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17 Time Management Hacks for Entrepreneurs With ADHD

17 Time Management Hacks for Entrepreneurs With ADHD

You know the feeling.

You try extra hard to pay attention.

Be it with a client discussing their needs with you or a slew of emails you have to respond to.

But doing these tasks feels like you’re running a marathon up a cliff.

And it’s not because you’re lazy. You’re actually quite dedicated.

But it may be because you suffer from something very real and very distracting that could wreak havoc on your business. Something that’s not even your fault.

That something is called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD is a common mental disorder that’s diagnosed most often in children but it can very possibly follow them into adulthood. According to WebMD, while there is no known cause to ADHD; some doctors credit genetics and other mental health disorders for the chronic inability to pay attention more tentatively.

ADHD occurs when the neurotransmitters in the brain work abnormally, affecting things like your attention to detail, listening, and memory.

You may feel there’s no way to run a business if you can’t even pay attention to simple tasks.

But there are numerous ways to improve your time management skills for your business. Let’s lay out 17 of them below.

Get A Proper Diagnosis

For some people it’s easy to get attached to the notion something is wrong when it really isn’t.

And even worse, some people will try to use it to their advantage. This could be bad for you and your business.

So, one of the main steps in improving your time management skills is to admit something’s truly wrong with your time management.

This is where you’ll either come to the conclusion that you’re simply unorganized and need some help at running a business or you have a very real disorder that must be addressed.

WebMD spells out some of the main symptoms of ADHD including:

  • Chronic problems with showing up to work on time with no valid excuse
  • Paying bills on time
  • Monitoring children properly
  • Keeping commitments
  • Listening
  • Lack of sympathy towards others
  • Becoming easily annoyed

Visit a doctor to get checked for ADHD. Only then can you truly address your management problems effectively.

Ask Yourself: “Do I even want to run a business?”

Sometimes, people are drained by managing a business that’s run it’s course. And the lack of attention the business may deserve lies upon the fact that your heart simply isn’t in it anymore, which could have nothing to do with ADHD.

Think about it for a minute.

What skills do you need to run a business? What activities happen in a business?

Listening to other peoples’ needs. Staying organized. Paying expenses. Monitoring market trends applicable to your business. Caring about clients and coworkers.

These common thoughts may cross your mind:

Oh my God. Is he still talking?

Goodness, these spreadsheets are a pill!

This meeting is taking forever!

While some people with ADHD may find grave difficulty in finding time to balance all those activities – getting lost in business meetings, hating the loud office space, feeling overwhelmed with just a few tasks – it may be because your interests have simply floated elsewhere.

If you find yourself giving other projects more undivided, dedicated attention, it may not be a ADHD issue. You may simply have no interest in being in business any more.

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Close the curtain on it and get your life back.

Get (and Keep) A Regimen of Medications

The results are in: you have ADHD.

But before you fall in a rut, understand ADHD can be monitored and treated successfully.

And one of the best ways to keep your symptoms under control is by taking your prescription medications as necessary.

Common ADHD medications like Amphetamines and Dextroamphetamine work by regulating the brain chemicals responsible for your attention span, impulses and hyperactivity.

While you should be cautious of any potential side effects, medications are only as good as you are at taking them. You will continue to experience the same symptoms if you don’t take your prescribed meds regularly.

Cody Lister, owner of an online marketing strategy business, stated in an email interview that setting your alarm clock to remember important tasks (like remembering meds) is one of the easiest hacks in managing time for folks with ADHD. He also recommends setting calendar reminders on Google Calendar so you’ll receive email reminders (and phone reminders for Android users) via your cell phone where ever you are.

Todoist and Remember The Milk are two more apps Lister recommends as both all-in-one task managers, popular with busy business folk, who juggle several important duties in a day’s time.

Hire A Nanny

This may sound extreme, but hear us out!

Not hiring extra help could be the difference in sustaining your business and watching it go south.

