The Un-Secret ADHD Support Group

1802 Unsecret ADHD Cover

I try to live by the adage that “where there are no secrets, evil has no power”. I find that the more you have out in the open, the more you aren’t wasting energy trying to hide stuff.

Since mentioning that I have adult ADHD, it’s been interesting to see how much other people are opening up about their own struggles. One person asked me yesterday at church when I was going to start a support group for those who have adult ADHD like himself (I had no idea he had it… but my honesty birthed his honesty). I told him “never”… because trying to get a group of people with ADHD together would be like trying to corral cats (and don’t even get me started on those who agree schedule to meet… but then forget about the meeting)!

But the question about having a “support group” got me thinking. I wonder how many people who struggle with ADHD struggle alone? If so many people have it, why are we all hiding?

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Even though I wasn’t officially diagnosed with ADHD until recently, I always knew that I had it (um… my wife has known for a long time too!) so I had already put strategies and structures in place to help me be more productive. But what about those who are lost wondering why they “aren’t reaching their potential” or “staying on task”? What about those who are the “daydreamers” when the reality is that the repetitive tasks that they are performing for their jobs are causing their minds to ‘check out’?

So, I am not saying that I am starting a support group (though I think if you are aware of it you should let me know so that I can include you in some of my thoughts / findings). But I am saying that I may talk more about this and see how it may benefit others. A conversation only continues as long as it is mutually beneficial. If all parties are not benefitting, it simply turns into a rant or a monologue… and I have no time for that.

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So leave me your thoughts and comment below. Leave me your struggles. Your strategies. Let’s get it out in the open. Perhaps the rest of us may find some solutions birthed from the struggles that you may have previously faced and overcome.

We have nothing to hide,





3 Ways To Make Work Better Today

3 Ways Better Work

I have had a number of conversations with people after writing my blog on how to be productive while dealing with ADHD. It’s nice to know that you are not alone sometimes.

I was reading an article today from my good friend Jason Gianotti (you should follow this monster of a mind). It was entitled 12 Ways To Save Time At Work. My first thought about the article title was, “that’s simple… only give me 3 ways because I won’t have time to read 12.”

But I read all 12. And he has great ideas that I plan to either continue or start to implement into my regime.

So, to appease the ADHD in me, I thought I would share with you the “3” suggestions that Jason wrote that I plan on implementing into my work life starting today. Maybe you will want to do the same.

1- Stand Up When Interrupted: If you have any leadership responsibility, it is because there are others who are needing your input, decisions, or advice. But their decision to come see you shouldn’t determine your need to drop everything to accommodate it. Jason notes that if we make the simple decision to stand when they want to come in and talk, it is less likely that they will want to settle in and derail your schedule.

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2- Check email only twice a day: Constantly checking email, unless you are waiting for something specific, will inadvertently cause you to lose focus on your planned tasks. Before you know it, you will be so caught up in the ‘new’ stuff, you will forget the ‘old’ stuff you determined to deal with when you planned out your day that morning (if you don’t do that, I suggest you start… you will thank me later). He recommends you let staff know you will only check your email in the morning before creating your daily tasks.

3- Make a “Stop Doing” List: Many of us add to the “task plate” without removing something else. We need to remember that we will never get ahead that way… we simply will try expend mental real-estate trying to find room for it all. I plan on renaming this strategy my “To NOT Do List”. The tasks may end up being done some other time, but for now remove them from your list as they will only serve as reminders of what isn’t still done, not what you actually were productive and ended up accomplishing instead.

At least that’s how I see it… and I guess Jason as well,


Being Productive with ADHD


I have ADHD. Ok… it’s out there.

If you know me, you are not shocked. It explains a lot of things that I do. It explains some of my patterns (or lack thereof actually). It explains why I do the things I do… and why I sometimes don’t do the things I should do.

If you have ADHD you will understand what I am about to say: being productive and effective when you have ADHD has very little to do with your lack of skill and a lot to do with your lack of structure.

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Structure is the foundation to effectively managing ADHD… but it is also the bane of our existence. We want structure… just so we know where we can colour outside the lines.

Anyway, I digress (ADHD shocker).

