Hello fellow ADHDers (especially if your household depends on you to keep things “running smoothly”… Those poor, naïve folks, eh? Well, maybe your ADHD symptoms are koonot as severe as mine are…)! This system and resource IS MY BRAIN! It works so well that I have been able to fake out many, who do not know me very well, into thinking I am a really “organized” person. Heh, heh, heh…
First, I want you to pick a color for each of your family members (and pets), that you think you can find all kinds of things for (like file folders, notebooks, paper clips, reusable lunch bags/boxes, backpacks, pet collars, water bottles, you get the idea). Preferably, pick something that you know that person will not detest (Orange, I will never pick orange, for myself. Broncos, why did one of your colors HAVE to be orange?)! These colors will become very important to you, as a visual cue, as time goes on. In my family, my hubby has dibs on black (until they make something darker… sometimes I have to pick grey, or the DARKEST blue possible), mint green for me (thankfully, that is a popular color right now. Sometimes I have to settle for purple…), red for my daughter (sometimes, to her chagrin, I have to settle for a pink…), blue for my eldest son, green for my youngest son (if there aren’t any, he sometimes gets the dreaded (to me) orange, but he likes it!), and yellow for my mom (sometimes brown or peach). They each know that these are their colors, and it makes things that are for them, much easier to spot (among our chaos)!
Time for the First Use of the Colors You Picked
Along with this (yes, you will use the colors you picked for this one), I will share with you a resource that has truly been a lifesaver for me in my ADHD-ness (yes, ADHD-ness is now a “real” word, I just wrote it, right?! lol). You can click here in a browser (or on the COZI Family Organizer image below) to get to it. It is really slick, and the basic planner is free (it has plenty of features without having to buy the premium version)! It works across all of our devices, so there is no excuse why everyone does not know what is on our calendar (we have Android phones, Kindle Fires, PCs, and an old iPad – Yes, we are a bit nerdy in my household… Why do you ask? lol). You just have to get your family to actually LOOK at it (this can be a real issue at my house)! If they just won’t, or like to keep claiming ignorance, you can print out the calendar either for the day, or for the week, and post it somewhere you can train them to look (mine goes on the refrigerator). You can get the premium one, but I have used the free version for several years now, and it has worked just fine for us. There is way more to it than first meets the eye.
First of all, I recommend setting it all up, through a browser (this may be how you have to do it, to begin with. I cannot remember. It’s been too many years). That way you can really see all the features, and set it up the way you want it, easier. Your password needs to be something that everyone you share the planner with can know. So, go ahead and set your account up, with your shared password.
Okay, now that you have set up your free account, the real fun begins (at least to me). Just be careful not to hyperfocus too much! 😉 Remember those colors you picked for everyone (including yourself)? Well, now you get to begin using them. When you set each person (or pet) up, use their personal color to identify them. That will make the activities or appointments that they need to be involved in, very easy to see. You can even import your google calendar (if you have used that one) into COZI! They have all the helps and instructions for importing other calendars, and activity schedules into your COZI organizer on their website (I have even imported the calendar from my church’s website, into our COZI, and ours is not a big church!).
Next, you will want to get the COZI Calendar app loaded onto each person’s device(s) (smartphone, computer, tablet, Kindle Fire, etc.). Then, they can sign in with the information you assigned to each person, and the shared password. I recommend doing all the above items before you start playing with all the other features. Especially if you are a fellow ADHDer! lol
Now You Can Play with Some of the Other Features 🙂
You can then also set up shopping lists for each store, or website you shop at. I have my family write what they are running out of, or just need, on one paper list also located on our refrigerator. Then, I can grab that, and put the items on my shopping lists for where I get them (if your family is on-the-ball enough to know where you get each thing, I suppose you could just have them put it on the right list to begin with… That is just a really scary thought, for me). I then cross those items off of the paper list, and put the list right back on the fridge. You could also have a miscellaneous list set up on COZI, especially for those times when people are not at home, they could add the items to that list for you to transfer to the correct store later (I have considered doing this lately). They just have to be sure to get online at some point, so that it will share across your devices. This is also true for when you set up appointments on your calendar, if you are offline when making the appointment! Do not forget that part (essential to making it working properly)! I am speaking from experience here.
Then, there are the To-Do Lists! These can become invaluable to you. You can make and assign custom lists to different people! These can help with daily routines, homework assignments, chores, daily To-Dos, etc. The possibilities really are endless! In a future post I will explain how I have had to separate out my own daily To-Do list.
I have not used the Meal Planner, but if you click on the Tips tab, in the Meal Planner, it tells you exactly how to use it. It really does look like something I need to begin using, and soon! Probably after I get used to using the Journal feature I will talk about next.
The newest feature that COZI has most recently added is the Journal. As it says on their site, “The family journal is the new way for busy families to capture and share everyday moments”. I can see how this could become very valuable for our family! I think I will begin to use it for my final kiddo in our homeschool. I can take pictures and easily journal things he does for homeschool. Especially those things for which I do not have anything “tangible” to show for it. Then, when the teacher evaluator comes next year, we will have all of that to show her. That would be much better than printing off pictures and trying to explain all of them to her, after the fact (which is how I had done it before)! Okay, I think I have just convinced myself that this will be one of my new resources to use with my youngest son (he is now 15, has multiple special needs, and is not real clear when talking with the evaluator). I’ll have to let you guys know how it’s working for me, after I use it for a few months! Plus, it will give extended family a safe way to “connect” with us.
I hope that this is a helpful resource for all of you, but if you decide not to use it, having a color for each family member can still be very helpful for us “visual” people!
Take Care, and I Hope You Find Something in Your Day to Enjoy!