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Can you imagine a day in which your to-do list doesn’t intimidate you and focus is your superpower?! I know it sounds like a fantasy, but this CAN be your reality with the tried and tested tricks you’ll hear in this episode.
We are about to uncover strategies, techniques, and mindset shifts that not only boost productivity but also cater to the unique needs of those of us with ADHD.
The past year has been a journey of self-discovery and empowerment as I’ve explored practical solutions to my tendency towards distraction. And now, I’m excited to share the hacks I’ve discovered that have made a real difference in my life!
So, whether you’re someone with ADHD seeking strategies that resonate or simply looking to enhance your productivity this year, you’re in for a treat.
Now let’s dive into the productivity hacks that ACTUALLY work!
Hack #1: The Pomodoro Technique
We’ve all heard of the Pomodoro Technique, where you break your work down into intervals to increase focus and efficiency. But sometimes, the traditional 25-minute time blocks can feel overwhelming or intimidating. So, I’ve tweaked this technique to better suit my ADHD brain.
For executive tasks that I struggle with, I set a timer for about 20 minutes or less. I focus on getting as much done as possible within that time frame. Surprisingly, I often accomplish the majority of the tasks or gain enough momentum to finish them. Timers can be incredibly motivating, especially for tasks we tend to avoid. It helps alleviate guilt and shame and gives us the start we need to follow through.
Another twist on the Pomodoro Technique is telling myself I can quit after 10 minutes. This has been particularly helpful for exercise. On days when I don’t feel like working out, I tell myself to just start and if I want to quit after 10 minutes, I can. Interestingly, I’ve never once quit a workout using this method. Starting is often the hardest part, and once we overcome that hurdle, it becomes easier to carry on. over the hurdle of feeling like it’ll take forever and gets my momentum moving.
Finally, I’ll work on little “blitzes” of work tasks where I’ll only have ONE tab open, put on some music, or set a time and just get through as much as I can. This pressure pairs well with my ADHD and it allows me to not overthink things too much. Whether it’s a final review of a copy doc or hammering through my inbox, a quick 20 minute blitz can be super effective.
In short, if something feels massive or you’re struggling to find focus, try a spin with the Pomodoro Method and harness your brain’s ability to focus for shorter periods. Give yourself a little more structure in how you work with the natural ebb and flow of attention spans!
Hack #2: Mise En Place
If you’ve ever found yourself working from home and suddenly it’s the middle of the day, you have a load of laundry half done, an organization project of your linen closet started, and lunch half made on the counter with no work actually getting done, then this is for you…
Because if you’re anything like me, you can get very easily distracted and/or underestimate how long a side project really will take and have it totally derail your day!
I’ll never forget when I first learned this from my friend Marie Forleo in her life-changing program Time Genius. It just clicked for me and it’s something I still think about and use to this day.
Mise en place is a culinary concept that means “put in place.” It involves prepping ingredients and organizing tools before cooking begins. I applied this idea to my daily life by preparing everything I need in advance to accomplish my tasks.
For example, before recording a podcast episode, I organize my office, set up my equipment, and have everything ready to go. This eliminates distractions and keeps me focused on the task at hand.
Try this hack in various aspects of life, such as organizing your home or setting up a routine that supports your productivity, and let me know how it works for you!
Hack #3: Visual Timelines and Color-Coded Checklists
As a lover of beautiful things, I find visual cues incredibly helpful in staying focused and organized. I color-code my calendar to easily identify different types of tasks and events.
This allows me to see trends, identify gaps in my schedule, and make adjustments accordingly. It also helps me prepare in advance for specific tasks or projects.
Printing things out is another visual technique I use. Whether it’s a supplement list taped next to my supplements or a printed workbook, having physical reminders and the ability to write and highlight information helps me retain and implement what I’ve learned.
Using a project management system like Monday.com has been a game-changer for my team and me. It keeps us organized, allows us to track progress, and provides a visual representation of our tasks and deadlines. Having everything in one place simplifies our workflow and helps us stay focused on our goals.
If you need a more visual way to break down a project or track your progress, find ways to create beautiful triggers and reminders as you’re working. It’s not silly, it works. Seeing the progress and having a clear roadmap helps to manage time effectively and provides a sense of accomplishment, which is crucial for maintaining motivation, especially for people with ADHD.
Hack #3: Embrace Tools and Apps
Listen, I might consider myself a tool junkie but I’m not really ashamed of that. I am the queen of fitness and biohacking tools but honestly, they were the things that actually allowed me to change my habits and build new ones.
When it comes to focus and productivity, I will be the first to try new tools and apps – basically anything that will help me either be more productive or more present.
Here’s why it works: For individuals with ADHD, task management apps, focus apps, and reminder systems can be particularly helpful. These tools provide external structure and cues, compensating for challenges in internal attention regulation.
A few of the tools I use and love:
- Monday – again, project management, my to do list, date reminders, and a way to organize the big team projects we have going on.
- Forest – you literally set it for how long you want to focus and a plant starts growing on your screen for every minute you stay focused. If you close out of the app to open anything else, you kill a plant. It helps just track your productivity and incentivizes you to keep the phone distractions off.
- Aro Box – we got this months ago and use it EVERY day. It tracks your time off your phone in an app and gamifys the entire thing to make it more fun to be off your phone.
- Core – it’s a meditation app and tool to help me meditate. You hold the ball in your hands and it vibrates which makes it a more interesting experience and it tracks your meditation daily.
Hack #5: Get Clarity on ONE Project
By simplifying and amplifying, you can identify the tasks and actions that truly move the needle and align with your values and goals. This clarity allows you to create boundaries and prioritize your time and energy effectively.
Remember, 80 to 90% of our results come from 10 to 20% of our efforts. By focusing on the one thing that matters most, you can eliminate unnecessary tasks and distractions, leading to greater productivity and fulfillment.
Become A Time Genius
There you have it: the productivity and time hacks that have been battle-tested against the war of procrastination. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me!
If you’re ready to reclaim your time and experience a more productive and joyful life, I highly recommend checking out Marie Forleo’s free class, “Three Sneaky Mistakes That Kill Productivity and Tank Profits.” It’s a game-changer that will help you unlock the power of time and align your actions with your values.