Q: Dear Dr. Nowell,
I am an eighth-year student working on a Ted Talk style presentation. I have decided to study the causes of procrastination and how motivation can solve the problem...What motivates people to get objectives done?
A: Hi - what an interesting project! Dopamine is the brain's chemical messenger of motivation and reward. When we think of something we are looking forward to - really visualize it and hear it and smell it and feel it - we activate dopamine in our own brains.
Free 1-Hour Programs at Local Libraries
is the first in a series of talks I'm offering at local libraries for parents of children and adolescents with ADD/ADHD. The next one is in November inNorthborough
The one-hour interactive and high-energy program offers a practical introduction to ADHD, and an overview of what current brain research tells us about medication as well as non-medication interventions.
continues to be a fount of awesome advice, hacks, tips, and ideas. AuthorMihir Patkar
offers a brief overview, and the graphic below, of an approach to weekly activity scheduling called "The Rule of 3."
This looks a lot like the "weekly overview" and "morning review" we review at the ADHDworkshop
. The "Monday Vision" activity is a quick once-weekly preview of the week in which a "Rule of 3" practitioner identifies 3 top outcomes for the week.
Q: My biggest struggle with ADHD right now is my tendency to just do the bare minimum.
I'm in law school and I know I should be working harder, but I don't. I do way less than I should, get B+'s and call it a day. I want A's but
can't find the strength to sit down and work for hours or even one
hour. I want to be able to do it, but every time I try, I seem to
I spend most of my time participating in hobbies, with not much to
show for it. I want to find a way to perform better, but I take such pride in
barely working and still doing pretty well.
Okay, not really. Or at least I'm not holding my breath. Because ADHD is a) a clinical diagnosis requiring some time and skill; and b) not a constellation of bizarre symptoms but is rather a more-severe-than-is-developmentally-expected variability of motivation, focus, and sustained effort, there is constant pursuit to find more objective criteria for the condition.
Most clinicians familiar with ADHD are aware of the neuroanatomical correlates and even "minor physical anomalies" which are statistically associated with the condition.
I must have seen this illustration before but I stumbled upon it this morning and *sigh* it's just such an elegant and quick overview of two important neurotransmitter systems for our purposes as clinicians and coaches and teachers.
Susan agreed to respond to my questions about the work of Professional Organizer. My curiosity comes from my own experience with clutter and from the concerns voiced by my clients and attendees at ADHDworkshops. By the way if you decide to meet Susan or get to hear her speak, you will find that her bracing optimism and laser-sharp problem solving skills bump your energy level up about 8 notches!
Okay, here we go:
Question:Susan, I know that you strongly
believe in the connection between our overall well-being and our personal
organization, and is there a difference between cleaning and decluttering?
An adult with ADHD tells me that he sometimes runs into challenges with his wife and other important people in his life because of what others interpret as "thoughtless" behavior. He explains that he will verbally agree to do something or be somewhere by an agreed-upon time. And he willmeanit. His heart is in it, hefully intends to stick with these commitments.
But he says that the red hot second that he has moved on to the next conversation or task, it's like the commitment never happened.
My class,"Understanding the Neurotransmitters and Everyday Behavior"is scheduled for Thursday October 10. Here's an overview:
Every experience and
sensation and decision takes place in our brain, and is accompanied by tiny
electrical signals initiated by chemical communication between brain
Q: So many courses of treatment seem to
be skewed towards children and young adults.
As a 50-year-old who was undiagnosed until my forties, the standard recommended changes
in lifestyle/habits are themselves overwhelming. Is there anything that is being done to
address mid/late-life diagnosis and treatment, especially on compensating for
reduced learning plasticity and deeply ingrained habits?
A: You sound understandably discouraged, in a
way that I’ve particularly heard from adults diagnosed with ADHD later in