How to read and work effectively with ADhD.
This is one of my articles about beating procrastination.
But few lines of theory first:
ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
At first, my parents thought I am simply dum... er ... "special".
But later my grandmother noticed I advance brutally fast in areas which are quite interesting for me (...only until they are interesting though).
This is because, very often - mild hypo-mania is almost always present in ADHD "sufferers".
We can't focus, but when we can - you may get scared from the passion we have, until the matter interests us. (hence the word "happily" below this picture ;) )
(BTW: I started reading small texts on the age of 5, then the comics books ruined everything ;) )
But what happens, when you NEED to do something that is NOT interesting?
It is simple: Your attention goes someplace else, someplace "Interesting". And this is the main problem.
You need something done, but you can't force yourself to start it, because it is dull and boring. It will take your time, you will not feel pleasure doing it and you will not feel the reward in the end. (well, your salary may feel rewarding in the end of the month, but it is not immediate reward)
Don't struggle to focus!
With ADHD - It is impossible to focus on something boring as reading or writing documentation.
And, no - I am not kidding. You should try reading a boring book and taking notes while your favorite movie is on TV, your pet wants attention and you have a glass of your favorite beverage beside you.
This is vaguely how an ADHD "sufferer" feels when trying to do something un-uninteresting.
The priority of the book quickly drops into the toilet, and you drink while watching TV and petting your pet.
How my method works? De-focus instead of struggling!!!
You can't stay focused, and there is no need to try. You definitely want to:
- Get the movie on a DVD/BR.
- Pet your kittie/doggie.
- Drink your beverage.
... because those things give you immediate reward (you favorite them).
How can you defocus gracefully?
Get your work-that-needs-to-be-done and your favorite procrastination object in front of you.
Order them as odd and even, and do them in the order.
Example 1: Boring documentation and ICHC RSS-Feed.
- Read a paragraph.
- Have a look at the LOL cats, click next and quickly ...
- ... read another paragraph, while the next LOL cat loads, then get back...
- ... to have another LOL cat.
(I Can Has Cheezburger is my favorite procrastination subject).
Example 2: QA test plan and 9gag.
This is quite tough, because it's my work and my colleagues often see me laughing instead of working, but it works the same way.
- Do a step of the test-case,
- Open 9Gag and have a small giggle, click next and...
- Do another step of the test case while the next Gag downloads,...
- Get a funny trolling comment on 9 Gag and get back to the test plan, click next ...
Rinse and repeat
How and why it works?
It is actually very simple.
Your brain is happy when you do your favorite things and rewards you with small levels of serotonin.
Serotonin is a hormone and neural mediator. It is part of the Action-Reward mechanism (you feel calm and happy when serotonin levels are above nominal).
Serotonin also plays important part of the Attention and Focus:
- Too much may make you hyperactive and then tired and drowsy.
- Too little may make you unable to focus at all, depressed and irritable.
By alternating/rotating two actions (one boring and one rewarding) you will trick your brain to focus on the boring action because there will be a rewarding action immediately when you complete this paragraph of text or this dull step of the test plan.
Secondary effect - you will feel rewarded immediately for the work done and not feel it like it is too much of a chore.
My best part of HubPages is about herbs and herbal remedies.
There is one specific herb, that helps in ADHD. It is called St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum).
It raises serotonin levels naturally and is pleasant to have as an afternoon tea.
The only thing that is important to know about it - the pre-made tea bags need to be boiled for 15 minutes if you want the best effect on your nervous system.
Simply putting them in a cup of hot water does not extract enough hypericin from the tea bag. And the effect of this excellent brain-tonic will be mild or zero.
There are some pre-made pills and capsules you may buy from the local health store if it is too boring to boil a tea cup ;)