What can I do to manage an interest-based nervous system?
An effective ADHD management plan needs two parts:
- medication to level the neurological playing field
- a new set of rules that teach you how to get engaged on demand
Stimulant medications are very good at keeping people with ADHD from getting distracted once they are engaged, but they do not help you get engaged in the first place.
Most systems for planning and organization are built for neurotypical brains that use importance and time to spark motivation. Instead, you must create your own “owner’s manual” for sparking interest by focusing on how and when you do well, and creating those circumstances at the outset.
This work is highly personal, and will change over time. It can involve strategies like “body-doubling,” or asking another person to sit with you while you do work. Or “injecting interest” by transforming an otherwise boring task through imagination. For example, an anatomy student who is bored with studying can imagine she is learning the anatomy to save her idol’s life.