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But I have a smartphone!

Sometimes we need to go old-school to get the best results.

A few years ago I banged my head and ended up with a significant concussion. However after months of recovery, hours in dark rooms, avoiding sports, alcohol, screens and complex tasks, my brain just didn't seem to work the same. It might have been the concussion, or that I was now into my 40's, or even that busy life was catching up to me, but the end result was the same. Things weren't getting done, and I wasn't keeping up.

I ended up working with a psychologist, and shockingly, was diagnosed with ADHD as a 40 year old woman. I didn't see much in common with the stereotypical hyper 9 year old boy that is the poster child of ADHD, (More on that another time!) so I was shocked.

The truth is, our lives are busier than ever, with a long list of things to remember - did we pay the phone bill, who is picking up the kids from lessons, what day is that field trip? You don't need to have ADHD to forget something, but I want to share the best advice that I got, which I think can help everybody.

I needed a paper agenda.

"I don't need a paper agenda. I'm a modern woman, I have a smartphone".

I can still hear myself saying those words to my psychologist. And, as a professional, she reminded me that our brains don't always work at their best with a smart phone.

With the growth in digital devices, there have been a number of studies on the benefits of writing versus typing. The short version is, when you are writing, rather than taping on your phone, you engage more parts of your brain, making it easier to recall the information.

If you are interested, check out this study on the importance of writing over typing in Frontiers in Psychology.

She also recommended I set up time for working on my agenda. Ideally, 15-20 minutes once a week to review all of the tasks I had to take care of, and then 5 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to review what was coming, and review what I needed to move forward to a different day. For me, I needed something pretty, something that made me happy in order to be motivated to use it. I also needed something that was a visual cue, or a reminder of that date with myself every week. Now that it is part of my routine, I can't imagine my life without it.

I used to use Monday morning as a way to kick start my week, and then a few minutes with a cup of tea each morning, and at the end of the workday. As my family has grown, I've now included them in my process. Sunday nights work for us, and it has become part of our routine.

Hopefully, I'm setting us all up for success, and wish you all the same.


Hi!  I"m Cara Benvenuti, the "Doula in Chief" at Lakeshore Doula Services.  I am so thrilled to be following my heart and calling as a doula!  I spent 25 years of my life in finance at some of Canada's largest financial institutions in a variety of roles from advising people on their mutual fund portfolios, to supporting investment management firms.   My goal is to empower women and families to make good financial decisions, and be supported in the journey of new parenthood.

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