Embracing ADHD: Harnessing the Power of Focus and Functioning Differently
In a world that often celebrates conformity and standardization, it's important to recognize that not everyone's brain functions in the same way and this makes life more fun. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prime example of this, it's crucial to understand that these differences can be harnessed as strengths, and with the right mindset, can lead to a life filled with empowerment and success.
Eliminating superfluous attention span and schedule clutter allows us to maintain / direct our energy to what is truly important to us and our unique set of values (which only we can determine).
1. The Power of a Unique Perspective:
People with ADHD often experience the world through a different lens.
Their brains are wired to perceive, process, and engage with information in unconventional ways.
This unique perspective can bring about fresh insights, innovative ideas, and out-of-the-box thinking that might not be possible with a more typical cognitive style.
Recognizing this uniqueness allows individuals to embrace their differences and leverage them as valuable assets in various aspects of life.
2. Constraints Breed Creativity and Focus:
While individuals with ADHD may face challenges related to sustained attention and task management, these very challenges can foster creativity and intense focus. The need to work within constraints encourages the development of strategies to maximize productivity.
These strategies can include breaking tasks into smaller, manageable chunks, using external tools to stay organized, and exploring methods that align with their specific strengths.
Except at the gym for physical muscles, when our brain focus drops - we need to pause not push as the electrical wires are not going to cooperate and it will burn us out...
We are more prone to burnout so we need to carefully recharge (in a consecutive un-interrupted manner) daily and this allows us less time for "living" but the positive is that while our work hours may be "weird" and we may be a mess sometimes, we're intentional about all that we do because it limits us in many ways with no margins of error as one aspect out of place (fitness - sleep - medication - nutrition) can cause a snowball.
A disability isn't a comfort zone. Let's not get me started on this type of nonsense... Respecting our limits and leveraging our focus is not making ADHD our identity, it's part of our identity and we're actually embracing it and making sure that we don't burn out so we are putting up fences around it - as we should.
You’re not about to call risking going into the red zone time or energy wise (or mentally) sustainable just because you’re pausing that burner for a while. You simply don’t switch it on if it doesn’t add up hours-wise for your business.
One of my biggest lessons:
Don't go bankrupt energy-wise or time-wise (red zone) to prove anything to anyone: it's never a requirement in healthy situations or connections (it is only a requirement for opportunists and deceptive people who pretend well). You can't sustain that type of over-exertion due to its compounding effect, respect your own limits and repel all that doesn't.
I do my best work when I limit the amount of time that I work, and I maximize the amount of time for resting.
Conditions to your survival aren't to be pressed or toyed with to any degree:
Not only are business hours limited to begin with, one way to repel exploiters is to tier your support levels by assigning a cost to each level (just like Uber does for each level of service). Any expert is worthy of rewards for the problems they solve (whether or not they have a charity to fundraise for).
Does it not make perfect sense that prior to my ADHD medication, I had no idea when I was entering the yellow zone, the orange zone, or even the red zone? Burnout was a constant in my life (for years!) and now I have eradicated it and its risks.
Burners being paused has no effect on our inability to not pay attention to everything at once (we have no focus direction without the removal of clutter), this is the core of ADHD, so we remove decision fatigue in various ways by slashing irrelevant non-priorities upfront to manage our bandwidth. Compound effects of context-switching add up.
Safeguarding your time and resources for your well-being is a responsible choice that harms no one. It's important to maintain grace and neutrality but distance yourself from those who exploit or manipulate. Unless it involves dependents, children, or a legitimate charity, why invest your precious and limited time in one-sided relationships or situations? It's unwise to commit to endeavors that don't align with your own vision and goals or overexert at your own expense (learned this throughout various ventures in my own life). Registered charities and dependents fall into a different category than opportunists who are also similar to con-artists. If it doesn't align with both your and their goals simultaneously, it's not a good fit. It's as simple as that. You deserve equal consideration, and those who advocate for giving without receiving replenishment (when you already have a charity which they conveniently ignore) often have ulterior motives, even when your giving capacity is exhausted or your time is limited.