According to Sandy Maynard, a writer with Additudemag.com, hiring a nanny to improve your time management could be all the difference in making more time for your business.

Folks with ADHD often have a hard time focusing on things that are not truly pressing. For example, they could have difficulty stressing over why their house isn’t perfect (i.e. clean, spotless dishes, making sure every coil of dust and dirt is vacuumed from the floor, spending an hour to iron a shirt, etc).

Give these tasks to a nanny if you can afford it.

Provide her a set of tasks and a schedule and the chores become someone else’s problem, allowing you more time to focus on your business.

Do Small Tasks the Day Before

If you have a business meeting tomorrow, and there are small chores you may have planned to the same day, do them right now.

Grocery shopping planned for tomorrow? Do it today.

Promised to take the kids to the movies? Do it today.

Don’t know what suit to wear for the meeting? Pick it out now so you’re not worrying about it tomorrow.

Handling small tasks today allows you more time tomorrow when you have serious business commitments to keep.

Set Your Clocks Back a Hour On Purpose

This is an easy hack that forces you to think you have more time in the day.

Setting all your clocks back, especially the clock in your car, makes you not only keep business appointments but it helps you address these appointments earlier than scheduled.

This will help you build trustworthiness with your clients as well as those in your social circle.

Your reliability will help you sustain more business, build a more positive brand for yourself, and help you feel better about being able to keep commitments.

Imagine What Failure Feels Like

failure

    Additudemag.com details an interesting way approach ADHD as a business person: fear.

    What will happen if you turned in a half-done project to a client late? Or not at all? Or fail to process a refund within the time you promised?

    It could feel like your business is going through a public beheading.

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    Try imaging everything around you falling apart.

    Your business crumbles.

    Your spouse and kids walk out on you.

    The utility company cuts your lights off.

    All because you simply didn’t know how to control your ADHD.

    But the sad part is that when it comes to your business, clients usually don’t care.

    They are doing business with you for your products and services, not to be sympathetic to your health problems.

    Sounds cruel, but it’s true.

    Sit back and just imagine what life could be like if you lost it all. Sometimes, that’s enough to take health problems seriously.

    Become a Minimalist

    Simply put: the less you own, the less you have to worry about.

    When you convince yourself you have many tasks to accomplish in 24 hours, you attention could be stretched between meager jobs and very important tasks, like running a business.

    By the time you realize it, you have no time for nothing else because of your struggle to focus.

    The less clothes you have, the less ironing you have to do. Sell them at a yard sale.

    The less dishes you have, the less you have to wash. Give them away.

    Take a grocery list with you, every time, to the store, so you know you won’t overspend.

    And as far as business, take on only a few loyal clients or spread the workload across other employees.

    Hire students as part of an internship or part time employees to reduce your expenses while meeting the workload.

    When battling ADHD and multiple tasks, always remember less is more.

    Avoid Perfection

    Many times, when someone has difficulty focusing, when they do actual settle for a task to do right, they go for perfection.

    But perfection doesn’t mean the project gets turned in on time.

    Laurie Dupar, a senior certified ADHD coach and psychiatric nurse, states in PsychCentral.com  that perfection can be detrimental to people with ADHD trying to manage their time better.

    She explains that it’s better to have a project 85% perfect but turned in on time than to have a project 150% perfect and turned in late.

    Late delivery in business dealings could hurt your ability to work with clients in the future.

    Just Say No

    When you have ADHD, it’s easy to assume you’re the problem.

    But that’s not always the case.

    Not every client or business deal deserves your time. Sometimes, they’re late or they don’t respond to your inquiries.

    And that’s an obvious waste of your time!

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    Not every customer can get an instant reply, regardless how hard you try. Sometimes a product doesn’t work because they didn’t follow the directions.

    A wise man said the fastest way to misery is trying to please everyone.

    And in business, any good business owner tries to make each customer happy.

