ADHD and Tracking Tasks

 

ADHD and tasks

Is your mind is swirling with ideas? Are there so many projects you would like to do, but they are all running together? Perhaps there are also lots of small but very important unrelated tasks, which never seem to be at the top of your list. You’re not sure what to do or where to keep your tasks and ideas.  You need a task list or tracking tool to capture this.

According to ADDitude Magazine, “personal productivity is not a matter of coming up with ideas for what to do. The problem lies with poor sense of time and inability to gauge how long it will take to complete a given task. Then there’s trouble with setting priorities, and tendency to get distracted and forget what we were trying to do.”  If you are ADHD and struggle with getting tasks done, you may need some strategies that help you prioritize and focus. Here is a list of some ideas that can help you get more done in your week.

 

Capture your tasks and ideas

  • Be sure to list all your tasks in one place. This can be on paper or in technology.  The list starts with just a brain dump, getting everything out of your head.  This step makes the biggest difference in clarity!
  • Paper options are a post it notes, simple notebook or TUL notebook.  Date the top of each page as a reference for yourself later.
  • There’s tech tools too! Favorites include Evernote and Trello. Not only can you capture your ideas and tasks, you can track your progress with each.
  • Choose just 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) for you complete.  Prioritizing these 3 MITs can be difficult. However, any 3 completed are 3 less tasks to do.

Tips and tasks

  • Set a timer to get started on your tasks.  Initiation, that is just getting started, can be your biggest challenge.
  • Give yourself ample time to complete a task. If you think it will take 10 minutes, give yourself 30 minutes. It may take up to 3 times longer for completion.  Give yourself some “warm up” time too.  That is about 10 minutes to get oriented. Prioritize and get into the mindset of the work at hand.
  • Find someone to assist  you with verbal processing.  Verbal processing is talking the ideas that are swirling in your head.  “Talking”  through the work is a processing tools for you. It helps you be aware of what is most important and cull out the first action step.
  • Get started with a body double. Ths is a person who is with you, virtually or in person, to just be in the moment with you. The person is just there, not giving you advice or being an expert, just in the space with you.

Set a great foundation

  • Know how important self care is and practice it. We all work much better with a good night’s sleep and good lean protein in our diet. Be sure you are at your best to get your best work done.
  • Track your tasks either each evening before you head out, each morning before you start off and weekly with a weekly planning time.

What’s most important is to choose a tool that will work for you!  If it’s paper or digital, choose what’s easier to use reguarly.

 

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4 Ways to Celebrate Each Sunday

4 ways to celebrate Sunday

 

Sunday. Just the word brings to mind so many different ways to spend the day. There’s the spiritual side of Sunday, picnic in the park Sunday and get ready for the week Sunday.   Why not combine a bit of each type of day into your Sunday? Here’s 3 ways to celebrate each Sunday.

 

Spend time in spiritual thankfulness

The most rewarding lives are spent with gratitude.  Gratitude boosts the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and the hormone oxytocin, all associated with wellbeing and having a positive outlook on life. Your gratitude could be personal prayer, a gratitude journal or time spend in nature.  Positivity and well being are by products of recognizing our blessings and being thankful.

 

Spend time with renewal

Each of us thinks of renewal differently. Perhaps it is sitting alone, spending time with family and friends, being creative with a craft, or simply doing what we love just because.  Renewal brings us joy! It’s what gives us energy  and renews our core.  For me renewal is time to read the Sunday paper and magazines and linger over recipes.  What’s your source of renewal?

 

Spend time in self care

When’s the last time you gave yourself “permission” to sleep in, cook for yourself or exercise?  Sunday’s a day you can do all of these.  A busy week often precludes our best care. Don’t set the alarm on Sunday to sleep until you wake up naturally.  Gather some goodies and create a meal you love.  Take time to bike, walk or run in the outdoors.  Time spent in self care gives you clarity and perspective.

