Narthur's ADHD Journal

I’ve been converting several of my Beeminder goals from straight time-based goals to thirty-minute block goals. However I am concerned that I may end up in a situation where I have multiple heavy beemergencies in the same day that I’m not physically able to dispatch. Hopefully not?

Also I’m feeling the need to create more goals for household cleaning / chores, but again I’m concerned that the burden of maintaining these goals will become excessive.


That definitely can happen (and does to me): if my time-based goals need, say, 21 minutes to not derail, and i notice that with fifteen minutes to the deadline… there’s nothing I can do! I view this as “not a big deal”, personally, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

  • Buying and preparing quality food.
  • Eating at consistent times and not too much.
  • Managing my personal hygiene (e.g., showering regularly, changing my clothes, etc).
  • Keeping on top of all the various household chores (cleaning, maintenance, etc).

I also have ADHD and one thing that helps a bit is hosting couchsurfers ( or maybe but I can’t vouch for the latter).

Cooking for people feels fun, cooking for myself feels tiring. Cleaning my flat before couchsurfers arrive feels useful, cleaning my flat for myself feels pointless. Etc.

It’s not the silver bullet, but it’s something that helps me to do a “reset” when eg. I’ve fallen into some kind of a degradation spiral and I don’t have any energy to pull myself out of it.

Unlike roommates, getting couchsurfers takes zero effort, couchsurfers come with reviews, and couchsurfers only stay for a few days. In my experience, people on CS almost always agree to hang out if you want to, and always agree to be by themselves if you don’t want to. And also sometimes they go to random weird places and you can tag along or not.

(NB: anyone reading this is welcome in my apartment in Warsaw!)


One more point regarding the “automatic” bit specifically — I’ve noticed it’s much easier for me to do something automatically if I have a good idea of how it influences me.

I thought ADHD meant “I have no way to control myself”, but recently I started treating it more like “I have absolutely shit memory”. Which never occurred to me before because I’m smart and know a lot of random things… so I must have good memory, right. Except that it’s wrong. I have like no memory when it comes to remembering how I feel.

Concrete examples:

  • When I have greasy hair, my mood worsens for the whole day. It accidentally happened that I noticed it a few times, and after that taking a shower became nearly effortless regardless of whether I live alone or not.

  • When I don’t have clean clothes, I can’t go out and I feel stuck at home. Again, I noticed how it feels a few times, and now I automatically do laundry when I’m about to run out of clothes.

  • When I hyperfocus on coding or making some kind of a Really Comprehensive List or whatever, I forget to eat for nine hours and feel meh afterwards. I accidentally noticed a few times that “actually hyperfocus makes me feel like shit” and now I hyperfocus very rarely.


I went through the past entries here, and I have a few comments with “things you might possibly like”.

I just discovered that it’s very easy with Edge on Windows to install a website (or at least all the ones I’ve tried so far) as a desktop app. And it doesn’t require Edge to be open to open the app!

You might like GitHub - nativefier/nativefier: Make any web page a desktop application.

Status: I was enthusiastic about it and then I stopped using it. For me, touching a computer is always distracting regardless of whether it’s a browser or a separate app.

Basically I have a page in Notion where I’m writing stream-of-consciousness my thoughts on the task as I work on it, including code snippets, query results, etc, etc. It feels good, probably because it allows me to iteratively work on a complex issue without trying to force the whole thing into my limited working memory.

I have a private Discord server where I set up a single channel per project. Somehow the chat interface feels more like “stream of consciousness” and also there’s no incentive to edit past entries. Discord also feels much snappier than Notion, and I don’t feel the urge to put my whole life into it. Code blocks, links, search are all supported.

Status: I set it up half a year ago and nowadays I’m only using it when I work on a project for eg. a week and then take a month-long break. Which happens from time to time. So it’s in a weird state where I use it consistently, as in “when I start a new project I always make a channel in Discord”, but also rarely, as in “it’s not an everyday tool for me”.

For Christmas my mom got me this desk whiteboard

If you only have a few markers, I recommend getting more. Like, 10–15 different colors.

Status: I don’t have a whiteboard but I do have an A3 sketchbook, which feels more like a whiteboard than like a normal notebook. I enjoy using the colors and thinking “ok which color do I like at this moment”. The effect is subtle, but at the same time I wouldn’t go back.

It’s had me thinking more about ways I could improve how I wind down in the evenings. It’s one of those areas I’m a bit at a loss on how to manage effectively.

I have noticed recently that I have zero ideas for things to do in the evening. So I often end up feeling like “I should do something useful”. Which means computers. Which means meh.

I got myself a Nintendo Switch and connected it to a TV, and now I play Overwatch 2 in the evenings. I genuinely enjoy it; I can’t quickly Cmd-Tab to check email; and I get to sit in a lazy TV chair and feel like a normal person instead of a computer person.

Status: overall I still feel anxious or like “I want to do something useful” quite often in the evenings, but playing Overwatch feels qualitatively different from scrolling my phone, so I’m happy that I managed to find at least one enjoyable alternative to scrolling that I enjoy. Buying a Kindle has had a similar impact, but for waiting rooms instead of evenings. Once Zelda TotK comes out, I expect to have at least 20 more computer-free evenings ahead.


Thank you, @rperce and @april, for the thoughtful input! Definitely giving me things to think about.

My digidown Beeminder goal has been working very well for keeping me consistent with my sleep schedule. Yesterday I had a social event that threw the goal for the night, and I’m feeling it today. So that gives me even more confidence that the digidown goal is working as intended, and is significantly improving my day-to-day functioning.


