When you have ADHD, getting things done can be a struggle. Keeping focused, maintaining motivation and avoiding distractions can all interfere with your productivity. Here are some tips to help you get organized, stay on task and get those important projects checked off your to-do list.
- Keep track of how you are spending your time – Keep a list of the tasks you are working on, the importance of each project and how much time you are spending on it. As you gain awareness of how you are using your time, start focusing first on tackling those projects or tasks that are the most important. This will provide a greater sense of accomplishment and provide motivation for doing other, less significant, or ore routine items.
- Set yourself up to avoid procrastination – When you are feeling stuck and unable to get started on a task, ask yourself what it is that is blocking you. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the size of a project, break it down into small steps and get started with something you can complete fairly quickly. If it is lack of knowledge of what to do, ask for help. Also, remember that most tasks don’t require a huge amount of analysis – get started with the information you have and adjust as you learn more. This will help avoid the “paralysis by analysis” syndrome.
- Leverage your strengths – Everyone has things they are good at and things they are not. Focusing on what you can do best usually makes you more productive. If you have to do something you are not so good at, ask for help or try to delegate that part of the project to someone who has the requisite skills. You could offer to do something for that person in return.
- Make small tweaks for big results – Start making small changes in your life that will help you gradually improve your productivity. These can be simple things. For example, put your bills on auto-pay to save you time and the hassle of having to remember to pay them. Anything you can do in 2 minutes, do right away – don’t delay. Or, each time you make an appointment, write down any tasks you may need to do to prepare for that appointment. The small changes can add up over time to big improvements in your personal productivity.
- Be “good enough” organized – Don’t try to overdo your planning and organization. You don’t have to be perfect. Your goal should be to get organized enough so that disorganization doesn’t interfere with getting things done. Trying to be perfectly organized can be a waste of time and demotivating.
- Eliminate the negative self talk and let your optimistic self lead the way – There is no upside to negative self-talk – beating yourself up about missed deadlines or lack of organization. Work on framing negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Allow yourself some time to improve, and that you will reach your goal. This can put you in a more optimistic frame of mind and keep you motivated to continue making changes that will lead to greater productivity.
There are many excellent resources to help you become more productive even when you have ADHD, such as the Getting Things Done section of ADDitude magazine. If you find that you need help, consider getting a coach trained to work with ADHD individuals.