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Preventive Medicine for ADHD

stressedSometimes, I feel like an ambulance driver; I seem to meet my clients for the first time in a crisis situation. Over the years, I’ve noticed, and recent scientific studies have confirmed my observations, that burnout occurs almost six times more often in adults with ADHD than in the general population. I can believe that, since many of my clients contact me because they’ve had a burnout in the past, they are on sick leave from a burnout or they feel they are on the verge of burning out. While it’s gratifying to be a “lifesaver,” (marriage saver, job saver or sanity saver, depending on the crisis!) I thought some preventive medicine might make a nice change!

Ever Wonder Why You Hear Sirens All the Time?
Considering how un-ADHD-friendly modern life can be, with the constant interruptions of cell phones, text messages, emails and less-than-monk-like cubicle farm neighbors, I’m not surprised most ADHD adults struggle to stay focused on one thing long enough to make any headway. A lack of proactive thinking in many organizations has people playing “fire fighter,” rushing from emergency to emergency, putting out fires that could have been prevented.

At the end of the day, despite working a full 8 hours (8 hours? Ha!), your To-Do list is longer than when you started and tasks you scheduled but never had a chance to complete because of the constant interruptions are now added to the pile of last-minute crises that will ensure this situation will repeat next week, next month and next year! What can you do but take work home or stay late trying to complete things at the last minute?

If It Happened Before, It’ll Probably Happen Again
If this is your reality, you are probably overwhelmed and dissatisfied with your work. If it continues like this for any length of time, statistically, you’re headed for a burnout! Many people throw up their hands and walk away, quitting, being fired or going on sick leave, but until they put preventive strategies in place, the typically situation repeats itself when they return to work!

Seven Burnout Prevention Strategies
These 7 strategies will improve your work satisfaction, reduce overwhelm and stress, prevent burnout and help you gain control of your life:

  1. Take extreme self-care – exercise every day, get 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye; you’ll need plenty of sleep to stay energized and focused.
  2. Strategically “schedule” your interruptions; protect your high-energy periods to ensure peak performance.
  3. Schedule the right types of tasks at the right time of the day to ensure you optimize your time and stay energized.
  4. Develop the habit of checking and answering emails during off-peak, less productive time.
  5. Create systems to deal with repetitive but complicated activities that tend to cause crises.
  6. Take a 20 to 30-minute rejuvenation break when it will do you the most good, when you are mentally and physically wiped. Soldiering on instead only makes it worse.
  7. Schedule activities or appointments to force you to get out of the office at the end of the work day.

The strategies are simple, but like most simple things, they aren’t always easy to implement. Starting an exercise program is always easier if you have an incentive and you can use some of the same effective techniques to implement your anti-burnout strategies; partner with a buddy, join a class or hire a personal trainer. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.

The Buddy System
It’s fun to go to the gym with a buddy, so you’re more likely to show up, but you know they’ll let you off easy so you don’t always get the maximum benefit from your investment.

A Group Coaching Program
Group coaching combined with training allows you to get all the benefit of the buddy system, except on a bigger scale, because you work with a small group of people who share similar challenges, develop friendships that last long after the class ends, and who encourage each other, but you also have an expert who guides you every step of the way, and pushes you to do just a little bit extra so you get the maximum benefit from your investment.

Work With a Personal Trainer
And just like at the gym, one-on-one time with a coach is expensive but effective. You schedule appointments at your convenience, work as hard and fast (or slow and easy) as you want, you get exactly the help you need when you need it and the results can be amazing.

Of course, in all cases, the results depend entirely on the investment (time, effort and money) you’re willing to make, but if you’re tired of being tired, sick of living on the precipice looking into the abyss of a total loss of control in your life, make changes now. A little prevention goes a long way.

The Maximum Productivity Makeover is a highly effective group coaching and training program in one. For more information on how it can work for you, click here.

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