Last week I knew I needed to get away and think. Without the interruptions. Without the calls and the “squirrels” that would cause me to become ineffective (I have just spent the last minute thinking of Dug the dog in the movie Up just because I wrote “squirrels”).

So I got away for the day. My office knew they could contact me if they needed to but for most of the day, I was alone with my headphones listening to the Deep Focus playlist on Spotify).

If you struggle with ADHD, or have a hard time setting up a structure to get things done, I thought I would let you know what I did for the day. This may help you if you are needing some time alone to think, plan, and prepare for your upcoming week, month, projects, etc.

Here’s what I did:

1 – Got up early! I had my computer on and ready to go before most people hit the snooze button for the first time. Most days I am working by 5am and I plough through a lot of my tasks before the first person asks me a question and starts my cycle of pseudo-multitasking (I don’t believe men can multitask… and don’t even get me started on a man with ADHD!!!!).

2 – Reviewed Last Month’s Calendar (30 minutes). I looked at my Google Calendar (everything I do is on there) and went over the last month. I asked myself where I wasted time. I looked at where I may have started something but didn’t finish it and I made myself a note to make it a task in Asana later.  When it was all said and done, I probably had 15-20 new tasks to add to my list simply by looking at what I had done, and not done last month.

3 – Set “Personal” Goals (60 minutes). After reading it 25 years ago, I still use the “Sharpen the Saw” technique of  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to help me make sure that I am making “me” a priority first to work on. I wrote down four categories in my journal with three lines under each: physical, spiritual, mental, and social. I gave myself goals that were attainable to reach by the end of the month. I continued on with writing my different “roles” down (7 Habits model) and gave myself a few things that I wanted to accomplish in each role over the next month.

4 – Populated my To Do list (30 minutes). I took all of the “to do” things and asked myself three questions:
What must I do?
What should I do?
What could I do?
Once I was done that process I took the “must do” list and broke it quickly down into three categories:
imperative, and
After finishing that process, I prioritized only the critical list. I knew that once I was done the critical list, I could move onto prioritizing the imperative list. If I took the time to prioritize anything else I knew I would start to “squirrel” off. Deal with only the critical… the imperative and important would eventually be dealt with.

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So now, after starting the morning feeling overwhelmed with all that I needed to do, I was ready to work on my tasks simply by spending two hours basically planning my whole month’s worth of focus.

So I got to work. And I only focused on the list… nothing else. No emails. No Facebook feeds. No Insta-stories.. Just… the list. And I was amazed as to how much I got accomplished. Yes, for many people you may be reading this and saying, “Welcome to my every day.” But to someone with ADHD it’s like hitting the “Productivity Lottery”… you know it is possible to win, but your chances are like 1:1,000,000,000,000. So… there’s that.

It’s now the beginning of the next week and I know that I have a LOT to do over the next few days, few weeks… even few months. But having taken the time to think, plan, and prepare my upcoming schedule, I know that I have set up my life so that by the end of the month, when I need to do this all over again, I will have accomplished and forged ahead much further than had I simply chased after the closest “squirrel”… (and… now I’m back to thinking about the movie Up again).

At least that’s how I see it,



“Where’s the Gift I Got You?”


January is always a scary time to be asked that question. It’s long enough after Christmas that you ‘should’ have used the gift by now. It is unfortunately long enough as well to have forgotten what you actually got.

We’re given and receive gifts for various reasons. Some gifts are given out of appreciation for no reason at all (especially is your love language is “gifts”). Other gifts are given out of obligation (“they got get me something so I better find something to give them”) or because of the expectation of the routine (Valentine’s Day, birthday, Christmas, etc…). Some come with no strings attached. Some do.

But let’s imagine for a moment that you are given a gift… out of trust. Like a “I thought it best that you have this” or a “I was thinking of you when I saw this and knew you would like it” kind of gift.

I bring this up because of something I wrote in another blog about the fact that our church views each person that comes through the door as a “gift”. So as I was thinking about that very thought, it was like God asked me, “Craig, what did you do with that gift I gave you?”

It is important to note that we need to understand the difference between “gift” and “gifts” and why I believe it mattered so much that God’s question to me was asked in the singular.

