You’ve probably heard that ADHD is a condition that affects your ability to focus and pay attention. But what you may not realize is that many people with ADHD have trouble setting and achieving goals as well. It’s not that we don’t care about what we’re trying to accomplish—it’s just that our brains are wired differently than most people’s. We need strategies for managing our time, prioritizing tasks, and completing projects on time (or at least close enough to deadline). For example:
Make a plan.
Planning is a key component of productivity for anyone, but it’s especially important for people with ADHD. When you plan, you have a clearer idea of what needs to be done and when it needs to get done. This helps you stay on track and avoid procrastination because you won’t be able to use any excuses like “I forgot about that project!” or “It slipped my mind!” If you make time for planning ahead of time, then there’s no reason why one thing shouldn’t fit into another easily; nothing should fall through the cracks or get missed because they were forgotten about until later.
Planning also involves organizing your workday so that you’re being as efficient with your time as possible; this means breaking down large tasks into smaller ones so they can be completed in shorter bursts throughout the day instead of trying (and failing) at doing 20 things all at once.
Use visual reminders.
You can use a calendar or to-do list, like those on our website. You could also use a whiteboard or corkboard to keep track of tasks. If you need to remember something specific, stick a note somewhere you will see it regularly (like on the fridge). This can help you focus on that task without having to constantly remind yourself of it throughout your day.
Another way is through timers: set an alarm for different tasks and work in 25 minute increments until all timers go off again – this makes sure you don’t get distracted by other things during your work period!
Set short-term goals.
It’s easier to focus on short-term goals, but not everyone does. If you have ADHD, setting a long-term goal could be overwhelming—and it might make you feel like a failure if you don’t reach it. Instead, set small, achievable goals that are realistic and measurable. You can celebrate your successes along the way!
Create a reward system.
A reward system is a great way to stay motivated. You can use rewards for any type of goal, from achieving your goals to staying focused on a particular task. Here are some examples:
If you achieve your goal, reward yourself with something that makes you feel good. Maybe it’s a massage or going out for ice cream with friends and family. Perhaps it’s watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or listening to music while drinking coffee at home (with no distractions).
If you stay focused on a task, reward yourself by taking some time off after the task is complete so that your brain has time to recharge and refocus before starting another task. This might mean going for lunch with colleagues who work near-by–this encourages interaction between people who aren’t necessarily close friends but would appreciate having someone else around when there’s nothing else going on in their lives at the moment either!
Cut out distractions.
The first step is to cut out distractions. This may mean turning off notifications on your phone and computer, closing the tab that’s open in your browser, or putting your phone on silent while you work. If you can’t stay focused with all of those things still around, it’s time to take additional steps: use a time management app like Todoist or Asana to manage tasks; set timers for yourself as reminders; use white noise apps like Coffitivity (which simulates a cafe environment) or Focus@Will (which plays peaceful music) for ambient sound; and block websites with programs like Freedom (for Mac), Cold Turkey Browser (for Windows), StayFocusd (for Chrome), LeechBlock for Firefox, Self Control for Windows and MacOS, Freedom or Anti-Social for Android phones and tablets.
Exercise can be a great way to improve focus and concentration, not to mention reduce anxiety and depression. Exercise can also help people with ADHD get better sleep. In fact, according to one study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 75% of adults with ADHD saw improved scores on an attention test after participating in an exercise program for just 12 weeks.
Exercise is beneficial for weight loss as well: research shows that people who don’t exercise are more at risk for obesity than those who do. This is especially important for those with ADHD because they have a higher risk of being overweight or obese—one study found that 65% of children with ADHD had been classified as overweight or obese by age 16-19 compared to 34% of children without the condition (American Journal Pediatrics). The National Center on Health Statistics reported in 2016 that 35% adults ages 20-39 also reported being overweight or obese during their lifetime—a statistic only slightly lower than among adults ages 40+.
Ask for help.
Ask for help. If you have ADHD and you’re trying to complete a big project, ask someone who’s good at what you need help with (it could be a friend or family member) to lend a hand.
Ask the right person. A person willing to help is not necessarily a person who will be available when it comes time to do the work. Make sure that whomever you ask has the time and energy necessary in order for them to put in their share of effort as well as yours.
Switch up your routine.
One of the biggest problems with ADHD is that it makes you a creature of habit. You tend to do things the same way, day in and day out, unless something big changes—a new job or a move. This is a good thing when it comes to productivity because consistency is important for getting things done. But if your routine becomes habitual and hardwired into your brain, then it can stifle your creativity and make life harder instead of easier.
Find a stress reliever that works for you.
Finding a stress reliever that works for you is key. Take, for example, the boy who cried wolf. His stress reliever was lying and making up stories to get attention from his parents. That was obviously not going to work out well in the long run. But if he’d found something else—a hobby or interest that he could dedicate himself to—it may have helped him instead of hurting him later on as an adult or even child.
On the other hand, maybe this boy’s parents should have taken him more seriously when he really did need help! Maybe they dismissed his crying wolf because they assumed it wasn’t something serious enough to warrant their attention (or maybe they just didn’t care). The point here is that while there are some things we can control and others we can’t, finding a stress reliever that works for us is one thing we can definitely control: We’re in charge of our own lives!
Find what motivates you, and use it to your advantage.
“You need to find what motivates you and use it to your advantage. Don’t get discouraged, you can do it!”
The first step of finding what motivates you is understanding yourself.
The second step is finding a way to turn that motivation into productivity, which may be easier said than done for people with ADHD. But don’t worry! We have some tips and strategies that can help you out.
There are many strategies to try when you want to improve productivity with ADHD
There are many strategies to try when you want to improve productivity with ADHD. Some of these strategies may be more effective for some people than others, and it’s important to try different strategies until you find what works best for you.
Some common ADHD productivity tips include:
Making a schedule and sticking to it
Creating reminders for yourself so that you don’t forget important tasks or events
Avoiding distractions by turning off notifications on your phone/computer, putting away other devices when working on something important, etc.
The key to finding the right productivity strategy to fit your needs is trying out different things until you find something that works. It’s important not just to try different strategies, but also to know when they aren’t working and why they might not be working for you. If something isn’t working, don’t give up! Try another approach or tweak it until it does work for you. ADHD testing and treatment has never been more convenient or comprehensive. If you or someone you know is living with ADHD, please don’t hesitate to contact Revive Therapeutic Services.