ADHD tools: how to conquer everything everywhere all at once
By Vic Hogg
Apr 14, 2023
For those with ADHD, learning ways to harness attention and find focus when you need it can be an overwhelming challenge - one that can impact everything from your employment prospects to your physical and mental wellbeing.
But for all the challenges of ADHD, there are some truly special gifts to the condition when you're able to build practices to mitigate the impact of its symptoms.
We celebrated Neurodiversity Celebration Week with our members by putting on a ADHD workshop; to support neurodiverse (ND) people who strive for stress-free work-based focus and accountability.
People joined from all over the globe in their 🌶 neurospicy 🌶 droves for an action-packed, hour-long quest full of science-based facts, pro tips and positive energy.
Designed by FLOWN facilitators and certified ADHD coaches Kit and Mike, along with productivity coach, Micah, this fast-paced, science-backed session was chocked full of impactful ADHD strategies and resources.
We’re making the handy assortment of ADHD resources that were covered available to you here, to help you unlock your potential and achieve what you've always known you were truly capable of. Just click below.
For guidance on how to use them, read on!
“FLOWN has been an absolute game-changer. I appreciate everything I’m learning - plus knowing that I’m not alone…”
🦑 Level 1: The Everything!
If you play video games, you’ll be familiar with the concept of the Boss. The Boss is an enemy and often the last, most powerful element of the game. They’re so-called because they’re usually in charge of weaker opponents.
If you have ADHD, you’ve likely heard the ADHD community refer to tricky, slippery tasks as ‘the thing’. The thing is exhausting.
FLOWN have gone one further and dubbed all Boss-like barriers to productivity: ‘the Everything’.
The Everything is your overwhelming enthusiasm, endless curiosity and deeply creative spark. When unbalanced, the Everything causes your biggest challenges. It’s the pull to do ALL THE THINGS that are interesting, exciting or new (and do them NOW!).
The Everything is wonderful when it’s working with you. When it’s not, it can create burnout, poor boundaries, rejection sensitivity dysphoria, low self-esteem and often, chronic shame.
“Pro: I can get a million things done in one day and my energy is limitless! Con: my mind is jumbled and never calms down.”
The Everything in neuroscientific terms
So where the heck does the Everything come from? It’s a spot in our brain called the Default Mode Network (DMN). If you find yourself daydreaming or fantasising about the future a lot, thank the DMN!
With ADHD, the DMN doesn’t shut down properly. It’s hyperactive. That means ADHD brains have trouble switching off ‘daydream’ regions that interfere with concentration; particularly on tedious tasks.
You’ll get super-excited about something, then lose interest when it becomes monotonous.
“I think the name of ADHD is the biggest source of what causes society to lack understanding.”
⚒️ Level 2: Gathering inventory; forging ADHD weapons
Gaming analogies aside, there’s power to creating a professional toolkit for best practice. Here’s the editable ‘inventory’ game sheet from the session for you to use again and again. This is a printable version.
This 3min exercise slows down / calms an ADHD brain by providing multiple stimulation points for the body. It’s grounding, shrugs off perfectionism and disperses excess energy.
Grab a notebook and pen. Set a 3m timer. Put on a favourite track if you like.
Walk about your space while free-doodling on the page. Enjoy the freedom!
Look up and around the whole time so you don’t bump into things.
When the timer goes, look at your doodle. How does it feel? What came up for you?
“I’ve been using the Saturday Flocks to draw and paint. It’s been wonderful to schedule creative time.”
Kit’s Creative Prescription
This 5m exercise speaks to your interests, creativity and self-expression and invites you to fold them into your schedule. You deserve nourishing self-expression time.
Grab a notebook and pen.
Spend 2m writing down all your passions and hobbies.
Spend 3m deciding what specific interests your week will include, and in what shape (eg. “I will spend 10 minutes every morning, at 8.45am, playing piano”).
Now write yourself the ‘prescription’ so you can have accountability. Don’t forget to sign it!
