Last night, as I lay in bed, the gentle fizz of water on my nightstand was interrupted by a comical showdown. Luna, my ever-curious cat, seemed keen on claiming my plate of fresh carrots and cucumbers as I filled out my Medication & Mood Journal details for the day. But I was stumped by the final question: “How do you feel about your productivity today?”

It seems straightforward, doesn’t it? Yet for me, it is often a loaded question. Just that day, I spent half a day working on a system to streamline my blog writing and wasn’t sure what (if anything) I accomplished.

It’s a recurring theme in my life: investing time in tools and tactics, hoping they’ll result in more efficient outcomes. But more often than not, I’m left wondering if it was worth the effort.

Perhaps you’ve felt the same? If so, let’s embark on a journey in this blog post to:

  • Recognize our unique ADHD-induced challenges,
  • Redefine efficiency for the ADHD mind, and
  • Discover actionable strategies for optimizing our productivity.

The ADHD Conundrum: The Pursuit of Productivity

Recognize Our Unique Challenges as ADHD’ers

Many of us, especially creatives diagnosed with ADHD later in life, know this feeling: trying to be more productive can sometimes feel like falling down a never-ending rabbit hole.

Society values productivity so much that life has become more about work than actually living for a lot of people.

For people like us with ADHD, this pressure feels even heavier. We often worry about not doing enough or think others see us as flaky, scatterbrained, or lazy.

Because of this, we look for ways to work better, hoping it will fit with what everyone expects, or to simply be able to accomplish what others do in the same timeframe. But finding the right ways can take a lot of time. And sometimes, it can feel like we’re not getting anywhere, or worse, going backwards.

Questioning Time Allocation: An Introspective Look

Redefine Efficiency for the ADHD Mind

Deciding how best to use time is an ongoing challenge for me. In the quest for efficiency, I’ve tried numerous strategies, and despite my best intentions, sometimes I stray off course.

It’s a typical ADHD experience: getting deeply engrossed in a task, then when “done,” wondering, “Did I make the best use of that time or was it an act of avoidance, the chase of novelty, or something else?”

But here’s a realization: perhaps our efficiency doesn’t fit the conventional mold. It’s not always about a straight path or working the same way others (aka. neurotypicals) do. As cliche as it may sound, maybe it’s about the journey, the unexpected turns, and the lessons learned.

Being mindful of our actions remains vital. Taking time to consider our actions doesn’t mean we alter our core approach; it just means we’re accepting of it, while also striving for personal growth.

Strategies to Refine Productivity and Maintain Focus

Discover Actionable Strategies to Optimize Our Productivity

To help me in moments like this, I put together this list — a guide to help navigate these feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt when it comes to spending time on tasks meant to improve efficiency.

  1. When embarking on a task to improve efficiency:
    • Set clear intentions and document them.
    • Utilize a timer, pausing periodically to consider what we’re doing.
  2. During or post-task, reflect on the following:
    • Is the task enjoyable or sparking my creativity?
    • Can I augment my efficacy for this task in the future?
    • Have I stumbled upon an unexpected lesson?

Another thing: this isn’t about being perfect. It’s about knowing ourselves and our unique ADHD patterns. We all have strengths and challenges, and it’s important to embrace them.

Summary

  1. The ADHD Productivity Challenge:
    • ADHD individuals often face feelings of inadequacy in their quest for productivity. Societal pressures intensify these feelings.
  2. Rethinking Efficiency:
    • Our efficiency might not fit the ‘normal’ mold. It’s less about a straight path and more about valuing the journey and its lessons.
  3. Strategies for Better Productivity:
    • The guide offers strategies like setting clear intentions and using timers. Periodic reflection during tasks can guide our focus. For a version to print out, here is this Google Doc.

And, Some Quirky Wisdom from a Feline Friend

In the words of my cat Luna, sometimes you’ve just got to pounce on the cucumber, even if the world expects you to chase the mouse. Here’s to finding joy in the unexpected detours and celebrating our quirky, creative selves, ADHD and all.

About the Author

Hey there, I'm Susanna Miles, a writer and advocate who understands the ups and downs of life's twists and turns. As a creative entrepreneur with ADHD, I'm here to share stories, insights, and practical tips from my journey.

Join me in embracing the beauty of imperfections, navigating distractions, and finding the balance between creativity and business. Let's celebrate our unique paths together.

Stay curious,
Susanna Miles

P.S. Explore my tailored journals and planners to support your journey.

How A Private Blog Helps Me Stay Organized With ADHD
Luna and the Rainbow Rebellion
Figuring Out To-Do Lists at 50: My Journey and Practical Tips

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