Yes, even people with ADHD can complete tasks. When we finish whatever we start, we gain a feeling of accomplishment. It’s great!
Remember that procrastinating doesn’t get anything done. So stop talking about everything you need to do. Stop doing distractions. Start doing what needs to happen.
How in the world can someone who has executive functioning problems ever complete tasks on time… and remember to turn things in?
Keep a planner.
Yeah, I know. Your grade school teacher made you keep a planner and you hated it.
But they can help so much!
There’s something to a paper planner that helps many people organize more than the calendar in your smart phone. You can use that too, but putting things in your planner can help you visualize it better.
You can write all your assignments in your planner and even break them down so that different parts should be complete at different times. (Even if your teacher just has one due date – you can break it up and make it more manageable.)
Don’t forget to add all the other “stuff” you have to do, such as practice or work. And don’t forget leave out time for family, friends, exercise and sleep!
Put everything in the planner, so you can schedule time accordingly.
If you forget that you have late rehearsal on Wednesday and a big test on Thursday, that will put a crimp in study time. If you can see that on your weekly preview, you can put in a little more study time Tuesday and then a shorter study time Wednesday will be enough for the test.
Use a white board.
Some people like to also use a white board to keep the big assignments and important goals in one place.
It’s a visual reminder of the big things that need to get done. You can even make a place for goals and positive messages.
Color code things so you can easily see things that are related by categories you choose.
Some people like check boxes to be able to check off what’s done!
It goes without saying that there are a lot of distractions in our world. Many we can’t control, but there are some that we can.
If you’re a neat freak and your workspace is cluttered, quickly de-clutter it before you start to work.
Quickly is the key. Don’t use this as a means of procrastination.
Doing any task that is not interesting to us (and even some that are) is harder when our phone is around. Even if the notification sound is turned off, it’s a temptation to just check what people are up to. Or play a quick game. Or post a quick selfie.
They’re all really quick, right?
It doesn’t matter. They all interrupt our focus, so they need to not happen.
Put your phone in another room.
I know many will insist that they use their phone as an alarm clock or for background noise.
You know what?
You can buy a kitchen timer for under $5. Or you can get an alarm clock that you can use to get you out of bed for under $10 and use for both circumstances. Your parents might even have one on a nightstand that is in working order.
Turn off notifications.
If you’re working on your computer, turn off notifications so that annoying box doesn’t keep popping up telling you of a new message. No one needs that distraction! The message will be there when you’re done.
Reward yourself when you’re done by checking your phone.
It’s hard for anyone to stay focused for hours of anything.
Make a goal to work for 50 minutes (or whatever you can reasonably tolerate and still get things done). Set a timer to go off in 50 minutes. When your timer goes off, get up and take a break.
Set a timer for your break for 5-10 minutes so you can get back to work when it’s time.
Exercise is a great way to refresh your brain, so do jumping jacks, jog in place or do a little yoga.
You might also need a snack. Brain food! Try to pair a fruit or vegetable with a protein source each snack. High carbohydrate snacks and fatty foods can make you tired. Not good when you need to focus! Try an apple with peanut butter, carrots and hummus or cheese and grapes.
Be sure to keep track of your timer for each step and repeat until you’re done for the day!
Use fidgets if they help you stay focused.
Stand at your desk if your focus is improved.
Sometimes even pacing while reading can help – unless you work better taking notes as you read.
Sit on an exercise ball or pillow to allow movement.
Swing your legs or do other movements that most likely come naturally to you.
Use a friend.
Ask a friend to be your accountability partner. You can really help each other out.
Text tasks to each other so you can ask if they’ve done their tasks and they can ask if you’ve done yours. Text each other when they’re done.
Make it a challenge to see how many days in a row you can keep it up. Challenges have a way to help us keep up with things!
When you finish tasks, send a quick pic of your successes!
While it isn’t good to have great tunes that distract you, studies show that background noise can drown out the distracting sounds.
When you’re studying or working on a project, use your ceiling fan, a white noise machine or music on low volume to drown out the other noises.
Break it up.
Big tasks are overwhelming. Break them into several smaller tasks.
Put each part of the task in your planner and stick to the mini-deadlines.
Give yourself kudos each step of the way. When you finish a section of whatever you’re doing, give yourself a little praise. At the end of the task, reward yourself with something you enjoy.
Don’t forget to check off completed tasks. It feels so good to mark things DONE!
Check back next week!
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Next week we’ll discuss self care and how that helps us keep up our self esteem and confidence! If you missed how to decrease negativity in part 1 or how to be positive in part 2, be sure to check them out.