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ADHD and deadline

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Freshworksa month ago

Hi all. I suck at following deadline. Every time I signup for some task, I end up either being a mediocre or finish it late passing deadline. I want to come out of this vicious cycle. Please don't suggest things like set timer, break big tasks to small tasks, use calendar all those. It doesn't help me. Please suggest some practical solutions that can be followed. TIA



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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    I think the main thing you need to figure out here is why you're missing the deadline. Given that tactical solutions like decomposition and timeboxing aren't working (they often don't), is it one of these 2 more fundamental problems?

    1. You don't like the tasks - The work you get is simply not fun as it's not a good fit for your strengths and interests. Maybe your entire team/company isn't fun for whatever reason (in this case, you might want to switch). This is a very common culprit for lack of productivity.
    2. You're in a funk - In other words, your mental is just not in a good state. You know you can accomplish things on time, but your mind and body just won't go through the motions. Everything just feels sad and kind of pointless. This is a much deeper issue that's harder to correct.

    If you provide more signal on which one of these is the root cause (or maybe it's something else entirely), I'm happy to share more targeted advice on what helped me.

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      Mid-level software engineer [OP]
      a month ago

      "Everything just feels sad and kind of pointless". Yes this is so true, I have been like this since covid time, everything feels pointless to me. But now, I got better from my previous situation, but it's still there. I feel I don't have a stronger goal. Also I over expect from myself, Like wake up at 6, go to gym, come back, cook, work etc very rigid and not so realistic planner, I think that's also another reason why I am not able to achieve what I want to achieve

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      Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
      a month ago

      Oh yeah, I've been there, especially after the pandemic happened.

      So my immediate advice is to take a break, at least 1 week off if you have the PTO saved up. If your company and manager are generous, maybe you can even take it as an ad-hoc wellness leave that doesn't extract from your PTO balance. After covid hit, I got badly burnt out at Meta because the world was so terrible and it was hard not to worry all the time about everything. I had an honest conversation with my manager, and she immediately said to take a week off for free and she would cover for me in the meantime (she was the best manager I ever had).

      If the time-off doesn't work, you might need a heavier-handed solution like therapy. I don't know any therapists off the top of my head, but one of the perks of being a Taro community member is a discount off Shimmer, an ADHD coaching service (I haven't used it personally, so I recommend going through it thoroughly while considering): https://www.jointaro.com/perks/

      On top of that, something I recommend to everyone is to introspect on what actually makes you happy at your job and double down on it. Even for people who mostly dislike their job, there is often a tiny glimmer of joy buried within their workload, some specific work interaction that makes them happy. It could be:

      • Working on a certain type of product
      • Working on a particular task type (0 to 1, data analysis, debugging)
      • Collaborating with a specific person
      • Doing a certain type of behavior (mentorship, heads-down coding, presenting, brainstorming)

      At Meta, mentorship was the thing that brought me the most joy. I could do 10 mentorship 1 on 1s in a day and not feel tired. So to help with my covid-induced burnout, my manager fast-tracked me on the transition from tech lead -> engineering manager by loading me up with a bunch more mentees.

      Here's a bunch more resources digging into this:

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    Staff Software Engineer @ PatientPoint
    a month ago

    I see the term ADHD and I want to specifically make sure that I’m on the same page !

    • If the challenge is arising from an official diagnosis of ADHD, then the targeted advice or support could be different

    • If not, then there could be other causes, few of which Alex has already touched upon. The advice or support could be different

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    Mid-Level Software Engineer [OP]
    a month ago

    @Raghu Kalyan its both actually

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    Friendly Tarodactyl
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    I echo with Alex on the point of having deeper introspect on your mind. It's difficult to gauge what exactly is going on with the deadline situation. Maybe the deadline is set too impractically. [1] Maybe you set too high of a standard for yourself that your deadline only covers the happy path.

    For many people (including me), deep introspect is not inside comfort zone and I'd encourage you to try psychotherapy. For treating ADHD, psychotherapy works as well as medication and have lasting effects after people stop therapy thanks to the skills learned in the sessions.

    I learned a lot from my therapy sessions and I want to share how I would approach myself when I'm thinking "things like set timer, break big tasks to small tasks, use calendar all those ... doesn't help me". How do I feel when I'm thinking this? [2] When it doesn't help, how it fails to help? Did the technique ever work in the past, even for once? If it worked in the past, can we use some learnings from it? Is there anything that I do when I don't experience the dreading / procrastination? Usually there's something and then you can try transfer the feeling from that thing to the thing you procrastinate on.

    Also note that true changes need to come from within and by asking the question, you are already making a huge step! We are rooting for you!

    [1] For example, in Amazon, almost no projects finish on time and new project launch is always like a death march. Some management think that's one way to extract as much work from people as possible. I don't know if that's the situation with your team. Maybe it is, maybe it's not. If it is, you can learn to come peace with it.

    [2] Speaking out your mind is powerful. By speaking it out, you are more aware of your emotion state and in control of it. Emotion regulation is a skill too.