I came across a video by Jesse J. Anderson of the ADHD blog Jessejanderson.com. He suggested some ideas for the ADHD brain that I feel might be useful for those of us with bipolar brains. The two conditions are very similar to each other and can sometimes exist comorbidly.
Many of the common productivity hack systems out there do not work for atypical brains. Sometimes a particular hack that you’ve always used becomes tired. This just means you need to try a new one. This is a rat trap of continuing to try new hacks and still ending up in the same place getting nothing done. According to Jesse, there is an entirely new way to look at getting things done whether for school or work.
This method is called:
Captivate: Find an idea or project that you obsess about and go down that rabbit hole. Research and write the heck out of it.
Create: Make something new with your discovery. Whether an ebook, a book length project, a web site, a blog, you name it, just begin to create something. Start small. Small things lead to something Big.
Compete: There are many people working on similar ideas at once. Remind yourself of this as you progress on your idea or project so you will not end up getting “scooped” by someone else.
Complete: Use time-based goals to work on your project. Rather than saying I must write 5 pages a day. Say to yourself: I will write for 5, 10, 30 minutes a day in the morning or whatever time of day works best for you.
If a hack stops working for you, embrace the pivot and research a new system. Set a timer and work in increments, then take a short break. Sometimes you might be hyper-focused on a concept and sometimes you just need to work in 15-minute increments.
Look for side quests. If you are having trouble motivating yourself to work on a task, find another topic that is part of your larger work to explore for fifteen minutes. Just don’t let side quests eat up a day’s productivity.
Commit to the micro. Set reasonable goals for finishing each task. Ten minutes on each task, then breaktime for 5 minutes.
Change your environment. Work some place besides your office. A coffeeshop. A library. The park.
Make tests or paperwork a game. Make the work fun.
I will be interviewing Jesse in a future post. For now, check him out at jessejanderson.com.