ADHD? – What to ask before committing to a date

Got ADHD? – How to give yourself a break

If you’ve got ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and you’re anything like me, it takes you a few starts and stops before you get going full-speed on a project, task or other deliverables. Especially if you already have a full workload. Inevitably, that loss of time is going to back you up against the delivery date, the date that YOU committed to. It’s happened to me too many times. Stuff comes up. Priorities change, things shift. And the pressure is on.

It’s time to give yourself a break.

It doesn’t have to be that way all the time

Here are a few things that I’ve done to help avoid the pressure and helped me Win with my ADHD.

1. Build in additional time

Here’s the key. Always give yourself more time than you think you need. Make it a habit, It’s not hard to learn. I realize it’s in our nature to be “people pleasers” and to throw out a date or timeframe that we THINK will impress others or make us look like a good but stop, seriously. Here’s how – Before you commit to a delivery date or project task completion, STOP and think. Allow yourself some time to think (if just a minute).

2. What to think about

Consider your current workload. I remember the time I committed to a date for a deliverable, promising to get it done, only to get back to my desk and realize I would be out three days prior to the due date. Damn. Now what? It’s embarrassing. Don’t do it. Take a minute, check your brain and your calendar.

3. Ask questions

Get all the facts before you commit.

  • What’s the expectation? – When is it needed it by? Get that answer, then add some time. You’ll look smart and confident.
  • What’s my workload? – What else have I committed to?
  • What’s in my calendar? – Seriously, break out your device (its probably already out – right?) – Check it. You need to have all of your devices synced. Do not allow yourself to get into a bind.
  • Once you commit to the date, write it down. Yes, really. Write everything down.

Give yourself some space, and a minute to think. You’ll be glad you did.

Have you ever put yourself into a situation like this?

ADHD and Personal Workflow

Have you ever been squirreled?

Are you wondering how squirrels, ADHD, and Personal Workflow could possibly be in the same paragraph? Hang in there, it gets better.

Being squirreled happens to me all the time. I’ll be going through my day, with decent focus, working on client sites, updating plugins, writing content, dreaming about what it’s going to be like when… then I ask myself, “How’d I get on YouTube?”

WTH? Most likely I was innocently Googling for the solution to a problem with a plugin or some CSS formatting or the like when, I bet, something caught my eye. Not something related to my search but, something else. Something that the advertisers strategically place there, on the side of the screen. They KNEW I was going to be there. They were just waiting, the trap laid – I got squirreled. Damn.

Where’d the term Squirreled come from?

If you’ve ever watched the Pixar movie UP, you know where the term squirreled comes from. The first time I watched that movie (yes, I’ve watched more than once), I knew that term was for me. The term, used to define being distracted, could have been around forever but I just got it.

Squirreled example on YouTube



Are you easily distracted, have a tough time staying focused for adequate periods of time or frequently run out of time before your tasks are finished? You are not alone. Me too. However, I have taken some steps to help stay me more focused and stay on track longer. How? I developed a “Personal Workflow.”

Personal Workflow

In November of 2017, I started freelancing as a web designer and small business technology consultant. It was shortly after I started bidding on work and committing to deadlines that I noticed the problem. My lack of focus began causing me to miss some commitments that I had made. I knew this would not do. There’s too much competition.

I’ve been an “app guy” for as long as I can remember. Downloading trial versions of productivity apps to see if I could find that ONE do-it-all app that would work for me. I really needed something now. No more playing with apps.

I researched and read. I looked at different “productivity” systems, note-taking apps, and tasks/todo lists. Nothing clicked for me. I suspect it’s the ADD that causes this. So many disparate tools and applications hobbled together seemed ridiculous to me. Clearly, bouncing between multiple apps (Trello, Evernote, Mail, etc, etc) was not the answer for me.

I had to get this workflow thing tightened up. Clients will not rehire or recommend me if I can’t make deadlines and keep commitments. I was determined NOT to go back to work for the “man”.

I made a list of what I decided were my biggest challenges to being organized. It all came down to changing habits for me. I struggled locating notes I had taken, finding important emails, remembering what storage account they shared files with me in, etc. A total time waster.

Note: Lists are very important for ADHD’ers – we must write everything down someplace. And it must be where we can find it again quickly.

My issue was having too many places to take notes. I had at least 6 places where I may have recorded a note or a group of notes for a period of time. All spread throughout previous failed attempts to standardize my note-taking and get organized. To non-ADHD’ers, you’re likely thinking, “Damn dude, just write stuff in the same place.” Right? I get it.

I determined my immediate needs revolved around my being able to locate information quickly, efficiently and electronically. Everything needed to be copy and paste for the way I work.

  • Organizing Data – One place to keep all client meeting notes, minutes, phone call notes, ideas, etc. All this with the ability to locate anything at any time. I knew trying to use tags for everything was outside of my abilities in the beginning. I needed something dead simple.
  • A Client Management System – A system that I could afford that would integrate with my client notes, client information such as servers, hosting providers, usernames, tools, emails, etc.
  • A place to keep password secure – Passwords and security are the biggest pain in there is. What a hassle.
  • One email address, or at least one email client. One place to search for people, words, attachments and everything syncing between devices.

What I finally settled on was something called Notion. This app is what I always wanted Microsoft’s Sharepoint to be. It’s easily configured, customizable plus it imports and exports data in such a way as to feel natural. I now have one place to keep my thoughts, messages, notes, ideas, client data, blog posts, todo lists, and tasks. AND it’s all within one system so a client profile is linked to their projects pages. Simple.

I’ll be writing more about notion and how I use it to keep my ADHD self organized.

Other tools that help me keep ahead of the ADHD curve. I’ll be writing about how these fit into my personal workflow.

  • Drafts for iPhone, Apple Watch and other handheld devices.
  • Dictation in Drafts.
  • iPhone – I try to always have this with me.
  • LastPass

Have you developed a personal workflow? If so, what tools do you use?