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ADHD and Productivity

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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, 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 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.
Be mindful.
Stay focused.
Think dialectically (look at both sides of the coin).
Eye on the prize (the objective).
Practice the pause.
Don’t judge.
Shut the negative voices down!
Control emotional dysregulation.
Be proud.

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

And please remember, we’re all in this together! #adhdawareness #adhdsupport #adhdproductivity

Want to read more of my (short) blog posts? Visit The ADHD Lawyer Blog
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ADHD and Ridicule

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One of the biggest trademark issues I face when it comes to activating my ADHD symptoms is ridicule. Ridicule – or how I receive it, mockery – is a tremendous emotional trigger for me. For example, I’m asked to do a task by someone and I immediately feel self-inflicted pressure by default. My self-inflicted pressure causes me to believe the person is, or is becoming, impatient (negative misattribution – I’ll cover that in a future post [if I remember]). At this juncture, I’m swarmed with feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, incompetence, and I begin to [internally] panic. Next, frustration kicks into high gear – notice this scenario; it’s self-created. The other person (or people) has shown one iota of, or even alluded to, impatience. This thought-pattern is my automatic response-mechanism. It stems from my upbringing – NOT ONE MEMBER OF MY HOUSEHOLD HAD A MODICUM OF PATIENCE (which to this day, holds true)! I digress. Where are my coping mechanisms when I need them? What happened to my practiced behavior modifications? Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. I actually get to a point of consistent progress until . . . the mockery unveils. Let the [ADHD emotional breakdown] games begin! Anger begins to set in. Rather than becoming mindful at that moment, I go into full-blown defense mode: “I got it . . . give me a sec . . . Almost there . . . no, thanks, [I don’t need your help! PLEASE it’s going to distract even more than I already am!!!! STOOOPPP] . . . ” The Phoenix rises and my exhausting diatribe of explanation emerges.

ADHD is a full-time job.

Becoming self-aware

Fortunately for me (and my counterparts), I am becoming more self-aware when faced with these types of situations. While I am not in the least bit immune to ridicule, I am unequivocally aware of the thoughts and emotions I experience as a result of it. I recognize that I am highly sensitive to mockery and the reasons behind my heightened sensitivity. Please do not misunderstand the weight of my message – I am not always successful at controlling the ADHD beast within me. Modifying my reactionary behavior is a life-long journey that takes blood, sweat and tears to implement and is fails most of the time. But I don’t give it. Read that again. I DON’T GIVE UP! I say to myself, it’s not the critic who counts . . . then I google Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote:

It’s Not The Critic Who Counts!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

ADHD is a Full-Time Job!

Living with ADHD is a full-time job. It’s perpetual work. I work my butt off and do whatever it takes to turn my ADHD symptoms into superpowers. Half full or half empty? Either option still gives you something tangible – it’s up to you to decide how you will take advantage of that commodity.

The ADHD Lawyer

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Sequel to this blog post: “Let’s break this pattern down” Coming soon to The AHDH Lawyer Blog