    But it’s proven time and time again to be an impossible feat.

    The most you can do is to do your best. But that doesn’t suggest being a door mat to please people.

    When you know people, even customers and clients, are taking advantage of your time, politely tell them no.

    Exercise

    meditation

      There are many exercises that are well-known for building concentration and focus for anyone.

      One of the most popular being meditation.

      This doesn’t always include yoga mats and awkward stretches.

      The practice of mindfulness and awareness could simply be sitting in a quiet room, focusing on nothing but your breathing.

      You can also exercise your brain’s memory and concentration functions.

      Learning a new language or a new complex job skill can all help build better focus for you.

      Or you could simply program on your Google Calendar each and everyday, like Mr. Lister recommended earlier, to take a short walk between meetings at work.

      These all in turn could make time management for you more doable. It wont’t feel like your struggling to meet every commitment for the day.

      Explore Your Curiosity

      If there’s something you’ve been curious about, make time for it.

      There’s a new product in your market you want to know about before your competitors do.

      You should make time to research it.

      The very idea that you’re making time for these curiosity should be a milestone for you.

      You can concentrate and focus on things!

      Use this as a means to approach other things in your business. When you allow your curiosity to play a part in all your company dealings, you find yourself focusing better on the company as a whole.

      Try Some Listening Exercises

      Next time in you’re in a business meeting or interviewing a potential client or employee, do little talking.

      Force yourself to listen to the other person and how they can benefit you and your company.

      It may seem like a drag, but forcing yourself to listen to others helps build empathy and generosity.

      More importantly. it helps eliminate miscommunication when approaching serious deadlines, like signing a contract or delivering a project on time.

      Additionally, stresses at home can affect your work performance. This exercise could be extremely helpful if there are communication issues within a marriage where ADHD is causing a spouse to appear uninterested in the other.

      Seek More Pleasure

      On the outside, ADHD can sound depressing.

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      The difficulty concentrating and focusing on everything could be stressful on your business and personal lives.

      Sometimes, one can get wrap on the crippling idea of ADHD without realizing you can still live a fairly normal life.

      Make it a point to enjoy what you love without fear your ADHD will ruin a good time.

      When you feel more lighthearted and content, meeting items on your schedule won’t feel like such a strain.

      Study People You Admire

      How do they do it all in one day without losing their mind?

      When you come across that one Superman or Superwoman who seems to balance work and family like a boss, study them.

      See what they do that you may not have thought of before.

      If they are people in your social or working circle, simply reach out to them during a conversation and just ask.

      Compliment their ability to make it all work and just ask for some tips.

      It’s very likely they’ll be happy to provide you a tip or two.

      Or study celebrities with attention deficit disorders by simply Googling them. According to Additudemag.com, celebrities like will.i.am, Lisa Ling and Justin Timberlake have all have been diagnosed with the disorder affecting their ability to focus and concentrate.

      Are You Eating The Right Foods?

      This one was saved for last for a reason.

      Eating right is necessary to combat anything in life. But there are also foods which can help people with ADHD focus and find more time in the day for their work.

      According to WebMD, there are several foods that help with ADHD symptoms. Here are some of them:

      • Caffeine
      • Natural sugar (in fruits)
      • Seafood
      • Avocados
      • Breakfast foods, especially whole grain

      Incorporating these into your routine could help you maintain your schedule and meet appointments more effectively.

      Don’t Be Ashamed of ADHD

      At the end of the day, the fact remains you have ADHD.

      But that’s not to suggest it’s something to feel down about.

      ADHD is not a death sentence.

      It only has a negative connotation in your business and your life if you allow it.

      There are many support groups online for people with ADHD and similar conditions.

      Some notable national support groups include Children and Adults with ADHD and the Attention Deficit Disorder Association.

      Consider joining one if you’re having some trouble accepting your ADHD.

      As mentioned throughout this article, it’s easy to get tied up in the existence of ADHD and forget about the existence of still enjoying life.

