“Where are my *%#? Keys!” – Coping with ADD

I've asked this question many times. So have you. Sometimes I mumble it. Other times I rage!

Misplacing everyday objects is typical of someone with ADD. It can be frustrating, even stressful. But like so many ADD symptoms, there are ways to mitigate the effects. Here is how I keep track of my everyday personal belongings that before, always seemed to grow legs and walk away.

Reprogram your Autopilot with a new Flight Plan

If you are like me, you have a constant buzz of activity in your head. Even with medication, the buzz is there. To cope with the buzz, I have developed patterns of behavior I call my Rituals. Does this sound familiar?

I call my subconscious rituals my Autopilot. Over the years, my Autopilot has been programmed by me with its current Flight Plan. There's nothing you can really do about your Autopilot, but you can use it to your advantage. What you need to do is leverage your Autopilot and alter it's Flight Plan with a New Habit. This new habit will help you keep track, or more importantly, not lose track of your keys, wallet and other stuff that you use on daily basis.

So, here are the steps to altering your Autopilot's Flight Plan with a new habit: 

  1. Location! Location! Location! 
    • Designate a permanent place for your stuff. For keys, wallet, cell phone, etc. it doesn't have to be a very large space. Room for your stuff is not as important as a place for your stuff.
    • Make it near where you enter your home. It needs to be somewhere that you regularly pass when you come in and go out.

      Before I had a place for my stuff, I had a bad habit of using the dining room table, much to the chagrin of my wife. My new place for my stuff is on the counter in our kitchen.

  2. Container! Container! Container!
    • Place a container for your stuff in the place for your stuff.
    • Get something that is durable. A cardboard box won't last long, and soon you'll be looking for another container. I favor plastic or wood.
    • It needs to be large enough to contain the things you usually misplace, but not so large as to be an eyesore or label you as a hoarder. If it's too large, you'll have a tendency to put other stuff in your container that it's not meant to hold, it will fill up and then you won't have a place for your stuff.

      I use a small, wooden box I found at the local big box hobby supplier. It has a lid to help keep things which don't belong in my box out of my box. It's just big enough for my wallet, my keys, my pocket knife and my pocket change. Everyone in my home knows it's my box and they leave it alone unless they have my blessing to remove something or add something.

  3. Use it! Use it! Use it!
    • Like any habit, it has to become part of your Flight Plan. At first, it requires a conscious effort. 
    • The very moment after you designate a place for your stuff and put a container for your stuff in the place for your stuff, put your stuff in the container. Don't wait and say, I'll do it tomorrow. Empty your pockets or search your home and gather up your stuff. Put your stuff in the container NOW!
    • Next, walk away and forget about your stuff. Don't worry about it. It's in the container for your stuff, in the place designated for your stuff. Guess what? The next time you need your keys, wallet, cell phone, etc. they'll be in the place for your stuff!
    • When you need your stuff, go to the place for your stuff and look for it in the container for your stuff FIRST! If your stuff isn't there, go gather up your stuff, drop it in the container for your stuff located in the place for your stuff, and immediately retrieve your stuff. This last step sound ridiculous, but it's important that your Autopilot's Flight Plan record that you picked up your stuff from its designated container in the designated place. Habit is about doing something without thinking about doing it; over and over and over and over……
    • Make yourself a promise that you'll put your stuff in the container for your stuff located in the place for your stuff when you get finished using your stuff, and KEEP YOUR PROMISE!

You'll notice I used a lot of repetition. Building a habit is all about repetition. You want it to become mindless.. If you're like most folks, this will take a while. Don't beat yourself up if it takes months. Changing habits is difficult and requires perseverance. If you find your stuff if not in your box, look for it. When you find it, have a laugh, remind yourself that your brain is different and immediately put your found stuff in your box. I've had my box for my stuff for over a year now and on occasion, I still set my keys down somewhere else. However, looking for my keys has become much less of an ordeal.

Let me know if this is helpful for you. And if you have ways you use to keep track of your stuff, leave a comment below.

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Gun Control Begins at Home

So far, the picture painted by officials is that Adam Lanza was mentally ill, yet he had access to at least three firearms in his home. Why?

