two of the best daughters you could ever find.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Welcome, Kristin Seymour, MSN, RN, AHCNS-B.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you, Ned. Thank you for your kind introduction and kind words. I most appreciate it and your support over the years. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, it’s a treat for me and our audience to have you. Now, we are going to get into a topic that you proposed because you’ve been seeing it a lot, and one that we have not really covered on the podcast. Why don’t you tell us about it.

Kristin Seymour:
Okay. What I have been working with, with countless of my adult patients in the past several months, is the reality of the overnight shift for the ADHD employee to go from an office setting or work setting outside the home, instantly to a home setting, which provides much distraction and is a big, huge challenge for many of my adult patients.

Kristin Seymour:
The reason I believe that this massive change and this debilitation for many of them is because there’s no mental or physical mind shift. You know how when you go to the gym from your house, you’re in the moment to work out. Or you go from your dorm or your apartment or your home to the office, you are in a work mode. Without that mind shift, many people are finding it very hard to be productive and stay on task. We’ve had to adapt their lives and implement strategies that they have found to be pretty effective and helpful in making this new environment successful and productive.

Kristin Seymour:
In order to help that mind shift, I even have some of my patients, once they get up, make their bed, brush their teeth, and get dressed as if they are going to an office, some of them even go drive around the block just to move their mind from the thought of, “Okay, I’m going from my home as a sanctuary and a place of rest to, now, I’m coming back to the house or apartment or whatever as an employee, as a producer.” That’s been really helpful. But keeping that routine and structure in place, same wake and sleep time, maintaining their prescription medication as directed and prescribed, is all key to being successful with this work at home environment. Creating a schedule, writing it down, keeping it visual, things like that are really essential for these visual learning ADHDers.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely it is. One suggestion is to do the mind shift.

Kristin Seymour:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And what’s the second one?

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, I have many.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay.

Kristin Seymour:
Waking up at the same time every day, even if your first meeting, Zoom call, conference call, whatever platform you’re working from isn’t until maybe an hour after you typically wake, still get up at 6:30 or 7:00. Go for a walk, exercise, keep your body on that same routine.

Kristin Seymour:
The biggest thing a lot of my patients are missing is they don’t have a good understanding of writing down each platform of a meeting. For instance, you have Google Meet, Adobe Connect, Zoom, Google Classroom. You have all these different ways people are communicating and a lot of people have different passwords, different usernames, so I tell them, “Log on 10 to 15 minutes and be sure you have the right meeting platform, the right time zone, and have everything charged and ready to go,” because a lot of patients are missing simple things like that. It has nothing to do with their production or their productivity or their content, it’s just being organized, on time, and on the right platform, with a charged device. Those are all things we can control.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. All right. What’s next?

Kristin Seymour:
Another thing that will be really helpful for them is to space their appointments, if possible. If my patients are able to schedule all appointments… whether they’re a phone call, a virtual video call… everything 30 minutes apart so that you have that 30 minutes to recapture yourself, jot notes, stay on top of it, stay on time, stay organized, so that at the end of the day you’re not playing catch up.

Kristin Seymour:
On that same note, you want to make sure that you answer your emails as they’re coming through, but don’t get all tied up and hyperfocused on them if it’s going to take more attention than a couple of minutes. Print that, put it to the side, and know you have to get to it later. Those are all things that have been real time suckers and get my patients down a rabbit hole of they get tied up in one email or they run late on a meeting. Use alarms. Use technology. Space your appointments.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrite’s Omega-3s CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, there are many different products, brands of fish oil. Why is OmegaBrite the best?

Carol Locke:
What I can speak to with OmegaBrite is it’s a very different formula than typically what you can get in the store or online and OmegaBrite is clinically proven. We have over 10 studies in major academic centers showing OmegaBrite improving mood, helping with bipolar, with depression, with ADHD, with anxiety, with inflammation. So, it’s a very proven product for you to gain these benefits and these benefits, we know, come from OmegaBrite. You can’t get that with a typical Omega-3, which has, say, 180 milligrams of EPA in it. That just isn’t going to provide that benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code PODCAST2020.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What should they do about the lack of human contact?

Kristin Seymour:
That’s a good one. One of the most important things they should do is, if they’re living alone, to check in with another adult. Whether it’s a significant other, a neighbor, a family member, to everyday check in with someone either on a walk social distancing, have a Zoom call just socializing with friends, but mask, get together. I think the social isolation is really difficult. I think not having the camaraderie of a team in a work environment around you is difficult. As long as you check in with yourself, check in with one other person, and then always socializing with your spouse and stuff. Make sure you tell your spouse and your significant other, roommate, family what you need right now. Because what I need is different than what you need. Maybe that friend needs to give them reassurance. Maybe it’s their boss telling them they’re doing okay. The social isolation is really devastating to these people and they have to think outside the box in how to see one another, but there’s lots of things that we can do that aren’t in an office.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Maybe they miss their boss and they want someone to yell at them, so you could ask someone to yell at you.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m just kidding, Kristen.

