ADHD is a Superpower: How to master it (Part 1)
Throughout my life I have struggled with ADHD. I’ve been scolded, punished, caned and humiliated for my condition and spent many years dealing with suicidal thoughts around it and what it did to my life. Seeing I was broken and flawed, I set out to buy tons of medication to stop this terror that was ruining my life.
My first session with ADHD drugs freaked me out as everything I took felt like unfun cocaine. I’m deeply terrified of cocaine and don’t want anything to do with the drug. This led me to seek out alternative approaches and spend the next 5 -7 years focusing on how to live with ADHD and thrive.
This journey saw me undergo dramatic amounts of trial and error, but finally at 34, I think I can say that I have a better understanding of my condition and even better I know how to weaponize it to get me what I want.
Below you will find the first 5 principles I created for my framework to manage my ADHD, there 20 in total, but I will be publishing them 5 at a time because these posts are meant for people with ADHD. As someone with ADHD I know how hard it can be to get through a 4000 word essay, so I’ll publish these articles over 4 weeks and then move onto something else.
5 Principles Discussed
You are not in control
Wake up early
Keep a Journal
Write it down
Principle 1: You are not in control
Your ADHD is wildly powerful. So powerful that it is far more powerful than your will power, sense of character or even desires.
Think of your ADHD like Superman’s ability to shoot lasers from his eyes. If Clarke Kent did not have control over this ability, he would destroy everything in his path. This is your ADHD.
It’s a superpower, so you need to respect that and not trifle with this power. If you do, it will destroy everything in your life.
This is not to say you must fear your ADHD, but rather recognize what it really is, a powerful genetic mutation that can help you get everything you want out of life or alternatively deny you everything you’ve ever wanted.
Principle 2: Wake up early
This is non-negotiable. Many people claim to be night owls and others early risers. If you have ADHD, you should be an early riser and only an early riser. I know you may be tempted to say I like staying up late and I work better at night. This may be true, but I can assure you, you will be much more productive if you wake up early.
Well simply put there are less distractions at 3AM than there are at 10pm. 10pm people are going out, drinking, partying, and feeling lonely. These people can contact you and rope you into their destruction. You should avoid them.
Waking up early means you can feed your ADHD without any stimulants – you can play Red Dead Redemption from 4Am to 6AM and not feel guilty. Resulting in tons of natural dopamine hits before the sun gets up.
Waking up at 4AM and getting 60 mins of work done before 6AM. Means that by the time the workday starts you have done most of the work you needed to do for the day.
Lastly if you’ve done 60-80% of your work by 09:00 you can then afford to get distracted and derailed by calls, messages and emails.
At 3AM you can play video games, exercise, play with your kids with tons of energy and still have a productive day. Trying to find that energy at the end of the day is a fool’s pursuit and requires your day not to be shit show. If you wake up early you can enjoy all your recreation before the day begins and if the day is a nightmare, you’ve had your fun before the rest of the world can ruin it.
Simply put, waking up early ensures that no one else can get in the way of you having a great day. Even if the sky does start falling at 9AM, you’ve already put in a solid 3-4 hours of work before this happens.
Principle 3: Keep a Journal
Your life is your greatest masterpiece of focus and concentration. As someone with ADHD if you do not manage your focus and concentration you can end up cycling in circles for hours and getting nowhere. Therefore, the easiest way to make progress on your goals, dreams and desires is to track them via a journal. I would suggest the journal be online and easily accessible.
The trick is to try journaling every day. A lot of people have said to me that they don't know what to put in their journal, it doesn't really matter. Over time you will learn to ask the right questions, but above all else the sooner you keep track of your behaviours and thoughts the sooner you can learn to direct them in the right direction. I would suggest not having a blank journal, but rather a questionnaire paired with a review of the previous day.
See example here:
Try to write in it every day even if it’s for 1 minute.
After 90 days you can review it and start to notice the patterns that are preventing you from achieving your goals.
Principle 4: Write it down
You can journal in a digital format, but you cannot plan your day in a digital format. If you use Asana, Evernote or any other productivity software/app to manage your day I would suggest stopping this immediately.
Rather buy a notebook and like a student; lay out the date at the top of your page and then write out the things you need to do for the day.
Simply put sitting down and writing out your to-do list and why you’re doing what you’re doing will help you learn how to focus and concentrate.
Secondly purchase a Red permanent marker. When you knock tasks off your list. Cross them out in Red marker.
The red marker will give you a small dopamine hit and begin the process of giving you momentum. Momentum is everything.
Secondly ensure that you end the day with planning out the next day.
Principle 5: Practice everything
You must remember that your superpower does not turn off or take weekends off. Therefore, if you want to do anything, you should try to practice it before you actually do it. This isn't simply practicing a speech or presentation.
I would suggest practicing the transitions:
· How do you leave your home
· How do you get out of the shower
· How do you arrive at work
· how do you arrive at home.
These transitory moments are where your ADHD can flare up the most and if you can get these sorted, you can then focus on what you actually want. This may sound silly, but as I said earlier, you have a super power, you have to do silly things to maintain it and harness it because you’re not like the others. Superman has to practice running slowly or else he will literally run through humans. Practice your transitions and they will not be able to slow you down.
Thank you for reading this and please leave a comment or mail me if you have any further questions.