I once had a client who had a very detailed job. There were lots of t's to be crossed and i's to be dotted. As you may guess, this kind of detail is not always easy for someone with ADHD. She described looking at the file like looking at a bright shiny light... A light so bright it hurt her eyes, she had no choice but to look away.. Needless to say she got behind on her work. A few months later, she called me.
Doing work we are not interested is not easy. For someone with ADHD it can seem impossible. But it doesn't have to be, here are a few tips on how to stay focused on what matters...
1) Set the Intention - It's easy to think you will get something done by the end of the week or over the weekend. The end of the week comes and there is still no movement. We have to set a very deliberate intention to the tasks we are avoiding, otherwise you will just keep avoiding them. Look at your calendar and set an appointment to work on the project. You may not be able to finish it but you can start it. Eliminate all known distractions and set your environment up for success. Before you begin, have a goal in mind of what you want to get done in the amount of time you have allotted and be clear of what your action steps are to make this goal happen.
2) Use an Alarm - Assuming you are working on your project for at least an hour, set an alarm every half of an hour as a cue to remind you of what you are doing. Not only can physical interruptions distract you but so can the internal ones. Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming? I think you understand my point.. The alarm is to wake you up and make sure you stay focused.
3) Place a Sticky Note in Front of You - In addition to the alarm, another reminder of your set intention is to place a sticky note on your computer or near where you are working. Just make sure it's somewhere that you can see it and have it say something like... "Are you working on the right thing, right now?" Again, it reinforces your intention and reminds you to get back to work.
4) Be Accountable - You don't have to take on this challenge alone! Tell someone about it, anyone.. It could be your coach, a friend, your spouse, it doesn't matter. Let them know what you are doing and ask them to check in on your progress. Knowing that someone else cares may be just enough to get you started!
5) Take Breaks - Awhile back, Pete (Co-host of Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast) and I were working on a project and in between recordings, he suggested we go outside and get a few breaths of fresh air and take a little walk.. This is a technique I have adopted in my everyday work. There is something about fresh air and movement that frees up any tension and stress. It only takes a few minutes and it can make all of the difference in the world. The break I don't suggest is checking email or Facebook. Get up, take a few deep breaths and move!
Until Next Time!
*** For a more information on my coaching services, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.