Problem: How can people with Inattentive ADHD turn it into a superpower?
Aron appeared to have it all figured out when he got into Harvard, but this was the beginning of his losses. For 15 years, he struggled nonstop until he found himself broke, divorced, earning minimum wage, and dropping off the first seven jobs and businesses he got into. His life changed completely after he earned a master’s degree in Coaching Psychology and was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. How did Aron build a very successful career working at Fortune 500 companies such as Marriott, Deloitte, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, and KPMG? Throughout this episode, we’ll explore the tools and techniques that even people with ADHD can use to become more productive. How do people with this condition turn it into a superpower?
But then there’s a whole other side of the spectrum, which is the side that I have represented and served, which is the inattentive side of the spectrum. And then some lucky people get both. So, that’s combined type hyperactive, impulsive, it’s what most stereotypes are, right? Super high energy, like driven by a motor. Often just might talk without thinking, kind of impulsive, maybe risk-taking, all these things. But then on the inattentive side, and this is where things get really confusing for a lot of people because most people don’t make the distinction on the inattentive side. It’s when you can’t really get yourself to work on what you want to work on.
The Burn and Burn Challenge: Building Great Habits
Aaron discusses behavior models that can help you build great habits. The first revolves around having motivating but not overwhelming consequences. The second is, to surround yourself with like-minded people who will hold you accountable. He emphasized the importance of catching up on community good habits by using community influence.
What Nir Eyal shares in his book, Indestructible, is something he calls the burn or burn challenge. So, he has a calendar up on the wall, and he takes a hundred-dollar bill taped to it. He moves the hundred-dollar bill every single day. I’m a huge fan of having consequences that are motivating but not overwhelming, and low criteria for success, low hurdles. I love winning a hundred percent of the time. And then anything else is a bonus. So, what he does is he has the same thing as a low hurdle. He can just do 10 push-ups or 10 air squats or something, but it’s a reminder to him, or if he doesn’t do anything, he can burn. He can either burn the calories, or you can burn the hundred-dollar bill. So, that’s why it’s the burn or burn challenge.
Tip # 1: Be Consistent
The most motivating thing is seeing progress. What most people do is set crazy goals. Aron emphasized that consistency is more important than intensity, and most people prioritize intensity. People with distraction challenges or ADHD-like symptoms should focus on small but consistent progress towards their goals instead of massive and intense initiatives.
I always just stress consistency over intensity because when we feel like we’re winning, it feels good to keep winning. When we feel like we’re losing, we want to set our ass on the couch and watch TV.
Tip #2: Figure Out When Your Chrono-biological Peak Is
One thing that’s common among people with inattentive ADHD is feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Find out when your body functions best to avoid analysis paralysis. Don’t waste your time responding to instant messages, emails, or joining meetings when your brain and body are at their peak. Instead, spend it working on difficult tasks. Over time, the difficult tasks will become easier. Utilize your biological peak for deep work.
So, one of the key things, and this really goes to what you talked about your morning is, figuring out when your chrono-biological peak is and doing your hard tasks then. And all of a sudden, the hard tasks aren’t that hard. A lot of people waste their biological peak and they spend it on meetings, or they spend it on emails. They spend it on random stuff, and they’re missing this window in their day where hard stuff becomes easy, and I don’t do the hard stuff the rest of the day. I have meetings and do emails. I take care of administrative tasks. But, I crush my hard stuff in the biological peak, and it’s one of the reasons that my business has grown really quickly in a short period of time.
Tip # 3: Motivate Yourself Continually
Keep your motivation high. The chemical dopamine drives motivation. People with inattentive ADHD find it harder to stay motivated. Even when you do, it’s hard to see it translating into a result immediately. Especially when we’re trying to establish a new habit or behavior. The first two to eight weeks are the hardest. Do not beat yourself up about it. At some point, the habit will become a healthy, self-sustaining habit. The question is: How do you get past the crossover point? Here are some key tips:
- Remove the cause of distraction. If it’s food, don’t buy it.
- Reward yourself until you’re able to reach the cross-over.
- Team up with an accountability partner who will give you positive peer pressure.
- Take time to do refresh yourself and do self-care.
I have a system to reward myself. To get to a crossover point when establishing a new habit. And so, I built a habit of daily consistent productivity, which this whole three-step framework that I shared here is basically the entire system. It’s all about how do we get past the crossover point? And I literally throw the freaking kitchen sink at it. That’s why we have rewards. That’s why we have community influence. That’s why we have accountability buddies. That’s why we have status visible. That’s why we have deep work. That’s why we have distractions going away. That’s why we turn down artificial dopamine lights. We do it all sequentially in tiny bites as a community, so it’s manageable. You have to use stuff until you get to sustainability.
On Intentionally Surrounding yourself with Like-Minded People
I’m a huge fan of surrounding myself with other people who motivate me because I’m so impressionable. I’m just so influenced by the people around me that if I intentionally put myself around people that have the desired behaviors that I want to. Or are working towards the same desired behaviors. Then, my behavior just shows up naturally.
Aron Croft’s Recommended Reading and Resources for Inattentive ADHD
- Productivity Framework (Free PDF with book recommendations)
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
- Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal
- Check the Free Masterclass at Hidden ADHD’s Official Site
- Check the Free Resources at Hidden ADHD’s Official Site