Outsmart ADHD

In this episode, we'll uncover answers to the following questions:

- What is task initiation and how does it pertain to the challenges faced by individuals with ADHD?
- How does the environment and stress affect task initiation?
- What practical measures can be taken to combat overwhelming feelings and the difficulty of starting tasks?
- How can adjustments to sensory needs like light and noise help with managing ADHD?
- How can a competitive nature help in overcoming task initiation difficulties?

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What is Outsmart ADHD?

Hi, friend! Welcome to your new favorite podcast for women with ADHD, because life isn't meant to be this F'N hard!

Hosted by Jamie Cutino, a licensed Occupational Therapist, TEDx Speaker, ADHD Coach and Advocate, this podcast is a space for women to come together and learn how to outsmart their ADHD. (Or at least figure out a way to FINALLY put away the laundry!)

Each episode, Jamie, inspirational ADHDers, and ADHD experts, will share their knowledge and experience to help you overcome the overwhelm of living with ADHD. You won't just learn how to get to appointments on time...you'll also learn how to NOT answer the phone every single time your bestie calls (without guilt) because her boyfriend was a jerk *again*!!

As an ADHDer, Jamie understands how this neurodevelopmental disorder can dismantle your daily life. Overcoming much adversity, she didn't allow her father's addictions, her mother's death, or poverty to define the limits of what's possible.

Whether you're newly diagnosed or have known for a century, Outsmart ADHD is the podcast for you. Join Jamie and her guests as they explore the latest research, share personal stories, and provide actionable advice to help you live your best life with ADHD.

[00:00:02] Jamie Cutino: Hey, friends.
[00:00:03] Jamie Cutino: Welcome back to Outsmart ADHD, the podcast that helps you to function in everyday life when it is a shitstorm.
[00:00:15] Jamie Cutino: First of all, I want to thank our new patrons.
[00:00:18] Jamie Cutino: We've got raz.
[00:00:21] Jamie Cutino: Roz.
[00:00:21] Jamie Cutino: If I'm saying your name wrong, will you please tell me so that I can say correctly next week?
[00:00:26] Jamie Cutino: We also have Lorraine.
[00:00:28] Jamie Cutino: And we also have Jamie.
[00:00:30] Jamie Cutino: Another Jamie Lee.
[00:00:31] Jamie Cutino: And she spells it just like I do.
[00:00:34] Jamie Cutino: Pretty fucking cool.
[00:00:35] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so thank you to our patrons.
[00:00:38] Jamie Cutino: Because of people like you, this podcast is possible.
[00:00:42] Jamie Cutino: Sending you a big ol hug.
[00:00:44] Jamie Cutino: Thank you.
[00:00:44] Jamie Cutino: Thank you.
[00:00:44] Jamie Cutino: Thank you.
[00:00:46] Understanding Task Initiation And ADHD

[00:00:46] Jamie Cutino: We had an amazing recommendation from our friend Sabrina in our Facebook group who wanted to know more about task initiation, which was a really awesome thing to talk about, especially since we just covered executive dysfunction and what to do about executive dysfunction in previous episodes.
[00:01:06] Jamie Cutino: So if you haven't listened to those yet, go back because we've got some really good stuff to talk about for task initiation.
[00:01:12] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so what is task initiation?
[00:01:15] Jamie Cutino: It's exactly how it sounds.
[00:01:16] Jamie Cutino: It's starting to do the fucking task, which is hard for us with ADHD because of our underdeveloped frontal lobe.
[00:01:25] Jamie Cutino: If you put your finger on your forehead, right behind it is your frontal lobe.
[00:01:29] Jamie Cutino: That's the part of your brain that controls starting a task.
[00:01:33] Jamie Cutino: Okay?
[00:01:34] Jamie Cutino: So since that's underdeveloped, we have a hard time with it.
[00:01:37] Jamie Cutino: So if you're feeling like, oh, man, I'm a lazy piece of crap, because I can't start the thing.
[00:01:42] Jamie Cutino: No, you're not, you silly goose.
[00:01:44] Jamie Cutino: You have an underdeveloped frontal lobe, and you have ADHD, and you are brilliant and capable, and thank God you're not a neurotypical, because, holy fuck, they're boring.
[00:01:55] Overcoming Task Initiation Struggles

