Every day we have certain periods of higher energy and focus. Sometimes we try and supplement that focus with food or caffeine, and with varying success. People with ADHD have to be particularly attentive to these times of the day. A common mistake that I find my clients facing each day is a mismanagement of these times. Imagine your energy as this sine wave below.
The ups are times when your focus is strongest. You can hyper-focus on the task at hand, plowing through whatever is in front of you. Watch out world, that To-Do list is going to disappear. Unfortunately, that To-Do list does eventually disappear, but not because you have completed the tasks. The moment is gone and distraction reigns. The strength of your previous vigor is just as strong, but now it seems that you’ll never pull out of moving to the next task – never feeling like you are completing anything.
Fortunately, attention does go up and down and doesn’t flat line. What I’ve found to be important is to use the times that attention is strongest to do the executive functioning tasks that are so difficult. Make the To-Do List, prioritize what needs to be done first, estimate how long each task will take, and start on the first item. When attention wavers, drop down to one of the lower energy tasks. This might be returning phone calls when you are focused and sending that fax when you are starting to go down in energy. At home you might alternate between paying bills and folding laundry in front of the TV. Riding the wave doesn’t mean not doing work, but just working smarter. -Logan Williamson, LPC