Strategies For ADHD

Strategies for ADHD to Unleash Your Inner Genius

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, can be a challenging condition to live with, affecting focus, productivity, and daily life. However, with the right strategies in place, you can unlock your inner genius and live a more fulfilling life.

In this article, we'll explore 9 proven strategies for ADHD that can help you manage and improve your focus, productivity, and overall well-being.

ADHD Strengths find out what you're good at and do it

#1: Focus on Accountability Not Willpower

We've all been there - we set a goal for ourselves, only to find ourselves struggling to stay on track and motivated.

Whether it's a work project or a personal goal, willpower can only take us so far. But what if there was a better way to achieve our objectives, without relying solely on our willpower? Enter: accountability.

The truth is, willpower is a limited resource, and relying on it to get things done is like trying to run a marathon on empty.

Accountability is the key to sustained productivity, and it works by creating a structure that helps you stay on track, even when your willpower is low.

By setting up systems of accountability, you can ensure that you're consistently taking action towards your goals, even on the days when you don't feel like it.

So, how do you set up a structure of accountability?

The first step is to create a plan. Get a planner or calendar, and start scheduling your tasks and appointments.

Make sure to include not just work tasks, but also self-care and personal tasks.

This will help you get a clear picture of your schedule and ensure that you're taking care of both your professional and personal life.

Next, find an accountability partner. This could be a friend, family member, or colleague who is also working towards a similar goal. Meet regularly to discuss your progress and hold each other accountable for staying on track.

Finally, make sure to celebrate your successes along the way. When you reach a milestone, take the time to reflect on what you've accomplished and celebrate your progress. This will help keep you motivated and on track, even when the going gets tough.

#2: Learn to Prioritize With the Eisenhower Matrix

Prioritizing is a critical skill for anyone looking to be productive, but it's especially important for those who struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Using the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize tasks is a simple and effective way to manage ADHD and improve productivity.

The Eisenhower Matrix, named after former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is a simple tool that can help you prioritize your tasks and responsibilities.

strategies for adhd eisenhower matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix (image source: study.com) is based on two key factors: urgency and importance. Urgency refers to the time frame in which a task needs to be completed, while importance refers to the value a task adds to your life or work.

The matrix divides tasks into four quadrants, each with its own set of priorities:

  1. Urgent and important: These are tasks that require immediate attention and have a significant impact on your life or work. Examples might include a pressing deadline or an emergency situation. These tasks should be done first.

  2. Important, but not urgent: These tasks may have a long-term impact on your life or work, but they don't require immediate attention. Examples might include a big project, learning a new skill, or developing a new habit. These tasks should be scheduled and given a deadline.

  3. Urgent, but not important: These tasks are distractions that can take away from your focus and energy. Examples might include unimportant emails, phone calls, or social media notifications. These tasks should be delegated or postponed.

  4. Not urgent and not important: These tasks are simply time-wasters that provide no value to your life or work. Examples might include watching TV, playing video games, or browsing the internet. These tasks should be eliminated or limited.

By dividing tasks into four distinct categories, you can easily identify which tasks need your immediate attention, which tasks are worth scheduling for the future, and which tasks can be delegated or eliminated.

One key to success with the Eisenhower Matrix is to be honest with yourself about the value and urgency of each task. Don't let distractions or fear of the unknown cloud your judgment. And remember that the matrix is a tool, not a rulebook. You can always adjust the priorities of your tasks as your life and work change.

#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: Learn to navigate the ADHD Shame Cycle

ADHD Shame Spiral Infographic

People with ADHD often struggle with a negative and self-defeating shame cycle which can greatly impact their productivity and success. Breaking this cycle requires a change in perspective, a growth mindset, and a focus on strengths.

What is the ADHD Shame Cycle?

The ADHD shame cycle is a negative pattern that individuals with ADHD often experience. It starts with a mistake or perceived failure, which leads to feelings of shame and self-doubt. This, in turn, leads to disengagement and a lack of motivation, which further perpetuates the cycle.

Breaking the ADHD shame cycle requires a change in perspective and a shift towards a growth mindset. This means embracing challenges as opportunities for growth and development, rather than as sources of shame and failure.

Another key factor in breaking the ADHD shame cycle is to focus on your strengths. Rather than fixating on your weaknesses, focus on the things you do well and build on them. This not only helps you feel more confident, but it can also increase your motivation and engagement in tasks.

It is also important to seek out supportive environments and relationships. Surrounding yourself with individuals who understand and accept ADHD can help reduce feelings of shame and increase your motivation to perform at your best.

Finally, it is important to address and reframe negative self-talk. Replace self-defeating thoughts with positive, empowering self-affirmations. This can help increase your confidence and reduce feelings of shame.

