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Being Productive When You Have ADHD

Are some of the symptoms of ADHD—inattention, distractibility, and procrastination—getting in the way of your getting things done? There are entire books with suggestions on how to be more productive. Here are a few tips.

Make two lists—one of everything you need to do and one of just three tasks to accomplish.

Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by all of our “to-dos” or think we can get the whole list done in the short time we actually have. By making one master list, we get it all on paper and can better choose two or three tasks that we can get done in the time we have—whether it is a day, a week or a month.

Don’t multitask. You’ll end up wasting time.
The human brain is made to focus on one task at a time. Task-switching, what some call “multitasking,” causes your brain to get overwhelmed. You won’t accomplish as much or do it as well. The temptation to become distracted increases with task-switching. Dedicate your energy to one task, and when you feel it’s done, go to the next.

Minimize your distractions.
Constant interruptions send us back to “start” each time. Turn off sounds on your computer, close windows, and schedule time to check your email. Some apps for computers will even shut off social media for a preprogrammed amount of time to help prevent distraction.

Make a plan and use a planner.
Calendars and day planners are great for breaking big tasks into smaller ones. When you write your short list, plan how much time each piece will take and schedule it. Block the time you think you need for the taskand then pad it with a little extra time, such as 15 minutes or an extra day.

Give yourself a break and make it a dance break.
Set aside some time to get up, move, stretch, or boogey around the room to your favorite music. If you don’t dance, go for a walk or a jog. Exercise that gets your heart rate up and breaks a light sweat helps to promote focus and attention when you return to your work.

Wants some more tips? Visit Organization and Time Management.

This article appeared in ADHD Weekly on February 25, 2016.

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