Procrastination hits us all, right? Ideally, it's only an occasional issue, but often it can be a chronic problem. Especially to those of us with adhd. We will avoid things we don’t feel like doing anytime, anywhere.
But the reality is we have to get crap done! Let’s stop figuring out why we do it and focus on how to address procrastination when it happens.
Here are 5 tips for overcoming procrastination:
Tip #1...Plan Ahead
Getting started on a task is much easier when you have already done some pre-work. Now there are less excuses for avoiding the work. For example, you’ve been delaying working on a project at home because of all the steps involved. Do the prep work that’s needed, then schedule the actual work for later in the day or maybe the next day. Get out the tape measure, pencil, drill, level, sandpaper, whatever it is you need to make the project happen. You’re now prepared to jump into the actual project. Basically, you are setting yourself up for success and giving yourself fewer reasons to procrastinate.
Tip #2...Create the Environment You Need
Your environment can play a huge role in helping you get things done. It’s important to know yourself and now how you work best. Are you more focused in the morning, afternoon or night? Align your tasks with the effort needed and do them when you are best able to tackle them.
Do you need music, ambient noise or complete silence? Have the right playlist ready for the task. I say “right” playlist due to something that just happened to me...I needed to get boring house stuff done, but could not motivate for the life of me. Music helps me, so I turned on a disco playlist. Well, turned out that Disco is not the right playlist when I actually have to think. Every single song was my favorite and I couldn’t focus on doing what I needed to ...I was literally singing every song out loud! So, I, begrudgingly, turned on a less awesome playlist and was able to get done what needed to get done. Know what helps you motivate and create that environment.
Tip #3...Delete Distractions
This tip goes in line with creating the right environment. Eliminate anything that you know will distract you from reaching your immediate goal. Some examples:
Tip #4 - Think of Your Future Self
How will you feel when you have started or even finished a dreaded project? You’ll probably feel pretty good, right? Do something to make your future self proud.
This strategy can also help your kids. My teenage son has my procrastination issues and will come up with some of the best reasons to delay the inevitable. I remind him of a time he has done the task before (like homework) and ask him how he felt when he had finished it. It always feels better when you’re done, so tap into that feeling of accomplishment to help propel you to just start.
Tip #5...Just START
This tip is my favorite. When you think about finishing a project it’s easy to get pulled into the overwhelm of everything that has to be done. And overwhelm leads to a shutdown, which leads to pushing off the projects until “you’re ready”. Additionally, focusing only on that first step eliminates the perfectionism that can often come with any project.
Think of one thing that you can do to make progress and do that one thing. Maybe you won’t get it done, but you will definitely be further along than when you started.
Procrastination is, by far, my strongest ADHD nemesis. To get this post finally completed, I went with “Think of Your Future Self”. I knew how awesome it would feel to get it completed, so I tapped into that feeling and now I’m done. And it feels awesome!
November can be such a crazy time, with Thanksgiving and the holiday planning both around the corner. Taking time at the beginning of the month to prepare for the craziness can make things much easier when the crazy starts happening. So with your time being tight, let’s dive into 10 things you are free to eliminate before the holidays arrive...
Happy Fall! I used to hate this season because the next season is winter and I really dislike (actually, despise) winter. But now I have decided to not blame the Fall for my issues with Winter. Grabbing a blanket to escape the morning chill is awesome to me! The color orange is everywhere. Ok, I'm still grasping for reasons to like the fall. But the best thing about this season is...
Fall = Back to School!!!
Being back to a structured routine is essential for our home to run well and for me to get things done. But it also means frantic mornings, after-school practices and appointments, which can be frustrating and seem like there's not enough time in the day to get everything done.
There are some surprisingly easy ways to make the most of the time you have (exception is #2 - that may not be so "easy"). Here are 7 quick and easy tips to try...
1. Use a timer
If you’ve talked to me or follow me on social media, you’ve probably heard me go on and on about timers. I LOVE THEM! They are especially helpful for starting tasks you avoid. Set a timer for a short amount of time, like 15 minutes, and just start!
2. Delete social media apps
What the what?!?! Yep, I said it. Take them off your phone. You will save an unbelieveable amount of time. Don’t believe me or don’t want to believe me? If you have an iPhone try this eye-opener…
Studies are proving that you are more likely to remember something if you physically write it down versus if you type it. Plus, once you’ve written it down, you free up the mental space in your brain and can better focus. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to accomplish, do a brain dump and get it all on paper. Instant relief! Then go back and decide on the priorities.
