In this second part of my series on ADHD Prioritization Strategies (click here for part 1 if you missed it or want a refresher), I have a simple, game-changing strategy that can be a start to revolutionize the way you approach your day by focusing on
We’ll explore how this powerful strategy can help you prioritize your to-dos, maximize your energy, and achieve more while avoiding burnout. Then, the tool I’ll share with you Next, in Part 3 of this series on ADHD Prioritization Strategies, will bring it all together so that you can easily Prioritize What Matters and work more effectively and efficiently, and still have fuel in the tank for the rest of your life!
So, let’s dive in and unlock your potential…
It bears repeating (for the gazillionth time) that working with your natural strengths and tendencies is the key to unlocking your potential and creating the freedom and fulfillment you want in life! It’s at the very core of everything I do with my clients.
And one of the things you can do very simply to start to tap into your own natural strengths and tendencies is
The Energy Audit
This simple strategy can help you clearly identify your own natural rhythms of focus and energy throughout the day so that you can learn to work with those rhythms, instead of setting yourself up for struggle by working against them. It’s a simple way to create more ease and flow to your days and weeks and an essential element of effective ADHD Prioritization Strategies!
And who doesn’t want more Ease and Flow?!
When you can start to tap into your own patterns of energy and focus flow, the tool I’ll share with you in Part 3 of this series on Prioritization will be all that much more helpful in laying out your days so that you can work more effectively and efficiently, and still have fuel in the tank for the rest of your life!
What is the Energy Audit Strategy?
It’s a simple strategy to help you identify when you feel most energized and focused, so that you can make the most of your high points, and mitigate the lowest points. By aligning your day with your energy levels, you can optimize your productivity and tackle important work when you’re at your best.
When you Incorporate the data you gather from the Energy Audit into your ADHD Prioritization Strategies, which I’ll show you how to do in this series, you can get the right things done more easily and consistently, and still have plenty of gas left in the tank for the rest of your life!
Picture this: Just like financial audits help you track your spending and make informed decisions, an Energy Audit allows you to assess and manage your energy and focus levels. It’s a tool to evaluate your physical, mental, and emotional energy throughout the day, helping you identify peak and low-energy periods.
And the more simple you make the process of the audit, the more helpful it will be!
Practical Tips for Implementing the Energy Audit Strategy:
- Set up a Simple Tracker. Choose a method to track your energy levels over the course of several days. There are an unlimited ways of doing this, but I really encourage your to go simple! You can use a notebook, a digital spreadsheet, a productivity app, or even a simple document on which you can take notes. Pick what feels simplest and easiest for you to keep close at hand so that you can gather some data on your energy and focus at different intervals of the day.
- Set up prompts/cues/reminders (even if you don’t need think you’ll them). Remembering to remember to do something is one of the quintessential challenges with ADHD, so I’m always looking for ways to make that easier and more likely. Look for creative ways to remind yourself to “check in” with yourself so that you can track where you are, and steer clear of the same old, same old reminders and notifications you use for everything else. If you’re in front of your calendar most of the day, you can put questions in your calendar periodically to ask yourself to assess where you are. You can use repeat timer apps and alarms and those, but make sure the notifications are a little different than what you’re probably hearing too much of for other things. I like to use more gentle, pleasant sounds for these kinds of prompts, like a quiet bell or meditation chime or something that is different, but not too jarring.
- Track Your Energy & Focus Levels: Using your tracker, record your energy and focus levels at different times of day for several days, and take note of when you feel most energized and focused, and what kinds of activities feel easiest for you then, as well as when you experience dips in energy or fatigue or when focus seems hardest. Try assessing your focus and your energy on a scale from 1 to 10. Be mindful of how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Be sure to note the time for each recording. This will help you identify patterns and understand when you experience energy peaks and dips.
- Observe. After tracking your energy levels for several days to a week, review what data you’ve recorded and look for patterns and trends (even sporadic tracking can give you good information!). Do you notice consistent periods of high energy or focus, when certain kinds of things tend to feel easier and focus takes less effort? Are there specific times when your energy tends to decline and focus is more elusive? This analysis will help you identify your peak energy zones and low-energy periods.
- Identify Your Zones: Based on your energy tracking, identify your peak energy and focus zones—the times of day when you feel most alert and focused, and things just generally feel easier. Similarly, look for those low spots in your energy and focus, and identify the times of day when you feel lease alert, more sluggish (mentally and/or physically), and when more complex or less-preferred tasks and activities feel harder.
- Review and Work Accordingly: Reflect on your findings and consider how you can leverage your energy and focus patterns to optimize your productivity with an eye out for impact toward your bigger goals and objective (I’ll share a simple to for doing just that next week). Your higher-energy and focus points are the ideal periods to tackle complex or high-priority tasks that require your more attention, or tend to be harder for you to work on. Eventually, you want to protect these time blocks for your most important and impactful work. Likewise, when you identify your low-focus and energy periods, you can schedule breaks and use them strategically to tackle less-demanding tasks. You can also start to be proactive in keeping your low points from dipping quite so low by scheduling breaks, hydrating, eating healthy snacks, getting your blood pumping, getting some fresh air, etc.
- Experiment and Refine: Tinker with implementing your new energy-aware schedule and observe how it impacts your productivity and well-being. This is where it’s super important to watch your thinking and all-or-nothing tendencies! No person really has complete control over their time, but it’s undeniable that you can make better use of the time you can control! Give yourself permission to experiment and play and refine your approach as you learn more about your energy and focus patterns, how you work best, and your natural preferences. You are completely unique, so it’s important to remember that it will take time and plenty of judgement-free analysis to maximize your energy and productivity!
It’s important to keep in mind that an energy audit is one piece of the puzzle, and will be an ongoing process. So,
You don’t have to do this perfectly for it to be helpful! Any little bit of tracking you do will give you helpful data to work with! By using the tool I’ll share next along with what you learn about your natural focus and energy flow, you’ll be able to more easily prioritize so that you can experience increased focus, productivity, and overall well-being with the whole goal being…
More Time, More Energy and More Focus for What Matters Most to You!
That’s the point of all of it! That’s how you Create Freedom and Fulfillment. It’s not about crossing as much stuff off your list as possible.
I want to help you get the right things done more easily and more consistently, so that you have the Freedom and Fulfillment that’s possible For You!
And when you can start to tap into your own patterns of energy and focus flow, the tool I’ll share with you next time will help you easily Prioritize and lay out your days so that you can work more effectively and efficiently, and still have fuel in the tank for the rest of your life!
Until next week,
Give the Energy Audit a try and comment below with questions, what works for you, and what doesn’t!
Keep an eye on your inbox for ADHD Prioritization Strategies: Part 3! I’ll share a practical tool that can revolutionize the way you work when you use it with what you learn from your Energy Audit!
Remember, be kind to yourself throughout the process, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way!
You’ve got this! Get ready to conquer your to-do list and reclaim your productivity like never before.
Until next time…
Lynne Edris, ACG
Productivity & ADHD Coach