I think what I might like to do to further build on digidown’s current effectiveness is to reduce the friction to my post-digital evenings being an enjoyable experience. Like maybe make a basket in the living room of analog things that I find enjoyable or cozy. Books? Herbal tea? Basically I want to do what I can to avoid slowly building negative associations with the digidown goal that could easily result in me eventually deleting the goal just because I’m annoyed at it.


I’ve moved my digital shutdown goal from 9:30pm to 9pm.

I’ve started to try to make the evenings more pleasant by:

  • Turning a bunch of lights on in the house to make it feel less dark.
  • Having herbal tea.
  • Playing Tiny Epic Galaxies. I need more solo board games now.

Also I’ve gone back on my SSRI with my new psychiatrist’s blessing. I do find that I like myself a lot more when I’m taking it. It helps a lot with my emotional reactivity and anxiety levels.

I’m hoping to start with a personal trainer shortly.

My car broke down and I ended up selling it, so I’m back to being car free. This area is so walkable and recently I tried the local bus system and it works great for things where I can’t walk. So we’ll see how it goes. I also plan to buy my brother’s bike.


I’ve cancelled my Loona subscription. It’s a fantastic app, and I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to someone. I used it almost every night (thanks Beeminder) for a bit over five months.

The reason I decided to cancel was because I had reached the end of their existing catalog of experiences. They still regularly release more, but it meant that most nights I was repeating a previous experience. And part of the effectiveness of the app for me was being immersed in a new experience each night. So after I completed the catalog, the app was much less engaging for me.

But really. It’s a work of art. And I very well may subscribe again in the future once they have more content for me to go through.

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Tomorrow I’m starting with the personal trainer. I’m nervous and hopeful.


So far I’ve had two personal training sessions. So far so good.

One issue I’ve been noticing is that I get fatigued in the afternoon. If I take a break for an hour or so, sometimes I can get a second wind. But it can be hard to want to do that when I know I still have Beeminder goals to satisfy. I’m not sure how to think about addressing that.


Maybe create a time Beeminder goal requiring to take X minutes break? Or a beenary that you mark as good if you take a break at a specified time for at least an hour.


Continuing with the personal trainer. We meet in the morning three times a week. I think it’s been helpful for adding some structure to those days. I haven’t noticed it helping my symptoms yet, but I wouldn’t expect to this early.

I’d really like to integrate TaskRatchet with my Beeminder dashboard so I can see all my monetary commitments at once.

I restarted beeminding 30-minute blocks working on my personal todo list. It’s feeling quite effective.


The pattern that’s begun to emerge with my personal training is that I have very good days between sessions and pretty bad days on the day where we have our sessions. My trainer’s hypothesis is that’s due to having our session after breakfast, which results in me being depleted before lunch and perhaps compensating at lunch by eating more. We’re going to try having our sessions before breakfast to solve that.

In other news, the need has arisen for me to find a new place to live. When natural change points like these arise, I often find myself stressing about how to plan my future. Books like Thinking in Bets recommend scenario planning and trying to map out a tree of possibilities based on probabilities and desired outcomes. @dreev is more likely to recommend in the opposite direction, to avoid overthinking (correct me if I’m wrong @dreev).

I feel like with the ADHD I’m kind of forced to pair down the number of factors I consider. Like I have one or two goals or properties I’m trying to optimize for, and with that I try to make decisions that optimize for those outcomes the best I can given the capacity I have at the moment. It helps a lot knowing what my limitations and capacity constraints are. Previous to knowing I had ADHD, I think I spent a lot of time fixating on ambitious targets that I wasn’t equipped to pursue at that time.


This sounds like a reverse-all-advice thing. The fact that you’ve read Thinking in Bets and are thinking about decision trees could mean you’re liable to overthink the decision? I also have this agonizing guide to agonizing decisions on the off chance that’s helpful…


I’ve finished applying for an apartment in the same area I’m currently living. If I get the one I want it will be even more central than where I currently am, which is a positive since I walk everywhere and am currently car free.

My work with my personal trainer has felt beneficial. I’m considering waiting until after my morning session to take my medication in order to shift its window of effectiveness later in the day to extend my ability to work. I’m also considering taking it on the weekends, as well, since my new psychiatrist told me that he didn’t think that would be damaging to its ability to remain effective for me long-term.


I tried one session off my medication. It was a very difficult session. I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t on my medication or I just had an off day. Anyway, I’ve rescheduled my sessions to happen in the evening instead. I had my first session at the new time yesterday. I’m hopeful this will help me avoid fatigue during my work time. I may go back to having morning sessions once I’m more in shape.


Having my workouts in the evening seems to be working much better. I feel like my ability to work throughout the day has become much less chaotic since making the change.


I’ve been experimenting with taking my medication immediately in the morning. So it seems like this is proving to be the rough schedule doing that:

wake up: take medication
+30m: get out of bed
+60m: finish breakfast and start work
+5hrs: stop for lunch
+6hrs: start work again
+7hrs: medication starts wearing off

This means I may end up getting five hours of good work in total before the medication wears off.

It’s useful to know what the current constraint is–not so much the effectiveness of the medication as the duration of its effect. I plan to discuss this with my psychiatrist at my next appointment.


Taking my medication immediately on waking has felt like it’s made a big impact on my ability to have a consistent morning and early afternoon. I’ve been happy with the results so far.