[00:01:55] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so let's talk about what to do when you're struggling with task initiation.
[00:01:59] Jamie Cutino: I am super stoked to talk about this because recording this podcast today was actually really hard for me.
[00:02:06] Jamie Cutino: Typically, I really enjoy doing this every single episode.
[00:02:11] Jamie Cutino: I really enjoy bringing this content to you, helping you with your everyday life.
[00:02:15] Jamie Cutino: But things are a little cray cray around here right now.
[00:02:19] Jamie Cutino: My husband and I are packing up because we are headed off to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado for our honeymoon.
[00:02:26] Jamie Cutino: After being together or after being married over a year, we're finally taking this trip that we so desperately need.
[00:02:34] Jamie Cutino: In laws are staying in our master bedroom right now, which means that we have a blow up mattress in my office, which means that I am in my husband's office, sitting on a rocking chair in his room with my legs crisscrossed applesauce.
[00:02:48] Jamie Cutino: My computer is sitting on the leg rest in front of me.
[00:02:53] Jamie Cutino: It's just a totally different setup.
[00:02:55] Jamie Cutino: And it was really hard to get going, because guess what?
[00:02:58] Jamie Cutino: There are some things that I really like being the same, and one thing is my fucking office space, because I've got my fun little set up.
[00:03:07] Jamie Cutino: So it was really hard for me to engage in this task, especially with the stress of just packing and everything else.
[00:03:13] Jamie Cutino: If you also struggle with packing before a trip and it feels like the hardest part of the trip, don't feel crazy because a lot of us with ADHD also feel that way.
[00:03:22] Jamie Cutino: I also want to mention that we have planned almost nothing for our trip because things have been so busy and we're going to just figure it the fuck out along the way.
[00:03:30] Jamie Cutino: I'll let you know on the next episode of how it went.
[00:03:34] Jamie Cutino: We have an airbnb book.
[00:03:36] Jamie Cutino: That's all we need anyway.
[00:03:37] Strategies to Overcome Task Initiation Challenges with ADHD

[00:03:37] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so task initiation.
[00:03:40] Jamie Cutino: Let's talk about the first thing you want to do when you're struggling to get something done.
[00:03:44] Jamie Cutino: Number one, check in on how you are feeling, okay?
[00:03:47] Jamie Cutino: Pretty good chance that you're probably feeling overwhelmed, right?
[00:03:50] Jamie Cutino: You're stressed.
[00:03:50] Jamie Cutino: You're feeling like, why the fuck haven't I done this already?
[00:03:53] Jamie Cutino: The more you stop and you think about it, the more that you're berating yourself, the more you're feeling like, why am I not doing this?
[00:03:57] Jamie Cutino: And then that feeling makes it even harder to get started.
[00:04:00] Jamie Cutino: And then that cycle continues and continues and continues, and it doesn't help anybody.
[00:04:04] Jamie Cutino: But don't feel bad about yourself if you have the cycle because those of us with ADHD have all experienced it.
[00:04:09] Jamie Cutino: I'm going to help you with how to combat it right now.
[00:04:12] Jamie Cutino: Okay?
[00:04:12] Managing Overwhelm and Stress: Sensory Needs

