The entrepreneurs, ADHD adults and other creative geniuses who come to me are usually struggling with productivity. Perhaps that’s why my first questions are so unexpected. They’re surprised when I ask how much sleep they’re getting, or how often they’re able to exercise. They’re shocked when I ask about their hobbies, their beliefs and how much time they spend doing things that interest them or that allow them to be creative. A common misconception, they equate “productivity” with getting things done, especially at work.
True productivity must include the “stuff” that supports your well-being, your happiness and your goals. Of course, that includes work-related productivity but it also includes honoring your commitments to your friends and family and more importantly, to yourself.
Everyone benefits from seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night and a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise each day. In fact, anyone who doesn’t get enough sleep can experience ADHD-like symptoms. However, for adults with ADHD, sufficient sleep and regular exercise will improve your ability to concentrate, your memory and your ability to deal with stress.
Awareness of how you work best allows you to optimize the use of your time so that you’ll have “spare” time when you can inject interesting activities in your life. If, instead of working two extra hours at work, you enrolled in an art or dance class, or even just spent quality time connecting with your friends and family, you’d have more energy and you’d even be more productive at work. Oh, and you’d feel a lot happier.
Of course, this process feeds on itself. Becoming more productive at work would free up even more time you can dedicate to exercising your creativity, forging new connections and pursuing leisure activities. And that’s why my first questions are a little surprising but entirely necessary. Improving your productivity starts with having a healthier lifestyle.
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