Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

I Got Rhythms… I Just Never Noticed

Had an interesting experience a few days back.  My energy was up, I was workin’ away, and then my energy flagged a bit…  and then went up a bit…  and then (sound of slide whistle going down) THUD!
Suddenly, it’s like I’m 88 years old.  Falling asleep at 3:00 in the afternoon, while reading.  And what was I reading?  Homework for the course I’m taking – The Maximum Productivity Makeover.  (IRONY! IRONY! IRONY!) (That was my Irony Alarm.)  And I wasn’t nodding off from boredom. The course is awesome. So I’m nodding off and being me, fighting it.  First by sitting up straighter, blinking, taking a deep breath… which turns into a yawn, and it’s hard to yawn with your eyes open, right?  So… This went on for a few minutes, and well, I started to make it mean I didn’t care about the course.  Then I decided, no, it means I’m lazy. Then, in short order: I lack drive, I’m having some kind of sugar crash, I’m confronted by what I am reading and going into brain lock, Bulgarian agents have injected me with poison using a deadly umbrella, I’ve used up all the oxygen in the room… blah, blah, blah… I was miffed.  I didn’t have time for being tired.  Rather than go right to my usual, “This is bad. I have to fight it,” I actually took a moment, with eyes half closed, to figure out, “What’s up with this?” It occurred to me that I’ve had a week of long work days, a 4 hour trip to Calgary and back, a big presentation, sleeping in 5 different places in 6 days, lots of restaurant food, exercise schedule out the window and a long meeting on Tuesday about designing and adding a ton of new features to this website. (OOOH! AHHH! THE CROWD CHEERS AND WANTS TO HEAR MORE. SOON, MY PRETTIES, SOON!) So rather than get upset and conclude I don’t like the course, or I’m lazy, or decide I’m depressed because North Carolina won’t let me marry John Travolta if I were so inclined… I realized, “I’m tired.  No wonder. I am going to nap!” And I did nap.  Brilliantly, I might add.  Eyes closed, some snoring I believe, the whole nine yards.  Even snorted myself awake.  Love doing that.  It never happens enough.  It’s like an ‘on’ switch in your nose that has you pop up, eyes open. In an hour I was back working, feeling totally refreshed. Now I understand that not everyone can just take a nap in the middle of the afternoon and still have a job tomorrow, but in fact some businesses are realizing people have natural rhythms, and they’re allowing employees to take breaks. In fact, one of the things I’m learning from the course is that most people with ADD tend to be next to useless by late afternoon.  But we’ll just try and push through it, not getting that a task we could bang off in 30 minutes in the morning, or during our second wind in the evening, can take forever when we’re in our late afternoon brain doze. Even if you can’t crash out at work, consider scheduling your day to match your energy levels if you can. Which, of course, means understanding and appreciating your energy levels and how much they vary.  Coach Linda Walker’s course has us tracking our energy as one of the stepping stones to create a new way of working that dramatically ups our output. Bend the world to you, as much as you can.  Way better than trying to push through the exhaustion and mentally berating myself for slacking off when I have so much to do.  I don’t know about you, but I’m the last one to take breaks, and I’m really starting to appreciate how much it costs me.  This is not the same as when I’m in the zone, writing like mad… and I’m supposed to stop and stretch. This course has taught me that’s terrible advice for people with ADD. If you’re in the zone, stay there. We can laser-beam focus, with a locked on, Darth Vader-feel-the-Force, intensity. And you don’t ever want to interrupt that. But you will be able to do it far more often if you also understand that using Turbo-Jet–Assist hyper focus will use up fuel far faster, so it’s essential to replenish and refuel. Then, after you do, it’s go time again! WEEEEEEE!!!! Best, Rick ADHD Community For as little as the cost of a cup of coffee a month you can take part in live Patreon community discussions with Rick Green + see our new videos first + other perks ADHD Documentary TotallyADD.com is an independent website created & owned by Big Brain Productions Inc. (Rick Green).  We tell you this because so many people ask if pharmaceutical companies paid for any of this and the answer is absolutely not.  Purchases in our shop, and our Patreon community pays for content creation.
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  1. Bill May 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I totally, 100%, absolutely agree. I wrote about the same subject here: http://totallyadd.com/forum/topic.php?id=2375
    Naps really help me. Before I had the diagnosis. Before I went on Concerta. I would nap for 20-30 minutes on weekends. It made a world of difference for me. Somehow, I never made the connection to work.
    Even though the meds have helped a lot with inattentiveness, I find them less effective with distraction. I can control distraction better in the morning than in the late afternoon (unless I have a looming deadline – but that’s another issue). I know very few people can do this, but we have a “sick room” in the office that I can disappear into for 20 minutes and it has really helped me keep my focus for the rest of the day,

  2. kfield2 May 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I totally get what you’re saying here. I’m a teacher with ADD/ADHD and recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Lyme can really mess with your brain functions. I am wondering if my ADHD is exacerbated by my Lyme, because it has gotten 10x worse for me this year. I’ve had to go on short term disability because I was close to losing my job for lack of focus and fatigue. so much of what you said rang true with me. I appreciate the honesty that you write with and that this website is a safe place for those of us who deal with ADD/ADHD daily can go. I think I need to get the book and read it while I’m forced to rest at this time in my life. Thank you.

  3. RedSquirrel May 18, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I’m totally useless between 2pm and 4pm. I try to schedule meetings around this black-hole time and before kids came into the picture I used to arrive at work early (my best focus time) and leave a couple of hours later to catch up. But that’s not possible now with my parental commitments.
    If only it were culturally acceptable to have a Siesta after lunch and space in the office for nanna naps. These days I try to have lunch in the late afternoon during my slow time. Luckily, with starting on the meds, I hardly ever feel hungry before 2pm anyway.

  4. mghcoach4ADD May 18, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Hey there — I’ll be back-linking this post to “Taking Your Functional Temperature” on my blog, but I’m here (finally! ‘sbeen “on my list” for a year already to make the time to sign up and say hello) – to say, instead, Congratulations!
    Sorry to change the subject mid-comments section, BUT — have you heard the news that you (and I!!) have been recognized as two of the Top 20 ADD/ADHD Blogs on the net for 2012?
    I just had say HOO HA! I’m thrilled! I linked to the entire list – let’s stay connected.
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC – (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!) “It takes a village to educate a world!”
    PS. SO SORRY I didn’t hook up with you guys at ACO – best laid plans and all that. Peggy (Ramundo) DID, however, so I got all the gossip ’cause we were roomies.

  5. mghcoach4ADD May 18, 2012 at 1:59 am

    This post is now linked to

  6. mghcoach4ADD May 18, 2012 at 1:59 am

    This post is now linked to

  7. Geoduck May 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Everybody gets tired in the afternoon, don’t they? That’s why they take siestas in Spain, and our kids get out of school at 3pm. LOL!
    4:00 is my burn-out time. I can go and go, but at 4:00, I need a nap. Never get one, but that need just doesn’t disappear. Oh, between 4 and 5 is absolute hell!

  8. chillaxin May 23, 2012 at 12:25 am

    is it just reading in general that makes a person sleepy? I either fall asleep or focus on the same paragraph for an hour. if it’s not something i’m interested in i won’t read it and the rare occasion when, usually a book, i won’t sleep until it’s done. i think it’s important to know what our biological clocks are. i never did well working in offices because i’m constantly falling asleep – boredom! i find i have the most energy in the morning but i definitely need that siesta in the afternoon even after working outside. i just wish that the regular working environment would accommodate people with biological clocks that fall out of the status quo

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