How do you get into a productive routine for Uni?

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Emu Egg
Emu Egg

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Joined: 2 Apr 2022
Gender: Male
Posts: 1
Location: New Zealand

04 Apr 2022, 12:10 am

I've recently been diagnosed with ADHD and the psychiatrist suggested looking into ASD, my own research makes me fairly certain I have Aspergers.

I've always struggled with executive dysfunction. I usually reach a point where I become overwhelmed by the Uni workload and shut down completely, unable to do any work. Last year I managed to keep my life fairly organized until exam season, but this year I couldn't make it past the second week without completely stopping attending my classes and doing readings. I have a prescription for Ritalin but struggle to dedicate my time towards my assignments and I'm worried I could fail if I don't correct my course. I struggle to organize my life around a consistent work ethic, as soon as my social life interrupts my routine I feel as though I have to start from scratch.

Realizing my experience of life is not neurotypical has felt very relieving. Knowing that I don't operate with the same capabilities as others diminished a lot of the shame I felt for not living up to my perceived potential but it also feels limiting. I know I possess the agency to do anything if I could enter the correct mindset and I wonder if focusing on my ND traits is creating a feedback loop that I act more in accordance with. Some part of me feels I functioned better before I was aware of my neurology. How can I prevent these limiting beliefs from stunting my ability to succeed?

Any general tips for developing, and then sticking to a productive mindset with ADHD/AD? How to maintain a workable routine while allowing for disruption? How to sit down and actually do uni work without procrastinating? (Currently procrastinating a 1,200 word and a 2,000 essay, haven't started either – both due by the end of the week.)

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Joined: 22 Dec 2021
Gender: Female
Posts: 29

09 Apr 2022, 11:56 am

Personally for me routine and productivity are something I have to think of separately. If I put too much productivity into my routine then I get overwhelmed. To be productive I give myself things I need to do broken down into small steps with rewards along the way. So for an hour of study you get half an hour of video games, a 15 minute break, a walk, a food you've been craving ect. Whatever works for you. I write down all the things I have to do and the reward for each so I'm not switching between tasks constantly. It's kind of like a bullet journal. So like
[ ] Essay
-Research (1 hour = 15 minutes freetime)
-writing (1 hour = 15 minutes freetime)
-proofread (finish = 30 minutes freetime)
-turn in (finish = 1 hour freetime)
I fill out the square in sections with each tsubtask completed and check off each task as I finish tracking what rewards I get at the bottom. Do that before you start the task or else you'll likely finish less than you want and reward more than it's worth. If it's still overwhelming then I break down the subtasks further.
[ ] Research
- rising sea levels
- acid rain
- forest fires
- plastics
- air pollution
If I have to do this then I usually don't reward extra for sub sub tasks other than maybe a piece of candy to go with my original reward for research or else I'd end up procrastinating. I hope this makes sense.
Other tips to go with this, if over or under stimulated then take note of the time and self regulate. I pace, jump, stim, go somewhere quiet for overstimulation or I put on some weird ass hyperpop and keep on going for understimulation. If necessary I take my headphones and move to a public place like a library.
Keep a list of rewards. Sometimes I won't realize that a walk is exactly what I want until I look down at my rewards and go hmm that sounds nice.
Your rewards can change with you. If you're having a sh***y day sometimes 15 minutes of study needs an hour break. Just know when that break is necessary and when it's just not wanting to get s**t done. If things are really bad I do 5 minute bursts where I'll do as much as I can in 5 minutes. Most of the time when the 5 minutes is up I realize that I have enough energy to do more.
There's probably more that I can't think of at the moment but this is long so let me know if this helps at all or if you have any other questions