Woman Says Neurodivergent Employees Should Only Work At 60% Of Their Normal Productivity

Working harder isn't always working smarter.

Neurodivergent woman working Dean Drobot

We’re often told to give 100% effort to our jobs. It’s a mindset that captures the importance of work and how personal self-worth is often linked to our professional roles.

Yet giving your full self to your work can be problematic, especially for people who are neurodivergent.

One woman says that neurodivergent employees should only give 60% of their normal productivity to their work.

“If you are neurodivergent, your 100% is a neurotypical person’s, like, 300% effort,” Sophie Smith exclaimed. 


RELATED: The Strange Hobby That Helps Me Regulate My Neurodiversity

She provided her own experience as evidence, saying, “I have mild ADHD, and when I say I am hyperfocused, I can get three days' worth of work done in one, and it’s not always a good thing.”


“When you have nothing to do for the rest of the week, you’re given more work without the additional pay,” she continued.

“I know it will feel wrong to do it initially, but if you are neurodivergent, work at 60 to 70 percent, not 100 percent," she advised. “I also find this prevents burnout."

People in the comments shared their own experiences with productivity and effort at work, with many affirming Smith's advice.

One TikTok user remarked, “I don’t know how to work at less than ADHD 100%,” to which Smith replied with some practical guidance.


“I use maximum targets,” she explained, then shared an example of only writing three reports in one day.

“Productivity doesn’t mean good!” she said, offering a truly crucial reframe for overachievers or people with major work-related anxiety.

RELATED: 8 Tiny Habits That Let You Finish More Work In 2 Hours Than 95% Of People Can In 2 Weeks

In the corporate world, especially in the U.S., productivity is often seen as the end goal, whereas Smith's perspective reveals that being too productive can have downsides.

Another commenter shared how neurodiversity can negatively affect productivity, writing, “There are times when you’re utterly paralyzed and can’t do anything at all.”


Smith noted she often feels paralyzed at work when she’s experiencing burnout, which makes sense: Feeling overstimulated or like you're at capacity can translate into a struggle with executive functioning.

Brain training specialist Emilie Leyes shared her tips for managing executive dysfunction, noting that her own ADHD often makes it hard to start tasks.

“I’ve been really stuck in task paralysis for the last few weeks, which means that I’m just really, really having a hard time with initiating anything important,” she said before sharing a new approach she tried that helped her get out of that paralysis.


“I started the day cleaning,” she said, noting she tidied up her apartment for 15 minutes. “When I tell you that gave me all the dopamine that I need to have the incentive to get more things done in the day — It worked so well.”

She shared that the simple task of cleaning up gave her more motivation than she’s had in months, which she attributed to “starting my day with a reward of taking care of myself in some way.”

Neurodivergent woman making her bed in the morning wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock


“It doesn’t have to be big,” she explained. “Maybe start your day making your bed or wiping down a sink or vacuuming one rug, and give yourself that reward of completing something that makes your environment feel nicer and see how that shifts what you feel.”

Everyone is different, and what works for one person might not work for another when it comes to managing neurodiversity in a workplace setting. It’s valuable to acquire tools to help navigate challenges while recognizing how our differences play into our professional lives. 

RELATED: 10 Signs You're In A Toxic Relationship With Your Job

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.