Kristin Seymour:
I have a man I’m working with-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m just kidding.

Kristin Seymour:
… I have a man I’m working who, he’s in his mid-20s, and is a very successful architect type of position and he was really struggling with all of them, with the lack of structure and time and to-do lists and things being visual. So, we got his significant other on board. She was such a partner in it. We utilized a white noise machine to drown out distractions of delivery trucks and barking animals and just typical things.

Kristin Seymour:
Then, we actually also contacted his supervisor and just said, “He’s adjusting to this. These are the things we’re implementing.” The boss was so empathetic and understanding. He didn’t have to go into this whole history of his diagnosis, but he just said, “Look, this is a whole new world, particular for my distracted mind.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I was kidding when I say get someone to yell at you, but I think a lot of people miss having the cheerleading, and that could be yelling, “Come on, team. Let’s go. Let’s go. We’re going to nail it today. We’re going to go through the roof.” And it’s just not there. It’s crickets. I think the encouragement, cheerleading that people often dismiss as superficial is, in fact, profoundly important.

Kristin Seymour:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think you’re right on. I think your first point of with crickets, when you said that, an idol mind can be a devil’s workshop. These people that can be so prone to that default mode or hyperfocus or going down a dark place, this is a real serious time for them. So, like you said, the camaraderie, the team work, the cheering them on, is really essential. It can be, I think, knowing as you say, Ned, no one should ever worry alone, whether it’s worrying about their work, worrying about their family. They need to tap into someone they trust. If they don’t have someone, there are a lot of resources. There’s a lot of hotlines. There’s a lot of support groups and people you can talk to.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yep.

Kristin Seymour:
The other thing is utilizing those grocery delivery apps or food delivery apps to help maximize your time during the day. Auto pay all your bills. Make sure you remind yourself on your calendar to have your medication refilled. A lot of those controlled substances, people forget about them. When you’re at home, you just kind of assume things are going to be done. You got to remember to call and get your medication refilled.

Kristin Seymour:
There’s a lot of things we can do to help them be organized and be focused.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You mentioned the food delivery services. On the other hand, I look forward to going out to the food store as sort of my outing. Oh good, I get to go to the food store and push my cart, get a little exercise, see some human faces behind masks, smile at them, talk to the deli counter guy. It’s my little trip to the park and I get my shopping done. So, I don’t want a delivery service, but I can certainly understand people who do. You’re absolutely right, it is a way to save time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I can’t not add that no one needs to be alone. Get a dog. I know this is a broken record because I squeeze it into every podcast, but it’s no accident that God spelled backwards is dog. Particularly if you’re alone, if you have a dog, believe me, you won’t feel alone.

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, I loved when you said in a lecture at one of the conferences a couple years ago, you said you had written more prescriptions for dogs or a pet than you did for anything else.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. Yes, I don’t know how many people filled those prescriptions, but I really-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, I think the dog, having someone to love unconditionally there, is great, or take care of. I just can’t stress enough how much this lack of a mind shift and getting them into that mind space of production for these patients has really been a challenge. I don’t think many people are really talking about it. People are just really struggling with their jobs and there’s been a lot of layoffs and furloughs. It’s just a really tough time right now. I love your quote, “Just never worry alone. Be there for each other.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… The only reason I go to my office… I live in Arlington, have an office in Sudbury… and the only reason I get up and drive the half hour drive to the office in Sudbury is just for that mind shift. There’s nobody there. A couple of administrative assistants, but I don’t see any patients live. It’s all done by Zoom, which I could just as easily do from home, but I want the feeling of getting in my car, driving out there, coming in, unpacking my briefcase, setting up my laptop, getting a cup of coffee, sitting down, opening it up, starting the Zoom. You’re so right. It’s a kind of a ritual that my brain is accustomed too.

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If it doesn’t get it, it’s sort of saying, “Okay, what the heck’s going on here?”

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly. That lack of a true shift happens when one physically moves from one environment to the other, like you said, and when that’s out of our control we have to create a natural shift. That’s why I said I have a couple of my patients driving around the block-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a great idea.

Kristin Seymour:
… and then going back into their home as an employee because it’s just so going to the hospital to do my job, or coming to my office to see patients and Zooming them from here. Just like you, it makes me feel like I’m in a different head space.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t you think it should be more than around the block? Maybe drive a few miles?

