7 Solid Productivity Tips for People with ADHD

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Always Respect the Basics:  Sleep, exercise, and diet.


By Danielle Joy Scott

Is that To-Do list getting ridiculously long? Do you need to get some work done asap?

Don’t sweat it! You got this!

Take a deep breath and read my 7 Solid Productivity Tips for People with ADHD to help get you started.




1) Find the Right Work Environment

Evaluate your work space and be realistic with yourself; is the area you are working in conducive to getting stuff done? Is it quiet? Are you tempted to do other things? Are you being interrupted often?

A public space like a library or coffee shop, as opposed to home, can be especially helpful to minimize distractions. Some people, like myself, have a really hard time working from home (I find myself doing anything and everything except the task at hand!).

If you work in an office and are prone to interruptions, consider blocking out time in your schedule that you can close your door and focus. Perhaps put a sign on your door that states when you are available and to please not disturb you unless it is an emergency? Talk to your co-workers ahead of time so everyone understands what you are doing.

 2) Filter out Distracting Noise

The ADHD brain has a hard time filtering out information, it can pick up on every little noise or motion, making it really difficult to not get distracted.

Some non-distracting music in your headphones (like Jazz or Classical) can really help drown out the distracting background noise.

I recommend listening to something instrumental and different than what you listen to for fun and recreation.

Try sticking to the same type of music while you work, through repetition, the music will start to serve as a queue to your brain that it is work time.

 3) Pick the Right Time 

Think about the time of day that you are most productive and do your best to schedule your work during that time.

If you medicate your ADHD, odds are you are most productive a couple hours after taking your meds.

I take Adderall XR and I find that I am most “ready to work” about 2 hours after I take my meds (and after I’ve have had a cup or 2 of coffee/tea!)

 4) Long Blocks of Time Are Your Friend

When you have ADHD, just starting a task can be incredibly difficult. It can take someone with ADHD a while to get organized enough to start the task at hand.

For example, when I start work for the day, I need to make sure I have all my materials first; my coffee, a snack, my water, my notes from last time, my laptop, etc.

This “set up time” that goes into starting work is exactly why one 6 hour work session is better than two 3 hour work sessions.

Longer blocks of work time mean less startup time which means more time to work!

 5) Sometimes You Need To Start With a Treat

I love to play that motivation game where I tell myself that once I get X, Y, and Z done THEN I can take myself out for a treat.

This is great but sometimes, particularly during stressful times, I may need to engage in whatever activity de-stresses me before I can focus and get my work done.

Check in with yourself before getting started. How are you feeling? Are you going to be able to focus right now?

If you are feeling frazzled, go ahead and give yourself permission to take care of yourself first. You are better off taking some time up front to get your “head right” first rather than struggling through an uncomfortable few hours of half ass work.

 6) Just Start Someplace

Prioritizing tasks is very difficult for those with ADHD. Two helpful questions to ask yourself when trying to figure out where to start are:

  • “Is there something on this list that once done will make it easier for me to do some of the other things?”
  • “Which of these tasks is giving me the most anxiety?”

These questions can help you key in on things that need to be done first.

If they still seem about “equal” to you then just start anyplace! Once you get started it’s much easier to stay with it.

7) Always Respect the Basics:  Sleep, exercise, and diet.

If you ever find yourself struggling with life, the first place you should always start is thinking about your basics.

I seriously cannot stress the importance of the basics enough. So many of us are so sleep-deprived, dehydrated, and malnourished that we truly wouldn’t even know what it feels like to not be.

 Sleep deprivation seriously deteriorates our cognitive abilities and research suggests that the active ADHD brain might actually need more sleep than a neurotypical brain (9-10 hours as opposed to 8) For more information, see the additional resources below.

 Exercise does wonders for one’s overall mood and ability to focus since it increases our brains dopamine naturally.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in our brains reward and pleasure centers. Scientists have observed that lower levels of dopamine are associated with symptoms of ADHD.

A proper diet high in protein and vegetables,  fewer carbohydrates and sweets, and possibly some nutritional supplements can also go a long way in bettering your ADHD symptoms.

There is plenty of research out there that suggests a link between ADHD and vitamin/mineral deficiencies. Deficits are noted in several vitamins and minerals like; magnesium, B-Vitamins, Iron, Zinc, and Copper.

If you want to read more about nutritional deficiencies and ADHD, check out the additional resources listed below.


About the author:  Danielle Joy Scott sold all her stuff, quit her 9-5, and moved her family to another state in the pursuit of happiness. Her goal is to inspire people just like you to LOVE their life! The Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, blogger, and wannabe chef lives in Phoenix, AZ with her guitar obsessed husband and their adorable, exhausting toddler. Check out her blog at www.thespicytherapist.com for more tips on how to take your life to the next level.

Original Source: https://www.thespicytherapist.com/top-7-adhd-productivity-tips/

Additional Resources:


  • Want to know more about ADHD and sleep problems? Check out “This is Why you’re always so Tired” from ADDitude Magazine.
  • For more about nutritional deficiencies and ADHD, check out the following posts by James Greenblatt MD, author of  “Finally Focused”:

1.   May 17, 2017 – INTEGRATIVE TREATMENTS  FOR BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN –  SCROLL DOWN TO FIND http://www.immh.org/article-source/tag/James+Greenblatt+MD

ALSO SEE: The Role of Dietary Supplements
in Maintaining Cognitive Health
and Mental Hygiene https://www.crnusa.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/CRN-Skipta-Greenblatt-100715.pdf


Photo credits

Title – Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash  Modified on Canva.com

7 Solid Tips – Created on  Canva.com

Headphones  – Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Treat yourself –  Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Sleeping – Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash