Is there such a thing as too much productivity?
What is productivity to an ADHDer? Efficiency with time-management. But the key to such efficiency is possessing functional “executive function.” Executive function, according to Merriam-Webster.com, is defined as the group of complex mental processes and cognitive abilities (such as working memory, impulse inhibition, and reasoning) that control the skills (such as organizing tasks, remembering details, managing time, and solving problems) required for goal-directed behavior. In the 2008 article, Assessment of executive functions: Review of instruments and identification of critical issues, the authors interpret ‘executive functions’ as, “an umbrella term comprising a wide range of cognitive processes and behavioral competencies which include verbal reasoning, problem-solving, planning, sequencing, the ability to sustain attention, resistance to interference, utilization of feedback, multitasking, cognitive flexibility, and the ability to deal with novelty” (Burgess, Veitch, de lacy Costello, & Shallice, 2000; Damasio, 1995; Grafman & Litvan, 1999; Shallice, 1988; Stuss & Benson, 1986; Stuss, Shallice, Alexander, & Picton, 1995). Wow! This definition is a beautiful scientific mouth-full! And finally, a more modern, general definition of executive function from ADDitudemag.com is, [broadly speaking], the cognitive and mental abilities that help people engage in goal-directed action: [ADHDers] direct actions, control behavior, and motivate [themselves] to achieve [their] goals and prepare for future events.
To me, productivity means rituals. I have daily rituals that I MUST follow in order to be productive. Implementing these systems helps my executive function deficits (see above if you skipped to this section). For example, I wake up, I splash water on my face, I get ready to go to the gym, I make my coffee, I set an intention for the day, I go to the gym, I go home, I take my meds, I shower, I get dressed (clothes, accessories, etc. chosen and laid out the night before), I remote start my car, I read the note I left on the kitchen table reminding me to take my lunch out of the fridge, and make sure I have everything to bring to work. If I deviate from this ritual in the slightest bit, I become derailed and that causes a domino effect. Yeah, I know, it sounds ridiculous because it’s robotic but, I MUST be robotic and follow these steps in order to be productive. As ADHDers, our brains function differently. To be productive, I try to focus on what works for me (rituals) and I keep a close eye on my objective (objective- singular: ONE at a time). I try to be mindful or, aware of the present moment. Being mindful is certainly difficult to do, I won’t sugar-coat it, especially when you are heated, distracted, emotional, or feeling invalidated. Being mindful can also help with over-productivity. When you try to do too much, the ADHD brain essentially shits down. Baby steps. Perform O N E T A S K A T A T I M E!! As ADHDers, we want to complete everything at the same time (btw, multi-tasking is an urban legend! ;)) but we don’t really have a grasp of what “time” means. I have been working on this blog post for hours! (ok, I started it 2 weeks ago). I could continue writing, editing, re-editing, adding additional content, deleting content – you get the picture. I am working on my time-management issues. It’s on my ADHD bucket list!!! Bottom line, DO ONE THING AT A TIME. Bottom, bottom line – DO ONE STEP AT A TIME. You know how it goes. We’ve all been there, and back, many many times. So embrace it. Trying to be over-productive usually leads to being zero-productive.
SO what’s the take-away?
Productivity = Task-management
Check your emotions.
Frame your mindset.
Be patient with yourself.
Manifest your groove.
Limit your perfectionism.
Think dialectically (look at both sides of the coin).
Eye on the prize (the objective).
Practice the pause.
Shut the negative voices down!
Control emotional dysregulation.
Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.Eckhart Tolle
Links to Productivity TIPS for ADHDers
What does productivity mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or send me an e-mail to theADHDlawyer@gmail.com
And please remember, we’re all in this together! #adhdawareness #adhdsupport #adhdproductivity