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, that would be great, depending on how big their block is. But it’s just, I would say, in the exercise piece and movement, the ADHD brain loves movement. So, I will do one part of my role from Zoom in my office where I see ADHD patients and then I do another part of my role from my home because we can’t go to the hospital right now, due to limiting COVID exposure unnecessarily. It’s interesting. You have your different head spaces for your different places and I think people really need to play into that and really think about that because it’s a big deal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What I’m going to do now is engage in a conversation with a delightful young woman by the name of Katie [Labumbard 00:17:43]-

Katie L.:
That’s me!

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… a student at… there you are… a student at Landmark College, our podcast sponsor and the college of choice for students who learn differently. Welcome to the podcast, Katie.

Katie L.:
Thank you so much. Love to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, the reason we want to talk to you and follow you along is track your progress at Landmark College. You’re a senior, is that correct?

Katie L.:
Yes, correct.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you’re graduating in the spring?

Katie L.:
Yes, so that’s one more semester after this one.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Tell me what it’s been like to be at Landmark.

Katie L.:
Well, as we all know, this semester in particular has been very different, but beforehand it’s a life changing experience. High school is absolutely terrible and I can’t speak for everyone, but most of the people I have met here, we share a universal experience of having a terrible high school experience, whether it was from segregation into the special ed classrooms or just not getting exactly what we need in terms of education or that social experience that helps us grow.

Katie L.:
So, I came to Landmark, I think, very developmentally delayed, very awkward, very not ready for anything in the real world. To come here and be able to not start over but have different supports that I wasn’t used to, have people that understood what I was going through and see me of the same light and go through what others have gone through, that was so helpful, incredibly.

Katie L.:
Now, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. Now, with this whole pandemic going on and classes being different, everything being different, it’s hard to learn, but as I said before, people here, we’re used to adapting. We’re used to needing to step it up and learn maybe more than other people would have to. So, I think we do have a leg up there, but that being said, it’s still difficult.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What are your hopes and dreams? What do you hope to be doing after you graduate from Landmark?

Katie L.:
Oh man, that’s definitely a scary thought. My broad dream is to open a business. I’m an entrepreneur. I think that career style fits good with how I work and learn, especially with being my own boss, but that’s really as much thought as I put toward my future, especially with the career. Within my recent years at Landmark, I’ve gotten really into activism, especially with the newer diverse movements and with women’s movement and women’s rights. I’ve also really gotten into that. We’ll see where that takes me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good. Good for you. Most entrepreneurs have ADHD, so you’re in really good company. Thank you. Thank you so much, Katie.

Katie L.:
Yeah, you too. So nice to meet you. Thank you so much for doing this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Listeners, if you’d like to learn more about Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently, go to lcdistraction.org. Okay, let’s get back to today’s show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How under the weather, so to speak, psychologically, do you think most people are because of this? I think I say none of us is getting enough of the other vitamin C, vitamin connect. We’re all suffering from a little bit of a vitamin connect deficiency, but are you seeing it really bothering a lot of your folks?

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. I don’t think I’ve ever honestly been as busy right now as I am and a lot of it is because my patients are struggling, young and older, particularly this 19 to 30 year-old cohort of patients. Whether they’re single, married, whatever their state is, they are struggling. It’s hard enough to think differently and have our super powers as ADHDers in a typical environment with just regular pressure, social media, and everything else, other pressures. But then to have this social isolation and restrictions is just making people feel even further apart from each other and it’s really affecting my folks in a big way. It’s affecting the students with their assignments. It’s affecting their action in class. It’s actually setback, significantly, a few of my patients who I’ve made a lot of progress with, because it’s so unfamiliar and isolating. They feel terrible. We’re really working hard to be outside and create new habits and find new sports and things like that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, being outdoors, whether permitting, is another key strategy?

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. I actually told a patient the other day, I said, “Well, get a rain coat and go walk in the rain.” Come on, it doesn’t have to be sunshine and lollipops and rainbows every day. Just put on a rain coat, get an umbrella, and as long as it’s not thundering and lightning, go take a walk. I’ve been biking. I’ve got a little girl I’m working with who’s 10 who’s taken up golf because she gets to be outside and she can be a part.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow, that’s wonderful. That’s really wonderful. And a walk in the rain, well you know my children’s story, the only children’s book I’ve ever written, the title of it is A Walk in the Rain with the Brain.

