ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning Coaching…Difference Between Working Hard and Well

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Understanding the difference between working hard and working well is important for my clients with ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning concerns. Of course, this can also apply to other individuals as well. I usually have to explain to my clients that these two concepts aren’t the same thing. Just because one does something with extra effort doesn’t mean that it is being done properly. But when one does something well, it isn’t necessarily brought on through hard work.

OK, so you might be asking yourself, Jonathan are you suggesting that hard work isn’t important? Of course not…working hard is very important. But trying to solve a problem simply through hard work isn’t an effective strategy. Here’s an example…let’s say that a student is struggling with math. Instead of learning the steps to solving a problem, that particular learner continues to do problems in the same incorrect way. Hours are spent forming bad habits because instead of working well on the problems, the student is working hard. A simple fix for this would have been to seek out assistance, identify effective strategies for solving these particular problems and completing the work correctly. Potentially, what has taken the student hours upon hours to complete incorrectly with effort could have been done in a much more efficiently thus resulting in less time and energy.

During my sessions, I often correct my clients when he or she uses the I’ll just need to work harder answer by following up with this question..can you describe what harder work looks like? This usually stumps the individual. Working harder is simply a concept that needs practical applications. But I’ll follow up with…perhaps you want to work better. This elicits a much greater response from my client. Changing this mindset from hard to well helps the individual understand there’s a bigger picture that begins with becoming more efficient.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit and I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on Facebook and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.

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