Individuals with ADHD may find it difficult to focus, stay organized, and manage time effectively. However, with the right strategies and support, overcoming these struggles and improving productivity is possible.
Here are some tips to help individuals with ADHD enhance their productivity:
#1. Low Stimulant Morning
One of the first things many of us do in the morning is to grab our phone or turn on the TV. But starting the day with less stimulation may help some! Instead of turning to media for entertainment try emptying the dishwasher, going for a walk, or doing an exercise routine. We know that established patterns can help with a feeling of success for the day and there is no better time to start than the morning. If media does not distract you consider asking yourself what does derail my day? Is it reading? Not having quiet time to sort your thoughts? Ignoring the alarm clock? When you find your answer to what overstimulates you as the day begins consider a change in how you start the day. I found that the alarm clock did not help with my productivity, so instead I bought a smart lightbulb that turns on a specific time. Get creative, but keep the morning less stimulating for you!
#2. Brain Dumping
For some, the low-stimulant morning may not be enough to get the day going. So one method used to help create order is brain dumping. Set a 10-minute timer, and then use that time to release any ideas running around your head. If you are like me questions may needed to stimulate the release of ideas, so consider answering these 4 questions. What are you thinking about that interests you? What are you avoiding? What do you need to do today? What are you grateful for?
#3. Accountability Partner
Never underestimate the power of an accountability partner. Whether it’s in person or via media you cannot lose out having an accountability partner. The external pressure of showing up for someone is often enough to move the needle for anyone! If you have a new fitness goal, meet a friend to walk or go to the gym. If you are trying to write a book consider starting an online meeting to have other like-minded folks join you. Be the leader! Don’t wait for others to find you.
Finally, if you have a specific goal and need support don’t be afraid to reach out to a few friends and see if they are willing to support your plan by asking you about it in a specific time frame.
#4. Use Visual Reminders
Out of sight out of mind is absolutely true for so many folks with or without ADHD. One of the best things you can do is to put your goals on paper and make them visible around the house. I like to stick things to my pantry door. That seems to be a place I have a hard time missing. For you, it may be signs pinned to your bathroom mirror, a bedroom door, the fridge, or any place that you frequently see. Do not be scared to use color and highlighters or anything that will catch your attention. Do not limit to just posting on walls! Consider leaving additional reminders in your phone, write it on a whiteboard calendar, and rearranging them often so they always feel new and fresh!
#5. Prepare the Day Before
Productivity is all about preparation! We know that the better we are prepared the easier it is to meet our goals. Consider starting an evening routine where you look at your calendar before you go to bed and ask what things would help you tomorrow. If it’s getting up early, set an alarm. If it’s going to the gym in the morning consider laying out your gym clothing in an obvious space and finding your shoes, keys, and filling your water bottle. If it’s writing set up your writing area and prep your coffee or tea. If you want to read, set up your book in the place where you want to sit. It seems simple, but it’s effective. Also, consider using a tote bag to put things that you are working on into so you can take the bag and stage that around the house. It does not matter how you prepare, just do it! You’ll find what works and what doesn’t but you will also find you’re more apt to follow through when you are ready!
ADHD makes it extremely difficult to establish routines. However, I have found over the years that I am not looking for perfection but rather things that move the needle to my goals for the most part. Sometimes that means I can show up daily, sometimes that means once a week. Do not underestimate the power of using these tools imperfectly. There is no such thing as perfection, but there are choices that point to your goals more than not!