Kristin Seymour:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Walking in the rain [crosstalk 00:23:41]-

Kristin Seymour:
So, getting outside, changing the environment, changing your work environment home, connecting with your friends and family, making sure you stay compliant and on a schedule and routine. People just expect it to happen and people who are on a routine and get ample sleep every night and eat, and have hard-boiled eggs, something protein packed, things ready in the fridge to grab if you’re in a hurry in the middle of the day to eat between meetings, just start to prepare yourself. Those life hacks we always talk about. Have things ready so you’re not flailing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… And you’re so good at those, you really. So, half a dozen hard-boiled eggs and some carrot sticks ready and a pickle or two.

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly. I always tell people, I’m like, “Grab some sunflower seeds. Have about six hard-boiled eggs ready in your fridge. Have some bottles of water. Fill your big… You have a cooler in the back of your car so if you do go, Ned, like you to your office and work from a Zoom and you want to do errands on the way back, throw your produce in a cooler. Leave a cooler in the back of your car. Have your car always at a quarter tank full.” Our people always run out of gas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s another great suggestion.

Kristin Seymour:
Or else they’re coming to me on fumes. Those are just some simple life hacks. Have your prescriptions post-dated and put on the hold file in the pharmacy if your state allows that. It’s just all those kinds of things. Make your bed every day. Then, you’ve done one thing right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, it’s so true. Filling your tank. Another suggestion I make is to have a joke book nearby at all times. I think we can-

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, I love that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… I think these days we can suffer from excessive solemnity. It’s got to be jokes that you think are funny, but not just any joke book.

Kristin Seymour:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But a joke book that will reliably make you laugh because it is true that laughter does dilute a lot of negative feelings.

Kristin Seymour:
It does. And just smile. When you start your Zoom meetings, smile at each other. I read the other day that a smile is the starch of peace. It really is. If we all just took a minute. Everyone’s in such a hurry and so angry all the time right now. It’s really a crazy time, but the one thing we can do is be gentle with ourselves, plan ahead, be cognizant of a mind shift, and just try to be gentle with yourself. Everyone’s so hard on themselves right now too. But I’m your boss-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And be kind. There was a big survey, hundreds of thousands of people, voting on what are the three most attractive qualities in a person. Not physical attributes, but what are the three most attractive qualities. What do you think the top three were?

Kristin Seymour:
… That aren’t physical?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Not physical.

Kristin Seymour:
A positive attitude?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, kindness. Number one was kindness.

Kristin Seymour:
Kindness.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They called it kindness. Yep.

Kristin Seymour:
What were the other two?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number two was health, to be in good health. And number three was intelligence.

Kristin Seymour:
Wow. That’s fascinating. That’s probably so true. Being kind is important, but I don’t think enough people are right now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, no. Really, we’ve really got to do something about it, no matter who the president is. We really need to.

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, I know. I was in line the other day and this little elderly woman was behind me and had one item and I let her go ahead of me and the person two behind, even though we were all six feet apart, got mad at me. I was like, “What is wrong with this scenario here?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Really. That’s amazing. Got mad at you for letting a little old lady with one item get in front of you?

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s just-

Kristin Seymour:
I was just like, “Wow.” So, it really made me think, “Okay, we all need to be a little gentler with ourselves, a little kinder, a little more forgiving and just get through each day right now,” because this is not as easy time for anyone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… No, it’s not at all. No, we’re all a little frazzled, I think. These are great suggestions, Kristin, as always. [crosstalk 00:27:59]-

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, yeah. You’re welcome. I just think that the idea of the mind thing is really… it’s kind of, when you really think about it… it really can help people then framework how they can be most productive, how they can take this nuance, this new way we’re living and try to make it work because you’re home and your home should be your sanctuary. Yeah. But you can make it. I don’t care if you live in a studio apartment, you can find another little corner-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… Yes, absolutely.

Kristin Seymour:
… that’s different and put a little plant there. Figure it out. A little change up. People can help you. I’m always here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You are. Now, if someone wants to reach you or go to your website, what’s the best way to do it?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, just going to my website’s probably the best and that’s my ADHDfoglifted.com website. I have this whole-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wait a minute. Let me say that for the listeners that don’t know it. ADHDfoglifted.com?

