State of the Art: ADHD and Productivity

This photo of Tribble very accurately reflects the state of my mind these past couple months: unfocused, poorly balanced, and generally confused. But, unlike my younger self, I’m trying not to beat myself up about it. I’m trying to be more gentle with myself, which is what I should have been doing all along, instead of punishing myself for the way my brain works. For most of my life, I thought I was just lazy, stupid, and incapable – turns out it was just ADHD, and I am none of those things! Huzzah!

I’m still learning how best to work with my ADHD instead of against it, and it’s kinda rough. I have plenty of days when I have work that needs to get done and my brain finds every possible way to get distracted in order to avoid Doing the Thing. I once found myself sorting French grammar flash cards, which hadn’t been touched in YEARS, instead of working on the project I needed to get done! What the heck, brain! So what do I do when my brain is determined to keep me from my work? 

Indulge it. 

Give it a break. Do something entirely different, preferably in a different room to physically separate myself from the task I’m avoiding. If I feel like playing, I’ll play a video game for half an hour. Maybe I’ll read a book or catch up on webcomics. If I’m feeling up for it, I’ll do some chores or go for a walk. When I’ve had some time away from The Thing, I’ll hop back over to it and see if my ability to focus on it has come back. If it has, lovely! If not, that’s okay – do another different thing. I’ll get the work done either way, it’s just a matter of whether I’m doing it excruciatingly slowly and burdened with negative feelings or not. 

All of this to say that sometimes we need a break. And that’s okay. We need to be kind to our brains and to ourselves.

Author: Katie McMahon

Katie is a comic artist and illustrator living in rural New Hampshire in a town mostly populated with elderly folks and roving gangs of sassy turkeys. She enjoys reading comics, playing board games and RPGs, drinking fair trade tea and coffee, discussing feminism and social justice, and cracking the best groan-worthy jokes the internet has to offer.

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