      Approach your ADHD with a can-do attitude. Talk to your doctors and follow the regimen they provide you.

      Or consider the numerous tips provided above.

      So, the next time you feel down and out because time management is proving to be your weak spot in managing your business (or your life in general) due to ADHD, just remember a few final points:

      This can be treated.

      It doesn’t define the good business man or woman you are.

      And you can still lead a successful and happy life.

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      Last Updated on December 3, 2020

      15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List

      15 Strategies for an Effective To-Do List

      One of the age-old productivity techniques around is the classic and effective to do list, and for good reason. It’s one of the most productive ways for you and everyone else to get anything done. Whether it’s a mental list or something that you are writing down, a to do list is an essential productivity tool.

      At the same time, it is one of the most confusing productivity tools around. Many people discredit this for various reasons and don’t believe that a to do list is any good. But my argument is that maybe you and other people aren’t making an effective to do list, so here we will go over how to get one done right.

      Why Bother With an Effective To-Do List?

      You’ve Been Using Them Wrong

      Before jumping into strategies to make an effective to do list, it’s worth knowing why you should bother making one. The first important point is that many people have been making to do lists all wrong.

      Two of the most common mistakes are:

      • People use lists as a measurement of whether they are productive or not.
      • They put too many items on the list.

      It’s understandable why you or other people do this, though. A to do list is a productivity tool, so it makes sense to pile on tasks. However, the brain doesn’t work that way. If you have a lot of tasks on your list, it feels like torture as the list never ends.

      At first, it can feel nice that you always have something to do, but keep in mind that you only have so much time in a day. It’s important that you place more value in quality work rather than sheer quantity.

      On that same note, if you are someone who has a tendency to seek validation, a to do list can be tough. There will be days where you won’t get everything done due to life events. This creates unnecessary pressure and sends you into a stress whirlwind.

      It Helps You Stay Focused

      When you build an effective to-do list, the main goal of these lists is to provide clarity and focus. If you’ve been doing them wrong, you may have noticed that you are focusing in on a task on your to do list and getting it done.

      This may be overshadowed by the multiple items on your list, but you are focusing on a task during a given time. You really see this in action when you consider having a shorter to do list, though.

      I understand that a to do list isn’t for every single person, but this focus is helpful to people when starting out. You’re still not certain about your goals or the path that you want to take. You may also struggle to determine the next step to work towards.

      A to do list is a guide you can refer back to it whenever you need it. Furthermore, the techniques that I’ll be mentioning below will make to do lists more effective for you.

      15 Strategies for an Effective To Do List

      You’ll begin to see how powerful a to do list is when you consider the various strategies you can incorporate in one. This is your to do list, so pick from the strategies below to find what suits you. If you’re not certain, don’t be afraid to experiment and mishmash several combinations.

      Remember that the road to success is one with many branching paths, so the methods you use are your choice.

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      1. Break the List Into Two Parts

      The first strategy is to break a list into two parts. These two parts are called dailies and to do’s.

      Dailies are the everyday tasks that you want to develop more. For example, if you want to make a habit out of exercising in the morning, a daily task could be following a 15-minute workout routine or going for an hour-long walk.

      Your to do’s are non-daily tasks that you need to be getting done at some point. Maybe you need to prepare a report at work or make a presentation. You can put that into your to do column.

      This is an effective strategy because it saves all the clutter that most people gravitate towards. As mentioned before, people stuff their lists, and a lot of it is usually tasks they you would do anyway, like going grocery shopping or dropping the kids off at a friend’s place.

      2. Put a Limit on Items

      If you find breaking your list into two parts too much, I’ll suggest brevity to be a virtue when making these lists. You can set any number of items, but the key is that you do have a set limit in mind. Some people have no more than seven while others go as low as three. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

      The idea behind this is to narrow in on the most important tasks that you need to accomplish that day. Of course, there are other things that you’ll be doing during the day, and that’s fine, but you want to prioritize the items that on your to do list before the day is done.

