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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 April 8, 2020

      How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious

      How to Calm Down When You’re Stressed and Anxious

      Overwhelmed with work, family responsibilities, financial challenges and health issues are common culprits which catalyze stress and anxiety symptoms that show up differently in each and every one of us.

      Whilst many of us are becoming much better at identifying what can trigger us to feel these, we’re not always that great at recognizing our individual thresholds; we don’t know exactly how to calm down when the mental, emotional storms erupt.

      We can almost see you eye-rolling upon hearing commonly recommended stress antidotes such as taking a bath, lighting candles or going for a walk. Let’s face it. These simply aren’t practical things you can do when you’re on a red-eye flight at 5:30am to run a full day of training interstate and then fly back the same evening not to mention juggling a young family.

      You want to know your triggers, predict the impact of them and have your own suite of tools up your sleeve to calm down that impact for the long-term.

      Doing a little ground work to gain a strong self-awareness of your likely reactions puts you smack bang in the pilot seat to develop a robust mental and emotional toolkit that will work wonders for you.

      A few simple but well-practiced techniques may be all you need to simmer down the cyclonic intensity of emotions, and disparaging thoughts pecking away at your self-esteem and confidence. However, it’s important you do this self-reflective groundwork first to gain maximum impact for long-term effect.

      1. Strengthen Familiarity with What Triggers You

      When you have arguments with your loved one, do you stop and look to see if there are certain things you fight about? Are there certain behaviors they display that drive you bananas?

      Take your focus off them and ask yourself: “What is my usual response?”

      Perhaps you feel the anger welling up inside your chest and you then spurt out that you’ve told him or her ten times before to not leave their underwear lying across the bedroom floor.

      Think a little deeper. Ask yourself what values, standards and expectations you have that are not being met here. You’ll likely be attached to certain ways you believe things should play out. Are there assumptions and expectations as to how you believe people should conduct themselves and principles about how you feel you should be treated?

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      Having a strong attachment to these for yourself is one thing. Expecting others to have the same attachment is often what can make the hot water start simmering.

      It is often when people behave in ways inconsistent with our belief systems and events unfold in discord with what we expect and are prepared for that we feel the most stress and anxiety.

      Make a list of the common circumstances in different areas of your life that cause you to become anxious and stressed. Against each of these, describe your stress response:

      What happens? What do you feel?

      Now think about the values, principles and expectations you have attached to these. You’ll see you have a few options:

      • Change my values and expectations
      • Try to change other’s values and expectations
      • Recognize and be in allowance of others having different values, standards and expectations

      Reviewing how you react when you’re stressed and anxious, and identifying which of these three options above is going to best serve you, can greatly increase your ability to feel and be in control of calming your reaction.

      You move closer to being able to choose how you want to respond as opposed to feeling helpless and the world is spiralling out of control.

      2. Have Coping Statements on Hand

      When you have a washing machine of chaotic thoughts churning in your mind, trying to implant thoughts that are the complete opposite of what you’re thinking and feeling can be pretty hard.

      Not being able to do it can also add another layer of us feeling disappointment in ourselves. We feel we’re failing.

      Having coping statements that you can literally latch on to to help you calm down in those stressful and anxious moments, can be particularly helpful.

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      Look at creating palm cards and just have three to five of these you can have in your pocket or in your purse. Here are 6 examples:

      • Even though I am feeling this right now, I am going to be alright
      • What I am feeling right now is uncomfortable. I won’t feel this way forever. Soon the intensity of what I am feeling will pass.
      • I’ve survived these feelings before. I can do it again.
      • I feel this way because of my past experiences but right now, I am actually safe.
      • It’s ok for me to feel this way. My body and brain are trying to protect me but I am actually safe right now.
      • Ah, here you are again, anxiety. Thanks for showing up to protect me, but I don’t need you right now.

      Choose words and dialogue that feel true and accurate for you. Read the statements out to yourself and test how fitting they are for you. What feels more assuring, calming and right for you?

      Make these statements your own. The aim is of these statements is to de-escalate the intensity of what you feel when you’re anxious and stressed.

      Remember, you want to refrain from having blunt statements which feel or sound like they’re self-reprimanding because they won’t be pacifying in a positive way.

      If you are unsure as to how to come up with statements that fit for you, look to work with a psychologist or licensed therapist to give you a strong start.

      3. Identify and Develop Physical Anchors

      You actually have within you resources to provide some of the most effective ways to calm yourself down in heightened moments you feel stressed and anxious. Renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Peter Levine and expert in treating stress and trauma, teaches us how techniques which do this, such as Somatic Experiencing®[1] can significantly help us calm down.

      By learning to be fully present and applying touch to certain areas of your body (e.g. forehead and heart space), you increase your capacity to self-regulate. You also learn how to attend to and release your unique symptoms that your body has been containing in a way you have not been able to before.

