10 ADHD Entrepreneur Tips To Help You Focus And Get Stuff DoneAug 07, 2022
Calling all ADHD Entrepreneurs...
(And all neurodivergents or neurotypicals who just can't focus!)
If you're neurodivergent like me you probably run into some frustrating challenges when it comes to getting ish done in your business.
Especially tasks with lots of moving parts that require some serious mental multitasking!
Would it shock you to know that even BEFORE I realized I was ADHD I'd already started figuring out how to optimize my days so I could get big things done?
Also ... and this cracks me up ...
I've been teaching you ADHD entrepreneur tips without even realizing it!
(Side note: it really goes to show you that while slapping a label like ADHD on ourselves helps us understand the ways our brains work, it does NOT mean we are at the mercy of said label and have to give up on ourselves or our big, bold, business dreams!)
As your friendly, neighbourhood (ADHD) Business Coach, I've got 10 productivity hacks I thought might help you get more done in your day, honour your brain's needs, and leave you feeling dayum proud of yourself...
1. Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a super simple time-management method invented by Italian Francesco Cirillo balancing short bursts of uninterrupted, distraction-free work sprints with mini-breaks where you can do whatever the heck you want!
This method is the most ridiculously simple yet effective way of getting tasks off your to-do list because it allows your brain to hyperfocus on one task at a time in short sprints followed by happy, little dopamine breaks that keep you from getting bored or overwhelmed.
Here's how it works...
- Pick one project or task you want to focus on.
- Set a timer for 25-30 minutes, and get to work.
- When the buzzer sounds, take a two-to-three-minute break.
- After four sessions, take a longer break.
⏰ I do 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of play, movement, or bio breaks.
You can do whatever combo works for you...
✅ 10 min on, 10 min off
✅ 45 min on, 5 min off
✅ 60 min on, 20 min off
ADHD entrepreneurs, it's time you become besties with your brain's needs and make it work for you!
2. Body Doubling is Your Friend
Body Doubling is when you have someone else present while you're working on an overwhelming or boring AF task. The other person isn't necessarily helping you or getting involved ... they are just THERE!
I did this as a child whenever I had to tackle cleaning my disaster of a bedroom ...
"Hey mom, will you just sit with me while I clean"
... and have continued to do it when having a slog of work to get done ...
"Hey biz bestie, want to meet on Zoom and co-work in silence together?"
Body doubling is great for entrepreneurs drowning in executive dysfunction!
Want to add body doubling to your work routine?
- Join a local co-working space
- Meet a biz bestie at a local coffee shop to get ish done
- Get virtual and hop on Zoom with biz besties from far away lands (or the next city over) and get to work!
But be careful...
It can be really easy to spend the entire time together talking!
Structure your time as much as possible.
Here's an example of how I map out my Zoom coworking sessions with my biz besties:
- 15 minutes of hellos and catch-up time
- Pomodoro technique (we don't have to follow the same timing! I'll often do 25:5 and my biz bestie will do 60:10)
- 15 minutes of debriefing and high-fives
👉 If we want to hang out and chat we book a separate time for a fun phone call or online hang.
Body doubling is for WORKING!
Boundaries are a good thing ;)
Speaking of body doubling, come join our Free Coaching & Coworking with Me on Zoom!
🥰 For the benefit of the Pomodoro Technique and Body Doubling you're gonna want to join my Coaching & Coworking sessions Live on Zoom on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 9:00 am PST.
3. Only Do 3 Tasks Per Day...MAX!
Be honest, how many times do you create a to-do list for the day and before you know it you've got 20 tasks written down!
Cue the overwhelm ...
And then suddenly very important laundry that needs folding, fridge that needs cleaning out, snacks that need munching, and Netflix that needs binging.
Seriously, we do it to ourselves!
We take on way too much and try our hardest to hype ourselves up for having...
THE MOST PRODUCTIVE DAY EVER!!
And then hit the end of the week barely accomplishing anything because the overwhelm and bouncing from task to task kicked our butts.