Evaluating what is in your life is not about ROI in a self-seeking way, but more so: is it uplifting or draining? We deserve reciprocal, especially as self-driven prople who don’t seek others to meet our needs or motivate us (we do 99.9% of things on our own using systems)... because we’re not endless wellsprings for takers.
These people aren't going to pay your medical bills, so why not focus on what / who truly matters?
I would rather be authentic (even if it's not what someone wants to hear, at least they know what the deal is and where my limits are) and upfront than live life in a deceptive manner. Honesty repels darkness. That's a good thing.
Maintaining a sense of reciprocity in your personal and business relationships is crucial for your well-being, the preservation of your resources, and the health of these connections.
Some people will sell you a dream and have you deplete your mental energy because you have something they want but it is hijacking your brain power which cannot be outsourced. Only nightmares can come from over-exertion, no matter what you're told or sold. You cannot spend time, energy, or brain power you do not have in your existing budget and I don't care what the ROI seems like. If they're not a child or dependent, you're not responsible for putting yourself at stake. I learned this through past experiences with false mentors.
Preserving limited brain power for the things that actually move the needle is how we rid ourselves from hustle culture mentality.
The real or speculative ROI (whether or not there's a profit-share agreement in place) of anything that harms your health, self-care, current obligations, current commitments, and so on is actually zero. We can't spend time/energy that isn't in our budget. The math has to math.
There's no value judgement here, you either have the time freely available or it cuts away at your time for another important category of life which is a form of theft of one category to another because red zones don't nurture health. This is why I like it when business remains in its lane and personal remains in its respective lane so they don't pollute each other.
You cannot grow in your life if your time for recharging is depleted or broken into illogically or if your "on" time (limited business hours) is being hijacked by fruitless pursuits that do not move the needle.
✨ If you're not able to sustain the additional project during your busiest times - the answer is no. Don't take on some thing that you cannot sustain. There's nothing healthy about taking something on that regardless of flexible deadlines can't be paid attention to for months.
To measure your "fullest scope" in a business, based on whatever role, you need to truly see the full details of each sub-set of daily activity, this is about fleshing out processes (the details), something may seem "quick" on the surface, but it creates mental/energetic bandwidth issues.
The "one-offs" have a compound effect of needless attention span switching which isn't going to work during busier seasons, so why bother with it now?
The ADHD baseline is an uncluttered schedule/priorities, nutrition, sleep, fitness, medication : this is bottom line functioning - all else has to fit around this and realizing I could have been unable to recover has made me very focused on health preceding all goals.
Over-exertion is the perfect foundation for being a hair away from burnout and for building a house of cards, too much speed denies quality control and so on, so the right people will respect normal human capacity limits and not fault you for needing rest and a life.
Part of maintaining equanimity is prioritizing our own household, self-care, own dependents and obligations before we go around spending time/energy thoughtlessly... and then we choose our causes/charities based on our values: we do not pour from empty so we maintain balance.
Never concern yourself with anyone or anything that does not respect your oxygen mask and put your time in the people and situations that respect the limits of your availability for that area of your life. Allow nothing to clutter your recovery time, not even by a minute. Your oxygen mask comes first. It precedes everything else.
✨Health: when you have a disability is duly rigid/inflexible, that's not an area of life to be compromising about except for dependents. There may be days where I need more sleep, never less. Gym time will always be alone time, off time will always be a zone of no notifications.✨
✨✨✨Genuine people respect your personal time, they do not delay or interfere with it (directly or indirectly), it is sacred and so is your health which precedes your ongoing ability to function whether or not you have a disability (any marked departure from this basic standard is reeking taker/sponger/leech and unequally yoked). I have never met a genuine person who didn't view personal time as off-limits and not an option to take from rather than just innovate better/restructure first. ✨✨✨
Business hours and networking activities should remain confined to their designated time slots and should not extend into your personal life unless you're an ICU worker or police officer and especially if you already are losing one or more days per week to manage your disability.
Manage energy first, and the quality within the time expands beyond belief... it's the intensity within the hours and not the hours themselves...
