“Don’t Talk To Me…”

ADHD self-awareness while working

“Don’t talk to me. I have no self-control and will talk to you for 3 hours and achieve nothing. Thanks. I love you.”

I love this guy.

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Photo credit: found it on the internet somewhere.

Toolkit: Biochemical/Pharmaceutical

A partial list of biochemical tools to manage ADHD:

  1. Diet (more protein and complex carbs, less sugar and simple carbs)
  2. Caffeine, carefully dosed (not too much, not too little; not too early, not too late)
  3. Eating schedule (tuned for your body)
  4. ADHD pharmaceuticals: stimulants (e.g. adderall, ritalin, Vyvanse, Concerta) and non-stimulants (e.g., Intuniv)
  5. non-ADHD pharmaceuticals that may also help ADHD: e.g., imipramine (Tofranil), buproprion, or armodafinil (Nuvigil)(
  6. non-pharmaceuticals that may help ADHD: e.g., fish oil, ginkgo biloba, and others

More to come…

Let Other People Stop You

Give your colleagues the power of No!
They’ll keep you in line.

“Don’t let me go to lunch with you!” 

Tell your favorite lunch-mate that you can’t go out because you have to finish a task. Later, have them tell you how awesome it was, so next time you’ll plan ahead.

“Don’t let me sign up for anything at today’s project meeting.”

Tell your colleague to poke you if you start to accept any new tasks or responsibilities. They’ll probably poke you harder than you like, but it will be worth it.

“Don’t let me leave my office unless I’ve handed off the mailing list.”

Tell your assistant to block the door unless you’ve finished the task. Let them tackle you if you try to escape.

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Photo by Planetbene, Creative Commons License

Toolkit: Mental

A partial list of mental tools to manage ADHD:

  1. Meditation
  2. Visualization: seeing yourself taking a specific set of actions that lead up to a good outcome.
  3. Mantras
  4. Imagery: seeing helpful images like a laser (to model focus) or a runner at the finish line (to inspire sticking to it)

More to come…

Toolkit: Body

A partial list of body tools to manage ADHD:

  1. Exercise
  2. Fitness
  3. Diet
  4. Sleep (sufficient sleep on a regular schedule)
  5. Protein
  6. Less sugar and other simple carbs
  7. Carefully dosed caffeine (not too much, not too little; not too early, not too late)
  8. Breathing exercises

More to come…

Tookit: Professional Help

A partial list of professional helpers to manage ADHD:

  1. Psychologist or Counselor: for diagnosis and ongoing care.
  2. Psychiatrist: for medication and ongoing care
  3. ADHD Coach: for performance at work and at home
  4. Executive Coach for performance at work
  5. Administrative Assistant: clerical work, appointments, reminders, organizing, etc. (can be outsourced online!)
  6. Professional Organizer: office and home

More to come…

Toolkit: Social and Peer

A partial list of social and peer tools to manage ADHD:

  1. ADD Group Therapy: under care of a psychologist or counselor
  2. ADD Support Group, in person: under care of a coach, or autonomous
  3. ADD Support Group, online: e.g., Adult ADD Productivity Circle 
  4. ADD “Buddy”: a friend or colleague with ADD, for mutual support around plans, actions, accountability, and concerns
  5. Reward Manager: an outside agent that rewards (or penalizes) you as you succeed (or fail) at following your commitments, e.g., Stickk.com

More to come…

Toolkit: Alarms and Simple Devices

A partial list of alarms and simple devices to manage ADHD:

  1. Hourly chime: on your smart phone or watch, to help you remember that time is passing, that you should check to make sure you’re doing what you intend
  2. Hourly (or other) alarm on your computer: customized to remind you to stay on task
  3. Calendar alarm on computer or smart phone: to remind you of appointments or scheduled tasks.*
  4. Smart phone or physical timer to use the Pomodoro Technique for focused, time-limited efforts.

More to come…

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*Set your alarm to include transition time! Got a meeting at 2:30 p.m. down the hall? Set your  alarm for 2:15 so that you can wind down what you’re doing, gather what you need for the meeting, and stop by the water fountain or toilet on your way to the 2:30 meeting.

Productivity Blast: The Pomodoro Technique(R)

With the Pomodoro Technique(R), you focus on one task for a specific bite of time (e.g., 25 minutes), then stop for a planned break.

It’s a proven method that can help you from Day One, with zero cost. Or if you want more coaching and tools, the Pomodoro Technique(R) creators have plenty to offer you.

Here’s their basic method:*

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*Image from the Pomodoro Technique(R) website. ADHD9to5.com is not affiliated with the Pomodoro Technique(R) organization, and we will make no money if you buy their products. But we do think they’re great!

Put a Time Limit on Your Breaks

Breaks are great!

The hard part is remembering to get back on task.*

Set a timer so you can really enjoy your break, confident you’ll get back to work after ten minutes or however long you’ve decided to get away.

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*”Let’s see, I just did a good hour of work, so I ought to take a break. Maybe I’ll go check the mail. Oh, look, an article about fitness. Hey, maybe I’ll take a walk — it’s beautiful outside. No, I don’t really have time for that — smart ADHD management! Time to get back to… oh, geez, look at my car’s headlights. Foggy. I really ought to fix that. Isn’t there some spray I can buy to buff that out? I’ll look online as soon as I get back inside. It’ll only take a second…just quick search on Google and… [four hours later] HOW IS IT FIVE O’CLOCK ALREADY?