Kristin Seymour:
… Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
ADHD, fog, F-O-G, lifted, L-I-F-T-E-D, .com and that’s Kristin’s website and you can reach her through that. Then, of course, her book, The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey with ADHD. It’s a wonderful book. It’s autobiographical, but it’s full of [inaudible 00:29:14] and it’s full of wonderfully useful and amusing and deep and moving anecdotes and ideas.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you. Thank you, Ned. There’s also my binder that’s on there that gives virtual learning tips for the elementary school student, the college student, the adult that I think has been real helpful for parents because it’s a whole new… parents turned into teachers overnight. I think that this provides some real good tools that are from different articles and different resources all at your fingertips in a few pages. That’s on my site too, if anyone needs help with that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wonderful. I can tell you if that binder is like taking a special ed consultant home with you. It really is amazingly detailed. Not in a boring way, in an encyclopedic useful way. It’s a wonderful resource.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s right. You saw that. I just added a tab for virtual, so you know exactly. Yeah. It’s even more robust now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good word, robust. Well, Kristin also wrote a robust blurb for my new book, which won’t be out until January but I am tickled to have her name on the back of my book.

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, the new book? ADHD 2.0 is fabulous.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
Honestly, as an ADHDer who finds reading to be something I have to do and usually don’t want to do, I wanted to finish that. I wanted to read it. It was awesome.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much. Well, I think you can order it in advance on Amazon now, but it was wonderful to-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, it is excellent. It’s informative. It’s a great navigator and guide. I loved it. I think you and Dr. Ratey did a great job. I mean, it’s wonderful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
I hope everybody…

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
I thought it was great and I think all the books are great, but I think that one and Distraction are fabulous. This is even better.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much. And yours, we’ve got this mutual admiration society going here, but it’s true. You really are like the ADHD whisperer. You just get it in a way that very few people do. Anyone who-

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… is lucky enough to have a consultation with you, comes away the better for it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, will you promise to come on my podcast again someday?

Kristin Seymour:
Of course. You know I love it. It’s so fun. I always love chatting with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good.

Kristin Seymour:
We always share some great information.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Well, it’s been great having you.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you so much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you for this wonderful contribution today and we’ll talk to you soon. Take care, Kristin.

Kristin Seymour:
You too, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Well, that’s our show for today. To learn more about Kristin Seymour, go to ADHDfoglifted.com. You can watch the short videos she creates every week for parents of school-age kids with ADHD and you can also get her 100 page resource binder filled with strategies and tools for success with ADHD at home and at school.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Kristin is also on Instagram with the username ADHD Fog Lifted. You can also find Distraction on Instagram too, as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can find my 60 second videos clips on ADHD on TikTok. We now have over three million views on TikTok, so it’s worth going to check it out. It’s @DrHallowell on TikTok. I’ve unloaded a bunch of videos there and I’d love to hear what you think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our email is [email protected] That’s [email protected] Okay, as I said, that’s it for today. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin and our audio engineer and editor is the brilliant Scott Persson. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell and thank you so much for joining me and us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabrite… and that’s B-R-I-T-E… wellness.com.

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4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

There are four basic pieces that form the foundation for executive functioning. In this episode you’ll learn what they are and how to look at these areas to assess how you can help yourself.

If you’ve explored coaching before and it didn’t work, or just have trouble making things stick, Rebecca Shafir, an ADHD coach at the Hallowell Center, offers concrete ideas in this episode on how to make lasting improvements in your life.

Email Rebecca Shafir at [email protected].

Or contact Rebecca at the Hallowell Center by calling 978-287-0810.

Rebecca’s book: The Zen of Listening

Check out Focusmate.com for distraction-free productivity help (mentioned in this episode).

Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Click here to listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. And welcome to Distraction. Today, I have a very special guest. She’s an old friend, and she works in my office in Sudbury. In addition to having her own practice, she’s a multi-talented woman. Not only is she a black belt in karate, but she is the author of a wonderful book, and is a speech language pathologist, and she is a coach extraordinary. She’s developed her own system of coaching, and whether you be a student or adult professional, Becky will absolutely help you, and you’ll have fun in the process. She’s one of the best in the business. So I am very, very happy to have her join us. And let’s just jump right in. Becky, welcome to Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, thank you for inviting me Ned, I really appreciate it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, it’s wonderful to have you. You told me you wanted to talk about core coaching, is that correct?

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. It’s interesting how it all got started, is that I was working with many of your patients with executive functioning and ADHD, and they reported trying many strategies for time management focus and follow through, et cetera. But to no avail, they were really trying to be better and better themselves, and do well in their work and at school. But they were just having trouble making things stick. And they had explored coaching with some very fine coaches, by the way. But again, the strategies and tactics weren’t sticking.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I asked myself, “What’s another way to go with these clients? What do most of these folks have in common?” Number one, I noticed they have poor sleep or wacky sleep patterns. Number two, they were low on exercise. Number three, they were emotionally dysregulated. To some extent they were anxious, procrastinating, depressed, and highly vulnerable to distraction, and their accountability for how they spent their time or activities was rather poor.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I said, “Huh, interesting.” Those core skills and routines form the foundation for executive functioning. So just like a house that’s built on a shaky foundation will topple, for me to ignore those core skills and routines just seemed foolish. So I said, “Becky, how could I make a coaching experience more effective and positive? If I could help them strengthen their core skills and routines, what would come of that?” So identified those core skills and routines, those four basic core pieces. And so I noticed that as I addressed those versus throwing bags of solutions at them, that we started to notice that the patients were becoming more enabled and more successful in implementing the strategies. So that’s my approach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, tell us about how it goes. What do you do with them? And by the way, who is the, them? Who is your target client?