I think that churches / pastors / PIPs (people in pews) worry too much about the amount of people that are there / not there each and every Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that a healthy church grows… in various ways; and so attendance can be in itself its own language. But some people are more concerned about the amount of gifts under the ‘tree’ (the local church) than the care of every gift under it. A tree with lots of presents under it looks way more appealing than one with only a few… even if the boxes are empty and just filler for the social media status update.

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What if we took the time to actually care for each ‘gift’ that came within our four walls? What would happen if it wasn’t about the ‘gifts’ (plural)… but each ‘gift’ (singular)? Do you think that God would entrust us with more gifts if each ‘one’ was given the attention, care, and purpose that God intended it to have? Do you think that perhaps, per chance, the ‘amount’ of gifts under the “tree” would increase not simply because we got more… but because we lost, broke, or forgot less?

Last Sunday we did something we periodically do called “Name Tag Sunday”. As the sadistic pastor that I am, I love when we plan them because the people who come have no idea we are going to do it. After a time of singing and worship and right before they are seated I have the ushers come down with name tags stickers and markers and ask them to put their names on the tag, stick them on their shirts, and then mingle for the next five minutes.

I know that the initial reaction of many is “are you kidding me?” – (all the introverts). But once I say “go” it is like trying to corral cats… they go everywherePeople are craving to be noticed and appreciated. They simply need an opportunity to let it happen.

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I think I’m onto something and God’s words have been echoing in my heart for a while now. For me, I know that I can only handle caring for so many gifts. We all have a limit. But imagine, for a moment, if every one of us cared for “each” gift that God gave us? Oh, we wouldn’t need to worry about fitting all of them under a new tree… we would need to look into buying a forest.

At least that’s how I see it,




People Are Always READING You!

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I have no idea what ticked this guy off so much but I got the message LOUD and CLEAR! As I walked past his house, with no intention of going to it, I knew that I would not be welcome anyway (I’m going to be honest… I was kinda shaking as I stood in their driveway to take the picture in case some ravenous dog came running after me).

Strange that I would have such a drastic reaction… simply to some paint on a piece of wood. No one ‘said’ anything to me and nothing was happening around me to set off my Spidey-senses… but as I stood there, camera in hand, taking a picture of someone’s obvious desire to not be disturbed… I knew my presence was not welcomed at all.

I am always fascinated to hear stories from people who come to our church after attending other churches first. For us, we want everyone’s experience to be just like ‘home’. Home is where you feel most comfortable, most vulnerable, most accepted. It’s where ‘love’ doesn’t need a reason and forgiveness doesn’t need probation.

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I think that churches and organizations can often be caught ‘saying’ that everyone matters while the ‘signs’ point otherwise. At our church we believe that ‘each person’ who walks through the door is a gift… regardless of how many weeks, months, or years they’ve been coming. And so if we ‘believe‘ it, our actions should line up with it.

Tomorrow is Sunday… and many of you may be going to church somewhere. For those who plan on going to church, may I suggest that you make every effort to leave your ‘signs’ of isolation, judgment, callousness, and indifference at your house… tucked somewhere deep in the recesses of your closet. Remember that you may be the deciding factor tomorrow on whether someone feels like they have finally come “home”; where love and forgiveness should always be found in excess.

At least that’s how I see it,



Do Organizations Need ‘Have You Met Ted’s?

Have You Met Ted Cover

I’m throwing this question out there. I started by putting down some jot notes in my journal but then I decided to keep it raw and throw out my thoughts for the blogosphere to read and comment on.

I think every organizational success story is a concoction of right place, right time, right people, and right need. If any of those four ingredients are not present then the journey will be a struggle.

When it comes to volunteer organizations (churches, service clubs, humanitarian groups, etc) the difference between one’s first day / experience and the rest of their journey is how well they ‘fit in’ to what is going on.

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Some people seem to do a great job of being ‘bridge builders’… or what I like to call “Have You Met Ted”s.

If you don’t know what “have you met Ted” means, welcome to the population that never watched How I Met Your Mother. Short version, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) plays a womanizing narcissist who’s best friend is Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) – though Ted would argue ‘his’ best friend was Marshall.

Anyways, I digress.

