Accepting unproductive days

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    • #81351

      There are days … when you just need to accept that you are going to be unproductive. Anybody had this? Where no matter what you do you just cant concentrate on a single thing, even with the meds?

      A bit of background about me. Last year I was accused of being lazy. This is not the first time that has happened, expecially in school and with my studies. Problem is this was a work issue and I was close to being formally charged with poor performance. Long story short got tested for ADHD and the report says that I have ADHD with indicators of surface dyslexia. I was first put on 36mg of Concerta which lifted the “fog” but my wife complained that I became cranky and grumpy. Anyway I changed over to 40mg Ritalin La, which is fantastic. I can concentrate for longer but, “the meds help concentrate, they dont tell me what to concentrate on”. So I started doing research and putting things in place. Daily routines, planning your day at work, using music apps to drown out the world and a timer app for concentrating and taking breaks. Works really well.

      I’ve become quite productive, taking work home in the evenings, working over weekends ect.

      However, on days like today, no matter what I try, I just cant focus. Not on work, not on anything. So, I’m not going to fight it. It’s 2pm and I’m just going to let it play out. Taking work home so hopefully I can sit down and at least get something done this evening.

      Thanks for reading this far ๐Ÿ™‚

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Morgaen01.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #81440
      Penny Williams

      Hi Christo!

      I think that is true for all people, not just those with ADHD. I’m neurotypical and I have those days too. I find that it’s sometimes analysis paralysis — so overwhelmed with all that has to be done that it clouds my brain and prevents me from getting anything done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #81457

      What age do you grow out of adhd

      • #81531
        Penny Williams

        Start another topic thread with this question โ€” it doesn’t relate to this thread.


        You don’t grow out of ADHD. It’s a physiological difference in the brain that is always there. However, you can learn coping strategies and work-arounds that drastically improve your experience with ADHD in adulthood. Executive functions are fully developed around age 25-28 in neurotypical brains, and somewhere around 30 or after for those with ADHD.

        ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #81936

      Hi, Christo.

      I can completely relate to you on this. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult some years ago and I too found a medication that worked. However, there are those days (sometimes multiple in a row) where my productivity level falls off a cliff. I can try every trick in the book, but the ability to focus just escapes me. It’s a horrible experience since I work in a job that is very demanding.

      The part that frustrates me the most is that I cannot predict when this productivity “drought” will hit. And, for the sake of my job, I often find myself hoping and wishing that those days land on a weekend so it would not get me into trouble at work. When they do hit, however, I still find myself fluctuate between just accepting it and trying to fight it.

      Fighting it is just simply exhausting.

      Thanks for sharing, Christo.

      • #82560

        Hi Vasocreta ๐Ÿ™‚

        Thank you so much for sharing as well. That was the first time ti happened since I went onto meds. My job is very demanding and I have to put in extra effort to fight the stigma of being lazy (according to my boss) so when days like that hit I’m very sensitive about it.

    • #86861

      The boundless energy comes in spurts, so if I feel tired and incapable of logical thought today, more than likely tomorrow (or the next day) will be better. I’ll be ready to get ALL the things done again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Usually I feel slower on cloudy days. I also find I feel that way after a few days of intense focus or stress.

      On days when I find it impossible to be productive, I give myself permission to take it easy. I throw away the to-do list and pick 2-3 things I HAVE to get done today. The essentials. I focus on those, slowing down and not pushing myself too hard. Usually, those 2-3 things are manageable, and once I get those done, sometimes I get in the “groove” and complete more tasks. If not, I can be proud that I accomplished and finished something, instead of struggling all day to accomplish everything and finishing nothing.

      Today just so happens to be one of those days. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #86873

      Your comment about meds not telling you what to concentrate on really resonates with me! I’m struggling a bit with that one. It’s about 5 months since I started Adderall. I quickly discovered that if I didn’t plan out what I was going to do a little ahead of time, that my Adderall-ed brain would just pick some random thing and stick with it for way too long, preventing me from getting to what I needed to do (I mean mostly at work).

      Sites like this one don’t help in those times! He he. A few times, I’ve found myself spending a few hours scouring the articles here thinking about being productive at work, ironically. ๐Ÿ™‚

      But I’m learning to be more intentional with my new found ability to focus.

