Hand check mark the listAs we move into this New Year, one of the most frequent questions I am asked by my adults with ADHD and entrepreneurial clients is “How can I be more productive and get things done?!” Unfortunately, there’s not an easy answer that works for everyone. The problem is that the answer to this seemingly impossible goal is really solved only when we have considered the answers to some more specific questions.

If asking yourself “How can I be more productive? or “How can I get things done?” isn’t working for you, try considering your responses to the following questions to help you figure out what is getting in your way and how you can solve the real issue.

For when you are dealing with a long list of To Do’s:

  1. What project, if completed, would have the most positive impact on me?
  2. If I could do any of the projects on my list, which would I do right now?
  3. If I could do any of the projects on my list, which can I accomplish right now?
  4. If I set a timer, what can I accomplish in the next 5 minutes? 30 minutes? 1 hour?

To help you with a specific task or project:

  1. What is it specifically that I want to get done right now?
  2. How will I know when I have completed it?
  3. What specifically will be the result and what will it look like?
  4. How will someone else know when I complete it?
  5. What’s important to me about completing this task?
  6. What is the result I really want?
  7. What’s the best way for me to accomplish this task?
  8. Is this a bright shiny object (distraction) or one of my “disco balls” (reflects my goals, values, and what’s important to me.)
  9. What are the specific priorities for this task? Have my priorities changed?
  10.  If I don’t know what the priorities are, who can I ask?
  11. Does this task have a “hard” deadline, not one I made up, and what is it?
  12. What is the benefit to me to complete this task?
  13. Who have I told that I am going to get this done? If no one, who can I tell?
  14. Who else is expecting me to complete this?

To get you started and moving forward:

  1. What three parts of this project can I get done right now?
  2. What three easier tasks can I do right now to get things started?
  3. What is the first next step to accomplishing this task? What comes after that?
  4. How can I “chunk” this project down into smaller do-able pieces?

To help you deal with external obstacles and distractions:

  1. Is this the best time of day for me to be working on this project? If not, when is the best time?
  2. Is there a better “place” to be working on this project?
  3. What support do I need to follow through on completing this project?
  4. Do I have all the tools I need to complete this task?
  5. What do I need to set aside right now to be able to focus on this task?
  6. Have I allowed enough time right now to complete this project or piece of the project?
  7. Is my environment optimal for accomplishing this task? (light, temperature, noise)
  8. What are my biggest distractions to getting this done?
  9. How can I eliminate or minimize predictable interruptions? Have I done this?
  10. Have I taken care of what my body needs before trying to accomplish this? (food, water, rest)

To help you overcome internal obstacles:

  1. How am I making this harder than it really is?
  2. How can I make this task easier? More enjoyable? Simpler?
  3. What’s more important to me…done or perfect?
  4. What will it feel like when I complete this task?
  5. How will I reward myself when I complete this?
  6. What is the benefit to me to complete this task?
  7. When was I able to complete a similar task? What about that can I use right now to get this task done?

What do you find helps you “get it done”? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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