Rebecca Shafir:

College bound students, student that are already in college, working adults and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then what is the method? Say they call you up and they say, “Becky help me achieve my goals.” Walk us through what it would look like.

Rebecca Shafir:

I like to assess their current level of performance, their medical history. Are they taking medications or not? What are they doing now? What’s working, what’s not, what has been their experience in coaching before, because I want to know what not to bother doing again, or to identify what went wrong in that coaching experience. And then I ask them a very interesting question. I’ll say, “Can you give me a vision of yourself when you won’t be coaching anymore?” And that makes them pause a bit and go, “Boy, I never thought of that.” And I say, “This is important to determining what our target is. How do we know when we’re done?” I mean, this could go on for years.

So they tell me their vision and I often ask them to write it down. And sometimes they have a real hard time doing that, which is what we end up doing some times in our first session, is for getting us at least a general idea of what they’re striving for. So once we have that vision statement, then I want to check on their motivation for following through with coaching. And this is like the moment of truth Ned, because I’ll ask them, “List me your why’s, your W-H-Y-S, your why’s for wanting to meet that vision, to achieve that. And that’s oftentimes for pause, because sometimes their reasons for coming to coaching aren’t their reasons, they’re encouraged by somebody else.

But oftentimes they have a good, strong set of why’s, and it’s things like, “Because I want to be successful, I want to be able to hold a job, and I want to be able to make money and have a good quality of life for myself, and have a sense of self confidence.” I’ll say, “Great, just keep listing those why’s, because those why’s are going to be the drivers when we want to slack off a bit.” Then I’ll say, “How about those why nots? Why not make a change? Why not take advantage of coaching?” And they’ll say, “Well, there’s plenty of those. If I don’t make a change, I’m going to lose my job,” Or “My marriage won’t last,” Or “I’ll be living in my parents’ basement.” I mean, all sorts of horrible things. And I’ll say, “Great. Because we need to have those listed too, combine those with your why’s, then I know you’re motivated, you have some real strong drivers for this process, because changes small as I try to make it is not easy.” Are you with me so far?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah.

Rebecca Shafir:

Okay. From there, we list our areas of improvement. They may say, “Well, I want to manage my time better.” And they’ll make a list. “I want to be able to focus better.” A list of things, and I’ll be, “Okay, you have many objectives here, but we know not to throw bags of solutions at you. That didn’t work before, why don’t we be strategic and brainstorm together to find one small step that we can make?” I like to call it go micro. Let’s find one thing that we can change that could be a catalyst to making all those other objectives easier to attain. And we’ll say, “Okay, let’s figure this out.”

So sometimes that one step is as simple, and you won’t believe it, is as simple as putting out their exercise clothes right by their bed in the morning, or it could be a little bit from a greater step such as, “Well, let’s come up with a calendar system that really works for you.” But I like to start small, because they’ll be looking at me like, “Well, that’s not enough.” I’ll say, “If we start small, then we can bank on making that particular do activity consistent. It’ll be slightly outside of your comfort zone, which is a good thing. But if you can make it consistent, then we can take the next step.” And we build on those challenges.

And what often happens is that we have a trickle down effect, where by making those one or two small changes, well, then they’re a little bit more confident in being able to implement a strategy such as looking at how to manage their time, or their money, or how to get things done.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So once they get past these elementary steps, then how do you take them into greater success?

Rebecca Shafir:

So we meet weekly, sometimes a couple times a week, and we talk about-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And this is over Zoom or in person?

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, yes. It can be Zoom, it can be FaceTime, Skype are my favorite. And in between though, Ned, what I ask them to do is, “Send me a text, send me an email in between our sessions, let me know what you’re struggling with or how things went or any successes, large or small. I can make and prepare ourselves best for our session when we meet.” So I gather those, and we start off going over the progress with that one step, and we work out the kinks in that one step until it’s consistent. And we assess, and we say, “Okay, if we fell off the wagon, no shame, no blame,” I make that very clear from the beginning. “I want you to learn how to solve problems without getting emotional about it. And stepping back 30,000 feet and looking at the landscape of what went wrong there, what happened?”

