How to Maximize Your Productivity When You Suffer from ADHD
If you’ve been arriving late to work or shifting your priorities, then you may suffer from a popular brain disorder known as ADHD.
Sufferers of this erratic disorder usually have difficulty in organizing and concentrating on their current task.
Startling research suggests that adults suffering from ADHD are prone to occupational hazards such as low income, poor relationships at work and home, depression, antisocial disorder, and many more.
Let’s understand how to rid ourselves of this problematical disorder.
UNDERSTANDING ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
Take the life of an average ADHD sufferer, he sits down with a goal in mind and that is to finish his project before his intended deadline.
Unfortunately for him, the phone rings, he’s immediately distracted and by the time he puts down the phone and sees the clock – a good 5 hours has been erased from his life.
While every person is prone to distractions, ADHD sufferers lose track of their primary goal and are easily misled by a series of diverting actions.
The result is a poor lifestyle which becomes increasingly hard to overcome with access to technological gadgets such as – televisions, computers, smartphones, music systems, and other electronics.
Why ADHD sufferers can’t perform effectively in a professional environment?
Imagine you’ve got a remote control in one hand and would like to change the channels on your television set.
All you do is push a button and the channel on your TV changes, simple right?
Now imagine if your remote-control refuses to work and you’re unable to change through channels.
You’d be frustrated and try everything at your disposal. From replacing your batteries to finally buying a new remote altogether.
Let’s say the remote control was your brain and the television was your body. If your brain can’t control your body’s functions, you’ll never perform the way you want to in a professional environment.
The ADHD brain is sidetracked, and the body doesn’t do what it’s intended to. When you want to work, you end up daydreaming the whole day away.
If your boss were to give you a task to perform, you’d rather talk to a colleague as opposed to completing your task.
This is because your internal remote control is broken, and your brain is never in alignment with your body.
A research headed by André Michaud and his team demonstrates that ADHD is usually the outcome of poor parenthood.
The study suggests that the first 7 years of a human being’s life is the most important period where they learn to develop their cognitive and verbal skills effectively.
After 7 years have passed, the child begins to develop attention problems if he or she is exposed to electronic gadgets. In today’s world, such devices are exposed to children during their infancy.
This causes the average human baby to grow up with ADHD before he lands his first job.
With this, their professional life is plagued by a series of modest earning capabilities and insignificant job growth.
ADHD and Sleep Patterns
The National Sleep Foundation has found conclusive evidence which suggests ADHD sufferers deprive themselves of some much-needed shut-eye.
A host of problems was unearthed to have surfaced related to sleep disorders such as – narcolepsy, hypersomnia, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, etc.
With insignificant sleep comes behavioral problems and this causes individuals to react in an aggressive manner when put in a professional workspace.
ADHD causes rifts between coworkers and inattentiveness during important board meetings.
That’s why it’s important to ensure you receive adequate sleep and if you aren’t, it’s necessary to visit a sleep therapist to diagnose if you suffer from ADHD.
Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD isn’t alone, there are a host of other illnesses and symptoms that come with it.
Here is a list of a few.
- Dyslexia – This disorder causes a learning disability where people afflicted are unable to read and understand words or their spellings.
- Sensory problems – ADHD sufferers have trouble with their sensory perception such as hearing, sight, taste, and smell
- Anxiety – It’s quite common for ADHD brains to also suffer from panic attacks on occasion due to the stress of not concentrating enough on their priorities.
- Memory issues – ADHD sufferers are known to have memory problems and are unable to recall even recent events that have transpired.
- Depression – With ADHD, depression can manifest in those that have no goals or motivation over a considerable time.
Professionals such as Neuropsychologists and Psychiatrists are the ones responsible for diagnosing and treating ADHD disorders in adults.
While pediatricians are generally the ones treating kids and adolescents.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ADHD AND PROCRASTINATION
When you suffer to keep your focus on one priority, you’re bound to procrastinate. Putting off tasks frequently can cause distress in your professional life.
You’ll feel depressed and unable to function at your normal pace.
When we do less work for the day, we automatically lower our overall productivity.
What could be done in a day, extends to over a week. In this way, we prolong a simple task into a difficult mission.
When we earn less money, we increase our financial stress and this streak ends up with not living a meaningful life because we are unable to pay our bills.
Does this sound like you?
Productivity is directly linked to our attention levels.
The more alert and energized we are, the more we tick things off our checklist and earn more.
Eliminating ADHD is a necessity and if you don’t want to be stuck with a heap of tasks to be completed at the last minute, then it’s time to take the problem head-on.
The following are some of the problems faced by ADHD sufferers and serial procrastinators.
Fear of Failing
People with ADHD procrastinate so much that they don’t realize their deadlines are fast approaching.
They spend most of their planned time in completing mundane tasks throughout the day and when it’s action time, they are usually found sleeping on the couch to avoid work.
By the time the deadlines begin to pop up, the fear of failure takes over and the individual is forced to feel frustrated for not paying attention to his or her schedule.
