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ADHD Productivity and the Pomodoro Method

by Annie Kiely 11 months ago in how to

The Pomodoro Method allows me to have productive days at work and at home, even when I feel like doing nothing.

If you have ADHD as an adult, you know that focusing on the right thing at the right time can feel like winning the lottery. Many adults with ADHD find the act of focusing to be extremely taxing, unlesshey happen to be fixated on something at the time.

There are many coping methods that adults with ADHD use to get their work done and to fill their day with accomplishment. The Pomodoro Technique is one method that I love to rely on when I am working from home, or have too much on my plate.

The Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro Method is a productivity approach that has been designed to maximize focus and accomplishment while making time for breaks, relaxation and enjoyment. The technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo. It involves breaking down your to-do list into timed intervals, and leaving yourself plenty of time for breaks.

Traditionally, the Pomodoro Method has been done in 25-minute intervals. To accomplish the technique, you simply set your timer for 25 minutes and work through your tasks. When the timer goes off, you take a 5-minute break to reset before starting again.

If you have ADHD, you might find that your intervals get longer and longer throughout the day as you make progress and want to spend a longer period focusing. If you’re having a particularly difficult day with your attention span, you can set your Pomodoro intervals to be much shorter, committing to working time of only 5-10 minutes.

The Method and the ADHD Brain

You can do almost anything for 20 minutes, and that is the beauty of the Pomodoro Method. Large tasks and blocks of time overwhelm us because we feel trapped and feel like we cannot get everything done. By using the Pomodoro Method, you free yourself from that anxiety. By giving yourself bites of time and productivity you can handle, you can make your way through all of your tasks without feeling trapped, and with plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself.

Changing your Intervals

The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is that you can time the intervals to suit your day or your mood. For example, on the weekends, I’ll often do intervals based on whichever television show I am watching. Between each episode, I’ll hop up to do some work or cleaning for 20 minutes between each episode. At the end of the day, I’ll find that I have had plenty of time to relax and have gotten plenty done without too much stress.

Mixing other Methods with Pomodoro

If you or someone you love has ADHD, you know that there really is no fail-proof method to ensure your brain will stay focused when you need to. The Pomodoro Method is extremely helpful for me and allows me to have some of my most productive days. But, it isn’t always the answer. Depending on my mood and mindset, I may use many other coping methods (bullet journaling, alarms, an online calendar, list making) to make sure I have a productive day.

You’ll need to experiment with your moods, energy levels, and successes to see when or if the Pomodoro Technique will be helpful for you.

Recognizing your Successes

If you have ADHD, you probably spend more time than most worrying about getting things done and your productivity. Remember that even the most organized and neurotypical people have bad focus days occasionally where they just don’t get much done. If you’re having trouble being productive no matter what method you’re using, consider cutting yourself some slack. After all, adding to stress is only going to make it more difficult for you to settle down and get your work done.

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Annie Kiely

Annie Kiely is a freelance writer, editor and researcher who lives in the 'burbs of Toronto with her pets and her partner. Annie is an advocate for wellness, mental health education, and literacy. She loves animals and gardening (and food).

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