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Nicole Wyatt

The most important thing is to create (loose) routines, structure and systems. This is hard because most ADHD brains have an adversion to structure, but we usually need it to flourish. You need to figure out what kinds of structure and routines work for you, and unfortunately that is very individual.

Here are some specific things that work for me:
- co-writing (where you meet up, in person or on zoom and write, checking in with the other person at the beginning and end).
- meet or phone rather than email
- timers to get started on things (I commit to doing the thing I'm struggling to start for 15 minutes, promising myself I can stop after. Reader, I never stop.)
- paper planners for the current day/week, with electronic for further out. (the physicality helps -- but for some people everything on their phone in one place is better)
- working at the office in set times and not at home at all
- music and other background noise whenever I need to focus
- voice to text (back in the 1990s I dictated most of the first draft of my PhD dissertation to a microcassette recorder)
- automating everything I can

I've learned a great deal from https://www.youtube.com/c/howtoadhd.

If you can afford it, Casey Dixon's team at https://www.dixonlifecoaching.com/ specialize in Lawyers and Professors with ADHD and I cannot sing their praises enough. There are also some free resources on the site.


This is a great question, and one I've been previously asked by neurodiverse grad students. I really hope people jump-in to share their perspectives so that I can refer back to this thread in the future.

Here's how I've navigated things, as someone who only very recently realized they were ADHD and works at an R1.

When it comes to writing, I distinguish between two writing experiences: writing-is-my-job and writing-is-my-obsession. As I see it, I can do writing-is-my-job just about any day. But I can only do writing-is-my-obsession when I'm hyperfocused. So If I'm hyperfocused on a paper, I try to ride that hyperfocus out to be maximally productive. That may mean one or more of the following: setting aside other writing projects I am "supposed" to work on, cancelling social plans, forgetting meals, and keeping later hours. However, I also give myself total grace about writing productivity when I'm not not hyperfocusing. I can have days where very little gets done because I know that I'm going to have days where I get a tremendous amount done.

When it comes to teaching, I'm in agreement with Nicole. it is all about routines, structures, and systems. A big one for me is expressing firm deadlines to my students about when they can expect to find a handout on the course website, have their assignment graded, or whatever. That creates accountability that motivates me considerably more than just having a vague sense that I should be more timely.

When it comes to distraction-management, I do a few things that are key for me. First, I'm not on Facebook or Twitter where I'm easily distracted by ideas. I am on Instagram, where I just avoid people's stories. Your kids or your sandwich won't steal my attention for the afternoon like your post about your new publication or the articles you're posting about SCOTUS. Second, I'm limited in what applications are on my devices. A big one: I don't have a browser on my phone. In the past, I haven't had email or even Google maps.

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