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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective AD(H)Dults

Updated: Nov 14, 2022



I've always said ADHD does not have to be a disorder. For some, who have figured out how to use their strengths and support their weaknesses, it is a condition, a way of being in the world. Some very successful ADHDers succeed not despite their ADHD, but by harnessing it's character traits to their advantage. Here are some habits (in no particular order) these people practice in order for them to be successful.


Effective ADHDers:


1. Focus on Commitment Over Motivation

If you have ADHD, I bet you’ve been described as unmotivated. It hurts, I know. You want to achieve things as much as the next person. You do not lack motivation – you struggle to act on your motivation. Motivation is not enough to get you where you want to be.


Effective ADHDers back their motivation with commitment. You exercise because you committed to doing it, whether you feel like it or not. You finish that report because you committed to finish by x date, not because you want to do it.




2. Choose Progress over Perfection

"Perfectionism magnifies our mistakes and minimizes our progress." - Jon Acuff, Finish

Minimizing progress will not make us feel good about ourselves. That in itself can make us ineffective. Who wants to even try when you know you can never make the mark? Effective ADHDers focus on the progress they make, not some ideal goal. They also acknowledge that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s just part of the journey. They know that "perfect is the enemy of done".





3. Separate Planning Time from Action Time

How many times have you jumped into your day without taking the time to quietly and calmly decide what your priorities for said day should be? I do it all the time. There’s a saying that goes: Prioritize or the world will do it for you. If we don’t consciously decide what to do with our time, nature abhors a vacuum; so someone else is going to swoop in and we are going to end up responding to the demands of others or random circumstances. Planning means being proactive and in control. Effective ADHDers plan what to do and when to do it.


4. Download Distractions

ADHDers who have learned how to deal with internal distractions have a notepad/list next to them. Every time a distracting thought enters their head, (something else they have to do, remember, something they want to check out) they write it down and take one minute to evaluate whether it is urgent and important enough to pull them off task. If not, they continue with their intended task with a clearer head, safe in the knowledge that they have captured what they want to remember.






5. Break Things Down

Effective ADHDers split things into stages and focus on one step at a time. It’s easier to initiate something if you know you can get through it quickly than if you feel it’s just the beginning of a long, drawn-out process. If a task is too overwhelming to tackle, they break it up into the tiniest steps, each one so small they wont want to procrastinate. Usually, after step 3 or 4, they're over the hump of starting and well on their way.




6. Turn on Their Brains

For ADHD brains, there are 4 elements that can help light it up. Effective ADHDers use one or more of these all the time to help them get stuff done.


a. Challenge –

They challenge themselves to finish something within a certain amount of time, for example.


b. Interest –

They add interest to boring and menial tasks by playing music, watching a show or listening to a podcast in the background.


c. Novelty –

They do it in a different way or place. For example, they light a scented candle, use a different pen, work in a coffee shop or shared office space.


d. Accountability –

They tell someone else their intentions. It's called Correspondence Training. It’s been proven that if you state your intentions beforehand, there’s more of a chance you will do it.



7. Keep it Simple

ADHD can leave us exhausted. We need ways to conserve our energy. Effective ADHDers look where they can simplify things by reducing, streamlining, shortening or cutting frills. They realize that in order to say YES to their priorities, thy have to sometimes say NO to other things.



How many of these habits do you have? Which are you going to start with? Go on. Just pick any one. Good luck! You got this!


Want More?

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