4. Plan down-time
To be more productive, you need to allow your brain to stop working. Exercise, read, meditate, lay down for 10 minutes...Give your brain a rest periodically and it will work better for you.
5. Manage to-dos
Be realistic and set yourself up for success. List all the things you have to do, but then find the most pressing or important 1-2 things and write them down. If you can accomplish more, that’s a bonus.
6. Time blocking
Look at your to-do list and group things that are similar. List all the calls that you need to make. List purchases you need to make. Do the same for items or topics to research. Then do those like things during one block of time. When you make 6 phone calls without wandering off to check an email or read an article the time will be spent much more efficiently. The days of multi-tasking are over.
7. Night time routine
Use a couple minutes at night to prepare for the next day. Look over your schedule, make tomorrow’s lunch, lay out your clothes, etc. It will make your morning much smoother.
I hope you can find some success in using one or more of these tips!
Happy New Year! I love the start of a new year! The new year seems like a blank canvas on which I can create a whole new me. So what's your new year going to look like? More exercise, less screen time, maybe getting organized? If it's to get organized, you're in good company. It's one of the top 5 resolutions people make every year.
January is “Get Organized Month” because it’s a resolution that so many people make. Here are 3 simple tips to help you start towards your goal.
1. Keep your expectations realistic - If you have 4 children, a spouse, a job, a dog and 10 other hats that you wear, is it realistic to think your house will look magazine ready every day? Determine what “organized” means to you and go for that level of organization. There’s a wide spectrum of what organized means and it’s different for everyone. Many people can live with things lying around the house and it may appear to be disorganized to you. But if they can find what they need when they need it, that’s being organized. Know what your organizing style is and work with it, not against it.
Also, be realistic about how long it will take. Getting organized takes time. Usually more time than you think it will. It can be helpful to have someone work with you to keep you focused.
2. Resist the urge to buy products - Sadly, organizing products won’t get you organized, regardless of what the product claims. Before I figured out how to organize effectively, I would hit the Container Store hard, buying bins and boxes for everything. Then I would come home and start to organize, but I was just rearranging my clutter. After a good purging session I would find that those same bins and containers didn’t meet the needs of what was left. My husband joked that I needed containers for my containers. You have to do the hard work of deciding what to keep and what to purge first.
3. Be open to change - Organizing systems can start out great, but falter after time. Revaluate the process you created. Does it have too many steps to maintain? Do the other people in your home know your system? It can be helpful to talk through your process with someone who can see it from a different viewpoint.
If your resolution is to get organized, I’m here to help. Call 201-674-1474 to schedule a session. Life is easier and less stressful when you are organized.
All the best for a fantastic 2016!
Organizing with ADHD Brain
ADHD and organizing don't play well together. They are constantly battling with each other. If you or someone you love has ADHD, please know that it's not easy to be organized with that brain structure. But it IS possible. Knowledge is power and learning how to work with an ADHD brain is key to getting organized and staying that way. Work with your brain, not against it!
After getting my ADHD diagnosis at age 40, I dove into books to learn more about it and how it affected the way I lived. My favorite organizing book is ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kohlberg. There are so many useful and truly "ADD-Friendly" organization tips in her book. An excellent resource for understanding Adult ADHD is More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD by Ari Tuckman, PsyD. Humorous and easy to read, you will get a real education on how an adult ADHD brain works.
So how can you become more organized without reading lots of books? Start with a small change and make that change stick before diving into all the tips. Here are three of my favorite tricks to improve your everyday organization or productivity...
1. Post-its. When you need to stay focused, have a pad of post-its next to you. Anytime a thought (unrelated to what you should be doing) pops in your head, jot it down on a post-it. You have now relieved your brain of having to try to remember that other thought and you can get back to work.
2. Noisli is a website which creates background noise when you are working on the computer (they also have an app for your smart phone). Helps improve focus and productivity. It's free to try, so there's nothing to lose. I'm listening to it as I type this newsletter!
3. Give yourself a break - Are you really going to be able to do all 15 items on your to-do list today? Or will you feel overwhelmed and, most likely, not accomplish any of them? Know yourself and give yourself approval to only put 3 items on that daily to-do list. Add the other items to a "maybe do" list. If you get around to some of them, great! But don't heckle yourself for not doing them.
Pick 1 of these 3 tricks and try it out. Not just once, but keep trying it until you start to see success...which you will!