[00:04:12] Jamie Cutino: So if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, overstimulated, feeling like you just can't take a deep breath of air, I'm going to talk to you about some things that I actually did today to help me to calm down.
[00:04:27] Jamie Cutino: Number one, emotionally regulate by meeting your sensory needs.
[00:04:32] Jamie Cutino: So if you are feeling really overwhelmed, very stressed, there's a really good chance that you need to get the fuck away from the thing that is stressing you out.
[00:04:41] Jamie Cutino: If it is possible, if you don't have tiny humans that need to be in your eyesight at all times, because I know a lot of you do.
[00:04:47] Jamie Cutino: But if it is possible to go to a dark room to get under some covers, if you have a weighted blanket, put that on.
[00:04:54] Jamie Cutino: If you don't have a weighted blanket, run to Amazon and get you one because it's worth every penny.
[00:05:00] Jamie Cutino: Noise canceling headphones are a lifesaver.
[00:05:03] Jamie Cutino: I use them religiously every single day.
[00:05:06] Jamie Cutino: And by getting into a dark room, you're getting away from the stimulus of any type of light, which can be really aggravating to a lot of us that are hypersensitive to light.
[00:05:22] Jamie Cutino: By getting under a weighted blanket, session can help you to emotionally regulate and also noise canceling headphones or just getting in a quieter place can help you to get away from the noises that are overstimulating.
[00:05:36] Jamie Cutino: Something like a fan running in your background constantly could be really aggravating you without you even realizing it.
[00:05:42] Jamie Cutino: It doesn't necessarily get in the way of the task that you're about to do.
[00:05:46] Jamie Cutino: But that constant stimulus of hearing a fan can be enough to make you want to lose your fucking mind.
[00:05:53] Jamie Cutino: So, number one, address your sensory needs, okay?
[00:05:57] Jamie Cutino: And that will help you to emotionally regulate if you've got tiny kiddos that need to be in your eyesight at all times, then see if you can play the quiet game with them.
[00:06:06] Jamie Cutino: I don't care if you have to bribe them with a snack and have them shut their eyes for a little bit so that you can get some downtime.
[00:06:12] Jamie Cutino: You're not a bad mom if you do that.
[00:06:13] Jamie Cutino: You're a really good mom because you are addressing your sensory needs and you're going to be able to take care of your kiddos a whole lot better if you are feeling calm, okay?
[00:06:22] Jamie Cutino: Or calmer because moms are superheroes.
[00:06:25] Jamie Cutino: I don't know how you do what you do.
[00:06:27] Jamie Cutino: My kids, they bark and they have four paws.
[00:06:30] Jamie Cutino: And I know that that's incredibly different from having your own tiny humans, okay?
[00:06:36] Jamie Cutino: So do what you absolutely can to get your sensory needs met, okay?
[00:06:41] Jamie Cutino: Get away from any stimulus you can, any sights, sounds, smells, anything that is going to ramp up your nervous system.
[00:06:50] Jamie Cutino: Get away from it, okay?
[00:06:51] Jamie Cutino: Another thing that you can do if you are living with other people, let them know if there's anything they can do to help you address your sensory needs.
[00:07:01] Jamie Cutino: Recording this podcast, I need to have a very quiet space.
[00:07:08] Jamie Cutino: I get very distracted by sounds, any auditory stimuli, like if someone's talking, if there's a TV on.
[00:07:18] Jamie Cutino: Typically when I'm recording this podcast, my husband is working.
[00:07:22] Jamie Cutino: He's an engineer, so he's in the next room working.
[00:07:24] Jamie Cutino: I don't hear him.
[00:07:25] Jamie Cutino: But right now, since we have other people in the house, my in laws are with us.
[00:07:30] Jamie Cutino: Shout out to them because they're going to be watching our dogs for us while we're gone.
[00:07:34] Jamie Cutino: But my mother in law had the TV on and she was watching Grey's Anatomy, which I'm obsessed with that show.
[00:07:39] Jamie Cutino: But anyway, it was too loud for me to be able to concentrate, to be able to emotionally regulate and record this podcast.
[00:07:47] Jamie Cutino: So I just finally asked her, hey, is there any way you can turn it down just for the time being while I record the podcast?
[00:07:51] Jamie Cutino: I'll let you know the second that I'm done with it.
[00:07:54] Jamie Cutino: And since they understand I have ADHD that I struggle with concentration, she was more than happy to turn the TV down.
[00:08:04] Jamie Cutino: Now, I will say that not everybody is like this.
[00:08:07] Jamie Cutino: I have the most amazing in laws, and I've also advocated for myself and educated them on what life is like for me and how it looks a little different for me than it does for them.
[00:08:16] Jamie Cutino: So if you are with people who you can advocate for yourself to help meet those sensory needs, do so, okay?
[00:08:25] Jamie Cutino: But don't just say, oh man, this is driving me fucking crazy.
[00:08:28] Jamie Cutino: Come to them with a solution.
[00:08:29] Jamie Cutino: Hey, is it okay if you turn on the TV just for a little bit while I calm down?
[00:08:36] Jamie Cutino: Or, hey, is it okay if you take the kids and go on a little walk while I get my shit together?
[00:08:42] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so come with a solution and advocate for yourself.
[00:08:46] Coping Mechanisms for ADHD and Initiating Tasks

