I recently bought myself a drill. It’s pink, which might seem cheesy, and I guess it is. And while there’s little chance it’ll get swept up in my husband’s toolbox the real reason I bought it is because it’s made for women. Yes, I know it’s sexist, but it actually fits with my small hands and is a lot lighter.
No surprise, at least not to me, it’s been amazing. I have done so much more around the house since buying it. In fact, it’s been so great that I’ve been building up a whole toolbox that works for me and the sorts of things I want to fix or make.
It got me thinking… How many productivity strategies am I using that don’t fit me?
Maybe they’re made for neurotypicals? Or maybe they just aren’t suitable for someone like me who’s creative and entrepreneurial AND has ADHD?
My husband, for example, a neurotypical, pretty much sticks to the same routines, tools, and systems all the time. Me? Well, I’m a different story. So, I figured, why don’t I create a metaphorical kit of productivity strategies that ARE a fit for people like us?!
Do you like that idea?
If so, join me for the next couple of minutes a I share some of 9 not-so-talked-about things we should all have in our productivity toolbox.
1. Working Less
It may seem odd, but I did an experiment to see if I would get more work done if I limited my work to 30 minutes on the tasks I’m unmotivated to do. Guess what?! It worked!
Not only did I get more of the task done in a week, I also moved forward on a lot of other things. And this part may even be more important – I am much happier when I work this way.
Just an FYI – I’m going through a bout of depression, so if you’re not, maybe you can handle a bit more than 30 min. If not, that’s ok too. I just thought I’d mention it.
This one seems to change for me throughout the day, but anything from blaring pop music to white noise or noise cancelling headphones can help me stay more focused AND feeling more positive.
Right now for example, I’m listening to pop music. 10 minutes ago I was listening to cafe sounds. I find I do best with a playlist that shuffles through a little bit of everything.
3. Leaving Home
I have gone through periods when I’d work at a coffee shop almost every day of the week. It was the only time I’d get anything done! And I know, it’s not uncommon for people to enjoy working from a coffee shop, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re being productive.
For example, lately, I’ve been less productive when I’m at a coffee shop. I’ve been finding that without a plan, I end up people watching or scrolling social media. So, if you like working from a coffee shop but don’t get a lot done, try to go with a plan.
4. Talking About It
I can get uninspired so easily, especially with depression on top of ADHD. But, despite my lack of motivation whenever I can get out with a friend to talk about what I’m doing, it helps a lot.
When I chat about what I’m doing I can lock back into the underlying motivation and inspiration behind why I’m doing it. Because of that I usually get a lot more done in the day or two following.
What I mean by this one is either chewing gum or snacking.
The neat thing about chewing gum, for me at least, is that it can help me think almost as well as when I’m moving.
And in terms of snacking, sure, I can snack on potato chips all day, but let’s just agree that we should probably be healthy and reasonable about what we’re snacking on. That said, I do find that popping some grapes (or some other 1-bite snack) helps to keep my restlessness in check.
A neat little aside: If whatever you’re snacking on gives you pleasure, it’ll also give you a little bump of dopamine.
6. Dealing With Annoying Things
One of the things that drives me absolutely bananas is spending time looking for files, passwords, or other similar things. It’s not just the time spent looking for it that is a productivity suck. The bigger issue is its effect on mood and executive function.
Basically, I spend a few hours every couple of months organizing (or reorganizing) my systems and files to make sure that day to day I’m not dealing with lost files, etc.
Considering our issues with executive function, I make it a goal of mine to set up my life so that I don’t need to rely on it unnecessarily.
7. Working Alongside Others (i.e. Body Doubling)
Body doubling is becoming a lot more popular, but, I still want to include it in this post becaus it works. I have found that even just working along someone else, whether online or in person, somehow helps my brain focus and boosts my motivation.
No, I’m not going to tell you to exercise even though, yes, it is one of the best things for us. What I mean is literally moving while we work.
This could include stimming, but, it could also include rocking, standing, cycling, or walking.
I’d love a desk bike or treadmill, but, alas that isn’t in budget nor do I have room for either of these. Instead, I have a standing desk, pipersong chair, and wobble board. But I also have a rocking chair that I do my daily planning in and sometimes even work in it.
There’s something about moving that helps us engage our brains. For me, I can focus AND think better.
I don’t just mean what we’re wearing, which, yes, is important too. What I’m talking about, though, is how comfortable we feel in our workspace. So, things like desks, chairs, keyboards, and mice.
If we’re uncomfortable typing, can’t quite reach the floor in our chair, or have a sore finger from our mouse, it can literally make it impossible for us to focus and get anything done.
I think this is one of my biggest hurdles to overcome, and I’ve read about a lot of ADHD’ers who struggle with this too.
For me, despite multiple keyboards, mice, and chairs, I still struggle to sit or even stand at my desk for long periods of time. This means that I’m either not working (and stressing about it) or working on the couch in my office.
Embracing Your Unique Path to Productivity
In the end, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when dealing with ADHD. Nah, we’re a bunch of unique individuals with our quirks, creativity, entrepreneurial fire, and the little ADHD spark that makes us, well, us. So, why not let these special ingredients be your guides?
As you dive into your own quest for productivity, don’t forget to wear your individuality like a badge of honor. It isn’t a hindrance; it’s your secret weapon. Your entrepreneurial spirit isn’t a distraction; it’s your driving force. And ADHD? Well, it’s part of your story, and you get to decide how it fits into the narrative.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not about fitting into someone else’s mold or living by their standards. No, it’s about finding the groove that makes your heart sing, your mind thrive, and your days truly fulfilling. So, here’s to forging ahead on your path—a path that’s uniquely, beautifully ‘you.
I hope you’re leaving with a pocketful of insights that hit home or spark your curiosity.