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 it to be easier to manage and complete your important work.
If you’re currently trying to keep tasks in your head, you know it is stressful and often doesn’t work. Because you need to remember to remember. And, if you’re keeping tasks in your head, you may remember them at some point. But it may not be at a time when you are able to act on them.
Alternatively, maybe you have some sort of system to capture and see your tasks. But I imagine, if you’re reading this article, it is not working as well as you would like. Figuring out a system and process for capturing and seeing your tasks is a key ingredient in executing well.
There is a way to do this.
Frustrated Trying to Figure Out a Task Management System?
When it comes to managing your ADHD choosing a container for your tasks is critical, no doubt.
Yet, you may be putting it off because you have so much else to do. And you’re not confident if you put in all the extra work that things will get better. If that is the case for you, it may not seem like a good use your time, right? In addition, the process of choosing the right container may seem just too complicated.
But, if you don’t have a good way to capture and see your tasks, you likely have a difficult time following through. Maybe you are doing a lot of tasks at the last minute. Alternatively, you may try to do a task as soon as it pops into your head because you don’t want to forget about it. Then you are likely interrupting your other important work.
If this is the way you are operating now, it can feel pretty frenetic, for sure. And, because you don’t have a good sense of all you have to do, you may constantly be wondering when the other shoe is going to drop. It’s a stressful way to operate, no doubt.
This could look different for you.
Where to Put Your To-Dos
One of the first steps in creating a task management system is knowing where all your task come from. Once you’re clear on this you can decide how to handle them.
Because you have particular needs and preferences you will need to personalize your task management system. So, while not prescriptive, below are some ideas on how to capture your various tasks. As you read through this list, think about how you may want to devise your own system.
- 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.
Do you know where all your tasks come from? If you’re not sure, why don’t you take a few minutes to create your own list.
To-Do Lists For ADHD Adults
In the next post I’ll go over how to pick different types of planners / task managers.