 

Spend time preparing

Plan ahead with a weekly planning time.  Your time might include a family meeting, reviewing your personal and business calendars, creating a meal plan for the week and preparing your attire. By being proactive, there are no surprises and your weekly is more productive.  Just an hour in preparing and you are ready to conquer your week.

 

 

Check out this Sunday weekly checklist!

 

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Seize the moment! Summer Organizing and Productivity

summer organizing and productivity

 

You have waited all year for this! It’s Summer and perhaps you have just a bit more time.  Your lighter load makes it possible to do what you have put on the back burner this year.  It’s time to seize the moment for summer organizing and productivity!

 

Now’s the time to organize!

Kids’s stuff

Kids’ rooms are overflowing with papers, games and more. It’s time to make a major overhaul of what has built up over the school year.  Start with a trash bag and fill it to the brim. Then go through the space thinking about what is not being used, what could be donated and what should be returned to someone else.  Your kids can be a part of this project. However if you want to work solo, put the items in a black garbage bag in a low traffic area and see what is requested before donating.

 

Reading pile

That pile of books. magazines and catalogs that have been flowing in are ready for review.  You may be waiting to take these out to the pool or on a trip with you. Review your pile, make decisions and let go of what is not going to be read this summer.  It’s also a bonus for when you return to have less paper.

 

Your Closet

It’s been an unusually cool spring here in Houston and throughout the country. It’s time to switch over your clothes and let go of winter items that were not worn. (This year we had one of our coldest winters.)  Turn your hangers around as you wear clothes to learn what is not being worn.  Let go of shoes that are uncomfortable or too disheveled.

 

Now is the time to be more productive!

 

Learn new tech

Have you been waiting to learn Quickbooks, view Google analytics, or use Trello? It’s time to add that to your action list for the summer. You will have more time to practice and learn. You will be ahead of the curve when fall comes and you have to use this tool efficiently.

 

Construct a new routine

Productivity often looks like a more automated approach. Routines are the way we automate our time, with either a sequence of small tasks or assigning a day of the week for a specific project. What ways can you create an improved or easy routine for tasks you dislike either at home or work?  By fall you will be solidly using this new routine.

 

Create solid self care

What does self care have to do with productivity? Everything! A great night’s rest leads to improved brain power.  Start an exercise plan this summer because an exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, clear thinking and more energetic. When you think of the benefits of self care, the return on investment is huge!

 

Seize the moment now to take advantage of the bits of available time, resources and energy.  Get started this week on your organizing and productivity projects!

How to take a Real Vacation

 

How to take a real vacation

Remember when summer vacation meant long breaks with little to do. It was a simpler time with no email and less paperwork.  At work and at home, we feel overwhelmed by all there is to do. It’s hard to prioritize a real vacation and even harder to make that happen. More than just getting organized to take your trip, here’s now to take a real vacation.

 

Why make sure you take your vacation

Knowing why to take your vacation is the push to do so because it has the most compelling reasons. There’s the benefit of creativity.  (Did you know Hamilton was written during a vacation?) Daily stress can take a physical toll and vacations give us the time to relax our body and our brains.  Taking a vacation is a complete reset.

 

How to time off from digital distractions

We all fear that avalanche of email when we return to work.  It’s what stalls our best attempts at relaxing.   However, you can set boundaries with this.  Checking email once a day, using your out of office response and coming back a day early to work on email are all ways to combat the need to check in.

  • Check email each evening to prevent hourly email check ins. You can add a line to your signature line or your out of office response to alert who to contact and response times.
  • To get the full benefit of time away, think about returning earlier. This can be earlier in the day or a day early.  Knowing you are setting aside time to get back into the groove can make a big difference during your vacation.
  • Take your time on social media seriously.  If you are checking in mindlessly, it’s time to put down your device and get back to enjoying your vacation and the people you are with.   We tend to gravitate to social media when there is a lull in action.  Spring back into vacation instead.

Add in your tech tools for fun

There’s a few tools to use that make vacationing more fun! There’s online tools you will love.

