My ADHD diagnosis was a significant turning point in my life (you can read more about it here if you missed it), bringing with it both a ton of relief in gaining a clearer self-awareness, and a dedicated drive to find new ways to show up for myself, my family, and the deeply cherished work I engage in here on the internet. Maybe you can relate? If you’re navigating life with ADHD, you know it takes intention and awareness to be able to show up and stay consistent — even if that ‘consistency’ looks different for you than it does for others!
ADHD doesn’t have to hold you back. You might just need to implement a few new techniques and boundaries to help you thrive. I’ve been testing and trying things that work for my own type of ADHD (it comes in all shapes and sizes), and I wanted to give you an honest rundown on what’s been helping me. I’d encourage you to try some if these out for yourself and see if it helps you to see the results you aspire to achieve!
Batch work your tasks to boost productivity.
Batch your work by the type of task you’re working on. Getting into a focused state is a lot easier for me when I make sure the work I’m doing doesn’t have me bouncing around from writing to strategizing to marketing to communicating. Bouncing between tasks often leads to wasting time as I switch from one part of my brain to another, playing catch-up, and trying to figure out “wait, what needs to happen here?”
This approach means I get to zone in on one type of task at a time. And the major bonus here is that, when I batch my work, I tend to work quite a bit faster, which means I’m getting way ahead! Keeping my brain aligned on similar tasks helps my focus! Sometimes months of content is created in just one sitting. Things I love to batch: copy writing, podcast recording, clearing my inbox, work reviews, and meeting days just to name a few!
If you want to learn more about how I batch work to be more productive, I spilled all of my secrets here.
Schedule some power sessions.
One of the things I had to accept was that I’d never function or work the same way that someone without ADHD does. I won’t approach a project the same way, I won’t have a daily workflow the same way either. It explains so much of my frustration when I had a corporate job — the 9-5 grind felt so suffocating and impossible to me at the same time. I wanted freedom, not just because I wanted control, but because my energy and creativity can’t be coaxed out on a set schedule.
So, on days where I feel pressed for time or super low on focus-energy, I like to set a timer and just blitz through anything I possibly can. I’ll either use a handheld timer or a digital pomodoro timer app (I also love the Forest app!) and write out a few things I am going to focus on accomplishing during a set period of time. Sometimes it’s 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. The challenge feels like a bit of a foot race against myself, which keeps my brain on task since my target feels small and in reach. Rather than “work hard all week”, it’s boiled down to “focus for the next 20 minutes and see what happens!”
Try body doubling.
This has been massively effective for all kinds of activities and work tasks! You might’ve already practiced this ADHD focus tool without even knowing it, too! The idea here is that when you need to accomplish a task, but you are having some task initiation difficulty, you can invite a person to join you in that task. I’ll never forget when I was writing my book, I did this, where I had a team member on Zoom with me while I was working. We would mute ourselves and set a timer and work but just knowing that someone was on and able to watch me helped me stay focused on the task at hand.
Body doubling can either look like you joining a friend for some ‘laptop time’ where you both cruise through whatever you can in an hour, or it can mean that someone comes over to sit on your couch with you while you fold your laundry and they read a book or watch the latest seasons of Love is Blind with you. It’s not always about doubling the task itself— just having another human present with you can help keep you focused!
Make your ADHD work for you.
As much as I might doubt this sometimes, I think ADHD can really be a superpower. That doesn’t negate the fact that ADHD comes with some major difficulties, especially when the ADHD fog rolls in and it’s hard to get your day (or week) started, or when the dissociation kicks in and you just don’t feel like yourself, or when you have to reread or re-listen to something 5 times… Yep, let’s sit in the fact that ADHD is tough.
And alongside that, it’s a gift. It’s a gift because it’s a part of a person who, as we adapt, is picking up skills that other people don’t have. The ability to hyper focus. The amazing conversation juggling skills. The spontaneity! The amazing problem-solving skills. The adaptivity and willingness to take things as they come. Lean into these things. Own them. Whatever your ADHD looks like, it’s a part of what makes you unique. On days where I feel frazzled or frustrated with myself, I try to recount the ways that my ADHD has likely helped me on my journey.
Change your environment.
I love moving around the house as I work. My business was mostly built from my couch, my bed, and my dining room table for over a decade. I won’t lie, this drives Drew crazy but it totally works for me. Where you work matters, and when you’re bringing your ADHD to work with you, sometimes that means changing up the location when you’re having a hard time finding a focus flow!
A great way to spark up fresh energy in your mind and trick it into some renewed energy is to get up and change locations. When I can’t seem to focus at my desk, I step on the treadmill and bring my laptop with me. If you work from home, and you know there’s a spot with good lighting (or just good snacks!) then head there for a reprieve from the usual. If you can, leave home and head to that coffee shop you’ve been wanting to try!
When I started writing my book, I would book an overnight stay at a local hotel here and there to do really intentional focused work! Just being out of my regular environment helped me focus and the words would just flow out of me. Plus, I got to do my favorite thing ever as a reward: eating room service in bed while watching a reality show. Ahhhhh.
Reward and acknowledge your work.
Speaking of rewards, make sure you take time every week (or, like I do, at the end of every single day) to recognize what you were able to do that day. Honor your work, or check-in with yourself if it was a tough day. If you surprised yourself, stuck to your boundaries, fought off those distractions, or blazed through a difficult task, reward yourself for it! Maybe that’s with a nice bubble bath or ordering in for your favorite meal.
It’s important to really see your hard work and remind yourself that you really notice when you’re doing your best, even if that looks different than what the world says ‘productive’ or ‘successful’ is supposed to be. You write your own definitions for success! Just remember to show yourself that you’re proud to be you, ADHD and all!