A coach’s guide to how to hack your ADHD, find focus and reclaim your wellbeing
By Kit Slocum
Apr 21, 2023
Speaking from experience, working and studying with ADHD is no easy task. Distractions are aplenty — every color, shape, and sound is an alluring novelty more interesting than work.
I spend much too long finding the perfect playlist because my working conditions have to be “just right”. I miss small details on important projects (don’t even get me started on numbers). I fall down a YouTube black hole, and before you know it, two hours have gone by and I’ve learned everything there is to know about the molecular structure of table salt and my work has yet to be touched.
For me, and 2.8% of the global adult population, this is the everyday experience of living with ADHD.
Poor time management, disorganization and inattentiveness are some of the most common challenges of living with untreated adult ADHD. And for some, these symptoms can make it extraordinarily difficult to study, work, or participate in anything requiring focus and routine.
The challenges of managing ADHD and work
Although ADHD can double as a superpower, the more demanding aspects of the disorder can override many of the special traits that come along with it. Which is why those with ADHD are:
👉🏽 60% more likely to be fired from a job
👉🏽 Three to six times more likely to suffer multiple burnouts
👉🏽 Three times more likely to experience anxiety or depression
You can add to all this the crippling demands of managing time blindness i.e. the inability to sense the passing of time, which can mean missed deadlines and lateness galore. Not to mention the dopamine roulette of bouncing from lengthy stints of hyperfocus to those haunting hours-long stretches where you stare blankly at the computer screen, waiting for your brain to just do something.
All this can become a chaotic cocktail that makes holding down work, study, or routine of any kind an absolute nightmare.
How to hack your ADHD
Of course, I’ve made it this far in life with ADHD. I’m an academic coach in higher academia, I have been an instructional designer for five years, and currently facilitate deep work sessions at FLOWN. I’ve also started my own business and expanded it to another state this last year! But much of my success has come down to countless hours spent researching how to hack, manage and navigate the challenges of ADHD.
Having since coached dozens of ADHDers just like me, I’ve learned 3 top tips for staving off procrastination, concentrating on tasks, and managing your life.
Become a body doubling fiend
No, this has nothing to do with B-grade horror flicks, cloning or Madame Tussaud's.
Body doubling is the practice of intentionally completing tasks with another person present. This helps to anchor the attention, which has allowed me and many others with ADHD to massively increase their ability to focus and stay on task.
Body doubling with Flocks
I’ve found FLOWN’s online coworking sessions (also known as ‘Flocks’) to be the most effective tool for this. Instead of a physical body double, you join a scheduled session over Zoom to work alongside a virtual room of others, all focused on tasks of their own.
None of the tricky schedule-wrangling of arranging for a colleague or friend to act as a physical body double. With FLOWN I get the ultimate focus tool on tap, wherever I am, and pretty much whenever I need.
Don't know what a Flock is?
Flocks are online focus sessions designed to free you from distraction and take the willpower out of productivity.
Try a Flock for free today, and see how much you can tick off your to-do list!
Box off your time
When I sit down to plan out a project, it feels near impossible to accurately dissect it into easily manageable parts. Should I spend one hour on one paragraph or one hour on the whole paper? Before I know it, I’ve spent two whole hours on coming up with the first sentence and I’m seconds from throwing my laptop through the window.
Blocking my time into chunks has allowed me to combat this “organization frustration”.
Block with Flocks
FLOWN’s Flocks are the perfect strategy for this as they allow for intentional time blocking throughout my day. A Flock adds focused structure by directing 50 minutes of deep work whilst prompting me to define a goal for each session. Instead of worrying about how much time you should be spending on something, or cautiously glancing at a clock every 15 minutes, you are able to drop into flow while a facilitator keeps time for you. It’s the perfect remedy for time blindness!
Before settling down to work on a task it can be especially helpful to share what you’ll be working on with someone. In fact, this one simple practice has been shown to be hugely impactful to shaping the ability to follow through to get stuff done.
The sciencey types call this an implementation intention.
Before starting on your task, share a specific and measurable goal with someone, along with a plan for when you’ll report back on your progress. It works best when you keep the intervals for reporting back short i.e. 1-2 hours. The brain loves immediate goals with immediate rewards. Trust me, you’ll be surprised by how effective this practice can be.
Set goals with FLOWN
FLOWN’s sessions make use of this technique at every Flock. After being welcomed by a Flock facilitator, you split off into breakout rooms of 3-4 people (’mini-Flocks’) for a few minutes to share your aims for that session. Afterwards, you return to the main room to spend the next 50-52 minutes working in companionable silence alongside the rest of the Flock.
Along with the mid-sesh breaks (anything from a few moments of guided breathwork to recharge, to a quick and creative quiz or game), this scientifically proven formula has the perfect amount of dynamic interaction to keep my novelty-seeking brain satiated.
Why Flown is the ADHD weapon you’ve been looking for
Flocks have not only boosted my productivity, but also my confidence as I am able to feel a sense of accomplishment and speak my achievements out loud to others — I did it! I am always surprised at how much I am able to get done using this simple, but effective technique.
Live Flocks are an essential strategy in an ADHD student or professional’s toolkit. Utilizing body doubling, intention setting, accountability while adding structure and community? Sign me up for life!