Structure your work activities around your own energetic cycles.

ADHD Business Tips - Structure your work around your own energetic cycles

As an entrepreneur with ADHD, you’re likely all too familiar with the intense peaks and valleys of energy and focus that can make or break your productivity on any given day. One minute you’re completely dialled in, crushing your to-do list, and firing on all cylinders. The next (or perhaps the next day) you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall – distracted, restless, and struggling to string two coherent thoughts together.

While this energetic ebb and flow can sometimes feel like a roller coaster you can’t get off, the good news is that being your own boss means you can leverage your natural rhythms to your advantage by structuring your days and workload around them. It just takes getting to know your unique patterns and being intentional about working with them rather than against them.

Ignoring your energetic patterns

Do you know when you work best? When you’re most likely to fall down a hyper-focus rabbit hole (and not the kind that comes from procrastinating on something else 😉)? You might not have ever looked closely enough to notice a pattern, but it can be a worthwhile exercise.  When it comes to running a business with an ADHD brain, not paying attention to your own energetic cycles can be hugely problematic for a few key reasons:

1. Our brains have more intense peaks and valleys of focus/energy. Folks with ADHD tend to experience much more pronounced fluctuations in our ability to concentrate and our levels of mental energy throughout the day compared to neurotypical individuals. Ignoring these patterns means working against your natural rhythms rather than leveraging them.

2. It leads to inefficient use of limited focus windows. When you don’t recognise your high-energy periods, you risk squandering those precious windows when you can better sustain deep focus on demanding tasks. Those intense but fleeting bursts of hyperfocus get wasted on busywork instead of your highest priorities.

3. Pushing through low energy leads to burnout. ADHD makes it extremely difficult to grind through tasks when you’ve hit an energetic valley, and medication can be a double edged sword. If you don’t respect those dips and take breaks, you’ll counterproductively push yourself into depletion and burnout rather than allowing time and space for rejuvenation.

4. Poor boundaries with others’ demands. When you aren’t tuned into your own cycles, it’s easier for clients, colleagues, or family members etc. to impose meetings, calls, and other disruptions during times you should be fiercely protecting for your best work to happen.

As a business owner with ADHD, not structuring your days around your individual energetic patterns means working against the grain of your neurobiology rather than leaning into it strategically. It leads to suboptimal productivity, more exhaustion, and makes it harder to give your most important work your fullest presence and capabilities.

Getting in tune with your energy

The first step is to start paying closer attention to your normal energetic cycles throughout the day and week. When do you tend to feel most focused and productive? Maybe you’re a bona fide morning person who feels clearest and most motivated in those precious couple of hours after waking up. Or perhaps you naturally hit your stride in the evening after the demands and distractions of the day have died down.

Make a habit of taking notes for a week or two about what times of day you feel energised and focused versus lethargic and easily side-tracked. You may notice that your patterns are somewhat consistent from day to day, or that your high and low energy periods vary more sporadically. Don’t worry about judging yourself, just observe with curiosity.

Organising around your Power Hours

Once you’ve gotten a sense of when you tend to be firing on all cylinders, be ruthlessly protective of those times and reserve them for your most important and demanding responsibilities. Whether it’s deep work like writing, coding, strategising, or whatever mission-critical tasks tend to require your highest levels of concentration and mental stamina.

For me, I know my ADHD mind is sharpest and most dialled in during the morning hours before lunch. So, I try to make that my sacred pocket for seeing clients or cranking out high-priority projects and knocking out the bulk of any meaningful creative work for the day. In the afternoons when my focus starts wavering and I don’t have clients to see, I usually try to switch gears and focus on simpler administrative duties, responding to emails, scheduling meetings, and any other relatively mindless busywork.

It can help to be upfront with any clients, colleagues or family members about these being your untouchable “maker hours” when you’ll be offline and unavailable for meetings, calls, or anything else that could derail you. Explaining how fiercely protecting this time allows you to show up as your sharpest, most productive self can help them understand and respect your process. Of course, if that untouchable time for you usually involves collaboration with others, you’ll want to let them know that these are your golden hours for connecting and creating together.

Rolling with the ebbs and flows

Despite our best laid plans, we all have off days or periods where our energy and focus feel completely depleted no matter what we do. The flipside of observing your high energy periods is to get in tune with your personal warning signs of a looming productivity trough.

For me, I know a state of fog and fatigue is starting to set in when simple tasks feel more arduous, when procrastination and distraction become increasingly irresistible, and when I catch myself repeatedly zoning out or reading the same paragraph over and over again. I also know that if I have to deliver a workshop, or something out of the ordinary that requires more preparation than usual, I’m likely to feel a little slow and weary the following day.

When you notice those signals, instead of stubbornly trying to slog through and risk burning out, give yourself permission for a true reset. Take a brain break, get some physical movement, listen to an energy-boosting playlist, grab a snack, or whatever acts as a solid re-charge for you. Working through the mud when you’re running on fumes tends to be an incredible waste of time and energy for folks with ADHD.

Be your own hype person!

Here’s an unfortunate truth – even when you know better than anyone what circumstances allow you to be maximally focused and productive, there will always be colleagues, clients, or other folks (got kids??) who impose demands, meetings, or fire drills during your prime energetic windows.

That’s why it’s so important to get comfortable communicating your needs and advocating for yourself. Don’t be afraid to firmly explain that you’ll need to postpone that meeting or request because you know that 2pm on a Tuesday is primetime for your best work to happen. Once you lay out the reasoning that protecting that time allows you to deliver your best results, most reasonable people (i.e. not toddlers!) will understand and oblige.



One simple way to start getting in tune with your unique energetic rhythms is to carry a small notebook (or open a new note in your phone) and periodically rate your focus and energy levels on a scale throughout the day, jotting down any potential factors like sleep, food, caffeine, medication, breaks, etc. Even keeping this quick energy journal for just 2-3 days can reveal clear patterns in your natural peaks, valleys, and the circumstances that lead to spikes or dips in productivity. With that data in hand, you can start experimenting to optimise your daily routines and workflows for your individual needs.

It might take some getting used to and a little work, but establishing and protecting the ideal conditions for you to thrive as an entrepreneur with ADHD is what’s going to allow you to consistently bring maximum value and impact. At the end of the day, that’s what your clients, colleagues and loved ones want anyway.

So, pay attention, get in sync with your natural energetic cadence, and don’t be afraid to politely but shamelessly structure your days in whatever way allows you to soar. Your productivity, creativity, and sanity will all be better for it.

I’ll see you here next week for another new tip!

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