Barney had this repeating pick up line to help Ted meet women. He would walk up to a woman and ask her, “Have you met Ted?” and then walk away leaving a deer-eyed Ted to now make the next move and say something to her.

The first time he did it was hilarious! Ted had NO idea what to do. But as time went on, he became more and more comfortable with the notion that Barney was going to go out of his way to help Ted meet other people.

I wonder if we need more people like that?

As a church minister and working with other organizations, I know that putting people in the same ‘space’ does not mean that they will be in the same ‘place’. Proximity does not equal intimacy. They need, and perhaps, we all need, Barney Stinsons who will make the point of connecting people to one another.

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I recently was at a gathering when a person asked me what my hobbies were. I quickly found out that ‘my’ interests were not very similar to his…. but when I spotted a guy a few feet from me who shared a similar love for this hobby of his, I reached over, brought him in and basically said, “Have you met Ted?”

For the next ten minutes they talked, smiled, wowed and laughed about their hobby (in some sort of code language I must add as I am sure they wanted me not to know what they were saying… at least that’s how it felt).

But I didn’t care that I was now the foreigner in the middle of this hobby discussion… because I knew that my relationship with both guys was built on ‘other’ things. But now there was a NEW relationship that stemmed only from me noticing that maybe ‘this‘ person might like to talk to ‘that‘ person.

We must always remember that we can ‘exist’ in a community without being a ‘part’ of it. But to be honest, I don’t think we were created and fashioned for that purpose.

What do you think? How can organizations keep ‘engagement’ in the forefront so that those who ‘come’ are not the same ones who ‘go’ without even being noticed?

Let me know your thoughts,



How Much Am I Worth?

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I am in the middle of a series right now at our church called “Shattered Things” where we are talking about living in the freedom we already have. You can check out the messages here.

But this week we talked about the problems we have when it comes to finances. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, so many people want to “make more money” or “pay off more debt”. It is a gnawing problem that eats away at us year after year… and many times is left unfulfilled.

Let me tell you… those two resolutions are SO much different from each other! The idea of paying off debt comes from the desire to be more ‘disciplined’. The idea of making more money comes from the desire to be more ‘affluent’. One stems from greed and the desire to own MORE and the other comes from determination and the desire to owe LESS.


I wanted to let you in on a little secret… something that I did a long time ago and have counselled many couples, individuals, and organizational teams to do and seen incredible results.

I have determined how much I am worth.

Not in value. Not based on an asset portfolio. But as it pertains to my work.

Let me explain…

Every week I get paid. I receive a set amount of money based on a said agreement with myself and my employ. I also, from time to time, receive funds for other things (birthdays, etc).

Well instead of putting ALL that money in some bank account to go who knows where and pay for things that bring no joy (mortgage, utilities, car payments, etc), I pre-determine how much I am worth and at the end of the week I take that money out (as cash) and then the rest gets used to ensure that all of other stuff gets paid off.

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If I want to buy something for myself, I have the money available to do it. If I want something more expensive, I now know that I need to save ‘my’ money to get it.

It makes me think twice before spending ‘my’ money because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

It also makes me not feel like a martyr for putting ALL of my money in the bank and NEVER benefitting from it.

Now let me be clear. It’s NOT a lot of money that I take out for myself every week. But that ‘little bit’ keeps me from feeling like I ‘deserve’ some big expense and justifying to whip out the debit card and buy it.


Here’s the cool thing… As you get disciplined at choosing how to spend your money at a MICRO level (personal life), you will begin to carry that over into the MACRO level (family / organizational). When you pick and choose how you spend ‘your’ money, you will begin to do the same thing on how you spend the ‘family’ money (or joint account, etc). Instead of putting your family vacation on your credit card and worrying about it later, you will begin to forgo some instant gratifications and put aside the money needed for that trip.

I have found that when you determine how much money you are worth (percentage or set amount) and take only ‘that’ portion out on a regular basis, you begin to make better buying choices. And what is WAY BETTER is that when you have the urge to bless someone else, you may just will have the money to do it.

When money controls you… you will be void of joy. But when YOU control your money… that’s when you know that you can really start to make a difference.

At least that’s how I see it,