  • Device chargers to keep you up and running.
  • Great headphones to listen to your music or a movie.
  • Portable speaker to play your music
  • Apps for meditation, relaxation or promote sleeping
  • Apps for sightseeing

Be sure you don’t stray into dangerous email territory while having fun.

Get your planner out today to set a date for your vacation and take a real vacation this year.

How to Set Up a Successful Summer Routine

summer routine

 

Summer’s here and we are ready to let go of all our routines and structure. It’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and let go of all routines. There’s a lot of distractions, including weeks that alternate between vacation and work.  But wait just one minute! Maybe our routines help us live a life that includes all we value.  Here’s how to set up a successful Summer routine.

 

Keep just enough structure

Not enough sleep and eating junk food is not good for anyone. Keep the basic structure in place this summer. Sleep on your regular (yes, regular or improved!) schedule. It’s best for your body and brain to have a regular bedtime and wake time for you to do your best.  Eat all the amazing veggies that summer offers. A healthy meal, three times a day, keeps you energized. These are foundations for feeling good and working at high energy.

 

Keep just enough organization

Your desk and work don’t need to be completely unhinged during the summer.  Keep your desk and papers orderly throughout the summer to be productive.  Keep your calendar up to date throughout the year in order to be where you need to be and get stuff done.  Basic organization applies no matter the season.

 

Keep off your devices

You head off for vacation and head off of your email and devices. It’s good to have a catch up time before you return to work, however it’s time to really disconnect to maximize your time away.  Return home a day in advance to prep for the jolt back to reality.  That’s the time to reconnect, not during your time away.

 

Keep your kiddos busy enough

Your kiddos benefit from alternating busy and slow weeks. As you set up your summer kiddo schedule, give them time to be at home and be at camp. By alternating, your kiddos will appreciate the time to sleep in and time to stay busy.  A little boredom can be good for your kids.

More and more research is showing the negative effects of too much screen time. Set structure to your kids time on all devices to be sure their summer sets them up for success.

 

Keep trying something new

Summer’s a grea time to try new stuff! While it’s easy to slow down during the summer, new sports, new reading, new activities are ready to try. Keep trying someting new this summer. Swim team, reading, and other small ways kids start something new add to their confidence and knowledge.

 

Ready to try a new summer routine?  Start now with a family meeting and you are ready to get started this summer.

Taking Care of Business

Taking care of business

 

When it gets down to it, we all want to take care of business. That means getting stuff done!  Whether it’s at home or at work, the day ends and we wonder what we did accomplish.  Here’s a few essential elements to taking care of business.

 

Taking care of paperwork

Paperwork comes in at a pace that overwhelms us. It’s essential to have a specific spot annd a specific time to work on because it’s just going to build up.  Take care of business by creating an unprocessed paper spot, where paper is placed each day.  Create a command center to triage your paper and spend 5 minutes a day doing your triage.  Set aside adminstrative time to work on those paper work details that need attention.

 

Taking care of multiple projects

There’s always many different hats we wear and many simultaneous projects occuring.  It’s keeping all the plates spinning that keep our lives and businesses thriving.  There’s several steps to be sure everything moves forward.  Start by alloting time on your calendar, whether it’s a day of the week or a time each day.   Theme days, as MIke Vardy talks about, gives you the opporunity to work solely on a certain project or part.  Giving yourself a specific time to work on a project gives you freedom to focus on it creatively and as a whole without distractions.

 

Taking automation and delegation to the next level

We can’t do it all and neither should we. You may have already automated your bill pay.  Can you automate purchasing with a click or add a new member of your team?  When we add automation and delegation, we add hours to our day, add new ideas and also spend time on what is most important.

 

Take time for the future

Whether you call it foresight or planning ahead, taking time to see where your business and industry are headed creates longevity for your work and at home.  There are many transitions  for businesses.  Change is every present.  Taking time for strategic planning keeps your business and your life moving forward.