[00:08:46] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so that's step one is emotionally regulating.
[00:08:50] Jamie Cutino: Step two is let's talk about some tricks that I use when I'm having a really hard time getting started doing something.
[00:08:57] Jamie Cutino: And I use this first one this morning.
[00:09:00] Jamie Cutino: Set a timer and race against yourself.
[00:09:03] Jamie Cutino: Those of us with ADHD are oftentimes very competitive.
[00:09:06] Jamie Cutino: If you tell us that we can't do something, we're going to.
[00:09:08] Jamie Cutino: So getting into the shower just felt like a really big deal this morning.
[00:09:14] Jamie Cutino: My clothes are not where they normally are because we are in my office space right now using it as our bedroom.
[00:09:21] Jamie Cutino: We're using a different bathroom than we normally do.
[00:09:23] Jamie Cutino: Those little things, those quote unquote little things are really big for us.
[00:09:28] Jamie Cutino: So that felt like a lot to get into the shower.
[00:09:32] Jamie Cutino: So my husband said, one, two, three, go, because he knows that if I set a timer that I will try to beat it.
[00:09:40] Jamie Cutino: And all of a sudden I'm able to get into the shower.
[00:09:47] Jamie Cutino: So I set my timer for six minutes, and then I go in and I try my best to get it done in under six minutes.
[00:09:53] Jamie Cutino: And today I did not get it done in under six minutes.
[00:09:55] Jamie Cutino: But guess what?
[00:09:57] Jamie Cutino: I took a fucking shower.
[00:09:58] Jamie Cutino: So I count it as a win setting that alarm.
[00:10:01] Jamie Cutino: It's not that you have to get it done in that amount of time.
[00:10:03] Jamie Cutino: It just helps you to get off your butt to actually do the thing that's really hard.
[00:10:07] Jamie Cutino: Okay, another thing is if there is something that somebody could possibly help you to initiate.
[00:10:14] Jamie Cutino: And what I mean by this is I'm going to use the shower example again when I'm having a hard time getting out of bed to get into the shower.
[00:10:21] Jamie Cutino: Especially since I typically take a shower before I take my ADHD medicine so that I can wake up, take a shower, and then come downstairs once I'm already dressed.
[00:10:31] Jamie Cutino: And that's just part of my routine.
[00:10:33] Jamie Cutino: What he will do sometimes is turn on the shower so that I have to get up and I have to get into the shower soon because I don't want to be wasting water.
[00:10:43] Jamie Cutino: So that will get me to get up and get into the bathroom.
[00:10:48] Jamie Cutino: If anybody here is a big fan of Tony Robbins, he talks about how if something is hard to do, set it up to where the opposite thing is even harder.
[00:10:58] Jamie Cutino: So what I mean by that is getting into the shower is hard, but knowing that I'm wasting water, which is bad for the environment, is even harder for me.
[00:11:10] Jamie Cutino: So it's easier to take the shower.
[00:11:12] Jamie Cutino: So leverage that when you can.
[00:11:14] Helpful Strategies for Completing Tasks with ADHD

