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The One To Zen Organizing Blog

Breathe in Calm, Breathe out Clutter

  • Writer's pictureJill Katz

Using Point Of Performance (POP) To Support New Habits & Routines

Updated: Mar 20, 2023


Person with notes that describe new habits and routines

The History


When my oldest daughter was in Elementary School, mornings were a trial. Admittedly, both of us were not “morning people.” But the larger issue was my daughter’s neurodiverse brain which struggled to remember all the things she needed to do to wake up and be ready for school.


So we put a Morning Checklist in a prominent place in her room so she would see it first thing when she woke up. It went something like this:


  • Set alarm for 6:30am so alarm goes off (no wake-ups from M&D)

  • Turn clock so you can see time

  • Turn on a light or lamp so you can gradually wake up

  • Get out of bed by 7:00 am (Consider making time earlier if not working)

  • Take your meds (use weekly pill organizer)

  • Be completely ready with door open: Dressed with Shoes/socks on, coat on, computer away and snacks/lunch in hand by 7:20

This checklist was not a cure-all but it was effective. And so, many lists followed. We had a “Did you remember” list on the front door and a “Nighttime checklist” in her bathroom. I didn’t realize it at the time, but all of these strategies have a name, “Point of Performance.”


What is Point of Performance (POP) & why is it important?


Professor Russell Barkley defines Point of Performance as “The critical place and time for performing a behavior or a task in a natural setting (The Important Role of Executive Functioning and Self-Regulation in ADHD© ).”


The Point of Performance is the best place and best time to intervene so a person can stay on task. So if you have difficulty with a new routine or struggle with executive functioning skills, POP can help you get the results you want.


POP In Action


The best way to explain POP is to give a couple of examples where the Point of Performance works well:


Sticky notes running along a person's arm so person has reminders of important tasks

Problem: You are pulled off task, distracted and not finishing what you started

Fix: Have everything you need at the correct time and place


Examples:

Create a coffee station so you don’t leave to get a mug and then forget what you were doing and never finish


Keep a notebook by your bedside table so you won’t forget those amazing ideas you have in the middle of the night


Post a list on the door to your garage with what you need to bring with you to work every day




Problem: You are not meeting your own or others expectations

Fix: Put a reminder or a tool in the right area so you can see it or fix the behavior when it strikes


Examples:


Stop eating past 10pm by putting a note in your snack area that says “NOT PAST 10PM”


You are expected to wait your turn at work meetings and not interrupt so you

  • Take a pad of paper into the meeting so you can write down your ideas while you wait, or

  • You ask your manager to go around the room so each person has a clear turn or

  • You mute yourself on Zoom


You want to read more instead of mindlessly scrolling on your phone so you take a photo of the current book you are reading and set the photo as the background on your phone


In Conclusion


People with executive functioning issues (E.g., ADHD, HFA) struggle with impulse control, working memory and distraction. Point of Performance is a great tool that takes into account these challenges and lends extra support.


For the rest of us, Point of Performance will also come in handy when we are anxious or fatigued, and need that extra boost to support a new habit or routine.





8 Comments


Julie Bestry
Julie Bestry
Mar 25, 2023

While I'm familiar with the concept the term is new to me; I love it! Too often, people put reminders at their desk for things they'd need to know/remember in the kitchen, or reminders at work for things they'll need to act upon in the car. I'm a big believer on location-based reminders, and not just on paper. I love the geofencing option for reminders so that (for example), when I get out of my car at my home, I get a reminder ping to do specific actions. I have reminders that ping me when I get out of the car at a particularly store to remind me to check my grocery list, too. POP adds a refreshing pop of…

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Mar 27, 2023
Replying to

Julie, I have never heard of the geofencing option on your phone but I just looked it up and am really excited to try it for myself and my clients. Thanks for commenting about it! Tech is moving at the speed of light that it's so hard to keep up and take advantage of all it has to offer.

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sara
Mar 22, 2023

I have talked with clients about similar strategies before, but now it's great to have a name to go with this category. I usually just referred to it as putting solutions where the brain can trip over them 😂. Great examples, and a great post!

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Mar 24, 2023
Replying to

It always helps me to know the what and why behind a strategy. Point of Performance works because it helps combat working memory issues, impulsivity and distractability. Thanks- and I'm glad it was helpful!

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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Mar 20, 2023

Like Janet, I am unfamiliar with the term, POP. I know it to mean Point of Purchase. But substituting "Performance" for "Purchase" makes a lot of sense. I love the way you describe this idea in real circumstances. And the about adding the book you're reading onto your phone's home screen to encourage that behavior instead of endless scrolling is brilliant!

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Mar 24, 2023
Replying to

Linda, every once in a while, you will see this term thrown around in ADHD groups. I am familiar with many of these terms since my daughter has ADHD. I've also been known to "wander off" during a task, although I have never been officially diagnosed. When you are one to struggle with distractilbility, you look for strategies like these that are simple and effective!

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Janet Barclay
Janet Barclay
Mar 20, 2023

I've never heard of this concept before, but it makes a lot of sense!

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Mar 24, 2023
Replying to

Janet, try it out with a new routine and see if it helps.

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