When this happens, the person usually feels a wave of stress overwhelming their senses.
With fear looming around them, they complete the task with a panic of being imperfect and work on them with a constant fear of failing them.
ADHD sufferers usually have problems when it’s time to starting something new.
The planning stage goes smoothly and just when it’s showtime – the brain freezes.
This is because ADHD causes the brain to struggle when executing the plan but is perfectly fine during the planning stage.
If you’ve ever had 100 ideas in a year, ask yourself how many you have fulfilled so far.
If you’ve never executed any, you certainly suffer from ADHD and are unable to get past the starting line.
When was the last time, you spent a good 10 minutes reading the newspaper or a book on a consistent basis?
If your answer is never, you aren’t absorbing any knowledge from around you.
Knowledge is growth and every individual must make progress by absorbing as much information as they can to keep up in the professional atmosphere.
Poor Money Management
People with ADHD convince themselves that they are financially well off.
Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.
Take the following example –
Tom earns $30 dollars per hour for organizing items at a local supermart. Every day for 7 days a week, Tom works for 2 hours and spends the rest of his time at home daydreaming about having a worry-free future.
He promises himself that if he earns well every week, he’d have enough to buy himself a car and then a house and so forth. He sets his income target at $2100 per week. However, he earns $60 every day for doing 2 hours’ worth of work which is nowhere close to his intended target of earning $300 daily.
With a deficit of over $240, Tom is living an unrealistic life where he convinces himself he is doing exactly what he is supposed to. This is where ADHD severely thumps logic and forces the thinker to believe he is closer to his goal while being far from it.
Most individuals with ADHD utilize stimulants to heighten their attention spans.
These stimulants can range from illegal and dangerous substances such as methamphetamine and nicotine to cocaine.
When under the influence of these, they temporarily regain their focus but over a long-term begin to lose their effect and abuse their dopamine functions.
Psychologist, Michele Novotni recommends that ADHD sufferers utilize creative ways to strengthen their attention spans.
Drugs are not just a health hazard, but they are extremely costly to acquire and hence, this causes a hole in their wallets as well.
She states, “It’s important for everyone to know how efficient and effective they are at their job.”
We’ve listed 6 such ways in which you can cure your ADHD episodes without too much fuss.
6 TRICKS TO KICKSTART PRODUCTIVITY AMONG ADHD SUFFERERS
If you thought ADHD had anything to do with being lazy or not giving it your full concentration, you haven’t been understood.
The brain of ADHD individuals has a limited attention span in which they either move on to another task or lose interest altogether in doing anything at all.
Is ADHD curable?
As with any mental disorder, with ideal productive habits, ADHD sufferers can boost their attention spans and be more aware of their current situation.
To begin improving your ADHD, perform these 6 tasks on a regular basis and you’ll notice a sharp improvement in your overall productivity.
1. Create Deadlines for Everything
If tasks never had deadlines, we’d never complete them on time.
The ADHD brain falls prey to procrastination when there aren’t any cut-off dates.
That’s why it’s critical to introduce dates to your tasks.
Whether it’s watching a movie or listening to music, set a time limit. Introducing a sense of urgency can force your brain to remain focused without losing its concentration.
An example to demonstrate what urgency means –
If you were tasked to pay your rent without any time limit, you’d never mark your calendar nor pay attention to it. Because there isn’t a deadline attached to it.
If your landlord were to barge in and ask you to empty out your home by the weekend or pay up your rent immediately, the alarm bells in your mind are set off. That’s because we have a date to pay the rent – the end of the week.
The next time you perform an important task, whether professional or personal, add a time limit to it. Limiting your time gives you added purpose and increases your attention to it.
Stickies or Post-Its are a creative way to remind yourself of a deadline.
Stick them on surfaces where you’re likely to see often – tv monitor, computer screen, refrigerator, mirror, etc.
2. Organize Everything
Asking an ADHD sufferer to organize responsibilities is like asking a tortoise to win the Grand Prix.
But as history shows us with patience even the tortoise can win the race.
And you too can organize and do away with your attention disorder.
Begin with the easiest task first. Start de-cluttering your office or work desk.
Arrange all the files in a neat manner and wipe down any dust from the table. A neat workplace is the first objective for you to set up.
Your second task is to set aside time to arrange all your work files in an arranged manner to retrieve them within a moment’s notice. If your files are digital, sort them out in nice arrangeable folders.
Task management tools like ‘Meister Task’ can help in coordinating your workflow.
Next, we move to the kitchen and this is the place where we regain energy.
Keeping that in mind, start organizing all the important food that you’re likely to eat in easy-to-reach places, the food that you don’t often consume can be placed higher.
The same technique of organizational skills can be used to organize your email.
Spam mail can be redirected while your critical emails should be alerted to you immediately.
This is to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Do you realize how much of a role organizational skill plays in your life in combating ADHD?
Maintaining position is key to getting rid of ADHD as it helps you focus and helps you memorize exactly what you should be doing. ‘To Do List’ is a tracker application that will help keep track of everything you accomplish for the day.