So this way we’re starting to step back from problems and look at them more strategically. We take on them the next step. If a couple of weeks they’ve been consistent with that one step, we say, “Okay, what’s the next thing that we can do?” Well, maybe if you’re having troubles with sleep, we might try to normalize just with small tweaks that’s sleep regimen. That might be a real good starting point for them. That might be their one thing. And that can start as simple as waking up about the same time every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So say they’ve done these little steps, what do you do to really have them take off? Tell me a story of a great success that you’ve coached.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, certainly. No problem. I have a computer engineer, he writes software and he has ADHD, and he was really struggling with getting things done, managing distractions at all. Perfect example. And we started off addressing what he’s done before and what worked, what didn’t, and he was really having troubles on the verge of losing his job. So I said, “Okay, let’s look at your core. Let’s see what’s going on there. What’s your sleep like?” Well, his sleep was all wacky. He was going to bed some nights at two in the morning, others at four in the morning, sometimes he fall asleep at seven, and his sleep schedule is all messed up, which accounted in great part four his irritability and not being able to get things done and all that.

So, our one step for him was saying, “Okay, you’re going to try to wake up about the same time every day. However you do it, the same time every day.” Well, what we started to notice with that one step is that he was on time for meetings with his boss. Now that was huge, and his boss gave him a lot of kudos for that, and he felt good and he felt prepared. And from then he was able to say, “Wait a minute, now that I know what my plan is for the week, I know what I’m supposed to do, I had that meeting, I’m not flailing and just grabbing at anything, and I’m able to get started and accomplish a little bit more.”

So this is how I built things up with Steve. Steve started to gain more momentum, he started to feel more confident, and then I said, “Okay, now that you’re waking up about the same every day, why don’t we try then the next level. Let’s try to say, if you were to get a little exercise in, might your focus be just a little better.” And he says, “Well, I don’t have time to work out, I only have like 15, 20 minutes.” I said, “Well, great. Peloton has a free app. You have a bike, or you have a format, 10 minutes of interval training will kick up your energy and focus to endure you to the end of the workday. Let’s give it a try, you like to exercise anyway, Steve.” He goes, “Yeah, I do.”

So one of the main things I do to help these clients flourish in their successes is to change their negative self talk to constructive self-talk. Like, “Hey, what did we do well, what do we need to improve upon? Let’s start changing the language of the way we speak to ourselves.”

Number two, many of my clients don’t know how to prioritize many tasks. And it’s just because they lacked some type of a criteria for doing so. So I said, let’s together, decide on a prioritizing criteria, and often involve things that are time sensitive and things that have strong personal value, like spending time with their family or having the connection with people. But we would look down and focus on what they need and what is important, or what they’re motivated to get done today.

And then, the third suggestion I had is for folks who are listening to look into a wonderful website, https://www.focusmate.com/. And this is live partner, that is live on the internet that you choose, maybe similar to you, like another graduate student or another entrepreneur, and you agree to sit down and do work together online, virtually. He’s doing his tasks online and you as the client, you’re doing your work at the same time. And everybody’s keeping everybody engaged and focused, and it works really, really well. Have you ever heard of that?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No. It sounds wonderful. That’s great. You just discovered that on your own?

Rebecca Shafir:

I did.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, aren’t you special? You are special. Focusmate.com, that sounds great.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes, it’s a virtual study buddy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then the final one?

Rebecca Shafir:

The final one is, know your biological prime time for getting certain tasks done over others.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, what does that mean? I know you abbreviated it BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. So biological prime time, is there a certain time of day when you write the best?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, it really varies hugely. It varies on the day, sometimes not often, but sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. I’m unusual that way. Most writers have a definite time, see, I can’t do that, I can’t have a definite time. And so I’ve learned over 40 years of writing to catch it when it hits. And that’s what I do. So my biological prime time varies from day to day.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, but you can gauge it. You know what the day’s going to be like, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, I don’t. I know it when it hits. And next thing you know, I pull out my laptop and start writing. Unless I’m in the middle of seeing a patient or doing a podcast with Becky.