3. The Empowerment of Mindful Choice (Using Personal Anecdotes and Lessons):
Choosing where to invest limited time and focus becomes a powerful skill for those with ADHD.
This mindful selection process necessitates evaluating priorities, setting realistic goals, and focusing energy on endeavors that truly matter. This proactive approach to time management empowers individuals to align their efforts with their passions and goals, leading to a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
Work / business is a form of self-care in that you have a baseline of obligations to meet and it gives you a way to contribute; however, rest enables us to keep at it long-term and I am understanding balance better now. I don't want people thinking burnout is normal. It's not!
Work that feels like play might be enjoyable, but for individuals with ADHD, it doesn't eliminate the need for guaranteed breaks. In fact, it makes taking breaks even more vital. The brain of someone with ADHD is wired differently, and maintaining focus on a single task for extended periods can be taxing. Breaks offer a chance to recharge and reset the cognitive processes which are naturally in overdrive (this is why exercise, nutrition, caffeine and medication calms us).
Even if we follow a routine, many of us still have debilitating insomnia and we feel stupid because we can't control it... Burnout is very nearby for us at any moment due to us getting less recharging than most.
"Boundaries aren't about being in protection mode. Boundaries are about what you have within that is so valuable that you will not allow certain people to come near it or hurt it or whatever. Boundaries stem from self-worth." - Najwa Zebian
Regular breaks can prevent burnout, boost productivity, and enhance creativity. Even during tasks that are inherently enjoyable, the brain's need for intermittent rest remains unchanged. Embracing breaks as a strategic tool rather than a distraction can make a significant difference in managing ADHD-related challenges. When your schedule aligns with your wiring, you can get into bliss mode way more easily and consistently and that is a fabulous way to live. It may take time away from other areas of life, but the *quality* of it increases overall because you're grounded. They get the best you.
Only you know your priorities and obligations in life, don't let needless stress be added to your life, schedule recharge time. People who want for you and appreciate what you're able to do will encourage wellness, not try to hijack self-care time.
I may compromise the order of my business priorities within my working hours for the business, but I delay my personal time for nothing.
Mutually aligned things happen organically so over-exertion is never necessary.
It is not about making overexertion easier (you can't outsource or replace mental bandwidth that needs as few interruptions as possible or as little broken focus as possible), it's about being around people who don't expect you to go into the red zone in the first place.
Being content while overworking doesn't mean it won't have consequences. Instead of pretending to be content with excessive work, why not prioritize a manageable life? To effectively manage ADHD, you require a fixed and non-negotiable amount of sleep and rest each day. While this equilibrium may not always be achievable for everyone, for people with health conditions - the bottom line is that we need constraints upfront. We should limit our commitments to maintain happiness and take control of our reality and health.
Passion doesn't forgo burnout.
Work being fun doesn't forgo burnout.
Loving what you do doesn't forgo burnout.
Non-negotiable / guaranteed / un-interrupted self-care prevents burnout.
Control over our personal time prevents burnout (managing other lanes accordingly, it's a math equation really). Living without having guaranteed exercise, sleep, and nutrition hours isn't suitable for people with health conditions (albeit basic self-maintenance). Nothing, except dependents, should threaten or compete with that basic but sacred time.
Reframing the concept of taking on too much (spreading ourselves too thinly) isn't going to change the real health consequences. Mental paralysis for ADHD is very real. When we take on more than we should be, we stop functioning, which is dangerous. Why do everything in a mediocre manner instead of doing a few things in an excellent manner? Balance and constraints.
You can be happy in every moment of your life technically if you control your mindset: but that doesn't mean that the compound interest of too many directions will not eventually add up and that doesn't mean that you shouldn't actually make the necessary changes to preserve your health (compound interest will crush bandwidth if left uncontrolled). If not now, then soon. Our ADHD doesn't go away because we're happy with what we're doing. We need clear focus due to our susceptibility to burnout which can caused by too much context-switching and too many disjointed overall directions (among other factors like non-guaranteed nutrition, sleep, and exercise time, and low-control / hight out-put situations where we have no agency which translates into schedule chaos).
