What's stopping you from crossing items off your to-do list? Learn how to get things done with these solutions to everyday productivity problems that hold back people with ADHD.
Every day we are faced with an avalanche of information, interruptions, distractions, work and social media updates that seem impossible to ignore. All of this comes up against something that remains finite: time. Therefore, achieving things with ADHD is problematic.
Here are some of the biggest challenges that people with ADHD struggle with every day, and some possible solutions.
How to achieve goals: 11 problem areas in adults with ADHD and how to solve them
Productivity problem #1: Too much information
Information comes to us all the time and capturing it becomes complex. We used to say, “write it down,” but in the age of information overload, there are better ways to write things down than writing by hand.
If you need to save verbal information, little tips, websites people suggest, or things you want to remember, write to yourself in your favorite messaging app. You can also use your smartphone's voice recorder and convert verbal information into text.
Productivity problem #2: I get too distracted
Distraction and executive function challenges prevent adults with ADHD from completing tasks. We recommend that you finish something, a small task or even something bigger that you were working on yesterday, first thing in the day. The truth is that there will be seven new tasks for every task you complete. To stay balanced, strive to maintain a realistic ratio between the tasks you close and those you start. When you manage to close something, it gives meaning to the rest of the day.
If interruptions, like a phone call or message, distract you from a task, grab a physical object (or hold it in your line of vision) to remind yourself of what you were doing. It will help you focus more quickly when you get back to the task. A post-it, even if it is blank, will remind you to go back to what you were doing before.
Productivity Problem #3: I Ignore a To-Do List
An old organizational resource is scheduling tasks. You have your to-do list, but you must link the completion of the tasks with the commitment of time to do them. It's important to make a to-do list, but it's equally important to enter your to-do list into your calendar.
If you just make a to-do list, you have about a 40 to 50 percent chance of completing the tasks, but if you schedule a task, the chance increases to 70 percent or more.
Productivity problem #4: All tasks seem boring to me
Do different types of things in different places. It is a friendly way for adults with ADHD to optimize focus and attention. A change of environment can make a big difference for her.
Some people with ADHD go crazy with the silence of a library. They would be more productive in a place like Starbucks, with some background noise. Brainstorming for a new marketing plan requires a different environment than a hotel room or conference room. You might need lots of windows, a place to walk, space to stick things on the wall. Different tasks require different levels of focus.
Productivity problem #5: It's me versus the clutter
It is important to organize a support team. Support could mean another pair of hands, someone who is physically present while you do a task but does not do it with you. It's the person you say to, “This is what I'm doing now. "This is what I'm concentrating on."
Productivity problem #6: I can't start a task
It often doesn't matter where you start a task. Start anywhere in a room. After starting, however, it continues in some logical manner. If you start on the left side of the room, go left, in a circle. If you start on the top shelf of a cabinet, work your way down. Have a process that is orderly, but don't worry about where or when to start, because there is no ideal time to address the mess.
Productivity Productivity #7: I Schedule a Task but I Ignore It
There are many reasons why organizational systems fail. Sometimes people with ADHD get bored with their system. They need more variety. Have a system that you will follow for three months. You may not have to review it completely. You may just have to adjust it. It is not unusual for people with ADHD to check their systems more frequently than other people do.
Productivity Problem #8: When Worry Stops Me From Getting Things Done
As you start your day, do the first three things that worry you the most to get them off your mind. The internal distraction of worry affects people with ADHD more than others and prevents them from getting things done.
If you do any part of what worries you, you will break the anxiety. Let's say you have a report to do, and it's hard to get started, and it's causing you anxiety. Start the footnotes, do a little research, talk to an expert. If you break the inertia caused by your anxiety, you can continue moving forward.
Productivity Problem #9: I Can't Prioritize a To-Do List
If you use A, B, and C, and that's too restrictive, add a D. Adding colors is good for prioritizing your to-do list. Don't use more than four colors because that will drive you crazy. Use yellow, green and red because we know what they mean
Another option may be to have a to-do list in three columns. One for “now,” another for “soon,” and a third labeled “little chance.”
Productivity Problem #10: I Never Meet Deadlines
Schedule extra time to finish a task by default. Instead of trying to accurately estimate how long a task will take, simply say, "I'm going to need 30 percent more time for everything I plan, no matter what." Simply choose a number. 20 percent more, 50 percent more, and allocate that. The worst that could happen is that you finish it early.
Productivity problem #11: What if I have an impossible project?
If you have a project to do, instead of breaking down tasks, try to expand things first. Place different sticky notes randomly on a wall or bulletin board. It doesn't matter what categories they are in, the sequence, or the priority. Get it out of your head and onto paper. If you don't have a wall, do it on your computer.
Now look for things that have a deadline.
Find different ways to divide things. There will be things that you will have to delegate, things that must happen in sequence, or things that are related by function.
Now that you've broken things down, you need to see the whole picture again. Adults with ADHD lose the big picture.
Let's remember that ADHD can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, you can improve your productivity. Do not despair! If you implement some of these solutions into your daily life, you may find that you can achieve much more than you thought possible.