 

Taking care of business also means taking care of you.  Self care is an essential for you and your business.  With exercise, vacation, sleep and nutrition, your taking care of your bigggest asset for your business, yourself!

 

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What to do with Meeting Agendas?

 

What to do with meeting agendas?

 

If you are like most, meetings are an necessary evil of work life and volunteering.  Each meeting you are either given a paper agenda or a link online.  A well run meeting requires an agenda. It’s about preparation and communication.  But what to do with meeting agendas after the meeting has finished?

 

Meeting agenda general plan

If you meet routinely, a meeting agenda helps you keep a structure for the goals of the group.  Your agenda is the place keeper of your accomplishments, your tasks and next steps.  Having a specific file, file drawer or notebook to keep your meeting agenda, labelled with the meeting name, is generally a good idea for the duration of the project.  Be sure you create a spot to easily drop the agenda in when you return from the meeting.

 

Meeting agenda notes

If you are like most of us, your meeting agenda has next action steps noted on it.  You want to consolidate these action steps on a general capture tool, such as a notebook, task list or digital list to be sure to do the next steps before the next meeting.  Adding the actions to your actionable spot makes sense so that the meeting agenda can be stored away and you can accomplish your tasks.

 

Meeting agenda when you are the meeting leader

There’s a time line to preparing a meeting agenda before the next meeting. You will want to recap what has been accomplished, lead your meeting onto the next steps and be sure your attendees are prepared at your next meeting.  Having a digital template to save as a new meeting agenda keeps you moving forward.  You will want to share this agenda at least 24 hours in advance of the next meeting.

 

What’s best practices for your template?  Here’s what I include: name of committee meeting, date of meeting, call in or other contact information, and who is attending the meeting.  The agenda can be a simple, prioritized list of what you want to accomplish.  Be sure to begin your meeting on time and end within an hour.  Efficient meetings are where best work is accomplished.

 

What about when your comittee concludes?

There’s a definitely happiness to ending a well run, successful project!  At that time, sort through, declutter and eliminate the agendas. You might keep one of the last agendas to finalize the project and move the file to an archive location.

 

You might be wondering, does this apply to conference materials as well?  Conference materials are becoming more digital, rather than paper based.  Generally it’s a best practice to pull the materials you will use to save in either paper files or electronically by topic.  I suggest keeping these materials for 2 years to see if you use the materials.  After this, it’s time to delete or recyle.

 

More ideas on paper management here!

4 Strategies to Increase Productivity

 

There are strategies that can help you increase productivity. These are handy acronyms and mantras that help you remember what to do to be more productive.  It’s remembering and applying these strategies that help you get more done.

 

WSD Write stuff down

The most productive person is the one who uses a calendar and a list.  It’s in capturing this information, writing stuff down, that we know what to do and what is the deadline. Capture tools can be analog or digital, in a notebook, in Evernote or on a dry erase board. Regardless of your tool, wrtie stuff down to be more productive.

Plan your work and work your plan

With your planner and list, set aside a weekly planning time to plan your work and work your plan.  When I say plan your work, that’s when you add times and actions to your calendar. It’s more than just meeting dates, it’s work periods.  Let’s say you have taxes to complete. You set up 9 – 10 am on Monday through Thursday to work on chunks of your taxes.  You work your plan by staying true to the plan you set up.   For every task or project you want to complete, you have set a time to do the work.  Even if you don’t know how long a task or project will take, you set an amount of time to work on it.

 

FOCUS Follow One Course Until Successful

There’s compelling research for single focus.  With focus, you work on only one task at a time. Your success depends on it.

 

MITs Most important tasks

There’s lots to do and never enough time to complete all your tasks. That’s why prioritizing is critical.  That’s where MITs come into play.  Set up your Most Important Tasks each day, week and month so that you prioritize deadlines and importance.  Working on an unimportant task can be productive procastination, however delays your success.

