Boosting business productivity with or without an ADHD Brain
Firstly if you are feeling like a “fraud” and you “should” have this in hand, then stop right there – you’re not a fraud, you’re a human being with a unique brain, and it’s very normal to feel like this.
And especially if you have a neurodiverse brain.
I struggle with this topic A LOT.
My ADHD brain automatically rejects all of this because it’s not fun, stimulating or exciting.
I can tell you HOW to do it, I know many theories and strategies, but I don’t find it easy.
Over the years, I’ve honed my techniques for them to work for me.
Does it always work – no.
Am I always on top of everything – no (In fact, can we ever be? …again, no.)
With any topic like this, it’s about trying it for you.
If it works, brilliant; if it doesn’t, don’t force it. Don’t take it as “a failure” – it’s not a failure; it’s just not right for YOUR brain.
Empty your head
Is all the stuff written down? I mean everything – home, business, hobbies and whatever else you have going on in there.
We hold a lot of information in our brains, which isn’t good. Our brain is not a computer; it’s an organ. We need to look after and respect it.
If things are not written down, they whirl around our brains and can take over, or we can forget. If it’s written down, it serves two purposes – emptying our head and recording it.
Empty your head via a big brain dump. Just get it all out—a stream of conscious writing. List, mindmap, group, randomise, it doesn’t matter – just get it out.
Paper and pen are best as it’s natural to flow it out.
You might want to go digital. Pull up a spreadsheet – one thing per cell, downwards in one column.
Home, business, hobbies – use a highlighter to mark them into groups if you’ve not put them together.
If you are in a spreadsheet, use the next column to write the category.
Is there an actual deadline? Does it need a deadline? Is it really all urgent – no. Write that next to it or in the next column.
Review and Breakdown
Look at the task you have written. Is it one thing, or does it have multiple steps and actions?
Only very simple things are genuinely one task. Most things have more than one step.
For example, you may have written on your list – write this month’s blog. When we look deeper at that task, it’s not one thing.
It might look like this;
Write a blog
- Decide the topic
- Research the topic
- Decide on the blog name
- Decide subheadings
- Write the first draft
- Proofread the first draft
- Final editing
- Publish the blog on my website
- Share on social media
You think you have done one thing to do, but it’s nine things, because they are tasks in their own right.
Tasks are multi-steps. We forget this and often can’t see what we have achieved (hidden or forgotten bits), or we feel we have overrun on time or a host of other negative feelings.
This is when you need to start breaking down your tasks more deeply.
You may benefit from a new sheet of paper or go for a Word document or spreadsheet, so it’s easy to move around and manage the tasks.
How long will it take?
This is the critical part we often miss or ignore because it’s difficult for our brains to process time. We can’t see or feel it, so we often get it wrong.
How long will the task take? If you don’t know, guess and maybe time yourself. Always overestimate, especially if you have a neurodiverse brain, because we think something will take an hour when it will take three.
Write the time estimation next to the deadline.
You can now see what is really going on; things are realistically broken down, we have a deadline, and we know approximately how long things will take.
Don’t forget to get detailed:
Heading (main task name)
Subcategory (the small step action)
Deadline (give it one, or it may never happen) Time (how long will it take)
You don’t need to do it all
Looking at this list, can you delegate or outsource anything? You don’t need to do it all. Getting help in your business is a really important step in growth and streamlining. This blog: Soloprenuer to recruiting staff or outsourcing may be useful.
Doing the work
Some days it’s hard to get started, especially when we feel overwhelmed
A helpful tip is to decide what you’ll do ahead of the day. It’s one less decision to make and will help you work on the right things. Otherwise, you could end up down a rabbit hole. Funny cat video, anyone?
Ideally, plan your week, but if that feels too much, at least the next day or two.
You know what you need to do, it’s broken down, you have a rough time estimation, and you know when it needs to be done by.
Make sure you factor in breaks and lunch when you look at your day. You’ll be more productive, and it is especially important for neurodiverse brains; breaks help us to shift and transition into new work, minimise hyperfocus and help not to skip lunch (again!).
Your day could look like this:
9.00 – 10.00 – Reply to emails ABC and delete as much as possible
Break and grab a drink/snack
10.15 – 11.00 – Call with client A
11.15 – 12.00 – Project 1, items 1, 2 & 3
12.00 -12.30 – Lunch
12.30 – 14.00 – Project 2, items 1, 2 & 3
14.15 – 14.45 – Call with Jo
14.45 – 15.15 – Final scan of emails – deal with quick replies
15.15 – 15.30 – Update the to-do list and schedule work for tomorrow
15.30 – Log off and collect the kids
We constantly convince ourselves that we have more time than we do and are over-optimistic about what we can deliver during the day. Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have and what you can actually fit in.
And finally, don’t forget to celebrate and reward yourself for how much you HAVE achieved. It will be more than you think; I guarantee it.
Need some help?
Would like some help looking at your business and ways to make it easier and streamlined? Want to work with someone who understands and works with a neurodiverse brain?
Drop me an email email@example.com
Not ready for that? No worries, connect with me on LinkedIn