Take a second right now on Strategies For ADHD, and think of a time you were truly inspired by somebody. Really, go ahead. I’ll wait for a second… Now, let me ask you. When that person inspired you, were they doing something they were really good at?
My guess is yes.
Any time I’ve ever been inspired by another person they were operating in their strengths. When people start doing more of what they do well, and less of what they don’t, everyone wins.
This is your life. Find out what you’re good at, and pour yourself into it. Don’t let your ADHD, or what other people tell you about your ADHD, stop you from getting in touch with your passion, or doing what you are really good at.
There Is A Better Way
For those with ADHD often the practical details of life can sweep them off their feet. In attempts to recover, they pour all resources into skills they don’t necessarily have natural ability to do well. They set off with good intentions, but it doesn’t yield the payoff they were looking for.
There is a better strategy that not only is more meaningful, but yields better results, and is more fulfilling. A Strengths-Based Approach is the best approach to ADHD. Here are three strategies for adhd that will change your approach to ADHD, so you can start operating more in your strengths, enhance your sense of purpose, and impact the world in a positive way with your talent.
#1: Don’t rely on willpower
Instead, focus on designing a structure/circumstance that requires results from you. Pairing up with others (accountability) is a great way to start doing this. i.e.
Instead of pumping yourself up to get yourself to exercise for the day, make an appointment with a friend at the gym (or via zoom).
#2: Externalize, Externalize, Externalize
When you feel stuck, capture everything going on in your brain to get it out. What you need is perspective and clarity, but that requires you to hold multiple things in mind all at once.
The problem is, this is exactly the issue with ADHD, executive function, and working memory: it just doesn’t do it very well. You’ve got to externalize things. So get it all out, on paper, on the wall, on the whiteboard. Let those tools be your second brain. That way you can get some distance, see multiple things at once, in order to process it, and find a solution for moving forward.
#3: Stop trying to fix all the things you aren’t good at
If you have ADHD, you may find that upkeep on the practical tasks of life isn’t necessarily your strong suit. That’s okay.
If you’re experiencing disappointment for not being able to accomplish goals, or for not following through, or not managing your calendar, or not doing the dishes, or any other regulatory task that helps practical life move along, don’t let it crush you.
These little tasks still need to get done, but a different approach is what you need. If your strategy for the small things is to just try harder, stop immediately. That’s just going to contribute more momentum for a downward spiral, the next time you slip up.
Focusing on the things you aren’t good at and trying to fix them, is an ineffective way to accomplish your goals, and leads to being overwhelmed.
The reason it’s important to stop this approach is that you’re going to need the energy, so don’t waste it feeling bad about not being organized enough, etc.
#4: Do your heavy-lifting cognitive tasks early in the day
Your brain’s got only so much juice/willpower to spend throughout the day, and it gets depleted. Doing the heavy load early is the best use of your energy. Otherwise, you end up doing heavy cognitive tasks when your brain is taxed and weary. It takes more than twice as long for half the quality.
#5: Make your workspace aesthetically appealing to you
This may seem like a luxury, but it’s not. For those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, your environment influences you more than the average person, so you want to create a place that feels good. Focus on two or three items that really make a difference to you feeling better while you work (nice desk, pen, etc.)
#6: Expect to get stuck and make a plan ahead of time
One thing you can count on with attention deficit disorder is that you’re gonna get hung up in the execution of things. Make a plan to keep moving forward when this occurs.
When you get stuck in an assignment, it can be a trigger to dive into distractions. The point is to make flow/progress/moving forward to your goal throughout your work.
#7: When a terrible task triggers you, get up, move around, and come back to it later with a fresh perspective
When you get triggered, it skews your perspective. Your brain goes into a different gear, and it’s hard to access the parts of your brain that good at finding solutions (openness, curiosity). Trying to problem-solve while you’re triggered is counterproductive. It’s a bit like fighting in a relationship, sometimes it’s best to step away from the situation and return when you’re more cool-headed.
#8: Start focusing on what you’re good at
Are there times when you’ve noticed another person working harder to achieve something you find easy? What do you do well? What are some things you naturally care about? What are you passionate about?
Our culture can often overlook how valuable self-investment can be. It’s too worried about how much you can do, do, do. Don’t listen. The best investment you can ever make is in yourself and what you’re good at. Utilizing your strengths is your right, not utilizing them is an injustice, to yourself and to others.
Trying to fix the things you’re not good at wastes the energy you could be investing in your strengths.
Your Strengths are what give you traction because they allow you to do the things you do well already. Focusing on anything else just leads to spinning your wheels.
So dig deeper at what you love, and spend the time finding out why. Don’t listen to our culture, go find out who you are. For those with ADHD, the devil is often in those details, because of how many people with ADHD get stuck in them, and can’t find enough momentum to give life everything they got.
#9: Get a system of support
Breaking old systems of behavior takes accountability, and you are going to need assistance. Reaching out for support is the best strategy I know for dealing with the, “Just-Try-Harder” syndrome. It’s not enough that you just try harder. You need a different strategy. Reaching out for support is a bit like showing yourself that you’re valuable and that you’re worth it.
What Strategies for ADHD work for you?
If you wrestle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, what tips, techniques, and strategies have helped you the most?
Share your examples in the comments below!