Recently, I heard that Jillian Michaels, former trainer for the TV show “Biggest Loser”… doesn’t like to exercise. That really surprised me; I thought TV’s toughest trainer would love exercising.
However, she likes the benefits of exercise, rather than actual exercise. This example, beautifully illustrates that sometimes we have to do actions that aren’t enjoyable, but they are essential to our well-being.
Psychologist, Dr. Ari Tuckman, identifies the difference between Product and Process activities. Process activities are actions that are done for pleasure, for example, spending time with people you love, listening to your favorite album or watching a movie. Product activities are the day to day actions that need to get done in order to function and live. Things like paying a bill on time, taking the trash out and cleaning the kitchen after supper.
Neither one is superior, both are essential to live a happy, healthy life. If your life is full of product activities you become emotional drained. If life is full of Process activities, then there are negative consequences, unpaid bills and dirty living environment etc. So balance is key.
Everyone has a different idea of if an action is a product or process activity. For example, someone who loves to cook thinks cooking an evening meal is a process activity. Yet for someone else cooking is definitely a product activity.
When you have ADHD product activities are more problematic carry out than process activities.
This is because ADHD is less issue of attention and more a motivational problem. Adults with ADHD find it hard to change from an activity they are enjoying to a different one. It is also hard for them to stay motivated and to follow through on uninteresting tasks.
What can you do to ensure you have a balance of Product and Process tasks in your life:
1) Acknowledge not all actions are fun, but they still need to be done. It sounds obvious, but it is a freeing idea. When you are next cleaning your bathroom with a sinking heart, remind yourself, this isn’t meant to be fun, but having a clean bathroom is a good thing.
2) Make product activities as enjoyable as possible. Use your timer; put music on while you are doing these activities.
3) Create habits around Product Activities so they get done as painlessly as possible.
4) Include Process activities in your life, at least one a day. Adults with ADHD tend to forget or feel they don’t deserve fun things in their life. However, when Process activities are in your life,
they give you energy so that the product activities become less hard.