Do You Lose Papers in the ADHD Wormhole?

Do you tend to lose the work you do? Is there a wormhole that completed assignments get sucked into?

I have several ADHD clients who can’t seem to track papers to save their lives. THEY swear they completed an assignment and turned it in; their TEACHERS swear that they’ve never seen the assignments. Who is right?

In this video, I share with you my attempt at a solution to this problem, and it involves the app CamScanner. Check it out, and see if this might work for you.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? Don’t worry I’ve got your back, here’s a summary:

I want to know if you’ve ever experienced this: The ADHD Wormhole. I have a few clients who swear they’ve turned in a homework assignment, but their teachers swear they’ve never seen it. I know they’ve done the work, but no one knows where the assignment has gone, it’s like there’s this wormhole in the universe sucking in all these lost papers.

The ADHD Wormhole | Gretchen Wegner | The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying | Assignments | Homework | Papers | CamScanner

The best solution I’ve found for this problem is the smartphone app CamScanner. I recommend for my clients to scan their homework the moment they finish it. This allows students to bypass the wormhole because if they lose their homework they just need to shoot off an email with the scanned image of their homework to the teacher and they are good to go. The hardest part of using this method is developing the habit. I recommend to parents to try making it a scheduled event at night, to make sure that their student has scanned each piece of homework.

If you’re wondering why I am recommending CamScanner over taking a picture, it’s because CamScanner actually scans the image, just like a printer, so the quality is a lot better than a picture would be. Of course, you could always use a printer if you have one instead.

As always, this is just one of my many tips available in the Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying course. So click here to check that out as well.

10+ Productivity Apps for Scattered Students with ADHD

Gretchen Wegner | ADHD | Academic Coach | Academic Coaching | Apps | Time Management | Distraction Management | Study | Research | Break | Breaks | Students | Productivity

This week on the College Prep Podcast with Gretchen Wegner and her co-host Megan Dorsey:

Smartphone apps can be a great support, but also an annoying distraction, for students, especially those suffering from ADHD.

Gretchen provides a list of 10+ apps and suggestions for how to use them so that students maximize productivity and minimize distractions.

Tune into the episode to hear the details about how to use each of these apps. However, for your convenience, here is the list of the ones Gretchen mentioned:

Tune into Gretchen’s podcast and learn more about these apps by clicking here.

What Every Struggling Student Needs to Hear

Recently a young woman about to graduate from college called me desperate:
“I’m such a mess! I’ve almost failed out of school several times! I’m thankfully about to graduate, but now I’m scared that I’m too much of a disaster organizationally to live in the real world.”

I told her one sentence — the sentence that I tell all my new clients — and I could just hear the relief in her voice. EVERYONE needs to hear these words of reassurance, but especially students who struggle with learning differences.

Don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

I was thinking about a new client that’s about to come on who I was chatting on the phone with the other day, and she’s in her early 20’s and just now catching up to the idea that her executive functioning issues, ADD, disorganization, and time management issues are something she needs to get a handle on as she’s trying preparing to graduate from college and prepare for her future.

And I told her 2 little sentences that I could just hear the relief flow through her. I told her:

What Every Struggling Student Needs to Hear, Executive Functioning Issues, ADD, ADHD, Gretchen Wenger What Every Struggling Student Needs to Hear, Executive Functioning Issues, ADD, ADHD, Gretchen Wenger

So many young people, and probably older people as well, feel when they are struggling that they are the only ones and think things like: “If only I wasn’t so messed up, my life would be so much better!”, “Everybody probably thinks I’m weird or crazy cause I struggle with …” etc. And to you, I say, “You are not weird or messed up! You just need to learn to a few different habits and skills and practice them.”

Want more motivational to do better in school the anti-boring way? Check this out.

How to Tell Your Professor About Your Learning Difference

Do you have a learning difference that impacts your experience of school?

How do you feel about telling your teachers and professors about it?
Many of my clients resist telling their professors because it’s such a vulnerable thing to admit! However, this is such an important conversation, it’s important to know how to psych yourself up for it.

Here’s how I recommended that one of my clients inform their professors about her learning difference.

Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:

 

I was just walking around a lake near my house with a client of mine, who goes to college out of state, and when she came back after this last quarter, we decided to do an outside meeting instead of the usual meeting in my office. And it was so great to hear her reflections about what she learned in this last quarter, and I there was one thing, in particular, I wanted to discuss with you all today that she told me about.

This client has a learning difference, and she had an interesting reflection around how she wants to discuss this with her professors in the future. She has a piece of paper she usually presents to her professors at the start of each semester, that states she is entitled to extended time on tests if she needs it. However; what she realized, is that she wants to make this presentation in the second week of class, that way she has time to look over the syllabus, get to know how this professor teaches, and to make some notes for herself about what specific problems she might have in this particular class, with their specific syllabus, and their specific teaching style. This way, when she goes to talk to her professors she can personalize the presentation and discuss with her professors what troubles she might have and have some open dialogue with her professors about how she might get help with those specific issues she might have.

