Working in film and marketing requires high levels of productivity. I often have to balance multiple tasks at once, while still delivering high-quality products.
In addition to my full-time job, I also freelance. Staying organized and being productive is essential to getting all the work done.
The following productivity hacks help me to stay focused on my work despite my ADHD.
Create ‘to-do’ lists
To-do lists can offer a great deal of satisfaction. When we check important tasks off of a to-do list, it makes us happy and motivates us to want to accomplish more.
Some people write out their to-do lists in a random order. Others choose to write their tasks in order of difficulty. I like to switch it up! I’ll usually start with an easy task, then move on to a medium one, and then a hard one. When I complete one cycle like that, I go back to another easy task. Doing this helps to keep me motivated!
Use the 3-minute trick
As someone with ADHD, the hardest part about being productive is starting the task. Having a big project to complete can be intimidating! So naturally, we procrastinate. And I’m a world-class procrastinator.
With this trick, you tell yourself you’re going to work on a task for three minutes, and that’s it. What could be so hard about spending three minutes on something?
The idea is that once you’ve already started to work on something, you’re much more likely to continue. Once I start on a project, the part of me that wants to procrastinate quiets down, and I realize it’s not that bad.
Generally speaking, we make a bigger deal out of things than necessary. If you try to start working on a task for “three minutes,” you’ll likely have a very productive session.
Facebook and YouTube are my enemies when it comes to productivity. When I’m using my laptop, the temptation to log onto social media makes it hard to stay focused. So, when I really need to buckle down and complete a task, I usually move away from my laptop and phone, and I work using a notebook instead.
Sometimes, I’ll also put my phone on “do not disturb” mode so that I only get notifications when someone is calling. If I want to take it even a step further, I’ll ask my partner to change the WiFi password and not tell me what it is until my work is complete.
If I need to use my laptop for work, apps like SelfControl turn off all access to Facebook and other social media platforms.
Optimize your workflow
If you have ADHD, sticking to a routine might seem nearly impossible. Yet most jobs require some sort of schedule or workflow.
I have many tasks to complete at work. To do my job well, I have to use many different parts of my brain. It’s not unusual for me to feel bogged down or spread too thin, which can hurt my productivity.
To find balance, I’ll create a workflow based off my to-do list. I always make sure the workflow I’ve created is optimized as best as possible. The simpler your workflow is, the better.
Also, don’t be afraid to use automation and delegation tools, as well. For example, one of my favorite hacks is to have a set of keyboard shortcuts that generate an auto-response. It takes a bit of time to set up each shortcut, but if you design your automation system well enough, you’ll be able to create an individualized email quickly and save yourself loads of time.
Join a mastermind group
While I consider myself to be very outgoing, there are times I also identify with being introverted. Personally speaking, I value alone time, and I use it to come up with new ideas. But when I’m in work mode, I prefer to use other people as resources.
One of my favorite productivity hacks is using mastermind groups. If you’re not familiar, a mastermind group is a group of people who are working on similar ideas. As someone with ADHD, I thrive in environments where people bounce around ideas in brainstorm sessions.
If you’re not able to meet with others in person, use the power of social media! There are Facebook Groups, Meetups, Google Hangouts, and so many other platforms available these days to connect with people.
Bet on yourself
This one’s probably the most extreme productivity hack on this list, but it’s also the most powerful. My ADHD can make it very hard for me to see a project from beginning to end, especially if it doesn’t pay the bills.
When I need to be productive, I put money on myself and make a bet that I’ll commit to. If I don’t complete the task, I have to pay a certain amount of money. Sometimes I’ll do this with friends in a mastermind group.
If we’re both working on a screenplay, for example, we have to finish it by a certain date or give the other person an agreed upon stipend. It’s amazing how money can force us to be productive!
Obviously, be reasonable with this. Don’t bet a chunk of your life savings on a goal you’re not sure you can achieve. Rather, use it as a tool to spend time on your goal instead of doing something less important.
Don’t feel tied to one or two of these tips, feel free to combine them or try them all until you find what works for you. Everyone is different. It may take time to find your perfect recipe for productivity, but I promise, it’s worth the effort.
For more information on how to manage ADHD, reach out to your doctor or healthcare team.
ADHD-US-NP-00045 MARCH 2019