3. Sign up with a Productive Partner
Having someone to supervise your productivity when you suffer from ADHD is a tremendous advantage.
Have a family member or a friend that can remind you all your priorities for the day via email or message or by phone.
Have them give you a heads-up on your priorities for a week. This will allow you to stay on track if you are distracted.
For example – If you must send out 10 cover letters every day to different companies asking them for a job. Tell your sibling, parent, or friend to ensure the 10 emails are sent at the end of the day.
If you haven’t stepped up to your daily tasks, ask them to mark it on the calendar with a red marker. After a week has passed by, check the number of red marks for the week.
The more you progress, the more these red marks will eventually disappear.
You could also host an ADHD support group for other people from your neighborhood that suffer from it.
Have one of your ADHD partners call and check up on you with your daily checklist.
And return the favor back to them with their daily task. In this way, you’ll support each other’s problem and make it a strength.
4. A Brain Healthy Diet
Not everything is under your control, sometimes a lack of nutrition increases symptoms of ADHD.
If you’ve been having junk food or fast food, it’s time to eliminate them from your daily diet.
These foods cause more damage than harm to your overall brain health.
According to a study by ‘The American Chemical Society’, protein releases neurotransmitters that help in communication and is highly desired to cure brain diseases like ADHD and Parkinson’s.
Lean meat, eggs, low-fat dairy are all exceptional sources of protein to include in your diet.
Apart from protein, adding zinc and iron to your diet increases your dopamine levels. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel happy and less stressed.
When you’re less tensed, your attention levels are automatically better.
B Vitamins are excellent for improving overall alertness and finally, Omega-3 fatty acids are critical to brain health. In fact, Omega-3s are probably the biggest contributing factor to treating ADHD.
A special research team headed by Dr. Sven Ostlund concluded that children who consumed regular Omega-3s had a decrease in ADHD behavior within 6-months.
The food we intake is directly responsible for how sharp our brainpower is. It’s crucial to cut down on food that offers zero to minimal nutrition and choose the above brain foods to keep it in full power.
5. Mindfulness Meditation
You’re probably wondering how meditating helps with ADHD.
Let’s demonstrate – a detailed study carried out by the University of California provided satisfactory results in demonstrating the healing powers of meditation on the brain.
Within the 8-weeks of the meditative program, the participants noticed an improvement in their overall concentration levels.
Their cognitive impairments had improved drastically, and mindfulness meditation provided self-control to their thought process.
Even a meditation time of just under 3 hours every week was proven to be successful in the above study. To get the maximum benefit, a recommended time of 15 minutes daily is critical to obtain positive benefits.
Mindfulness meditation is effective against ADHD because it works on relaxing the brain from any form of stress and tension.
When we are anxious or in a state of panic, our hormones are all over the place causing memory lapses and other cognitive damage.
Here is how to practice mindfulness meditation in the right way.
- Sit firmly on the ground with your back straight
- Gently place your palms on the ground
- Close your eyes and begin to relax
- Feel the tension on your shoulders and legs start to move away from your body
- Forgive and forget anyone that has hurt you in the past
- Stay in this position and think of happy memories from the past
- During this time practice deep breathing techniques
- Inhale and exhale out deeply to the count of 5
- As you inhale, imagine the cool air as the fresh positive energy being drawn in
- As you exhale, imagine the warm air as the pent-up energy leaving you
- After a duration of 15-minutes, gently open your eyes and get ready to conquer the world with productivity and positivity
You’ll notice a significant improvement in your overall senses and attention levels.
When we align our brain and body together, we create magic and solve outstanding mental disorders like ADHD.
6. Stop Thinking and Just Do It
The most effective strategy to eliminate ADHD once and forever is to stop thinking altogether and just perform the action.
Ridiculous, you think?
Whenever you are supposed to commit to a task, you usually send the thought to your brain and decide. After the decision is made, you follow through.
Stop this circle of communication immediately and go straight for the task at hand.
If you’ve ever thought about cleaning the dishes, just head straight to the sink. Don’t let your mind think of anything. Let your mind be a blank slate when you perform your daily duties.
Our brains are programmed to perform duties at a convenient pace. It’s only when we push ourselves, we realize our full potential.
Physical tasks should immediately be performed at the time you’ve been assigned to. If your boss asks you to complete an assignment, immediately begin to implement the action. Thinking only delays your priorities.
Only utilize your brain when there is a creative aspect to it. If you’ve been assigned to design or create a concept, then utilize the time in working it out.
Rest of the time, it’s wasteful to think when you should be ‘doing the action’ instead.
By following this technique, you’ll accomplish your tasks without having to confirm with your mind.
ADHD can be a debilitating disease that causes us to underperform. Even if it’s not your fault, your attention is hijacked by an intrusive action.
In prehistoric times, humans were born to gather, hunt, and survive.
A simple life.
Today, the average human must exercise, wake up, spend time with loved ones, work, socialize, groom, cook, drive, etc.
It’s no wonder with so many activities jam-packed in a day, that ADHD has made its presence among us.
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