      3. Use Checklists for Complex Tasks

      If you’re already making narrow lists but are putting in tougher tasks, my suggestion is to break that task down. Whether it’s full-on steps you need to take or jotting down important details that need to be present is up to you.

      Either way, this allows you to ensure that you’re getting everything done the proper way and that you’re not missing any key details or steps.

      4. Tackle MITs First

      MIT is the “most important task.” Another way to look at this is to tackle the largest and most intimidating task first[1]. Why you want to do this goes back to how our brain works.

      You may feel compelled to do the easier tasks first before getting to the bigger task, but the problem is that these tasks—even the easy ones—drain your energy. Furthermore, if you have a really big task to complete, chances are that’s going to be on your mind over the course of the day. That means you’re spending more energy just thinking about it.

      All of that wouldn’t be a problem if that big intimidating task was dealt with first thing in the morning.

      5. Create a “Done” List

      Another interesting approach to consider is to have a “done” list. This is a list of the tasks that you’ve completed from your to do list. Many people find it satisfying to merely cross an item off their list and be done with it, but depending on what you’re putting on those lists, a done list could be inspiring.

      Imagine if you are someone who places above-average difficult tasks on your to do lists, activities that require an hour or two to complete properly. This can inspire you to do more if, after a day of working, you notice just how much you accomplished over the course of the day via this list.

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      6. Make Your List Easy to Spot

      From colorful paper to posting it in an obvious spot, you want your list to be in a place where you can spot it easily. Mind you, you don’t need to have this list in front of you all the time as it could create unnecessary stress. But setting it to one side is a nice idea—a glance to the side and you know exactly what needs to get done.

      7. Add Gaming Elements to It

      If pen and paper isn’t your thing when making to do lists, there are several apps that can guide you along as well. The beauty of to do list apps is that there is more room for creativity, and some of the developers incorporate games into them.

      For example, Todoist has an achievement system where individuals earn badges as they complete more tasks. There’s also Bounty Tasker, which makes you feel like your tasks are side quests in a video game.

      8. Give Yourself Deadlines

      Work expands to fill time allotted.

      It’s an old philosophy that still rings true with how we are productive. For example, say you’re assigned to write a report, and you’re given a week to do it. You’ll likely work on it steadily throughout the week. Or if you’re a procrastinator, you’ll put it off until the night before and finish it.

      But what if you’re given that same task and only allotted an hour to complete it? You’ll likely get the report done, but you’ll prioritize the main, important points and highlight those rather than fill it with unnecessary fluff.

      The whole point of this is that with your goals and the items on your to do list, you want to have deadlines. When it comes to to do lists, my suggestion is to give yourself a day to complete the tasks there. This is enough pressure and incentive for you to work hard on them.

      9. Add Tasks When They’re Fresh

      Another strategy is to assign yourself tasks even when you are working on something else. Keep in mind it’s not something you have to do right now, but this can help with people who are struggling to think about what to focus on next.

      This is along the same lines as when you hear something interesting and you write it down. It’s a wise thing to do as it saves you the bother of having to dwell on that idea rather than focusing on the task at hand. It also saves you from having to recall what the task is if you’re the type to write up the next day’s to do list at the end of the day.

      10. Be Comfortable With Revising Your To-Do List

      Depending on your overall mindset, another good strategy is to look at your to do list and make changes to it. If you’re practicing the previous strategy, there may be a possibility that your to do list is getting lengthy and you’re setting unrealistic expectations that you can finish it all.

      By giving yourself the opportunity to revise your to do list, your allowing yourself to spread out your tasks rather than have them clumped up. This helps your mindset as you’re not overwhelmed by the list.

      11. Write Tasks, Not Goals

      You should have separate lists for your tasks and your goals. The idea is to not put goals on your task list at all.

