Cameron Gott, PCC
ADHD Coaching for Leaders & Professionals


The Global Creative Blog

REBEL - small adjustments


Being consistently productive when you have ADHD can be really challenging.  ADHD impacts the very controls (executive functions)  that contribute to consistency - be it attention, effort or emotional management.  Think of the last time you were on a plane.  Once it reaches altitude you can expect a consistently smooth flight.  That's because the plane's computer system constantly adjusts wing surfaces and engine speed, course and direction to compensate for the smallest disturbance and diverts around the larger challenges like lightning storms.  For the individual with ADHD 'flying the plane' can be challenging when:

Your flight computer (Pre-Frontal Cortex) is susceptible to memory crashes

Switches (Executive Functions) on your instrument panel get stuck or don't always work

You're faced with lots of unstable air (variability in your day)

Your visibility is limited to a few meters ahead of the plane (limited strategic vision)

A brush up on REBEL can help smooth out your daily flights of work.

Remember to Remind the Brain of the 'givens' in your day.

What are those daily best practices that are the foundation of success for your current work position?  Givens rarely change.

Expand the Mind - Look to the horizon and the bigger objectives.

We can easily lose sight getting lost in the details of the day.  Keep your eye on the final destination and creative ways to get there.  Also notice any 'thunder clouds' that might crop up.

Balanced Attack - Balance the smaller 'given' actions with the bigger projects not due tomorrow.

The more you chip away at the important/not urgent items the less fires you'll be putting out.  Giving 1-2 hours to a big project over a period of several weeks (see limit scope) can really add up.  A GTD Next Action approach helps to distinguish the smaller completions.  Just don't get attached to the outcome (super high expectation).  Focus on the time and not the task.  Pomodoro approach helps here

Exposure - Expose yourself to necessary transitions in the day.

Transitions are a necessity in a busy work day. Just as a plane makes adjustments through the flight we need to make adjustments through our day.  Planning out the major waypoints or mini-destinations is a good practice.  Also it can feel painful to land the plane when your brain doesn't want to but disappearing on a long haul flight will have your colleagues, who expect responsiveness, scratching their heads.

Limit Scope - Instead of flying the trans continental routes try flying a regional route with quicker destinations and completions (back to givens).

Our brains love the idea of ample time and space to focus on one project to a completion.  We block off a day to a project and then as the day approaches time is carved out by more urgent actions or meetings.  Blocking is good but try blocking a smaller portion of time.  It will be easier to protect as the day approaches.

Final Thoughts

This is not about turning your brain into an auto-pilot.  This is not to suggest to remove all spontaneity from your day.  This is about smoothing out the rough patches in your day so you have a better sense of accomplishment when you reach the end of the day.  Experiment with different approaches and fine tune as you go.  Having a co-pilot in the cabin can be helpful too whether he's a colleague, manager or coach.