      Here’s one technique example:

      1. Get in a comfortable position
      2. Have your eyes open or closed, whatever feels most comfortable for you
      3. Now place one hand on your forehead, palm side flat against the skin
      4. Place the other hand, palm down across your heart space above your sternum… the flat of your chest area.
      5. Gently turn your attention to what you feel physically in the area between your two hands. Observe and just take notice of what you physically feel. Is your chest pounding? How strong are its beat and the rhythm? Do you notice any other sensations anywhere else between your two hands?
      6. Don’t try to push or resist what you’re feeling. Try to just sit with it and remain this way with your hands in place until you feel a shift, a physical one. It might take a little longer, so try to be patient.

      You might feel a change in energy flow, a change in temperature or different, less intense sensations. Just keep your hands in place until you feel some kind of shift, even if gradual.

      It might take you even 5 to 10 minutes but, riding this wave will help you to process what discomfort your body is containing. It will greatly help to release it so you gradually become calmer.

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      Purely cognitive exercises can be tough at the outset. Learning somatic experience techniques is particularly helpful because you’re engaging in exercises where you physically can feel the difference. Feeling the changes helps you increase confidence you can control and reduce the discomfort you’re feeling. You’ll be motivated to keep practicing and improving this skill you can take anywhere, anytime.

      4. Move and Get Physical

      If you’re not one to exercise, you’re robbing yourself of some very easy ways which help you calm down and reduce stress and anxiety responses. Many neuro chemical changes take place when you engage in exercise.

      At certain levels of physical exertion, your brain’s pituitary gland releases neurotransmitter endorphins. When they bind with certain opiate receptors in your brain, signals are transmuted throughout your nervous system to reduce feelings of pain and trigger feelings of euphoria. You might have heard the term ‘runner’s high’.

      For the last 20 years, University of Missouri-Columbia’s Professor Richard Cox has conducted research showing that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective at reducing anxiety and stress levels than other forms of aerobic exercise.[2] However, if you would rather slay dragons than turn up an F45 class, it’s essential you still find something that will physically shift you and alter your current mental and emotional state of mind, even just a fraction to start with. It’s 100% ok if this is not your cup of tea.

      So in a day full of back of back-to-back meetings, what can you do?

      If you’re sitting, stand. Change your posture and open your body up. Have a suite of discrete stretches you can do regularly as you deepen and engage in diaphragmatic breathing.

      If you’re looking down at your desk at work and feeling increasingly stressed, look up and change what you’re looking at. Give yourself more than a few moments to decompress.

      The main thing is to change your disposition from the one you’re in when you are experiencing anxiety and stress symptoms. You’re shaking it up to calm it down.

      5. Transform Your Unhelpful Inner Dialogue and Its Energy

      Learning cognitive restructuring techniques can truly work wonders in helping you recognize and re-frame unhelpful dialogue and negative critical thinking patterns. This involves a little preparation being transparent with yourself about what exaggerated perspectives you might ascribe to what’s happening when you’re feeling stressed and anxious.

      When you open your email inbox and see a flood of requests which require more time and energy you have for that day, dread starts to settle in and the following comes to mind: “This is impossible. How can they expect me to be able to do all this? It’s completely unreasonable!”

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      Instantly, many other thoughts that reinforce this line of thinking as well as the emotional energy of your first conscious thought start unravelling. A 4-step process you can engage to calm the eruption is:

      1. Catch and notice that first thought you had. What was it? What did you think and/or say to yourself?
      2. Recognize that what you’re feeling and be in allowance of the initial intensity of whatever those emotions are.
      3. Breath deliberately a little more deeply and slowly for a few seconds.
      4. State to yourself: “Right now (in this moment) I’m feeling overwhelmed by this, however maybe I can look at what I can make good progress and headway with as a start from here on.”

      Notice the language in step 4 is tentative, supportive, soft and not resistant nor defiant of what your original thought was. You accept your original thought, but gradually you become stronger at pivoting it.[3] You’re expanding your growth mindset language.

      It’s definitely worth working with a coach or trained therapist to learn how to tailor re-framing statements which can truly help you calm down.

      Final Thoughts

      We know, in our minds what we should do. When we’re in the thick of experiencing mental and emotional turmoil, it’s actually harder to implement what we know. In those moments, you’re unlikely to have capacity to think about what you need to do, let alone do it effectively to help you feel calmer.

      The key is to practice so that when the storm is brewing, your toolkit and supplies are in easy access. You already know your safety drill well.

      Knowing you have strategies and prepared processes up your sleeves helps you not only become better at calming yourself in amongst currently stressful situations. You have more confidence now to face more anxiety-provoking stressors because you have developed the resources to handle it.

      How you invest time and energy into getting to know your triggers and thresholds will influence how effective these strategies will work for you. We’re not denying relaxing baths or regular massages are helpful, however these band-aid-like solutions don’t really confront the root causes.

      If you truly want to turn your experience of your stress and anxiety symptoms around, dig deeper, do the groundwork and that which rattled your cage will quickly become a thing of the past.

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      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

      Reference

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