How to Hack your ADHD Brain

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It’s neuroscience. Create the dopamine environment, and the brain does the rest.September 2018 Newsletter


Today is my Birthday. It’s a lovely day outside and I want to sit in the backyard and read the novel I’m half-way through. But my newsletter is past due so I’m taking the day to finish it. Yes, I’m still late sometimes and do things at the last minute or use embarrassment and shame to motivate myself. But I am learning to get things done without as much stress as in the past. You can too.

Luckily I’ve already got my two articles from guest authors on getting things done posted online and I’ve written a rough draft during 2-hour body double sessions spread throughout the month that help me focus on difficult tasks even when I DON’T WANT TO.


My thanks to Danielle Joy Scott, LMFT for sharing

7 Solid Productivity Tips for People with ADHD

  • Find the Right Work Environment
  • Filter Out Distracting Noise
  • Pick the Right Time
  • Long Blocks of Time Are Your Friend
  • Sometimes You Need To Start With a Treat
  • Just Start Someplace
  • Always Respect the Basics: sleep, exercise, and diet.

and to Leo Babauta of Zen Habits for his generosity of spirit and on-target advice in

ADHD, Zen, and the Clean-as-you-Go Principle

This “Principle.”Is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, instead of waiting for the house to get really dirty, you just clean a little bit at a time, but Leo shares some of his favorite tips.  Which is great because it also works for other areas of your life: finances, email, work tasks, even health and fitness routines


I stole the title of the newsletter from an article by Kevan Lee, Your Bain on Dopamine: The Science of Motivation. I highly recommend this non-technical article for more on how neuroscience meets productivity.

“How to hack your dopamine to boost your productivity,” he begins…

“Motivation happens when your dopamine spikes because you anticipate something important is about to happen… The brain can be trained to feed off of bursts of dopamine sparked by rewarding experiences. You create the dopamine environment, and the brain does the rest…”

“One way to achieve those rewarding experiences is by setting incremental goals. Dopamine will flow as a result of your brain’s positive reinforcement every time you complete a step and meet a challenge.”


I always like to include something for families or children, especially for “Twice-exceptional” families when both parent and child have ADHD because It’s not always fun to be a parent with ADHD. I hope you enjoy this excellent article by Jaclyn Paul of ADHD Homestead, Time Blindness, ADHD and those Days when Parenting just Sucks

“Parents with ADHD can struggle especially hard with the tough days. Our impulsivity sometimes makes it difficult to contain poor reactions to children’s goading. Emotional hyperfocus and time blindness keep us from seeing how our relationships with our children could ever improve. We feel trapped in that worst day, unable to see through to the past or the future…”

“Do yourself and your family a favor by learning about your ADHD and how it affects your behavior as a parent. Get your ADHD symptoms under control so you have a fighting chance of not flying off the handle when your kids try to get under your skin. And while you should let kids see you struggle to do your best, they shouldn’t see you lose your cool every time they frustrate you.”

I’ve also found a couple of good Videos. 

Undiagnosed in Millions, Do You Have it? (4-minute TedTalk)

What do 71% of alcoholics, a quarter of drug abusers and 45% of the prison population have in common? There are an estimated 9,000,000 American adults with ADHD, but only about 15% get diagnosed and treated. Alan Brown shares his personal trials of being one of the 85% who did not know that help is available. Now a successful entrepreneur and ADHD advocate, he calls on us to change the future of those not yet receiving the help they need.

To the Teachers of ADHD Students (8-minutes), Jessica McCabe of How to ADHD on YouTube offers an emotional appeal to teachers. She speaks from her own experience of feeling less than enough, with good potential but poor performance. “Be THAT teacher,” she says, that realizes that ADHD brains work differently and that’s OK. To know that students with ADHD need you to understand their challenges without judgment. Yes, they need help with their challenges, but more than that, your students NEED to know that they ARE enough and likable just as they are.


Hurrah! I just finished my body-double session and I’m halfway to the finish line.  I still have to post it online though and get out the email. So — it’s time for a break, something to eat and a short walk to revive my tired brain. I’m challenging myself to get it all done by 5 pm so my husband can make me dinner and reassure me that I’m not just getting older, but better as well.  (I got two Birthday phone calls, so I didn’t quite make my deadline. But it’s only 5:30 and I’m DONE for the day!)


Until next month,

Be well.

Joan Jager



Photo by YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash

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