I’m Neurodivergent, Here’s How You’re Conditioned to Think Less of Me

Abby Jaquint
9 min readJan 21, 2024

The subtle way productivity advice undermines neurodivergent practices.

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

Wake up with a real alarm clock, not your phone.

Stay off of screens for the first hour of the day, and the last two hours before bed.

Work while listening to soft, lo-fi beats.

Work in silence.

Set up your desk in a dark corner where you have nothing to look at or do but work.

The advice I’ve received from most productivity gurus involves minimizing distractions, putting yourself in a certain environment, and using specific methods to get specific results in a specific amount of time.

This works for people. A lot of people.

I can be included in this group. I like my space to be set up for productivity just as much as the next guy. There wouldn’t be this much supply of productivity advice if there wasn’t enough demand.

The only issue is, unless you dig into the niche, this is often neurotypical advice for an assumed neurotypical viewer.

Which I am not.

I have ADHD, which (for me) means my brain is often immune to the advice I’m surrounded with. To say none of it works and to throw it all out would be counterproductive, here, but to say it’ll work for everyone has the same effect.

But some form of it must be able to work for everyone, right?

Sure. Yes. Some form of any type of advice could work for everyone. But that’s where the difference is: the form.

In particular, what I started with.

Minimizing distractions.

Neurodivergence and Stimulation

I’m not alone in this, and it’s fairly undebated that neurodivergent people require certain types of stimulation, including stimuli that would be entirely too much for others, or entirely too little. Depends on the person.

However, given that my critique is with minimizing and/or destroying all distractions, we’re going to work with my type of neurodivergence today.

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Abby Jaquint

Novelist. 23. I write about writing and mental health. Check me out on Amazon or Barnes and Noble!