Tag Archives: ADHD symptoms

An ADHD-Friendly Strategy to Be Productive

Initiating tasks and sustaining attention and  effort to a completion point are

The reward for progress!

The reward for progress!

very difficult for most people with ADHD, particularly if a task is uninteresting, boring, or repetitious. Consequently people with ADHD often live surrounded by numerous unfinished tasks.

At Adventures in ADD, a local meetup group, I learned a great strategy for getting things done that is designed to be ADHD-friendly. ADHD symptoms occur because the pre-frontal cortex of a person with ADHD is under-stimulated, resulting in executive function deficits. Consequently people with ADHD seek stimulation in order to fully engage their brains. Their brains are stimulated by fun activities, newness, crises, conflict and endeavors that are interesting to them.

The woman (I’ll call her “Edna”) who shared her strategy for getting things done probably did not know the neurobiological explanation for her productivity challenges. However, she knew she got bored easily and would likely bounce away from tasks when they were not interesting. Taking that information Edna developed the following strategy.

Edna identifies four or five different tasks she needs to get done. She works on one task until she gets bored (about 10-15 minutes). She then stops and rewards herself with a short period of time working on a jigsaw puzzle. She really loves putting puzzles together. Then she moves on to another task for 10-15 minutes followed by another puzzle break. Working in this way she gets work done on each of the tasks.

Edna is able to sustain effort and interest in working on her tasks because she has limited the time she spends on any one task and thereby avoids the ADHD tendencies to get bored easily, to get overwhelmed by the enormity of a task and to bounce away from a task to seek something more interesting and fun. She also deliberately provides what her brain craves — fun! She is willing to work for puzzle time! And, she makes progress on four or five tasks.

A strength of people with ADHD is their creativity and willingness to think outside the box. This strategy is evidence of both! Thanks, Edna!

ADHD Clutter Clearing: Daily Habits to Prevent Clutter

Over and over people with ADHD have told me that when they get home from work they can’t make themselves do anything that requires brain power. I suspect that they “blow all their brain” at work trying to stay focused and be consistently productive — which can be VERY difficult for the ADHD brain that naturally bounces, seeking stimulation in things that are new, interesting or fun.

Job security and financial survival motivate people with ADHD to manage their ADHD DSCN0157symptoms at work. But, it takes all their brain power to do that, to work outside of what is the norm of the ADHD brain. With depleted brain power for decision-making and completing tasks, they arrive at home, drop their stuff and plop on the sofa or head for the bed. Over time the dropped stuff and incoming mail accumulate.

Having a blown brain at the end of a work day is very real for people with ADHD. So, thinking they can get a lot of work done once they get home is just a pipe dream. That takes brain power they don’t have. However, a tired brain can do habitual tasks. With practice daily maintenance behaviors can become habits that require little brain power.

Following are the 4 most important tasks that if done every evening can become habits and can prevent the accumulation of clutter:

  1. Hang up your coat — 1 minute
  2. Unpack shopping and other bags that come into the house with you — 5-10 minutes
  3. Sort mail to get rid of junk mail — 2-5 minutes
  4. Clean up after dinner — 15 minutes
  5. Hang up your clothes — 2 minutes

Those tasks will take at most just over 30 minutes to complete. They are tasks that require little brain power. Yes, they are not the most interesting or stimulating tasks, but enduring 30 minutes of boredom can prevent hours of clutter clearing in the future.

Put on some music. Fix yourself a beverage you love and invest 30 minutes in clutter prevention. Do those things to stay in control of your stuff and enjoy more peace at home.