If you’re like me, you’ve struggled with Getting the Right Things Done without overworking, sacrificing or killing yourself.
I’ve always marveled at those people who are like natural Time Management ninjas. They seem to have been born knowing how to arrive on time, stay focused, stay organized, accomplish what they intend, and manage life like the confident captain of a sailboat on smooth seas.
I often joke that I wasn’t born with those genes. (And, if you knew me in my younger years, you might have cracked up as you read that because it’s quite an understatement!)
Like so many of my clients, I was always late for something (or most things), always pushing some sort of deadline or impending crisis, always feeling like I was chasing time, and I almost always felt like I was falling short of my potential.
If you’re like me and my clients, you probably know you’re smart enough to do more and do better than you are right now—and even though you might have glimmers of fulfillment periodically—but you just can’t seem to keep it all together consistently. And it’s beyond frustrating! Those naturally “together” people aren’t smarter than you are. They sure don’t work harder than you do. But they make all that stuff look so damned easy.
You know it’s not rocket science!
Why can’t you figure out how to manage your time effectively?
Here’s the thing…
Effective time management isn’t a single skill, it’s a complex set of tools, behaviors and systems that need to work together for us to be efficient and effective in our productivity. And, here’s a common misconception that might be getting in your way…
It’s NOT about Doing More, it’s all about Doing The Right Things more consistently, and more Easily!
Individuals with ADHD / ADD, like me and many of my clients, tend to struggle with time management and effective productivity because of their challenges with memory, focus regulation, motivation, time and other executive functions. And, when we don’t have the right systems, tools and behaviors in place to support us, those challenges can make us feel like we’re constantly putting out fires and playing catch-up, instead of living the peaceful, fulfilling lives we know we’re capable of.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that what you need to put in place to manage your time well is all stuff you can learn! There’s nothing wrong with your character or who you are.
You’re not lazy or weak or undisciplined.
It’s not about pulling up your proverbial big girl panties and knuckling down. You don’t need more self-discipline, and
You don’t Need to Work Harder!
You Need to Learn to do things differently than the rest of the world.
You need to Learn to Do Things In Ways that Work For YOU!
With the right systems, tools and behaviors set up to work FOR YOU and personalized to fit your natural strengths and tendencies and your real, actual life, it’s very doable! I’ve lived it myself and I see it every single day in my clients.
For starters, here are my Top 5 Strategies for Getting the Right Things Done, Without Working Harder:
- Start every day with a Productivity Road Map! Starting your day without a plan of action is like jumping in your car, blindfolded, and hoping you’ll arrive at your desired destination. (Perhaps the blindfolded driver thing isn’t my best comparison, but I hope you get the idea!) If you don’t start the day with clarity about what you intend to accomplish and when, and the systems and strategies to support you in getting those things done, you’ll inevitably end your days with more frustration than fulfillment the majority of the time. Instead of you running your days, your days will run you, and that’s a recipe for poor performance! (That’s why it’s the very first thing I show you how to do in my 90-day time-management mentoring small-group program!)
- Take time to Look Ahead each day! If you spend just 3-5 minutes looking ahead in your calendar and at your to-do list at the end of each day, you’ll be more proactive, more prepared, and infinitely less stressed. Once your systems are set up to support you, your way, it will undoubtedly take only a few minutes, and the payoff is dramatic! It’s one of the most simple AND most impactful habits you can establish. (Which is why it’s also part of that first lesson in my Unleashed groups!)
- Put on your Blinders! Instead of looking at your entire to-do list each day, find a way to pull out just a few absolute, essential, intend-to-do-no-matter-what tasks and keep them separated from the entirety of the list. If you have to look at and process your entire list of to-dos to decide what to take care of next, you’ll use way too much mental energy just processing what’s on the list and have less for actually tackling what’s on it. Make sure those The Right Things that keep you moving toward your goals and what matters most to you get some of that precious real estate!
- Make your Calendar Work Harder! Most of the people who come to me for help are under-utilizing their calendars. While it’s important that you don’t clutter your calendar with things that are not real, time-specific commitments, certainly make sure the things that matter most to you are on there. This goes for the activities that move you toward your goals, components of your bigger, long-term projects, as well as the things that are essential to your performance but aren’t getting the time and focus they deserve. Remember: if it’s not scheduled, it won’t get done!
- Decide to Decide, on the spot! Every single thing that comes into your life is either something that moves you toward the life you want for yourself, or something that holds you back. That goes for every commitment, every to-do, relationship, every piece of paper, and even every morsel on your tongue. Take time every day (several times) to make sure what you’re letting into your life is moving you toward your goals. Remember those 5 Ds of Time Management: Delete, Delegate, Defer, Diminish, Do! Not everything deserves your focus and energy right now.
I hope you find something in there that’s helpful! I’m here and ready to give you a hand if you need help. You really don’t need to figure all this out on your own like I did!
Lynne Edris, ACG
Productivity & ADHD Coach
P.S. These are all things I can show you how to do in simple, practical ways that will work for you in your real, actual life! It’s amazing the difference the simplest changes using the right approach can make in your life. If you’re ready to stop throwing the proverbial productivity spaghetti at the wall and hoping something finally sticks, it’s undoubtedly time for a more strategic approach! Check out my small-group 90-Day Time Management Mentoring program at www.UnleashedPotential.group . Get custom-fit strategies, tools and systems that make it easier for you to start firing on all cylinders in all areas of your life!