Finding Good ADHD Advice
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Lately, I've talked a lot about toxic productivity. Specifically, how productivity advice meant for neurotypical brains can cause ADHDers to be led astray.
When you take this advice at face value, you might forget it wasn't designed for your brain. You might blame yourself when it doesn't work.
We have to be careful not to fall into this trap.
Does that mean all productivity advice not written for ADHD brains is worthless? Not at all! We just need to develop better discernment. Find the parts that do work for our brain, and discard the rest.
Here are a few rules for spotting toxic productivity—that unhealthy advice you should avoid:
- Advice that claims to be the only way to do things. This type of advice often claims to be an axiom or single truth, and shames opposing viewpoints.
- Advice that emphasizes pushing through difficulty. This may sound like positive advice, but can send an ADHDer into a shame spiral when it doesn't work as described.
- Advice that hasn't worked for you in the past. Be quick to move on from advice that has already failed for you in the past.
With improved discernment, we can find good ADHD advice among advice aimed at neurotypicals.
Earlier this year, Dan Shipper wrote in his Superorganizers newsletter about some tools he uses to stay productive. While his advice wasn't designed for ADHDers—I took away several great ideas.
In particular, I love the idea of a Bad Feels Toolkit—a collection of links to different articles for when feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed.
ADHDers often get stuck in a rut. Without any sort of guide, it can be difficult to pull ourselves out.
With a Bad Feels Toolkit, you can preplan for those times. Set aside some specific articles, encouraging messages from friends, videos, etc that have encouraged you in the past.
ADHDers sometimes lose track of things that are out-of-sight, so create a physical reminder or even print a version of your toolkit and place it somewhere you'll easily be able to find it. Or you can even write on a post-it note or whiteboard "Don't forget your Bad Feels Toolkit in [Notion or other app]!"
The latest issue of Superorganizers (How I Got My Brain Back) is an article by Brie Wolfson about her struggles with productivity, depression, and mental health. It has some interesting ideas for tracking mood and figuring out your good day cheat codes. I think you'll enjoy it!
Jesse J. Anderson
Superorganizers is a newsletter featuring in-depth interviews with the smartest people in the world about the tools and systems they use to stay productive. Learn directly from CEOs, best-selling authors, content creators, and artists about how they structure their calendars, take notes, read books, get through their inbox, and manage their emotional lives.
📝🧠 Face It—People with ADHD Are Wired Differently This article dives into some of the distinct differences in the ADHD brain's wiring based on the latest research and understanding.
🐦🧠 My 10 Favorite ADHD Tweets/Threads (Nov 22nd) ADHDers often relate to memes on Autism (and vice versa). Why do we seem to have these shared experiences, despite symptoms that seem to conflict with each other?