      And to bring it all back, so far it seems like I need to have unproductive days in order to fuel up for the productive ones. And I’m so productive on the productive days, that I’ve sort of “earned” the unproductive ones.

    • #86890

      JBoom- Haha! I can totally relate! I’ve spent hours upon hours researching productivity… When I would do better to just get up and start something ๐Ÿ˜€

    • #86893

      A lot of these comments are really helpful because to be honest, I never considered accepting those unproductive days.

      Iโ€™ve known I have ADHD since I was young, however my family lacked the resources to learn how to teach/help me with my diagnosis, so I was raised to think my unproductiveness was inherently linked to laziness no matter how hard I tried. Or felt like I was trying. Only in the past, year? Or so since I have been actively researching healthy coping mechanisms have I really acknowledged how hard my brain is working for me and how I can help it let off some steam. Iโ€™ve tried everything from medication (30 mgs Vyvance) to mindfulness. There has been change but nothing really felt like I was improving towards being the productive self I have thus so far envisioned myself as.

      I created this alternative perfect version of myself to live up to, this, hyper productive perfectionist, and I (sometimes still do) tear myself apart when I canโ€™t achieve the goals I set out for myself.

      Iโ€™ve been overwhelming myself for no good reason because I didnโ€™t think it was an option to accept I need to relax. Acceptance is the first step towards change and itโ€™s been hard, but I need to accept my process and my breaks.


      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by k8DHD.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by k8DHD.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #87032

      Thank you for opening yourself up and letting us all know about the issues you face.
      I am new to this site, and am just starting to open up to other people about my issues.
      I was diagnosed with ADD as an adult about 15 years ago. I have also been diagnosed with Anxiety, Bi-Polar and OCD. Not coexistent diagnosis but co-morbid diagnosis by numerous professionals, because I never believe the first or even second one. I am also on the spectrum, which is the one of the tougher challenges to deal with on a daily basis. The co-morbid diagnosis’s are fairly under control with meds and training. The ADD and Autism Spectrum issues are the big issues I deal with on a daily basis. From the clothes I where, to my interactions or lack of interactions with people, to my fluctuations in modes and so on.
      I just wanted to say Thank you to you, Christo, and all of the posters on this site. It is helping me open up about my issues and also helps me realize I am NOT alone in this world with what I have to deal with. Thank you all and keep posting. I will keep reading.

      • #98516

        Hi Shane, Most of the situations you mentioned as co-morbid diagnoses can be related to a genetic situation called MTHFR. You physician can test you for the condition with a lab test. I was tested due to long standing depression and was homozygous recessive–both of my genes were recessive. This genetic problem can also be related to heart disease. You can also find out if you have recessive MTHFR genes by doing the 23andme genetic test and running your raw data through a website app like, but that will take 5-6 weeks to get your 23andme test results back and the lab blood test only takes a few days and may be covered by your insurance. Recessive MTHFR genes reduce the body’s ability to use vitamin B9 (folate). Folic acid, which is added to most processed flour products in the US,interferes with the body’s ability to process vitamin B9 in people with the recessive gene and may make a person’s situation worse if they are MTHFR recessive. See if you feel better having a green juice/shake with raw kale which has a lot of vitamin B9. If you do, you may want get tested. I do not recommend just taking B9 supplements unless you know you have the genetic issue and know about other genes you have.

    • #87071

      ALL the time! I try very hard not to give in but some days it’s just too much. I take advantage of those days by learning something new. I thought that I was not an aural learner, but I’ve found recently that I love audiobooks. I’ve never been a big fan of fiction, always leaned toward non-fiction. So, I listen to non-fiction books most of the time or podcasts. I may veg out or I may do menial tasks – house cleaning, filing, de-cluttering (with mixed success). Sometimes I can ONLY sit there and listen.

      I say, “Look, it’s going to happen,” so try to find some productivity, even in the haze and malaise.

    • #87117

      I also find productive and unproductive days are cyclical. For me, it is very much a case of accepting myself. The years and years of critical messages about being โ€lazyโ€ are hard to overcome, but it can be done.

      Remember that, for many people, the โ€Hโ€ part of ADHD is just as important. Itโ€™s not just underactive executive functions we have to cope with, but also overactive motor functions. Find a way to be physically active on your off days. It makes all the difference for me. I find proprioceptive activities to be most helpful.

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