#5: Customize Your Workspace So It Appeals To You

The physical environment has a profound impact on the productivity and success of individuals with ADHD. Making your workspace aesthetically appealing to you can help to increase focus and reduce distractions, leading to improved productivity.

Having a workspace that is tailored to your personal preferences and needs can help to increase motivation and reduce feelings of overwhelm. 

It also provides a visual cue that it's time to work and get things done. A visually appealing workspace can help to trigger feelings of excitement and creativity, leading to more efficient work sessions.

Be intentional about the design and setup of your workspace. Experiment with different colors, lighting, and decorations to find what works best for you. 

Below are a several things to consider when setting up your workspace to be more conducive to getting your work done:

  1. Reduce Clutter: A cluttered workspace can be overwhelming for people with ADHD and can lead to increased distractions. Make sure to keep your workspace organized and tidy, and regularly declutter any unnecessary items.
  2. Adopt an Ergonomic Workspace: Having an ergonomic workspace can help to reduce physical discomfort and fatigue, allowing you to work for longer periods of time. Consider investing in an ergonomic chair, adjustable desk, or a standing desk.
  3. Add Plants and Greenery: Studies have shown that adding plants to your workspace can improve air quality, increase focus and creativity, and reduce stress levels.
  4. Use Visual Aids: People with ADHD often respond well to visual cues. Consider using a whiteboard or sticky notes to track your to-do list, or use an ADHD planner to help you stay organized.
  5. Choose the Right Color Scheme: The color of your workspace can have a significant impact on your mood and productivity. Consider using warm, neutral, or cool colors to create a calm and relaxing environment.
  6. Control the Lighting: Natural light can improve mood and focus, while artificial light can cause eye strain and fatigue. Make sure your workspace is well-lit and adjust the lighting to your preferred level.
  7. Customize Your Space: Make your workspace your own by adding personal touches such as photos, artwork, or other decorative items that you enjoy. This can help to create a more positive and engaging work environment.

By implementing these strategies, people with ADHD can create a workspace that is tailored to their needs and promotes productivity, focus, and success.

#6: Expect to get stuck and make a plan ahead of time

For people with ADHD getting stuck can be a source of stress, frustration, and disengagement.  

However, by anticipating this experience and having a plan in place, individuals with ADHD can reduce the negative impact and increase their chances of success.

Rather than viewing it as a failure or weakness, individuals with ADHD can learn to see getting stuck as an opportunity to grow and learn. 

By embracing this growth mindset, you can increase your resilience and motivation, and be better prepared to handle the challenges that come with ADHD.

One key component of this strategy is creating a contingency plan. This plan should include specific steps to take when you get stuck, such as seeking help, taking a break, or switching tasks. 

Having a clear plan in place can help reduce the stress and frustration that often accompany getting stuck, and increase your ability to stay focused and motivated.

Another aspect of this strategy is building in flexibility into your work process. For individuals with ADHD, it can be helpful to have multiple options for approaching a task, so that when you get stuck, you have alternatives to explore. This can help you avoid getting bogged down and losing momentum.

By reframing your perspective, individuals with ADHD can overcome the challenges they face and achieve their full potential. By building in flexibility, creating a contingency plan, ADHD’ers are better equipped to overcome the challenges they face and achieve their full potential.

#7: Develop a Mindfulness and Meditation Habit

People with ADHD can greatly benefit from creating a mindfulness and/or meditation habit. 

Mindfulness refers to a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It is a form of attention training that promotes clarity, insight, and relaxation.

Meditation, on the other hand, refers to a set of techniques and practices designed to bring about a state of mindfulness and awareness. Meditation can take many forms, including focusing on the breath, repeating a mantra, walking, or visualizing a peaceful scene. The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind and increase focus, helping to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase well-being.

Both mindfulness and meditation are widely used in the field of psychology and mental health as tools to promote emotional regulation and stress reduction.

Meditation also has a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing anxiety, irritability, and restlessness. This can help to improve sleep, boost mood, and increase overall well-being. By practicing mindfulness and learning to regulate our emotions, people with ADHD can develop greater self-awareness and control over their impulses.

You can incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine can be as simple as taking five minutes each morning to sit in stillness and focus on your breath. With regular practice, you'll notice an improvement in your ability to stay focused and manage stress, leading to a more productive and fulfilling life.

Research has shown that mindfulness and meditation can increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for attention and executive function. 

Additionally, mindfulness meditation has been found to decrease activity in the default mode network, the part of the brain responsible for mind-wandering and distractions.

In mindfulness meditation, the goal is to focus your attention on the present moment, usually by focusing on the breath or a mantra. When thoughts arise, you simply acknowledge them and then redirect your focus back to your breath. 

This technique helps increase your ability to sustain attention by training the mind to focus and maintain concentration for longer periods of time.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced meditator, taking the time to cultivate a mindfulness habit can bring significant benefits to your life.

#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!