Productivity vs.

Self-Care in ADHD

5 min read

It may seem that ADHD and professional productivity are incompatible things. We're here to change your mind. You will never be able to work with the same strategies as a neurotypical person. And that's OK. You can be productive too. But in your way.

You can find many articles about time management and focus improvement. But we want to tell you about the practices of self-care. Without this, productivity will lead to burnout.

All illustrations are generated using Midjourney
Create an ADHD-friendly work environment

Working with ADHD can be challenging, but you can create an environment that supports your productivity with the right strategies.

To minimize distractions, find a quiet area where you can concentrate. Choose a workspace away from high-traffic areas or noisy colleagues. Additionally, consider these steps:
  • Keep your desk clutter-free by organizing your materials and removing unnecessary items.
  • Use noise-canceling headphones or soft background music to block out distracting sounds.
  • Inform your colleagues about your need for focus and ask for their cooperation.

Organizing your workspace is essential for individuals with ADHD. Follow these tips to stay organized:
  • Use folders, trays, or labels to neatly categorize and store physical documents.
  • Keep a designated space for essential tools and supplies to ensure easy access.
  • Maintain a tidy and uncluttered digital environment by organizing files into folders on your computer.
  • Utilize productivity apps or software to create digital to-do lists and reminders.

Various tools and technologies can help individuals with ADHD stay focused and organized:
  • Use task management apps or calendars to set reminders and deadlines for tasks.
  • Try time-tracking apps or timers to manage your time effectively and stay on schedule.
  • Consider using apps or browser extensions that block or limit access to distracting websites or social media.
  • Explore digital note-taking tools to capture and organize your thoughts and ideas efficiently.

Utilize support systems

Having support systems in place can significantly benefit individuals with ADHD.

Communicate with your supervisor or colleagues about your needs. Open communication is vital to receiving the support you require. Consider the following steps:
  • Have an honest conversation with your supervisor about your ADHD diagnosis and how it may affect your work.
  • Explain your specific needs, such as a quiet workspace or flexibility in task deadlines.
  • Discuss strategies to enhance productivity, such as clear instructions or regular check-ins.
  • Keep an open line of communication with your colleagues, helping them understand your strengths and challenges.

Seek accommodations or modifications in the workplace, if applicable. If you require additional support, explore possible accommodations or changes:
  • Consult with human resources or an appropriate department to discuss reasonable accommodations based on your ADHD needs.
  • Request adjustments such as a flexible work schedule, task delegation, or assistive technologies.
  • Collaborate with your employer to find solutions that promote your productivity and well-being.

Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself is vital, especially when navigating the challenges of ADHD.

Prioritize self-care activities to manage stress and improve overall well-being. Self-care is essential for managing stress and promoting well-being. Consider the following self-care practices:
  • Engage in activities you enjoy and help you relax, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing a hobby.
  • Set aside dedicated time for self-care each day, even if it's just a few minutes.
  • Practice stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or meditation.
  • Learn to recognize and respect your boundaries, say no when necessary, and prioritize your well-being.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle through proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. A healthy lifestyle significantly impacts your overall well-being and productivity. Follow these tips to maintain a healthy routine:
  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule, ensuring you get enough restful sleep each night.
  • Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, as physical activity can improve focus and reduce ADHD symptoms.
  • Maintain a balanced diet, consuming nutritious foods that support brain health and energy levels.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day.

Celebrate your successes and acknowledge your efforts. Recognizing and celebrating your achievements is essential for motivation and self-esteem. Consider these practices:
  • Set realistic goals and break them into smaller, achievable milestones.
  • When you reach a milestone or accomplish a task, take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate your success.
  • Reward yourself with something you enjoy, whether treating yourself to a favorite meal or engaging in a leisure activity.
  • Practice positive self-talk and focus on your strengths, reminding yourself of your progress.


By understanding and accepting that your approach to work will differ from a neurotypical person, you can tap into your strengths and find strategies that work for you. Embrace your individuality and explore self-care practices that help manage stress, improve overall well-being, and healthily sustain productivity.

Remember, productivity should not come at the expense of your mental and physical health. Take the time to recharge, engage in activities that bring you joy, and celebrate your accomplishments. By prioritizing self-care alongside effective work strategies, individuals with ADHD can achieve productivity and success on their terms.

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