You Don’t Need ADHD to Use These ADHD Performance Hacks
Spend some time on social media and you’re bound to stumble across a post trying to diagnose you with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As we said earlier , the tendency to pathologize every minor behavior is dangerous, and it goes without saying that ADHD is not just distraction, forgetting to call people back, or having a constantly dirty car. However, I know that I am one of the many Instagram and TikTok users whose channels are desperately trying to convince me that I am living with undiagnosed adult ADHD .
While I am quite certain that I do not have ADHD, I have found myself using many of the time management tips and coping mechanisms that people with this disorder use. I’m always looking for new ways to combat productivity (even if it means overcoming productivity dysmorphia ). After all, I don’t struggle with many ADHD symptoms and I will take all the help I can to manage my overactive mind and focus on the days when my brain just doesn’t work. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, consider implementing the following strategies to get the most out of your work day.
Productivity tips for people with ADHD
According to HelpGuide , adults with ADHD often struggle with impulsive control and catch themselves jumping between tasks or accidentally focusing on the wrong ones. Here are a few ideas on how to cope and even overcome the difficulties associated with the task.
Decide what to do first. To focus on what you need to do, the first step is to prioritize the various tasks. Ask yourself and then write down which items on your to-do list are the most important or urgent. To help you get closer to that, consider using a “decision matrix” to help you prioritize different tasks.
Break down larger tasks. The American Academy of Family Physicians explains that an organization is not only your physical space; it’s about organizing large projects into smaller, manageable tasks. Instead of looking at a project as one complex task, look at it as a series of steps. Don’t be afraid to make tasks as small as you need. For example, “send an email” can be broken down into “log into your account, open a draft, write a subject line…” until you get the job done.
Use lists. That could mean writing things down in a diary, organizing your note-taking app of choice, or coloring stickers—if you find a system that works for you. One part of this advice is dedicated to fighting forgetfulness; what might be less obvious is how writing things down will help you take abstract tasks and make them more concrete and doable.
Work in small steps. Taking the first step towards completing a task can be the hardest part of the battle. Here is a great free app that will help you implement the famous Pomodoro time management technique. You can also try this (10 + 2) * 5 method to include breaks as a motivational trick.
Include exercise breaks. Anyone with ADHD has probably heard of the benefits of exercise for improving concentration and focus. Taking breaks to move your body can also reduce excess energy, which can be one of the reasons you struggle to focus on the task ahead of you.
Write down thoughts off topic. As Healthline explains , sometimes people with ADHD find themselves in a “free-flowing spiral of thought.” These storms of big ideas can be a great boost to creativity, but a disaster if you’re in a meeting with your boss. Instead of wasting time and energy trying to push these thoughts away, make a pact with yourself to take a break and write them down as quickly as possible. You will know that you will not forget these off-topic thoughts and that they will be waiting for you when the meeting is over. You can even schedule a specific time at the end of the day to review all the notes you’ve taken so you can focus on more important tasks.
Create a productivity playlist. Have fun tuning yourself with music that you use specifically to focus on your work. Even if it’s more of a placebo, I know a lot of creatives who swear by it.
Don’t Wait for a Diagnosis (But Get a Diagnosis)
If you think you’re struggling with undiagnosed ADHD , it’s important to seek evaluation as early as possible. A professional will help you determine if you need more serious treatment.
Until then, you don’t have to wait for an ADHD diagnosis to try out different management strategies and figure out how you can work with your hyperactive mind instead of fighting it.