The Secret to Productivity for Adults with ADHD

In today’s blog, we are talking about the secret to productivity for adults with ADHD. All of us ADHDers have the best of intentions, but we really do forget about the things that we love. If they’re not in front of our faces, we definitely get “out of sight; out of mind” about it. 

Today we are talking about how to get more done, how to tackle the thing you’ve been putting off forever, and essentially the secret to productivity. It’s not what you think and you’re probably not going to like it, but it’s the real truth and we all need to hear it. 

Here is the trick to productivity: the key to doing better is feeling better.

In order to become more productive, we first have to actually feel good. Many of us try to do better in order to feel better, but in my experience, that is a backward approach to the problem. We tell ourselves we’ll feel better when we get X, Y, and Z done, and we beat ourselves into submission trying to do it, only to find that we feel terrible and can’t get the things done. 

If we want to make sustainable progress, we have to figure out how to feel better first. So many of us have lived with years of self-loathing, self-judgement, and shame around having ADHD. It’s unreasonable to expect ourselves to consistently finish all of our tasks when we’ve been in so much emotional distress and carrying around a ton of emotional baggage. 

What normally happens when we have a “to-do” list is that we feel terrible that we have one in the first place, so we consistently avoid it, only to feel terrible about avoiding it. Then we beat ourselves up for not doing anything on the list making ourselves feel even worse — continuing the self-loathing cycle around and around.   

We waste a lot of time beating ourselves up. I’ve coached hundreds of clients, and the cycle is always the same. Feeling terrible and trying to force ourselves to do things is a negative feedback loop. It doesn’t work! 

We’re not actually making continued sustainable growth and progess with this method. So the main point of this blog is to tell you that we need to stop the cycle and instead of beating ourselves up, we need to start doing the things that make us feel better. 

Here are a few things you can do to feel better: 

  1. Start working with a therapist or coach
  2. Commit to the healing journey
  3. Start the self-reflection process — discover what makes you feel good by acknowledging the things that make you feel afraid, guilty, and shameful 

If you want to do better and be more productive, you have to feel better. The way that you feel is the fuel that determines your actions. So ask yourself these questions: What fuel are you running on? Are you running on willingness? Self acceptance? And determination?

If not, I invite you to explore those types of emotions, because they will give you the fuel to move forward and be productive. 

Most of us adults with ADHD are not very in touch with our emotions. Most of us have learned coping mechanism where we dismiss our feelings. We’ve dissociated, and haven’t allowed ourselves to open up to the negative feelings in our lives.

The main key to feeling better is to acknowledge our emotion lives, work with them, so that we can move forward productivity. 

So I will reiterate, the secret to productivity is feeling better. The key to doing better — to being more productive — is taking care of ourselves and feeling good about our experiences. So try to notice what fuel is in your tank? Is it gas or lemonade? What is happening in your body? Are you experience shame, fear, judgment, self loathing, overwhelm? Identifying our feelings is the first step to healing and growth. 

Once we know what is happening in side of us we can start leveraging productive emotions, like determination, self acceptance and compassion, to fuel our fire and make us even more productive. But first we have to take the necessary steps to feel better so we can do so. 

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