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.

A Tech Tip for Students Who Loses Assigments

Do you (or a student you love) lose a lot of your assignments?

I have a couple of clients who consistently SWEAR they’ve turned in an assignment, only to have the teacher SWEAR they haven’t. These clients sometimes re-do a single handwritten assignment 2-3 times before they finally get it turned in.

Technology to the rescue! Today I share a simple smart phone app that takes seconds to use, and saves these kinds of organization-challenged students lots of time. Watch the video to find out more:

 

And as always, be sure to check out my Anti-boring approach to Powerful Studying! You won’t be disappointed.

Doing Slow Business in a Fast Business World

***WARNING: This blog post contains some technical jargon. Don’t worry; I don’t understand many of the terms, either. Thank goodness for context clues!***

Why iMuseCubes Development is So Slow

It takes many folks up to 40-80 hours over three to four months to develop their iPhone apps. It’s taking Wendell and I over a year!!

That’s Wendell in the picture, by the way. He’s my iPhone app developer. He’s also (thank goodness!) my good friend.

It’s not surprising that our process has been so slow, given the limitations with which we’ve had to work:

  • Wendell and I both have full time jobs,
  • I don’t have the money to pay him upfront,
  • Wendell doesn’t own a Mac so he has to borrow mine, and
  • Wendell is learning Xcode (Apple’s program that develops the apps) as he works.

These constraints have necessitated that we work slowly.  In some cases, really slowly.

How Slow Business is Helping Me Find Balance

Which is why I’m grateful  to have discovered a movement all about the gifts of living life more slowly.  Here’s what blogger Jerry Stifelman says in an entry titled Slow Business: A Manifesto for Reclaiming Our Lives:

Just as the Slow Food movement is all about really getting into food and the community it engenders, we think we need a Slow Business movement that’s about the quality of work and the experience of doing it –– as opposed to the alternative — namely the tendency to turn work into an ever-escalating arms race of longer hours, quicker email responses, and an obligation to be checking your Blackberry at your kid’s birthday party.

This ever-escalating arms race had gotten a bit out of control in my life recently, as I juggled MuseCubes and my growing academic coaching practice.  Needless to say, my weekends were wittled down to naught. And I certainly wasn’t enjoying either the quality of my work, or my experience doing it.

In the spirit of slow, though, I’ve relaxed my expectations about how much each of these projects will grow this year.   I’m still moving forward on all of them, just one small step at a time.

Lowering my expectations for how much each of my projects will grow has allowed me to reclaim my weekends, balancing relaxation and adventure (neither of which had been in my life on a consistent basis).  As Jerry Stifelman says, slow business enables me to live as if  I matter, my relationships matter, and joy matters. Hallelujah!

When the Rest of the World is Moving so Fast: The Down Side of Slow Business

However, slow business can also have it’s downside. Take the iPhone app.

Apple is constantly updating its operating systems and app development processes. Since we’ve been working for over a year on this app, we’re constantly encountering technological roadblocks that result from these updates.  Often, the first chunk of our twice-a-month work sessions  is spent troubleshooting outdated technology. Sometimes we lose the entire four hours to updates!

Just today, for example, it turned out that the provisioning profile on my iPhone had expired; we couldn’t move forward until we’d updated it. Luckily, Wendell moved past this road block pretty quickly.

However, during our last two work sessions, we weren’t so lucky.

Apple had updated it’s version of XCode (the program we use to develop the app), which takes hours to download, depending on the internet connection. Then, we had to coordinate all the new iPhone operating systems with this new version of XCode. Between the downloads and the troubleshooting, we lost about four hours of development time. That’s almost a whole month’s worth of work time. Arggghhh!!!

Patience Pays Off: What You Can Expect from the Updated iMuseCubes

Today, though, we were able to move through our roadblock rather quickly.  And the truth is, iPhone app development seems to go pretty quickly without the technical glitches! All morning I’ve been writing this blog entry (using Wendell’s Dell laptop) while Wendell’s been lying on my couch working on the app (isn’t that a great picture of him, above?).

Infact, I wonder how he’s doing today? Let’s check in:

Me: Hey Wendell, how’s it going?

Wendell: Good! Within the next little bit, we will be able to not only download the expansion pack, but have it integrated into the process so that it loads the right sound files. Then we’ll be really close! We’ll just have to plug in Apple’s purchase API. After a little clean up, we’ll be ready to sell the expansion pack!

