Musings on Productivity

For as long as I can remember, I have worked differently than others around me. If you have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) like me, you probably have similar experiences. Never able to start a paper or project and work on it slowly over time, I was prone to procrastination in high school. Back then I found that I was able to produce work I was proud of only when I completed tasks in one sitting. The issue with this method was that I had to purposefully avoid any and all distractions once I got in my zone. The tiniest disturbance would throw me off and cause me to forget what I was doing and move to something completely unrelated.

Without being cognizant of what I was doing, I perfected this method in college by scheduling my classes as close together as possible, in order to afford myself several hours or even full days of “free” time I could spend accomplishing tasks all at once. I developed a routine before these productive periods that included a short walk and placing my phone in another room. I made sure my laptop and iPad weren’t connected to my phone so I could never get a notification.

Until recently, I thought my method of blocking off time to work quickly and with no distractions was odd, but I continued doing so because it worked for me. Then I discovered a blog called “Faster Than Normal.” This blog is run by Peter Shankman, the founder of Help A Reporter Out, and it encourages people with ADD or ADHD to stop trying to cope with their diagnosis, and instead use it to their advantage. The first post I read was Step by Step: How I was able to write close to 30,000 words in 15 hours, and I was amazed at how similar his methods were to mine and how much I learned to make myself even more productive. His philosophy is that people with ADD or ADHD have a unique amount of passion and drive, and are able to harness that to maximize their potential with the right tools and mindset of avoiding distractions.

It can be frustrating when you’re having trouble focusing and those around you are able to stay on track no matter what. However, understanding that there is a method to your madness and knowing you aren’t alone in the way you work can make your life so much better. I wanted to write about the blog “Faster Than Normal” for this reason, because I know there are so many public relations students and young professionals with ADD or ADHD who could benefit from it’s helpful tips and knowing they aren’t alone. It’s alright if you work differently than others, and if you figure out how to work efficiently, you don’t have to cause yourself anguish by trying to be productive when it feels impossible.

This blog post was written by Emily Hillhouse. She is in the digital department in Capstone Agency.

Capstone Agency