 

These four handy sayings will carry you forward with productivity. If you need a reset for productivity, start with a great night’s sleep, a 5 minute stretch and be ready to hydrate.  These essential basics will hold you in good stead!

 

More productivity tips here!

Too much to do

too much to do time management for the overwhelmed

 

We greet each other daily with how are you and the common response is busy. Too often we find ourselves too busy with too much to do.  At times we underestimate how much time a task will take, how many responsibilities we have and generally overwhelmed.  Here are some first steps to take to move from from too much to do.

 

Triage first

When we are overwhelmed, we are often paralyzed. This means that we accomplish nothing. Start first with deep breaths to physically respond with more oxygen.  Take a minute to get a drink of water or walk for a few minutes. Then start with triage.  Triage is sorting the most important and most urgent from the general.  If there’s a looming deadline, your taxes are due,  you have a speech tomorrow, you can tell immediately that these need attention.  What you don’t want to do is check out facebook, go through email to check off the easy responses, or sit staring into space.  Triage and make a list of what is most important. Keep your list to 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs)

 

Focus on one thing

It’s tempting to multi task to get more done. Research shows how ineffective this can be.  Clear everything off your desk and leave just the one task you are focusing on to work.  Be ruthless about the electronic distractions, like the computer, phone or device, and stay on target with your one task.  Keep on target and set a timer for when you are going to switch to your next task.

 

Take time to simplify

The real solution for simplifying your schedule is to prioritize and evaluation. There are many good reasons to participate in an activity, solutions to challenges and connections for us to make. Find the best reasons and the best connections for yourself.  It may be difficult to let go when you have already found something or someone new.  Set aside time for yourself to know what is most important, learn to say no, and let go.

 

Think about gratitude, being in the moment and self care

When you are overcommitted with too much to do, you feel stressed. Over the long haul this builds and builds.  You are resentful, unhappy, and tired.  Let your gratitude and self care be the prompt for letting go of too much to do.  As you think of the joy you feel when you are at home more, getting in bed early, taking care of your responsibilites without rushing. you will quicky see the bonus of saying no and letting go.  What you are you letting go of today and not have too much to do?

 

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Get ahead of the game

 

Get ahead Get organized Be productive

When I talk about getting organized, I hear back that getting ahead is the equivalent of getting organized. By getting ahead, it’s about being proactive, anticipating and being prepared. Being organized often means being in control, and getting and staying ahead of the game is just how to do so.

 

Getting ahead of the game at home

Just what does getting ahead of the game at home look like? This can take many forms in your home.  It’s creating a meal plan, shopping and getting dinner done on Sunday to be ready for the week.  It can be prepping the night before so you are ready to conquer the day.  You may choose to get up early, take quiet time or exercise alone, so you can be ahead of getting your kiddos up. You can choose what means getting ahead to you as you know specifically what matters most in being proactive and organized.

 

Getting ahead of the game at work

At work, getting ahead means anticipating the day and the work you will accomplish.  A first step is setting your day up for success with a proactive calendar.  Having a power hour will help you prioritize and manage your day, so you can accomplish what is most important early in the day. Anticipate where distractions and interruptions occur so you can maximize  your time to do your work.

 

Getting ahead of the game in taking care of yourself

Article after article talks about sleep and it’s importance in our daily functioning.  Often I hear, “l’ll catch up on sleep later.”  There’s conflicting research on whether you can catch up on sleep debt, although it’s not wise.   Stay ahead of the game with prioritizing sleep, exercise and good nutrition.  Rather than sleep less, underschedule your time to be sure you can complete what you commit to.  Review your schedule to assess and see what you can release to free up time to add in exercise.  Make a simple meal plan and grocery list for food that even your grandmother can name the ingredients.  Be sure you have added time into your calendar for your self care.

What’s the real benefit of getting ahead of the game? It’s about your confidence to conquer what’s next. You are going to feel accomplished and prepared. Isn’t that the best feeling in the world?

 

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