“I have only just been diagnosed at 38 and it is wild how the Everything is a constant reality. I’m creative, quick-witted, and empathic but the shame, burnout and low self-esteem has been incredibly debilitating.”
😈 Level 3: Turning the ADHD Boss from enemy to ally
Let’s be clear — you’re not on a mission to defeat the Boss: the Boss is inextricably linked to all your unique magic. You want to make the Boss your ally.
Pick a tool or two from the following list and use your game sheet to level up today — and week-on-week. Print a version for added ‘object permanence’ sprinkles.
ADHD means it’s hard to complete tasks due to overwhelm or lack of motivation. Hold yourself accountable to tame the slippery beast that is the Boss / the Everything. When you set intentions, find an accountability buddy or book a Flock with FLOWN, you immediately increase your chances of success.
ADHD brains appreciate a second person in the mix to hold them on task and lessen the possibility of being distracted. Have a strategy so you’re not always working solo, such as booking Portholes and Flocks.
Overwhelm from your brain being overloaded can be debilitating. Whether you’re neurotypical or neurodivergent, taking a wander in nature eases stress and gives a little oxytocin boost through being present and in a state of awe.
ADHD brains tend to forget about tasks they dislike, don’t feel connected to, or which aren’t visible to them (aka object impermanence). When you ‘stack’ such a task with an appropriate, inevitable habit you already have, it increases your chances of remembering to do it (eg. taking your daily prescription medicine every time you feed your pet).
ADHD brains get ‘bored’ or distracted easily because of the lack of boundaried thinking due to the DMN not shutting down properly. A looming deadline, however, helps get the ADHD brain in gear! Gamify your schedule and you’ll likely be a lot more productive. Intentions and strict time limits can help maximise your output.
Object impermanence is a big ADHD trait — the result being you seem like a flaky, careless person (you’re not). Lessen the effort and stress caused by an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ brain: put a to-do list on a whiteboard or Post-Its in your work space, or as a voice message in a place you visit regularly, such as your phone’s daily reminders.
ADHD brains don’t produce dopamine as freely as NT brains; rewards can help trigger creation of this neurotransmitter that’s involved in feelings of pleasure and regulation of attention. NB. Plan nourishing, timed ‘badges’ or breaks, eg. a 5m jigsaw puzzle stint or 3min dance party, rather than, say, falling down a Tik-Tok-shaped rabbit hole by accident.
All ADHD brains are unique so do play with various tools and techniques and see what works best for you. The fog and overwhelm will inevitably lift as you level up your focus and long-game tactics. You’ve got this! ❤️
“Being recently diagnosed with ADHD, I’ve felt alone - and quite frankly terrified - to be ‘taking on’ all there is to the world of ADHD. I am moved almost to tears by being here. Thank you!!!”
🏆 Play like a winner!
Congratulations! You’re the star of your live-action role play and your own (helpful) Boss in your new work-life routine. Fold the new habits into your everyday to tame the Everything and improve your quality of life. With FLOWN’s help, you might just unlock ‘god mode’. GLHF (good luck, have fun!).
“Flocks have been life-changing: I'm starting a business; participating in Flocks has gotten me from feeling permanently overwhelmed to actually making progress.”
So what’s next?
👾 “Like a video game stuck on ‘hard mode’…”
The world is built for neurotypical people, so being ND can be exhausting. Many of our members at FLOWN have shared how life can feel like playing a video game that’s stuck on ‘hard mode’.
However, as countless world-class professionals prove - from award-winning UK chef Jamie Oliver to US Olympian gymnast Simone Biles, an ADHD diagnosis doesn’t have to hold you back from success.
FLOWN’s uniquely tailored tools and techniques, such as live, structured focus sessions (called 'Flocks') and nourishing Recharges (like guided breathwork and awe walks) support your journey for a hugely improved quality of life and work.
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!
Book a Flock or a Porthole
Read a FLOWN blog post or two on strategic support for ADHD
Spread the love! Head to Reddit both here as well as here and share your experience of FLOWN