This week on the show, Pete and I answer questions from viewers, and one question came from Gwen, who was looking for any techniques that might help her finish her PhD thesis paper. It needs to be around 100,000 words and completed within ten months. This means she needs to do the same thing, day after day, which you can imagine, is not encouraging to her whatsoever! Whether it’s writing a thesis or organizing your garage, some projects seem impossible to get started.
Pete and I shared some ideas, I recommended having a routine in place where she is consistently working on the project each day. Pete recommended writing junk and editing later, but just getting something on the paper to help move the process along. We both agreed accountability will help her stay on task. (Listen in for more answers to this question and others that were asked).
Initiating tasks (getting started) is an executive function. If someone with ADHD is not interested in a project or finds it overwhelming, it’s easy to avoid it all costs. It can be very difficult to find any motivation to get started. Now on the flip side of that, if they are really interested in the task, they can hyper-focus on the project and time just slips away without them noticing.
In addition to what Pete and I talk about in the podcast, here are three more strategies to consider when getting started on a project:
1) Intentional Planning - When we are not intentional with time, things don’t get done, especially the tasks we avoid that are hard to start in the first place. We have to look at our projects, choose one or two things to do, and schedule the time in our calendars to get them done. It doesn’t mean you have to do the whole project at once, but you have to do something to at least get started. Gate this time and protect it, be thoughtful as to when you schedule it, and be sure it doesn’t compete with anything else that may be going on. Eliminate all known distractions, like your phone, email, notifications, etc. to set yourself up for success.
2) Make it Fun - If there is any way to make a boring task fun, make it happen. Maybe it means listening to music or your favorite podcast while you are working on the task. Set a timer and try to beat the clock. Somehow make the task more engaging. It also helps to do something fun first prior to doing the boring task because, at this point, your brain will already be energized.
3) Accountability - There's nothing like accountability to get things done. Make your project challenge known to someone else other than just yourself. Find someone who can support and challenge you. You want your accountability partner to always come from a nonjudgemental place, but also to allow you to go beyond what you might do if you were just relying on your own motivation.
What about you? What do you do in order to get started on your projects?
Share with the community, we would love to hear from you…
Until Next Time,