I know too well myself, to get things done when you have ADHD can cause a number of challenges. Distractions from notifications, phones vibrating, Facebook calling. Pretty much anything going on around us can take away our concentration from the task at hand.
But, there are resources and techniques you can use to help get things done! Sound good? Well here are my top 10 tips for getting things done when you have ADHD.
Create and use lists
Let’s start at the beginning. To get yourself organised and get things done, you need a list of what you need to do, and by when. If you like the traditional pen and paper method, grab a notepad and keep it with you in your pocket or bag. Whenever you think of something, you can add it straight onto your list.
If you prefer the digital route, there are so many different apps out there. One I really like is Remember the Milk. It allows you to add things to your list at any time but also has the ability to send the notifications to a variety of programmes including Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, Gmail, email, Twitter and Evernote. Or even asking Siri or the Google Assistant on your phone gets things out your head and can remind you later.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when there’s so much to do, and more ideas and thoughts flowing. Start with short chunks of time each day to get things marked off your list. Once you get into the habit, it will soon become second nature. You can then start to increase the time slowly each day.
Adopt the 2-minute rule
Distractions and procrastination are both barriers to getting things done. This is where adopting methods like the 2-minute rule can help.
The main principle of the 2-minute rule is that if you have something to do that will take less than two minutes, then do it now. Don’t put it off, forget about it, or worry about getting it done – just do it!
Distractibility is one of the key symptoms of ADHD. So, I can totally get the idea of avoiding distractions can straight away fill you with dread and overwhelm of how. But it’s about managing the ones that you can. Turning off notifications, the TV and radio. Shut down emails or pop-ups while you’re working. Minimising even a few will help you with completing the task at hand.
There are some tasks that we do without thinking, which allows us to do multiple tasks at once. However, when you’re trying to be productive and get things done, avoid multi-tasking. Focus your attention on one task at a time and see it through to the end. This helps reduce procrastination and increase productivity.
Don’t worry about perfection
It’s very easy to become obsessed over the small unimportant details, leading to procrastination. Don’t worry about making things perfect and whether they’re good enough. You will soon be surprised what you can achieve when you stop worrying about making things ‘perfect’. It won’t change overnight, but gradually accepting that everything doesn’t have to be perfect all the time will gradually become easier.
Deadlines are really useful for the ADHD brain. By knowing when something needs to be completed by removes the overwhelm, anxiety and stress of worrying about when you need to get things done by. And also means you don’t have the stress of getting things done last minute.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
When you don’t quite hear what someone says or maybe you become distracted when they’re talking to you. Don’t go away and get yourself stressed worrying about what they said. Go back and ask questions to make sure you understand. Don’t worry about looking bad. You’re using initiative to ask for clarity to get the job done.
Use a timer
Using a timer is a very common productivity tip. It’s so simple but can be a very effective way of dealing with procrastination and increase productivity. Time can easily slip by without realising. When we’re engrossed in something that interests us, we can become distracted and go completely off-topic. But equally, when we’re struggling to focus on a task, a timer can be there to remind you to get the job done.
A popular technique is the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is that you set a timer for 25 minutes to work on a task. When the timer goes off, you take a 5-minute break and then repeat. After you’ve completed 4 ‘Pomodoros’, you take a longer break, up to around 20-30 minutes.
If you find yourself slipping using a technique like this, mix it up and set different Pomodoro lengths of time to find what works for you.
Take a break!
I know, sounds a bit backwards right?! But actually, it’s so important to take a break when you’re either at work or trying to get things done at home. It’s about finding balance. It doesn’t matter whether its 2 minutes, 10 or 20. Taking a break gives you a chance to clear your mind, relax, re-energise and come back refreshed and ready to go!
Getting things done can be such a struggle when there are so many things on the go, before adding in hyperactivity and distractions. I’m no productivity specialist myself. These tips are things I’ve tried or have been recommended to me. It’s about finding the techniques that work for you to try and make your everyday life a little bit easier.
And if you find that you want to take things a step further and make some bigger changes, why not book a consultation assessment with me. I can help you to get your brain working with you, to find balance, harmony and tranquillity and start to live well with ADHD. Click here to book your appointment now.