Want more tips and tricks for how to handle a learning difference? My course has lots of great tips, tricks, and ideas that can help you to manage your learning difference and be successful, so please consider checking it out!

Internet-Blocking Software Provides Freedom from Distraction

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During my in-take interviews with new families, their child’s distractibility is one of the most common complaints. How do we get them to FOCUS?! Especially when they’re on the internet?

I totally get it, partially because I experience the same distractability in my own life, and I know many adults who do as well. This problem is certainly not isolated to teens.

Recently a friend who is a professional playwright and poet was complaining about her own difficulties focusing. Evidently, when she is momentarily stumped in the midst of her writing, she involuntarily opens a new tab and begins browsing the internet and falling down the rabbit hole of google.

I call this phenomenon the Technology Twitch, and it happens to me all the time. The second my brain bumps up against difficulty, my hand clicks onto facebook before I’m even conscious of what I’m done. That’s why I call it a “twitch”; it seems uncontrollable.

When she wants to circumvent the Twitch, my poet/playwright friend swears by the new software called Freedom. It’s easy-to-use interface allows the user to shut down the internet for a specified amount of time.

I tried it the other day, and found it an invaluable tool! I needed to read my friend’s dissertation, and every time I read a complex idea that required me to stop and think, I felt the “twitch” happen in my body. However, the internet was no where in sight (and my iphone was conveniently hidden in the next room)! So I simply noted the feeling of discomfort, and then moved my attention back to the difficult passage. What a relief!

I highly recommend Freedom to distractable students and parents. A word of caution, though, when it comes to doing homework: blocking the internet will require that you plan out your homework regimen before turning Freedom on. So many assignments these days require the internet. Review all your homework assignments for the night, make a list of the ones that require the internet, and then plan out what you are going to do first, second, third, etc.

If Freedom seems too extreme, check out this list of other software designed to diminish distractions.

If you try Freedom (or any of the others on the list), let me know how it works for you! Your reflections will help me recommend various tools to my academic coaching clients.

Meditation and Social Media

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Social media is eating away at my attention and my self-control. I’m sure of it.

As I bounce between facebook, twitter, and blog stats, I’m clear that my attention is increasingly fractured.  It darts about, trolling for cool people and  interesting data. Almost like a nervous tick.

In fact, just as I was writing the last sentence, I had an attention-lurch. You see, I got stuck about what to write next.  In the ensuing pause,  I experienced a strange “twitching” sensation. I opened a new Mozilla tab and checked my twitter messages.  All before I was conscious of what I was doing. Do you experience this too?

On the one hand, Twitter has proven to be the best professional development I’ve ever experienced (after all it’s where I’m finding about all these articles that inspire blog entries).  On the other hand, I’m out of control.

Why I Care About Self Control & Attention

The topic of self control and social media is relevant to me for at least two reasons.

(1) As a newly self-employed entrepreneur, I no longer have the structure of a 9-to-5 job to control my time.  The great part of this is I actually have time to pursue my passions.  The hard part is I have so many passions, that my attention is increasingly scattered.

(2) I coach teenagers, many of whom are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.  Parents are constantly asking me to help their kids control their IM/textmessage/facebook habits.I’d love to, I tell the parents, as soon as I figure out how to control my own social media habits!

Right on cue, two relevant articles have flitted into my universe: one about attention and meditation (I’ll talk about that one today) and the other about self control and outsmarting desire (I’ll blog about that on Thursday).

Meditation and Attention

The first one came as a tweet from my dear friend Meri Walker:

Good idea to put meditation in the same sock drawer of mind as you put exercise: http://ow.ly/6DA6

Huh! As a lapsed meditator, this tweet stood out.  I clicked on the link, and read about a study about the brains of Buddhist monks engaged in different forms of meditation. Turns out that people who meditate really do have significant control over their attention compared to those who do not meditate.

However,  it matters what KIND of meditation you do. Evidently compassionate meditation (focusing on the suffering in the world) was not as successful as “one-point” meditation (focusing on one part of their experience; the breath, for example). At least in regards to helping the monks perform better on attentional tasks after they meditated.

This makes total sense! To have more control over how we place (and sustain) our attention, perhaps we ought to practice placing (and sustaining)  a single-pointed focus.  Meditation is not the only way to do this.  But it’s sure a straightforward approach.

And you can meditate almost anywhere. Inspired by the article, I practiced that evening while taking BART to my Bollywood dance class in San Francisco.  Eyes closed while the train rattled through tunnels, I tried hard to keep my attention on my breath, even though it was being pulled every few seconds by interesting sounds around me.

What Do You Think?

I don’t want to stop using social media, that’s for sure. And I don’t think my students should stop either. But I AM interested in how we can find balance.  So I’m left pondering: So reading this study leaves me pondering:

  • Will I experience better control over my beloved social media habits if I meditate regularly?
  • To what extent would my students with ADD and ADHD benefit from learning simple meditation practices?
  • What other tricks do ya’ll have for stabilizing attention amidst the social media frenzy?

I’d love to hear from you…especially about that last question!