Again, it does not matter how happy we are doing anything, it's math: we need the same amount of self-care daily / weekly in order to survive. Cutting into that is not possible when there are consequences to doing so. Merely considering cutting into that time should raise a red flag. We don't make exceptions for health limits, they're not optional.
Counting on being left alone to concentrate during that sacred recharge ritual (fitness) is what I love. No break in flow. I am there to show up for myself, by myself. Having a "do not disturb" gate around what replenishes my mind has kept me burnout-free. Showing up for myself enables me to show up for the people and the things that I care about with mental presence, and that will forever be remembered after the nightmares that I have previously endured because I didn't do that. Selective priority setting enables sustainability.
Earn the rewards by working hard during the time that is allocated to that segment of your life, but never disrespect your recharge time - especially if you have ADHD.
Knowing what we do is enough is about self-compassion.
Caring about your craft is shown via clear limits: preserving and protecting the time in your schedule that is for managing your mind, which is the hub of everything: having time for stillness / meditation, or walking or whatever you do is critical to long-term functioning.
Anything should be equally yoked (aside from kids, dependents, charities) so doing anything that diminishes your needs but meets theirs or vice versa makes no sense, if it doesn't mutually uplift all involved: then it should be a "no" and keep it moving.
Dividing attention and energy more than is necessary (and crucial-level necessary, not nice to have level fake necessity) doesn't work for ADHD so accepting this is a core happiness and health requirement.
✨ Individuals who see you as a human being (a person rather than a means to their ends to be used), recognizing your need for well-being and acknowledging your personal responsibilities, will never criticize you for prioritizing self-care rituals like wearing an oxygen mask. They won't impose on you; instead, they will kindly request your time and not throw a tantrum if you're unavailable. The right people understand that maintaining good health is fundamental for our mental well-being and will never interfere with it. ✨
I'm not advocating for not supporting charities, causes, your children, or dependents – I'm questioning the wisdom of investing your resources and energy in grown adults, fellow entrepreneurs, or businesses that won't reciprocate or support you as you support them. It's essential to avoid depleting your resources without a meaningful return on investment. No one should expect you to be an endless source of support without considering your needs or hindering your own vision. If they're not a registered charity or your dependent, they should reciprocate in a way that benefits both parties naturally, without forcing it. It's unwise to exhaust your resources and time on those who wouldn't do the same for you, as this imbalance is spiritually draining. We are called to give, but not to give without replenishment and be an endless wellspring that is to be used by nonreciprocal one-sided entities aside from actual dependents or charities (entitled / exploitative entities aren't fertile soil for our resources).
It's unwise to exhaust your resources and time on those who wouldn't do the same for you, as this imbalance is spiritually draining and you cannot spend time or energy you do not innately have, you cannot be everywhere, send love to all but be selective in your spending as logistics are limited.
I've independently created most of what I possess (even despite having a disability which significantly reduces the amount of time I have), and so I prefer to reserve my generosity for registered charities. Entitled individuals should kindly avoid entering my life. Having something doesn't mean you "owe" it or that you have the spare time or energy and someone "knowing" you doesn't make them entitled to your hard earned work or knowledge. The compound effects of mental over-exertion add up. It's normally non-registered charities that display these attitudes, they don't care at what cost to you because they do not recognize your human limits. Learn the red flags.
Healthy relationships in both personal and professional spheres contribute to your well-being and maintain clear boundaries without the need for constant defense or explanation, as boundaries are meant to be established, not justified.
When you fought for your health, you're not about to let anyone run up in your life and cause even an iota of disruption or delay on your self-care aka survival with a disability (dependents excepted), but those who view you as a person will respect that you can't be everywhere which is logistically logical (schedule math / hours in a day).
We don't tell someone to climb out of a wheelchair to overcome their triggers because it's a condition, not a trigger, viewing ADHD this way has me removing potential threats to my sanity swiftly without any second thought. I have a clear vision now.
Expecting reciprocation in general isn't tit for tat or high maintenance / selfish, it's guarding our resources to ensure we don't run on empty because I've never seen a parasite care if we end up living well or burning out - they just view people as a means to an end to be used. Healthy connections only.