It’s also been reported that Adam’s mother, Nancy Lanza, whom Adam lived with and was his first victim, was keenly aware of his mental problems. Also, she was a firearms owner and had taken her sons shooting on several occasions.

What we have not heard is how her firearms were stored in her home. I would like to know.

In a home with a mentally unstable individual, even if that individual has previous firearm training, it might be a good idea to keep access to firearms tightly controlled, don’t ya’ think?

Firearms Safety and Gun Control begins at home. If you have a cavalier attitude towards firearms safety, you’re putting yourself, everyone in your household and anyone in contact with those in your household at risk.

I don’t have any proof, but I believe parental negligence to be the root cause of the tragedy in Newtown, CT. I believe mom did not follow proper precautions when storing her firearms. Especially considering she had a mentally ill son living with her. I hope I am proven wrong.

I hope, for her sake, it was purely this kid and his demons. I hope we find out he broke into her gun safe, took the guns without permission and proceeded to carry out these horrible deeds.

If otherwise, all the victims including Nancy and Adam may have paid for her negligence with their lives.

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I Hate This Video

Recently, this video was posted to a Facebook group I admin. Watch it, then read on why I hate it.

Shooting firearms can be great fun when treated with the appropriate level of respect. Remember, the main purpose of any firearm is to render another living being incapacitated. It does this through injury or death. You may use it to dissuade an attacker through fear (of being incapacitated) or to punch holes in targets, but its main purpose is to fire a projectile into another living being and do enough damage to stop it.

Here’s why this video is not funny.

First, she obviously knows very little about firearms. She has not been taught proper respect nor safety, nor does she have any specific training on this firearm. Notice that her finger is on the trigger the entire time. In and of itself, leaving a complete novice with a firearm is a potentially dangerous situation.

Husband leaves her in care of a firearm. When he returns to “teach her a lesson”, he has no idea if the gun is loaded or not. You may argue that he didn’t leave her any ammo, but we don’t know that. And besides, you should always treat a firearm as if it were loaded, even if its been solely in your custody the entire time. Careless handling of firearms is what leads to accidents. Most of the time, being careless with a firearm comes with a cavalier attitude, ignorance or both.

Startling ANYONE holding a firearm is dangerous, especially someone who has no training. If the firearm is loaded, the person could cause it to discharge, leading to injury or death. Suppose a child or neighbor had innocently walked up on her, startled her, the gun had been loaded and she pulled the trigger? This video could have ended up as evidence in a court trial, not on YouTube.

I’ve taught proper firearms handling, safety and shooting to hundreds of boys over the years. I’ve taught a great many adults as well. It’s one of the things I do. Inevitably, one or two in the group think they know everything already because they hunt or have had a BB gun since birth. “Dad” taught them everything they know and I’m not as smart as “Dad”. Then I tell them about my wife’s uncle being shot while hunting and dying a few days later from his injuries. His best friend of 50+ years accidentally shot him during a turkey hunt. They had hunted together for decades without an incident. This time, his friend relaxed and didn’t follow the safety rules. He shot in a direction where he heard movement, but had no clear target. I always ask them “Can you imagine how guilty you would feel if you killed your best friend or your Dad simply because YOU didn’t follow the safety rules?” It usually get’s their attention. If it doesn’t, I don’t let them have access to a loaded firearm until they can demonstrate to me they are safe. If during the course of the training, they don’t or won’t follow the rules, they won’t pass.

I recently had an elderly woman as a student. She had never fired a firearm before. A local gun store sold her a revolver and she found couldn’t manage it on the range, so I went with her to look at some other models. We asked to look at a Glock 17. The clerk, a retired police officer, locked the slide back and presented it to her. She closed the slide and in a very joking manner, pointed the gun at him and said “Pow!”. Instinctively, I reached for the pistol from the bottom, grabbed the barrel and pointed it skyward. By the time she had uttered “Pow!”, it was pointing up and the clerk had ducked. We both knew it was unloaded, but our training took over. I gently rebuked her for not showing proper respect for a firearm nor for another human being, reminding her of the safety training she had taken earlier. She sheepishly apologized to him and then me. She is still my student today and she’s SAFE now. I’ll go shooting with her anytime.

Nope, this video is not funny. Too many ways to end up dead with shenanigans like this.


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