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ADHD Efficiency

My teachers sometimes used to tell me I was rushing through my schoolwork. But I like to think that I was just being efficient.

StopwatchYou might have heard that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, impatience is the mother of efficiency. Although I don’t have much to say about invention, as an official ADHDer, I’m definitely qualified to talk about impatience.

For example, little known fact: we ADHDers tend to be very efficient at reading things. Yes, really. You know, read the first sentence, read the last sentence, then scan the rest for anything that looks important. Some might call this “skimming.” I prefer to think of it as “efficient reading.”

Inattention has a way of helping us improve our ability to fill in the gaps like that. Unfortunately, I was only paying attention to about 20 percent of what you said, but I’m sure I’ll be able to guess what the other 80 percent was (I hope). If only having to listen to 20 percent of the information that was given isn’t efficiency, what is?

Of course, if the point of efficiency is to do something quickly and with minimal effort, then the pinnacle of efficiency is to not do that thing at all.

You say I haven’t cleaned my desk. I say that I just cleaned it very efficiently. Very efficiently.

Now as a skeptic, you might be thinking that there are holes in my argument that people with ADHD are just extraordinarily efficient.

“What about all those times we try to do things and keep having to redo parts of them because we’ve lost our focus?” you say.

“What about all the tasks that actually take us twice as long as they do for people without ADHD?” you might add.

“What about the time we spend looking for items whose precise location has become vague because of our lack of organization or our forgetfulness?”

Well, let’s not spend time talking about those supposed counterexamples. That would be inefficient…

Image: Flickr/Matthew

ADHD Efficiency

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). ADHD Efficiency. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 25 Oct 2017
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