Staying true to your vision and own goals (no one gets to hijack your purpose/schedule/life's path) is how you attain the ability to give back and inspire others: your own oxygen mask enables you to be in a position to overflow from a place of solid strength, not flimsiness.
Focusing on you is healthy and self-respecting, demanding that others make their lives about you (if you're not their child or dependent) is unhealthy, borderline codependent, and self-centered. The latter uses people to meet needs, the former fills their cup before giving.
If something tries to compete with my health, sleep, self-care and it's not a dependent of mine: it's not even a joke how fast I will paint an exit sign for it to respectfully head for the door. Not interested in added stressors or added weight on my already hectic mind/schedule which would suck up recovery time I do not have.
You do not need to shoulder needless additional stressors that do not innately belong to you, not because you're weak or inadequate: but because it's not what you signed up for / not your responsibility to begin with... Don't ever be a scapegoat or a dumping ground. How can one justify imposing an obligation on someone that isn't their responsibility, only to portray them as weak when it isn't the kind of stress they initially agreed to or is even their duty in the first place? Never fall for that or any narrative that ascribes value judgements (reverse virtue-signalling). It's a tactic to instil a sense of inadequacy for you to disprove their narrative by caving in.
Be cautious about welcoming unwarranted extra responsibility-pushers into your life or mind (not kids or dependents, but straight up grown adults who try to scapegoat others), as they are not the ones paying your bills or ensuring your health is sustained.
This may be morbid, but before you do something that you're not able to do whether it's due to energy or time, ask yourself if this person cares about whether your family is fed, your bills are paid, or whether they'll nurse you back to health when you burnout/get hospitalized. Your energy goes towards your own mental and your own household first which means preserve energy for the business that pays you, all else is "frivolous" time / energy expenditures, not essential. Never be so quick to over-exert yourself at your own expense.
Loud minds require guaranteed quiet time to recharge daily. If this is viewed in any way but normal, those people aren't for you. For me, it's gym time, but designating a segment of your life as private / off-limits / do not disturb time (unless it's a dependent) is a powerful mental health self-care tactic, highly recommended.
This is what my gym ritual is for, that's why I go alone and that time is entirely my own... it's about our own nervous system, our own boundaries are about protecting ourselves and what we value (quiet and privacy) and not to be made to mean anything about anyone else. We're merely honouring our disability's needs and creating a fence around our survival needs that no one is entitled to interrupt unless they're our child or dependent (anyone who has a problem with how we spend our private time and what our minds need to function is probably not right for us).
Life is complicated enough (with or without a disability): we don't need to entertain anything that causes logistical stress: it either alleviates stress or hinders us. Never sacrifice yourself or allow anything to happen at your expense, especially if it's not even a dependent.
No one tells you that :
• you don't need to be "on" 24/7
• health won't manage itself
• creativity is not an endless supply
• the right people will respect the limits of your availability (people who are for you will not get in the way of your self-care... only your kids or your dependents have the right to do that)
• twisting your limits may eventually risk ruining you and it won't protect you at all, anything you built off of self-sacrifice depended on your detriment and was never real
The outcome doesn't matter as much to me as the actual process and the daily vision (what does my life look like) and how it affects my health / schedule peace and so I'm not swayed by trends or speculative ROI. I may have been at one point, but that has changed for the better.
You can care about something, but still not have time or energy for it : caring is energetic and the evaluating the bandwidth budget determines where we invest our limited attention span. Highest impact activities first. You should not be carrying anything that will compromise the load for which you're truly responsible.
➡️ Anyone bothered by your:
• oxygen mask aka alone time (for me, that's swimming / gym: by myself for my ADHD)
• mental growth
• time without interruptions when you need to sleep more
... And they're not a dependent:
They're *not* for you. Good people don't derail your oxygen mask, there's no need for added stress and complication to any degree in the lives of people who already have a disability to manage. Besides, healthy connections enhance self-care by encouragement, they do not replace it (yes, even if it means even more limited availability from you, they respect that space). It's a personal responsibility that no one can do on anyone's behalf. ✅
✨This another energy drain we don't think about:
Anything / anyone that did not build / deposit: doesn't get to make with-drawals. Invest the harvest wisely and in the deserving. Potential may be unlimited, but mental energy isn't. Some will try to waltz into your life to take something, not to build with you or because they genuinely care so it is our job to be discerning. Having a high spam filter lets in the blessings, but it stops the fakers in their tracks from polluting our harvest and bleeding it dry like leeches (wanting your results for the work they did not do when they're not a registered charity so there's no basis for the entitlement). We give back to the causes we care about, not to entitled people.
