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If you are an adult with ADHD, tracking information and tasks is more assuredly not your strong suit.
OK, I know what you are saying now, “Way to point out the obvious, Marla!”
Stay with me, here.
When life gets chaotic, it becomes increasingly hard to juggle daily tasks and long term projects. What was challenging may seem almost impossible.
While there is no easy answer or one right way to do this, the key is to review, adjust, prioritize and plan on a regular basis.
Strengthening the Weak Muscles
Yes, It is possible to strengthen your tracking and planning muscle. Believe me, you do have one! It might just be a little, well, flaccid.
Kind of like my core muscles. When I stop lifting weights for more than a week, I can tell that I am weaker. Plus, my back hurts just from sleeping!!
I notice the same happens when I fall off the “planning wagon.” I become less adept at planning, and my head starts to hurt just from having so many “to dos” running around in my brain.
As an adult with ADHD, this muscle is not naturally strong. That is ok.
Step 1 – Creating a Container
The first step is to have a place, a container, where you record your values, intentions, commitments, tasks, best practices and, perhaps, tabled ideas / dreams.
You may use one or more of the following containers.
It is important in choosing a container to keep it simple and consistent. Pick a container and use it the same way all the time.
For example, if all your business planning is done in one notebook, only use that notebook. It is a slippery slope when you say, “I’ll just write it on this sticky and put it in the notebook later.”
The other key in choosing a container is to make sure it is accessible when you need it. A calendar is a “must have” container and should be with you at all times. So, it is important to choose one that you can carry with you.
Step 2 – Weekly Review and Planning
Now this is where the heavy lifting is needed!
I’ve seen clients and others do well when it comes to creating a container. At first, it is novel and interesting, which makes it an easier task for an adults with ADHD.
However, the container is of little use, if you do not interact with it on a regular basis.
In order to get the most use out of the information that you have accumulated, the best practice is to set aside time on a weekly basis during which you can:
- Reflect on the previous week. Note what went well, what was a challenge, and what you can change to make the next week better (best practices).
- Write all of your time sensitive / scheduled appointments are in your calendar.
- Decide on your priorities for the next week based on your goals and commitments.
- Schedule specific times to accomplish your non-time specific tasks.
- Identify the next step needed to accomplish any of your long term goal. Schedule time to do the tasks associated with that step.
(You may want to review your life and business goals on an annual and semi-annual basis.)
Step 3 – Daily Planning
However, a week is a long time when you have ADHD. Despite you best intentions, you may forget your plans for the week unless you review them daily.
The best practice for daily review and planning is to set aside the same time every day to prepare for the next day. During this time, you can:
- Review your plans and calendar.
- Make any changes based on what you have accomplished and any new information (change in Joey’s soccer schedule or new work assignment).
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line
If you follow these three steps consistently, you will strengthen your tracking and planning muscle.
As you become stronger in this area, the pull of immediate gratification (doing whatever catches your attention in the moment) will weaken. Remember, it takes time and practice. You want to get good enough so that you are in the driver’s seat, and not being led around by… Oh, where did that fly go?
As always, if you need support, please contact me. We can discuss how I may be able to help you.