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Ignore the Unicorn: Pomodoro for those with A.D.D.

News Team Oct 23, 2013

For those with ADD, boring tasks are like a kiss of death. Science says so, too: according to brain scans, ADD brains tend to have a net deficit in dopamine, an organic chemical which plays a significant role in reward and motivation. A lack of (or too much) dopamine impacts your willingness to work — especially on under-stimulating tasks. You know: the kind of groan-worthy tasks all your boring friends can pull off with ease.

That must be why when you sit down and tell yourself, even in tone of a scary drill sergeant “I’m going to get this done!” your brain says, “OR, I could plan our next great vacation!”

What’s great about the Pomodoro Technique is that it doesn’t force you to ignore your natural ADD inclinations: every time you have a distracting thought or idea, you’re encouraged to write it down before powering on with the rest of your Pomodoro.

But because your new and exciting idea has been written down, instead of continuing to bounce around in your head like a ping pong ball, you can continue with your Pomodoro session without having the feeling that you could be doing something much more earth-shatteringly exciting right now.

In Psychology Today’s (awesomely-named) “Intrinsic Motivation and Magical Unicorns” blog, author David D. Nowell further explains how the Pomodoro Technique can help those with ADD cut down on their FOMO (or “Fear of Missing Out”) by using the Pomodoro Technique.

The secret? Thinking of each Pomodoro as a discreet unit. As Nowell writes, “It’s a great feeling, when your head is full of 50 things you could be doing right now, to know for certain that I’m in exactly the right place and doing exactly the right thing right now.”

That’s the actual truth your ADD brain isn’t processing: that you can do a task, no matter how terrible, for twenty five minutes. You can tackle the ominously leaning tower of dishes piling in the sink, empty the barf-scented trash can, clean the weird fermented goop on the floors. Maybe not for 45 minutes — dear God, please, no!!! — but certainly for 25. Really, you can.

And then feel free to return to your list of ideas. Surely, there are some creative gems in there that you can accomplish during your next session.