Decisions about where to put your tasks so you can remember and manage them can be confusing for many adults with ADHD.
But, of course, you want to figure this out.
Because you want to remember to do your tasks at the right time. If you try to keep them in your head, you may remember them at some point. But it may not be when you are able to act on them.
You also want to feel less overwhelmed. Trying to keep your tasks in your head is very stressful.
Last, you want it to be easier to manage and complete your tasks. And seeing them in the format that works best for you is a key ingredient in making this process easier.
There is a way to do this.
Task Management “Tool(s)” Not Working?
Yes, when it comes to managing your ADHD, choosing a container for your tasks may seem rather insignificant in comparison to other seemingly more weighty topics.
After all you have a lot of stuff to do!
So, you may put off doing this because…
- you think your system is good enough.
- you don’t think the extra work is worth it, as you are not confident things will be better.
- you just aren’t sure what the best alternative is, and the process of choosing the right tools just seems too complicated.
- you don’t feel you have time!
And then maybe you end up…
- doing tasks the moment you think of them because you are worried that, if you put them off, you might forget them.
- interrupting other tasks to do whatever pops into your head.
- feeling stressed because you don’t know the next steps in your projects.
- having a constant sense of overwhelm because you don’t have a good sense of all you have to do.
This could look different for you.
Where To Put Your To-Dos
Being able to see your tasks, when you need to see them, in the format that works best you is critical to being able to manage them.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but, hopefully, you are on board with me.
The following incomplete list of tasks and containers is not meant to be prescriptive, but rather intended to give you a few ideas.
- emails – If the email takes longer than 2 minutes to do during the time you process your email, it goes on your task list.
- date and time sensitive tasks – If it must be done at a certain date and time, then it goes on your calendar.
- tasks that come out of a meeting – Review your notes as soon as possible after a meeting, and put all tasks assigned to you on your task list.
- maybe / someday tasks – Tasks you might want to do one day, but aren’t on your immediate radar, go on your maybe/someday task list. You can review this list every so often, maybe monthly, to see if you want to move any to your active list.
- discrete tasks (only one step)- These go on your task list.
- projects (any tasks with multiple steps) – You want to have an overall picture of where you are heading. But you only need to plan well enough that you know the next few action steps. These action steps go on your task list.
- follow-up – These are the tasks that either you delegated, but are responsible for making sure they get done, or tasks that need to be completed before you can move forward with your work. In either case, these follow-up tasks go on your task list.
What kind of task list should you choose for these and other tasks?
In the next post I’ll go over how to pick different types of planners / task managers…