Cool! For the rest of you, let me translate: See, we already have a free version of iMuseCubes available for download from iTunes. However, soon we’ll have expansion packs available for purchase. Expansion packs will be sets of  additional verbs centered around themes, like:

  • Barnyard (with verbs like “Bark” and “waddle”)
  • Wild things (with verbs like “roar” and “slither”)
  • BeeBop (with verbs like “croon” and “twirl”)
  • Sports (with verbs like “cheer” and “dribble”)

As I finalize the verbs for the expansion packs, I’ll probably send out a survey to my community to get ya’ll to help choose themes and verbs. Got any good ideas?! Stay tuned to my blog for more updates…

Finally…

Just now, Wendell chirped, “We’re close! We’re really close!” However, that was followed by a big “Oops!”

With just 20 minutes to go during today’s work session, we’ll get as far as we can get.

And that will be great!

 

 

iPhone App Update: The History of iMuseCubes

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I’m crunching pumpkin seeds alongside my hero.

His name is Wendell Martin, and he is the iPhone app developer for iMuseCubes.

The iMuseCubes development team has decided that it’s time to be more “out” about the iPhone app development process.

So get ready, dear readers! From time to time I’ll be posting updates. And since this is the first one, how about a little history of the project?

Where Will I Find a Programmer Who Will Work For Free?

A year and a half ago, I was overwhelmed with my new life as an entrepreneur. It felt lonely and risky, and I felt adrift.

I had so many creative ideas, but I didn’t believe I had the skills or the resources to bring these ideas to fruition.

For example, the task of creating an iPhone app for the MuseCubes seemed completely insurmountable! I had no technical skills, no money to hire professionals, and no desire to work alone.

The Resources are All Around Me

One day I was complaining about this to my friend Randy while we were on a walk. Suddenly, he asked me some questions that changed everything:

“What if the resources you need are all around you? What if you don’t have to do it alone? What if all you have to do is ask?”

A few months later, the very first iMuseCubes meeting adjourned. It turns out that Randy’s friend Wendell is a Java programmer who’d been curious about learning to program on the iPhone. He liked me and enjoyed the MuseCubes. Furthermore, he didn’t need to be reimbursed for his time until after the iMuseCubes began to make money. And Randy was willing to serve as business manager for the project.

It turns out Randy was right. The resources were nearby. I didn’t have to work alone. And all I had to do was ask. Amazing!

Limitations Create Unique Opportunities

We had a team. But we also had limitations.

Wendell, for example, didn’t even own an Apple computer, which is a requirement for programming xcode. We decided that he’d simply come over to my house to work, and thus: a new guideline for collaboration was born: no one was expected to work on the project alone. We would always be accompanied by another member of the team.

On the one hand, this isn’t the most efficient way to work. Sometimes weeks would go by without moving forward on the project. Sometimes we’d spend the first half hour of a three hour meeting gabbing… about dating, relationships, job searches, and more.

But on the other hand, working together became so much fun!! We both looked forward to our work sessions together. Wendell commented that programming is usually a completely isolating experience during which he’s hunched over a lonely computer in a cubicle or at home. However, the iMuseCubes project was entirely social and creative.

We sat next to each other on the couch. I used Wendell’s PC while he borrowed my Mac. I brought him snacks and drinks. We always kept a set of the real MuseCubes nearby, and when programming got tricky, we used them to shake off the stress. Totally fun!!

And the best part was: when Wendell left my home, I didn’t have to do any more work on the app. And neither did he. We were free to lead our regular lives. No homework!! What a relief!!!

Even this blog post, I’d like to point out, was written while we were working together.

A Year Later…

It’s hard to believe a year has passed!

On March 25, 2010 iMuseCubes 1.0 became available as a free app on iTunes. If you’ve got an iPhone, check it out!

It’s still a rough version, and we have so much more that we want to do with it. I’ll blog about those plans later. Because we’re still smoothing out the edges on the app, we haven’t done any real marketing (other than a shout out on Facebook, and this blog entry).

Without any marketing, though, there are 102 phones who sport the app. And the cubes have been rolled 613 times. Yay!!

What I most want to celebrate is: we did it!! At our own pace. In our own way. And I’ve learned (at least) three valuable lessons:

  1. The resources are all around.
  2. Warm bodies working with me are key to collaboration.
  3. Slow work is satisfying work.

Wendell, Randy and I are meeting again in two weeks. More news then…