      While tasks can help you lead to your goals, goals are larger desires and not something that you can achieve over the course of the day. For example, “learn to speak French” is a goal; however, you can break that into a task by saying “read French content for 15 minutes” or “watch a movie in French.”

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      This also extends to objectives, too. You can see these as milestones. Going back to the example of speaking French, an objective can be, “discuss my favorite foods with someone in French.” It’s the desired outcome that you’re looking for from your practice.

      12. Keep To Do Lists Brief

      Here, brief means scannable in that you can quickly look over at the list and know what needs to get done. How you can do this is by focusing on the keywords of specific tasks and not dragging them out. For example, say your garage is a mess and you want to clean it up. Instead of writing a lengthy sentence, keep it short and write something like “clean garage for 30 min.” or simply “clean garage.”

      With this strategy, you’re spending less time writing the task down when making the to do list. Furthermore, you’re relying on trigger words to get your mind to recall specific details for that task.

      13. Have Multiple Lists

      As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to have separate lists for various things, like having a separate list for goals, objectives, daily tasks, and to do’s. Another way you can look at it is to have a system where you are consulting from three lists.

      These lists are:

      A Master List

      This is where any of your long-term goals are, things like moving to a new house, getting out of debt, or building a business. These are things that will take a year or more to accomplish.

      A Weekly Project List

      These are things that you want to accomplish by the end of the week. These are things that will move the needle slowly towards some of the items on your master list. From the previous example, these could be doing research on getting a business loan, house hunting, or setting up a savings account.

      A High-Impact List

      Lastly, these are tasks that need to be accomplished today. Whether they are related to the previous two lists or not doesn’t matter. This is where high priority tasks are placed. Examples can be calling specific people or working on a project or a report that’s due soon.

      By having these lists in place, you’ll be referring often to the weekly project list and the high-impact list and determining whether a weekly task should be moved to that list.

      As you do that, you’ll begin to notice how much your daily life has an impact on those goals that are written on that master list. That can be inspiring since what you are doing is actively bringing you closer to your goals.

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      14. Don’t Ramp up Difficulty Until You’re Ready

      Some of the strategies mentioned can seem easy on the surface, but they require a lot of mental fortitude. Motivation is an unusual thing, and our brains are wired to process a certain way. If you’re looking for genuine change and something that sticks, the best principle is to keep things simple and easy at first.

      It may be a drag, but you don’t often realize how those baby steps can play a crucial role in you being able to start running and chasing your dreams. Don’t be ashamed if you have to start off with simple tasks for yourself. Even going back to daily tasks that you do anyway like showering, doing the laundry or shopping for food is a good way to start.

      Putting those items on the list at first makes you feel like you’ve had a productive day. From there, you can challenge yourself with more difficult tasks. Incorporate an exercise routine or spend a half-hour on a task that means something to you.

      The idea is to ease yourself into a routine so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

      15. Measure Your Time

      The last strategy that can help you is to measure your time. How long does it take you to finish a specific task? You don’t need to go for specifics, but make a point of timing yourself over the course of a week and get the average time spent on that task.

      Why is this important? This information can be broken down in two ways.

      The first way is to use it as a marker to boost efficiency. Depending on the task, you can find new ways to achieve the same results in a shorter time.

      It also allows you to know what you can do in a given day. If you know that it takes you an hour or so to go through your entire morning routine, you’ll be more conscious about how you move through that routine.

      Furthermore, if you know what tasks you’ll be doing the next day, you can better manage your time since you know roughly how much time it’ll take to get everything done.

      Final Thoughts

      Building an effective to do list is not as easy as it seems. There are all kinds of unique strategies to try out, some more challenging that others. However, if you are motivated to use this productivity tool to make your life easier, then it will get easier. All that you need to do is keep putting effort and experiment and reevaluate when necessary. So get started with your to do lists today.

      More Tips on Using an Effective To Do List

      Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production via unsplash.com

      Reference

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