Rebecca Shafir:

Well, for the rest of us, many of us, we might be better between, let’s say, 11 o’clock and two in the afternoon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, and I think most people are like that. I think I’m an anomaly. Most people are what you’re describing. They have a reliable BPT, and your suggestion is to save your most taxing, difficult mental work for your BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

That’s right. And do the folding of the laundry at 10 o’clock at night. So, sometimes that can make those more odious tasks look a little bit more tolerable and palatable if we set a schedule to apply those tasks to the best time for us to do them. That’s a great tip that’s often ignored. So there we go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This is so wonderful. So to sum up, you’ve developed over your many years of coaching, a method you call core coaching, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And your core method includes attention to sleep, exercise, emotional self regulation, and some degree of accountability, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Correct.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then you have a process that you reviewed with us, which you found is very effective in helping people, regardless of their actual level of helping them achieve even greater success. See what a good listener I am here. You concluded with your four tips of constructive self-talk and learning how to prioritize, and you referred us to focusmate.com. And then you urged us to work within our BPT, I love the BPT, or biological prime time, whatever that might happen to be, and I confessed that I’m an anomaly. I don’t know when it is, I just try to grab it when it comes. Now, if someone wanted to read one of your books, you go to Amazon and what’s the name of your book? The Zen of Listening, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Zen of Listening. It’s now on audible.com too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wonderful, wonderful. So look for Rebecca Shafir, on Amazon. And if they wanted to get a coaching appointment with you, how would they do that?

Rebecca Shafir:

Sure. They can call the Hallowell Center at 978-287-0810 or they can email me at [email protected].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Or they can call the Hallowell center in Sudbury, 978-287-0810. And I can’t recommend Becky highly enough, I’ve known her, I don’t know how many years Becky, must be going on 30 years.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

… Because I saw a photograph of her in the newspaper demonstrating karate. And one thing led to another, next thing I know we’re working together. And she’s one of the most multi-talented people I know. She can be a speaker, she can be a writer, she can be kicking butt in karate, she can be coaching, she can be doing speech language pathology. She’s endlessly curious for finding new innovative techniques. And if you happen to go to see her, you’ll be thrilled because she’ll be probably interesting you and something that you’d never even heard of. She does that with me all the time. A wonderfully brilliant multi-talented exceptional woman, Rebecca, Becky Shafir. Thank you so much for coming and joining us on Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Thank you so much Ned, I hope it’s a help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay, well, that’ll do it for today. If you’d like to reach out to Becky, as she said, you can find her at my center in Sudbury, Mass, by calling 978-287-0810 or go to hallowellcenter.org, or email Becky directly at [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the mixed up, but absolutely delightful, Pat Keogh. And our producer is the weld produced and absolutely brilliant Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you all so much for listening. We are banding together during this trying time and hope to bring you some interests as well as entertainment. Be well, stay safe.

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How to De-escalate a Conflict

How to De-escalate a Conflict

In this quick 3-minute episode, Dr. H offers up several ideas for reducing the intensity of a heated situation. Whether it’s an argument with your spouse, a co-worker  or someone else, follow these simple steps to work toward resolution.

Do you have a question or comment? We’d love to hear from you! Write us an email, or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn about our sponsor, Landmark College, HERE.

Episode image courtesy of Vic on Flickr

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Get a Dog, and Other Solid Life Advice

Get a Dog, and Other Solid Life Advice

Dr. Hallowell answers your questions. Topics include when to stop taking ADHD medications, what to do when meds don’t work, dealing with persistent negative thoughts, the best exercises for ADHD brains, and how to overcome chronic lateness.

Do you have a question for our host? Reach out to us with an email, or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is @sarahguertin and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Do you know someone who learns differently? Our sponsor, Landmark College, might be the right place for them. Learn more HERE.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults

The start of a new year is a good time to reassess how you’re managing your ADHD. In this previously released mini episode,Dr. Hallowell gives his spin on Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, with a similar list for those with ADHD. From doing what you’re good at, to asking for advice, you’re bound to find a few nuggets of applicable wisdom for your own life. But as Ned advises, this is his list, so if these habits don’t resonate with you, add your own to the list!

Reach out to us at [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is @sarahguertin and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Do you know someone who learns differently? Our sponsor, Landmark College, might be the right place for them. Learn more HERE.

This episode was originally released in October 2018. 

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Special Resources for Lawyers with ADHD

Special Resources for Lawyers with ADHD

If over 10% of lawyers have ADHD there should be more resources available to them. That’s why attorney and fellow ADHDer Marshall Lichty created TheJDHD.com, a podcast, website and community for lawyers with ADHD.

CLICK HERE to sign up for Marshall’s FREE 10-day course, “Introduction to ADHD for Lawyers.”

Please reach out to us with your questions and show ideas! Record a voice memo or write an email and send it to [email protected]odcast.com. Our producer is Sarah Guertin @sarahguertin, and our editor/recording engineer is Pat Keogh.

To learn more about how our sponsor, Landmark College, helps students with ADHD succeed click HERE. See their beautiful campus in Putney, Vermont at their next Open House on Friday, January 10, 2020.

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