Taking some of the stress out of managing ADHD in adults comes with creating new systems for better organization.
The “To Do” list often comes up in my coaching sessions where we’re focusing on managing ADHD in adults. I’ve found that there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the purpose of a “To Do” list, and how to effectively use one.
Why Your To-Do List May Not Work for You:
For some, making the list becomes the goal.
It’s a way to keep track of every idea, next step, return call, appointment, etc. However, therein lies a problem. There’s no prioritization and it’s just a list of stuff. No dates, deadlines or frame of reference.
Because it becomes a list of everything, the list itself can be overwhelming and gets put aside or lost in a pile.
What Is An Effective To-Do List?
- Serves as a guidepost for taking action on a timely basis
- Identifies short term and longer term goals
- Contains dates and deliverables
- Is updated and reviewed daily
- Is easy to put your hands on
- Is part of a system, a means to an end, not the end.
Creating and Using the Ideal “To Do” System.
What you will need:
- Small, brightly colored spiral notebook for capturing important information throughout the day (when you fill up one, start another).
- Calendar or planner
- Dedicated spot on desk, in briefcase; someplace where you can always put your hands on them.
- Commitment to try and maintain it for three (3) months (estimated time to create a new habit).
7 Easy Steps for Managing the “To Do” System.
- Start each day on a new notebook page and date it. During the day, jot down all the critical information or action steps as you see them: key meeting notes, project deadlines, appointments, deliverables.
- Highlight or underline them as you go along.
- At the end of the day, take a few minutes to review your notes and transfer 5 key deliverables for the next day onto a 2X3″ sticky note (brightly colored) and paste it into your notebook for your next day’s To Dos.
- At the beginning of each day, review your 5 key deliverables for that day and assign a time on your calendar that day to complete them.
- If you have other deadlines previously posted on your calendar, prioritize. Use the phrase: What would happen if I didn’t do this today?
- Long term and multi-step projects may require that you break them down into 6-7 short term deliverables. Identify a due date for each step and mark it on your calendar.
- Make it a practice to review your notebook and calendar every morning and evening.
You have now created a living “To Do” system. It’s no longer a static, long running list of stuff. It’s manageable, easy to read and will become your go-to system for effective organization.
Want to continue the discussion? Contact me today and find out more about how you can better manage the ADHD in your life.