Those of us with disabilities must be extra diligent as we do not have a lot of bandwidth to entertain that level of fakery to begin with! Although we are part of a collective, we are still individuals with personal autonomy and boundaries. Being part of a collective means do no harm because we're all part of humanity, but also: take no sh*t and don't let anyone come into your life that causes needless stress or clutter, tolerating that for anyone other than a child/dependent makes absolutely no sense.✨
Anyone who doesn't understand schedule limits, give and take (where whatever they bring to the table has genuine and not fake value), and so on, does not care what condition you're in and they don't care if you live healthily or not. No one is called to spend time or energy they do not have and many will sell you a dream / try to come into your life under a guise when it's going to empty you of your energy (put you in the red zone mental energy-wise which is about bandwidth and not time) and distract you from your core purpose in the end.
By prioritizing your mental health, productivity, and the long-term viability of your business, you enable yourself to be more generous in a way that truly matters. Remember, setting boundaries isn't a sign of selfishness or transactional (exploiters / spongers / bottomless pits / takers want you to believe this, so protect your mind from them); it's a declaration of your commitment to making a positive and lasting impact, both professionally and personally... it is a sign of taking responsibility for what is actually yours to own rather than anything and everything else (which will clutter your mental capacity).
Derailment, distraction, context-switching that is needless will break difficult-to-achieve and maintain concentration for ADHD, preserve your reserves extra carefully especially when insomnia hits and use your limited personal time very wisely to manage your disability.
We no longer abandon ourselves to appease the un-winnable (good people don't require depletion to prove your love to them), we expect that what's meant for us will not require self-sacrifice, only reasonable levels of mutually respectful give and take, but we don't tolerate un-equal one-sided exchanges and we don't undercut our value for speculative ROI.
Takers may even attempt to slyly offload their own issues onto others while indirectly implying that those who refuse are lacking in strength/care/ability, in reality: those who refuse are merely respecting their own pre-existing obligations or existing dependents or charities... Genuine people demonstrate respect for your (and their) time, takers don't. They're there to push and test your limits... That's how they operate.
Care is an energy, it is certainly not proven by crossing your own limits. That's not how we show it. How it is shown varies person to person, but it is certainly not show by not having basic self-protection in place and breaching your own lines. That's not it.
Boundaries pertain to your life's obligations or disability-management logistics, and your limits are a reflection of yourself, not others. You can't control how others perceive you, but you can choose to act with integrity and love. Therefore, anything they attribute to you or your limits says more about them than it does about you.
If I went as far as dropping a few affiliate partnerships to guard my gym time, trust me when I say: health is my number one priority and unless it's a dependent : nothing and no one is to disturb that sphere of my life (mentally recharging is via alone time). That's a life-line. I did not sign up for my business cutting into my gym time so what I did was restructure my business - I did not cut my no-notification unbotherable no distraction sacred gym time. 🙏 We restructure what threatens our health, we do not forgo health - unwarrantedly / illogically.
4. Shifting Perspectives on Limitations:
Understanding that everyone, regardless of neurodiversity, operates within logistical limitations is crucial. Whether it's time constraints, energy levels, or external demands, limitations are a part of every individual's life whether or not they have a disability like ADHD.
By shifting the perspective from a focus solely on ADHD-related limitations to a broader understanding of universal constraints, individuals can cultivate resilience and adaptability, allowing them to thrive in their unique way so that we feel empowered by constraints as it fuels momentum in as few "directions" as possible.
Why Focus Matters
1. Depth Over Breadth: ADHD individuals often excel when they dive deep into their areas of interest. Concentrating their efforts on a single project allows them to leverage their unique perspective, creativity, and passion to produce exceptional results.