[00:11:14] Jamie Cutino: And that kind of goes into the next tip, which is let somebody know what you are about to do and if you can.
[00:11:30] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so this is for people who aren't triggered by this.
[00:11:34] Jamie Cutino: If you grew up in a home where your primary caregiver was very much what's the right word?
[00:11:47] Jamie Cutino: Oh, my God.
[00:11:48] Jamie Cutino: Maybe one of these days I'll think of the right fucking word.
[00:11:50] Jamie Cutino: But, oh, if they punished you a lot when you did something wrong, especially for things that were not your fault because of your ADHD brain, this may not work for you.
[00:11:58] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so that's a disclaimer.
[00:12:00] Jamie Cutino: Luckily, my primary caregiver was my mom, and she was fucking awesome.
[00:12:04] Jamie Cutino: And she did not overutilize punishment.
[00:12:07] Jamie Cutino: If anything, she probably underutilized it.
[00:12:09] Jamie Cutino: But anyway, tell a friend what you're about to do, what you need accountability for.
[00:12:15] Jamie Cutino: That in itself might be enough, but if that is not enough, think about something that you really do not want to do and tell them that that's what you're going to do if you don't do the thing, the original thing by your deadline.
[00:12:29] Jamie Cutino: So an example of this is I have an amazing friend, Lauren, who is a fellow entrepreneur.
[00:12:37] Jamie Cutino: Hi, Lauren.
[00:12:37] Jamie Cutino: If you're listening to this, and we both have ADHD, and she understands how hard it is to get shit done in the business sometimes because there's things that we have to do that we don't really want to do.
[00:12:49] Jamie Cutino: She's like me.
[00:12:50] Jamie Cutino: She loves people.
[00:12:51] Jamie Cutino: She would love to just serve all day, and I have to do the behind the scenes bullshit.
[00:12:54] Jamie Cutino: But unfortunately, it doesn't work out that way.
[00:12:57] Jamie Cutino: So I was working on putting up the post in my Facebook group about my masterclass, and it was really hard to put up that post.
[00:13:08] Jamie Cutino: I was trying to think of the right wording.
[00:13:09] Jamie Cutino: I was a little scared, honestly, that nobody would want to join it, even though it was very successful last time.
[00:13:14] Jamie Cutino: So that wasn't a very realistic fear, but it was a fear nonetheless.
[00:13:19] Jamie Cutino: And I told her, hey, if I don't post this by I think it was like 08:00 p.m., I owe you $100.
[00:13:25] Jamie Cutino: Now, posting that post in the Facebook group is hard, but guess what's even harder?
[00:13:29] Jamie Cutino: Losing $100.
[00:13:31] Jamie Cutino: Which totally plays on my past financial trauma of not having money growing up.
[00:13:38] Jamie Cutino: So if you've seen my Ted Talk, you know all about that.
[00:13:41] Jamie Cutino: But anyway, it's harder to lose that money than it is to do the task.
[00:13:46] Jamie Cutino: So if the things like setting a timer aren't helping, if you need more than just to tell a friend, if there's not somebody there to help you to start the task, then when all else fails, tell a friend, hey, I'm going to do this thing by this deadline.
[00:14:01] Jamie Cutino: If not, I have to make myself do this other thing, which is terrible.
[00:14:04] Jamie Cutino: Or tell them you're going to give them $10 or $100.
[00:14:07] Jamie Cutino: I leveraged this in grad school before I really had when I was just starting to figure out strategies that worked for me, honestly.
[00:14:16] Jamie Cutino: And when I would have a homework assignment due, I would tell my husband, hey, if I don't have this done by a certain time, I owe you $50.
[00:14:24] Jamie Cutino: And never once did I have to give him money.
[00:14:27] Jamie Cutino: Actually, I think I maybe did once.
[00:14:29] Jamie Cutino: Maybe once, and I swear I would never fucking do it again.
[00:14:33] Jamie Cutino: So that really helped me to be able to get things done.
[00:14:38] Jamie Cutino: Okay?
[00:14:39] Jamie Cutino: I hope this was helpful for you.
[00:14:41] Jamie Cutino: I hope that these short podcast episodes are helpful.
[00:14:44] Jamie Cutino: Please let me know if they you.
[00:14:48] Jamie Cutino: Thank you.
[00:14:48] Jamie Cutino: Thank you again, Roz, Lorraine and Jamie, for being patrons, for being part of our Get Shit Done membership.
[00:14:56] Jamie Cutino: I appreciate you so much, and I'm really excited to Body Double with all of you, okay?
[00:15:02] Jamie Cutino: And Sabrina, thank you again so much for this amazing topic recommendation.
[00:15:06] Jamie Cutino: You are the bees.
[00:15:06] Jamie Cutino: Knees never change.
[00:15:08] Jamie Cutino: You're amazing.
[00:15:09] Jamie Cutino: And if you are looking to join our Facebook group, if you're looking for resources to help you get a diagnosis, if you're looking for additional worksheets and things that we don't talk about in the podcast, there will be a link in the show notes so that you can get instant access to all of those things, to resources to help you get a diagnosis, resources to help you with strategies to manage your ADHD, and also you'll be notified when we start the virtual support group and also when we have free body double sessions.
[00:15:46] Jamie Cutino: So go to the link in the Show notes for all of those things.
[00:15:49] Jamie Cutino: They are 100% free fr e free 99.
[00:15:54] Jamie Cutino: Okay, so go in the Show Notes and click the link.
[00:15:57] Podcast Feedback and Suggestions

[00:15:57] Jamie Cutino: Okay, my friends, I'm so happy that there's so many of you that are enjoying this podcast.
[00:16:02] Jamie Cutino: I'm getting so much positive feedback.
[00:16:04] Jamie Cutino: And if you have an idea of something that you would like me to cover, please go into the Facebook group and you will see in the Pin post that there is an announcement that talks about the podcast, looking for recommendations, okay?
[00:16:16] Jamie Cutino: Because this podcast is to serve you.
[00:16:19] Jamie Cutino: All right, my friends, I will see you next time.
[00:16:22] Jamie Cutino: Bye.