4 Keys to an Effective To Do List

To do lists can be scary.

Wait a minute, did an ADHD Coach just admit that To Do lists are scary?  Why, yes I did just go there.  There are many reasons why people with ADHD may want to avoid making a to do list.  I don’t need to bore you with those reasons…  you already know them.  What I want to do today is to share 4 keys for creating effective to lists with the goal of making it a less scary process.

#1 – Create It

In order to have an effective to do list, you need to take that first step of creating the list.  Depending on your style and preferences, there are many different ways to create the to do list.  If you struggle with creating your to do list, try one of these unique ways to capture your to dos.

  • Hands On Learners:  Use flip chart paper to capture all of your current to dos.  The big movement might get your ideas flowing.  Post it on the wall of your cubicle or office.
  • Mind Mappers:  Use a mind map to capture all of the to dos that are in your mind.  A good free one is www.xmind.net.
  • Want to keep it simple?  Write everything down in a spiral notebook or composition book.  Use a post-it note to mark your page.
  • On-line Accessibility:  Workflowy is a lice, simple list making tool.  Since it is web-based, you can access it anywhere.
  • Your Planner:  If you already use a planner, this is a perfect place to capture your to dos.  If you aren’t using a planner, get my free guide here:  Planner Guide

#2 Delete From It

After capturing your list, identify items you can delete from the list.  If you are afraid of forgetting something, start with just deleting one thing from your list.  Think about the time you will save!

#3 Prioritize Your List

Understanding your priorities is a big part of effective to do lists that I’ll be discussing over at ADDclasses.com on February 12, 2013.  When prioritizing, you may be tempted to prioritize the entire list before getting started. If you can do this, go for it.  If you are stuck at this point, go through your list and identify  3 – 4 top priorities.  Is it due today or tomorrow?  It’s a priority.  Is it big and coming due soon?  Taking a step on this item is a priority.

#4 Start

Getting stuck on where and when to start working with your to do list is common with ADHD.  There are so many priorities where you can focus, it gets difficult to take step on on that first item.  I want to give you permission to just start something.  Worried that you are working on the wrong thing?  Try to move past that and start working.  You might discover that something else would have been a better place to start.  In the meantime, if you are making progress working on another priority, it isn’t wrong at all.  You can still make productive progress to accomplishing things on your to do list.

What do you think, can these keys work for you?

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Taming the To-Do List with Effective Prioritizing: FREE Teleseminar

Setting priorities is a challenge with ADD / ADHD.

Your to do list is long, everything is important and it can be downright overwhelming.  Join me over at ADDClasses.com as I teach strategies to help you tame your to-do list with effective prioritizing.  First, I’ll teach you how to capture your to dos.  Then I’ll be teaching prioritizing strategies that you can use in both your personal and professional lives.

Listen over the telephone or internet!

Register before the class begins and you will be able to listen to a free replay until 2/19/2013.

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Aren’t routines too boring for someone with ADHD?

I talk about routines a lot with clients.  Very often, they can work well.  Other times, I hear reluctance and doubt…

  • I want to keep things fresh.
  • Routines are boring.
  • I’m too creative for a routine to be helpful.
  • I can’t maintain a routine, I have ADHD!

I contend that the benefits of having some routines in your life will outweigh the doubts and challenges noted above.

Why do I need routines?

Working memory challenges often accompany ADHD.  This means that it can be hard to remember what you want to do next when doing something like getting to bed at a good time.  A routine can help you remember the order in which you want to complete all of the steps involved.  Using a routine can help you develop good habits, remember those steps and get them done more efficiently over time.

Everyday tasks are BORING.  I get it and won’t argue.  Unfortunately, the reason we call them everyday tasks is that they must be done… every day.  Or at least most days.  Put boring with the tendency to become distracted, and you can see why it is difficult to get those everyday tasks done in a reasonable amount of time.  When you get distracted and sidetracked on doing different things, you spend more time than you want.  By giving your mind a routine or checklist to focus its attention, you can help reduce that natural tendency to be distracted.

What types of routines?

Routines and checklists can have an impact on your daily life from getting ready in the morning to paying your bills.  Examples of routines include:

  • Getting ready for your day from shower to out the door
  • Getting started for your workday
  • Checking your email at any time of day
  • Making meals
  • Paying bills
  • Planning a party

How can you establish a routine?

  • Join me for a free teleseminar over at Attention Deficit Disorder Resources (www.ADDresources.org) to learn how to Use Routines and Checklists to Manage Your Day.  I’ll be teaching you more about routines, checklists and ADHD.
  • Establishing a routine is a process.  You probably can’t do it overnight.  Start with something you do every day and track how you currently do it for a week.  THEN decide the order you want to do it moving forward and how much time you plan to spend on each step.
  • Write it down.  Document your new routine and post it somewhere that you will see it AND refer to it every day.
  • Make it interesting.  In order to keep your routine from invoking boredom, do something to keep it interesting.  Racing the clock can be helpful.
  • Simplify where possible – no need in completing extra steps!

For more on these and other strategies, I hope you’ll join me over at www.ADDresources.org for the teleseminar, Using Routines and Checklists to Manage Your Day!

So, in answer to my question above, NO, routines are not too boring for someone with ADHD!


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