2. Minimizing Distractions: Focusing on one task at a time helps minimize distractions, making it easier for individuals with ADHD to maintain their attention and complete tasks more efficiently.
3. Quality Over Quantity: High-quality work is more valuable than a multitude of mediocre outputs. Emphasizing focus enables ADHD individuals to deliver their best work, which is more likely to be recognized and appreciated.
4. Improved Time Management: When individuals with ADHD allocate their attention wisely, they can better manage their time and prioritize tasks effectively, reducing feelings of overwhelm and stress.
The world is a sensory-rich place, and for people with ADHD, it can sometimes feel like they're absorbing every detail simultaneously. Quiet time provides a respite from sensory overload, allowing their minds to process and reset. Quiet time and solitude are not luxuries but necessities for them to recharge, maintain their mental well-being, and harness their remarkable creativity.
The Pitfalls of Overcommitting
While taking on multiple projects may seem exciting at first, it can quickly become a source of frustration and exhaustion. Overcommitting can lead to a cycle of unfinished tasks, missed deadlines, and self-doubt. For individuals with ADHD, this can be especially discouraging, as it reinforces the misconception that they are incapable of accomplishing their goals.
Protecting transition time, nap time, and quiet time is game-changer. Eliminating needless context-switching that isn't mission-critical is also key.
Embracing Focus as a Superpower
Rather than spreading themselves thin, individuals with ADHD should embrace their ability to focus as a superpower. By channeling their energy and attention into fewer, carefully chosen projects, they can maximize their potential and create meaningful, lasting impact.
If I have 3 hours per week to work on the business for example, it's going to be condensed with core ops (I really do not care for new projects and new directions that could make more money or expand anything if it compromises my core priorities in the slightest because coventional wisdom can break my ADHD focus circuits) and there is nothing that's going to make me stay later or cut into my personal time (I don’t take a liking to that, some have kids, I have a disability). That includes any necessary calls, or networking, all in the same time block: the end. I expect and require anything business-related to remain on business hours because I do not have personal time to allocate away from managing my disability. I wish I had known this sooner. Not having time for extra doesn’t mean you do not value it, it comes down to logistics.
Your schedule's limits caused by your disability or any other life limitation / obligation are to be seen as constraints which cause focus, we cannot do everything in the first place so why does it even matter what we can't do: it's about what we CAN do.
Any level of overexertion is not proof of dedication, nor is it required to receive adequate rewards in a healthy situation. We already have very limited time to recharge our minds, due to various life responsibilities (some have kids, some have disabilities). It's about excellence during the hours, why should it steal your own time as a token of dedication when that's not the correct measure.
It’s about preserving your efforts, and your grit, for where there's the highest ROI, and this actually goes for charitable giving as well. Invest your intensity where it matters because it’s not unlimited (energy is limited even if potential is not).
Another example from my own life... Recalibration daily with adequate quiet is needed the louder one's mind is. Having a full weekly insomnia crash day, I run my life in 6 days rather than 7, so the time has a far different measurement and I don't have a margin of error when it comes to filtering my schedule, which means every possibility / request / aspect is run via my overall priority list. I am not about to be led by anything other than my definition of health.
Allocating strict, non-negotiable moments for tending to your mental well-being is crucial regularly as burnout happens fast. For me, it means hitting the gym, but it could encompass various activities like meditation, leisurely walks, and more. This concept is referred to as "mental sanctuary," a facet of personal space that those who genuinely care about you will encourage to preserve your mental equilibrium (they will never distract you from that time or try to invade it, that is only acceptable from dependents). Mental health is an alone-time ritual, I do not tolerate distractions when trying to put order in my ADHD mind (oxygen masks aren't to be pushed against).
The quality of time you spend with your inner circle will have mental presence this way.
The person dealing with the consequences of derailed health is you, so why would anyone (unless they're a dependent) come before that? It would imply twisted thinking if there was even a hint of thinking someone or something is going to compete with your oxygen mask.
