If you find that overcommitment gets in your way of focusing, consider figuring out how to say no more often. Identify some strategies to politely say no when you cannot afford to take on any additional responsibilities. This can really help you Get Focused.
Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
- When asked to join another committee say, “Thank you for considering me for the committee, but I just have too much on my plate right now.”
- When a family member asks you to take on a new responsibility, say, “I’m sorry, I just can do this one. Can take it on this time?”
How do you practice saying no?
If you have been following me here at My Attention Coach or on Twitter (@CoachForADHD) you know I am a big fan of To Do lists so my Get Focused tip today might surprise you. Yes, I still want you to make your To Do list. When you are done, answer this question:
What can I delete from the list?
You can take a weight off your shoulders and focus on your higher priorities even if you just eliminate one of your lower priorities from your list.
When you have ADHD, prioritizing your goals can be extremely difficult, yet it is an important skill to develop. Prioritizing your goals allows you to focus on the most important ones. With prioritization you can gain:
- focus on what is important
- positive feedback when you accomplish necessary tasks
- more time when you can take lower priorities right off your list
Without prioritization, we may get overwhelmed by too many goals, especially if we have a large number we would like to achieve. All of your goals, of course, have some importance to you, but I would encourage you to move away from the idea that everything must be accomplished TODAY. By applying some priority to your goals and responsibilities, some of the typical overwhelm can be taken away.
Remember, your prioritization may change over time and that is perfectly okay! Review your goals regularly to ensure they are still prioritized correctly. Of course, this happens with business projects all the time, but it can also happen in our personal lives.
How to set priorities
There is no secret formula that is going to work for everyone when setting their priorities. It can be helpful, however, to ask yourself a series of questions such as:
- Do any of your goals have external deadlines?
- What are the deadlines and are they negotiable?
- How do the deadlines impact the priority of your goals?
- Is this goal a high or low priority? (Remember, this isn’t set in stone. What feels right this moment)
After working on your priorities, take a step back and determine what you need to put on your Must Do list. Remember that you can’t get it all done at once. What are the critical goals and action steps that you need to set in the next day, week and month?
How do you prioritize and how can we help?
Spend 15 minutes today getting some cleaning done in your kitchen. Set a timer so you can move on to something else when you are done. Working in quick spurts like this can really help you focus on chores that we don’t necessarily like to complete.
How do you stay focused on getting your kitchen clean?
To achieve more with your goals, you need to make them timely or timelined. This means setting deadlines. When you have ADHD, it is important to set timely goals with deadlines to help you keep focus on the goals. To reinforce the deadlines you set for yourself, I recommend that you write them down in your planner or calendar. Don’t have one? Make some time this weekend to get one.
By setting deadlines, you create a sense of urgency to get working on your goals. How often do you hear someone say they need to get more organized? If your goal is to get organized and you give yourself no deadline, how will you know when you succeed? How will you know when to set a new goal? Worse yet, how will you know if you did not reach your goal? Without deadlines, you can lose that spark to get you moving and make progress towards your goal.
If you have some goals already set for 2011, take a look at them and make sure you have included a timeline and/or deadline for achieving your goal.
Do you set timing around your goals? How can I help you with that?