Three Productiveness Suggestions for ADHD Teenagers
Teens with ADHD are often mistakenly labeled as unmotivated, lazy, or apathetic. But the truth is, most of my teenage clients are desperate to understand what it takes to be productive. You want to understand how to hold back procrastination, distractibility, and poor time management – and how to organize yourself with an ADHD brain.
I keep telling my teenagers, “The more you have your time, the more productive you will be – and the more time you have to relax and socialize!”
Here are three strategies I use with my teenage clients to help them manage their time better and be more productive.
1. Make sure you understand what to do
When I ask my teenagers about homework, tests, projects, and other upcoming tasks, they often answer with hmms and ums. “Hmm, I’m not sure … I think I have a test this week.” Or “Um … I don’t know … I thought I had handed in my homework.” These answers are all big red flags.
[Get This Free Download: Transform Your Teen’s Apathy Into Engagement]
When teenagers struggle not knowing when to do school or home assignments, they are constantly worried. All the time they spend thinking about these tasks eventually leads to stress, anxiety, and disconnection. Not knowing is one of the biggest barriers to productivity.
To help my customers find their way around, I ask questions that lead to specific information:
- “What do you need to know?”
- “Who or what could help you answer this question?”
- “Is there your test data on the school or class website?”
- “What are your home duties?”
- “Tell me your intentions and be realistic. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. “
Facts have a way to stop the worry and brooding. When our language is factual, it offers an outlet for action.
2. Time yourself, undisturbed
Teens today are bombarded with more distractions than ever before. The dings and pings and SMS and DMs are uninterrupted. It has never been easier to escape a boring homework assignment – for hours.
[Read: How Can I Help My Son Resist the Temptations of His Phone?]
Many of my clients admit giving in to these distractions but rarely have any idea how much time they are wasting. One of the most eye-opening self-esteem exercises my teens do is tracking how long it takes to complete a task without being disturbed (that means no multitasking at all). I ask them to grab a timer and just record their start and end times. While it’s an extra step, they are often shocked to see that with uninterrupted focus they can do their math homework in half the normal time – and get to what they really want to do faster.
3. Environment and movement are key
It is incredibly important where teenagers do their schoolwork and can make all the difference in their motivation. I try to help my teenagers develop the mindset that school is work – and they may not do their best job if they’re in pajamas and under the sheets.
But even sitting still for hours at a desk is not always motivating and sustainable. When energy levels drop and medications wear off, it is important that teenagers get a dopamine solution. For many of my clients, that’s in the form of movement. Standing, stretching, walking, and other brief bursts of movement are great for activating focus and resetting the mind.
Many of my clients also work well with slight background noise (including a learning playlist) as opposed to absolute silence.
It is my responsibility to ensure that the teens in my program understand what is getting in the way of productivity. It’s a process that requires a change in mindset that requires a lot of repetition and encouragement. While it’s hard work, it all pays off when the end result is a more confident teen who takes their time and energy into their own hands.
Productivity Tips For Teens With ADHD: The Next Steps
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