7 Tips for a Productive Day for ADHD

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Almost everyone with ADHD wishes they could be more productive. Even though they are very busy and feel exhausted by the end of the day, they lack that feeling of accomplishment that comes with working productively on an important task or project.

Many ADHD characteristics can work against you being productive., However, with a few changes you can be productive every day.

Here are 7 tips to help you.

1) Eat Protein for breakfast

What you eat for breakfast can help or hinder your productivity. Many people with ADHD struggle to wake up in the morning, so they skip breakfast completely, or grab something easy like a muffin or bagel to eat as they dash out of the door. Carbohydrates do make convenient breakfast food. However, if you want to have a productive day, take the time to eat protein for breakfast. Examples of protein are eggs, lean meat or protein powder. Protein is great for the ADHD brain because it contains amino acids. Your body makes neurotransmitters from amino acids and neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain that enable you to focus, concentrate and feel motivated.

2) Exercise

In his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. John Ratey says exercise is helpful in managing ADHD symptoms. Exercise increases dopamine and norepinephrine and keeps the levels elevated for a period of time.

This is similar to how ADHD medication works. Because the ADHD characteristics (impulsivity, distractibility, etc.) that get in the way of productivity are helped when you exercise, it makes sense that if you exercise you will be more productive.  

3) Cancel non-essential appointments

Appointments have a way of creeping into your calendar – meetings that you don’t need to be at, or events that you don’t want to go to.

Often you go because you feel you obligated in some way. Even a short meeting can make a serious dent in your day when you factor in travel and transition time and how hard it is to get back your focus. To increase your productivity, cancel everything that you don’t absolutely need to be at. This will free up hours of time so you can work on important tasks that are meaningful to you.

4) Clear your desk

You might think that the clutter on your desk doesn't affect you but it does! When you are surrounded by clutter, you have a visual reminder of all your projects and unfinished tasks. This makes it very hard to focus one task and be productive. Before sitting down to work, clear your desk.

5) Block Distractions

Close your door. Switch off your phone and email notifications. If you need to work on your computer and are tempted by certain websites, put a block on those. You will know what your weaknesses are. It's very hard to be productive when there are external distractions. It is also mentally fatiguing having to bring your focus and concentration back on task after being distracted.

6) Visual reminder

On a big piece of paper, in a bright colored ink, write what you are going to be working on for the next 30 minutes.

Stick it in front of you as a visual reminder. If you do get distracted, the visual reminder gets you back on task quickly.

7 ) Use a timer 

Now that you have a set the stage to be productive, the last thing to do is to set your timer for 30 minutes and start working. Timers are great for people with ADHD who find it hard to start a task. By gently telling yourself you will just be here for 30 minutes, you will experience less resistance to starting. Timers are also a great way to stay on task. When the timer rings, take a mini walk, drink a glass of water and then set your timer for another 30 minutes.

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