Your home tasks (whether or not they're piling up) will affect your concentration, this is why work-life balance is a powerful tool. ✨
Appeasing exposes you to danger (mental health) and endangers your assets ... Limits protect you. Unlearning a whole bunch of junk beliefs and realizing that if limits ever did expose me to danger, it would only be in unhealthy or odd situations I wish to have no part in.
(I believe that showing respect for well-being involves honoring the sanctity of individuals' personal time and refraining from imposing any demands on it). A disability is a part-time job...
Valuing a person's wellness (the true definition of warmth) doesn't require much more than viewing them as a person, we do not ever know what people are going through nor is it our entitlement to know everything: it's about not imposing needless demands on sacred time off and treating is *sacred* = the bare minimum.
I use buffers for insomnia and taking on a needless / frivolous project under the guise of flexible deadlines doesn't change the fact that my business has limited working hours in total which is not to touch my personal time for my health and personal life, it's basic math, I embrace my capacity now.
Again, my business hours are limited due to my disability so I certainly screen everything against my vision. I am also very intolerant to anything that cuts into / distracts me from my sacred gym time or makes demands on that time int the first place, if it's not a dependent of mine, there's no excuse for that. If something gets in the way of my wellness needlessly and it isn't a dependent of mine, they're a liability, not an asset so they're to kindly stay out of my life.
We do not need to know the innermost details of people's lives in order to leave them be if we can't add value or positivity to their life. If the agenda is taking / placing any stress or an iota of strain on my schedule, I don't entertain it. I need reciprocity/ positive energy.
5. Fostering a Positive Self-Image:
Developing a positive self-image as someone who functions differently can be a transformative journey.
Celebrating successes, no matter how small, and acknowledging personal growth fuels self-confidence. It's not easy functioning in a world where we just do not fit the norm (fuelled by ableism).
Another thing that's hard to articulate is that medication doesn't take any pain away and just mitigates the chances that we fall into burn out as easily as before, because if one thing is out of place, whether it's nutrition, sleep, or medication, or fitness, we are vulnerable.
I have done a lot of research since my diagnosis was clarified so by embracing a unique perspective, working within constraints, making mindful choices, shifting perspectives on limitations, and fostering a positive self-image, individuals with ADHD can build momentum, achieve their goals, and thrive in a world that values conformity but is slowly realizing that us weirdos also have the right to thrive as long as we give it our best. I am here to work my butt off in a manner than I can, to make an impact, to help current and future generations by using my platform for good.
✨This needs to be understood by the world: our disabilities do define us because they define how we live.
We are not about to ignore our limitations and pretend they don't exist, and then find ourselves in a burn out where we just can't climb out of it. ✨
Our oxygen masks are rigid because we cannot function without those criteria so it's not about not allowing limits to define us, but it's about letting our limits define our focus and how we live with having those unequivocally respected for our ongoing survival.
You don't "push through" your limitations, you respect them. This is a mental disability, not a gym session. The conditions to your survival (aka guaranteed time to recharge without notifications, sleep, exercise) aren't to be toyed with. We need to normalized baselines.
✨Self-care is an oxygen mask for preservation and your ongoing survival, so it stands to reason that anything getting in the way does not value your ongoing existence (I know morbid how this sounds, but it's important to illustrate this as survival and ongoing basic functioning).✨
The conditions to your mental functioning enable you to work on a long-term basis, especially if you have a disability, and so it's really a thing of accepting that we cannot do everything and owning / loving / accepting our limits as sacred and not focusing on the can't-do's.
It truly doesn't matter what someone else finds easy or would not cause them over-exertion if it does for you. No one gets to hijack your definition of health and mental health. You decide what fits for you.
Preserving our personal time is a fundamental recognition of the rewards earned through dedicated effort during designated work hours whether or not we have a disability, but it matters even more when we have a disability as we have less personal time to work with at the onset. It's perplexing how some individuals can take this personally and make it about themselves (red flag) when it's not even within their jurisdiction (it's so much easier to deal with people who mind their own business).
Remember, each person's journey with ADHD is different, but the power to shape that journey in a positive and empowering way lies within. Choose personal empowerment.