Instead, aim for 3 tasks per day.
(and only ONE of those tasks should be major)
Before you know it... BAMALAM!
Friday rolls around and you've completed 15 freaking tasks off your to-do list.
This is one of my favourite ADHD entrepreneur tips!
Can I get a heck yah and a high five?!
4. Make a List of Tomorrow's 3 Tasks at the End of Each Workday
Want to have the best sleep ever and wake up confident, focused, and knowing EXACTLY what you have to work on?
Ending your workday by writing down the 3 tasks you need to do the following day you set yourself up for success!
Note: This only works if you STICK to your list! Don't let shiny object syndrome or multitasking steal your thunder.
ADHD business coach approved!
5. Master 10-minute Magic
Ok, this one I'm stealing from my mom (who's also neurodivergent AF)...
Got a ginormous project ahead of you (or something with multiple steps that feels ginormous)?
Break that ish down into smaller steps ... tasks you can do in 10 minutes.
Then rock those 10-minute to-dos all the way to the end of your day...
You'll be shocked how much you get done in a day when you break things up into smaller chunks.
Hint: GRRRREAT when paired with the Pomodoro Technique.
6. Let Your Mind Wander or Learn Something New (at least) Once Per Week
Let's keep it real ADHD and neurodivergent friends...
We need a lot of extra stimulation to stay productive and we thrive when we're learning something new.
Get that working for you!
(Also, if you're like me, you need to learn something over and over before it sticks. Building in learning time is crucial to evolving as an entrepreneur)
🤔 Curious about how to apply SEO to your blogs?
🤔 Want to master the latest TikTok or IG Reel trend?
🤔 Ready to finally figure out how to light your YouTube videos like a bada$$?
🤔 Want to find out what's new in the world of podcasting?
🤔 Curious about applying human design to your operations strategy?
🤔 Want to find out if there are new grants available to fund your business?
Feed your curiosity, learn something new, and reward yourself for all that focused work by enjoying some guilt-free frivolous time playing with something novel!
Neurodivergent folks are notorious for missing hunger cues or hyper-focusing on a task to the point we completely forget to eat.
Sometimes, if we're overwhelmed, stressed, or (ack) burnt out the multiple steps required to make ourselves something to eat just don't feel worth it.
I remember about 5 years ago when my business really started to FLY and I was so freaking busy all the time...the burnout came quietly and quickly and...
I came home from a day chock full of client sessions. I was exhausted. I was starving. I had zero in the tank.
Oooh, but I had a can of soup in the cupboard and all I had to do was...
Get the pot and put it on the stove ➡️ Turn on the stove ➡️ Bend down and grab a can of soup out of the bottom cupboard ➡️ Walk to the drawer with the can opener ➡️ Open the can ➡️ Dump the can of soup in the pot ➡️ Rinse the can opener ➡️ Rinse the can of soup ➡️ Put the empty can in the recycling ➡️ Walk over to the big spoons ➡️ Grab a spoon ➡️ Stir the soup ➡️ Stir the soup ➡️ Stir the soup ➡️ Walk to the cupboard and grab a bowl ➡️ Walk to the cutlery drawer and grab a soup spoon ➡️ Dump the soup into my bowl ➡️ Turn off the stove ➡️ Walk to the sink ➡️ Rinse the pot ➡️ Put soap and water in the pot ➡️ Grab the dishcloth ➡️ Wash the pot ➡️ Rinse the pot ➡️ Put the pot in the dish rack to dry ➡️ Take my soup to the table ➡️ Pull out the chair and sit down ➡️ Eat the soup ➡️ Get up and walk to the sink with my empty bowl and spoon ➡️ Rinse my bowl and spoon ➡️ Walk to the dishwasher ➡️ Open the dishwasher ➡️ Pull out the bottom rack ➡️ Put my bowl in the bottom rack ➡️ Put my spoon in the bottom rack ➡️ Close the dishwasher ➡️ Double check the stove is off ➡️ Turn off the lights ➡️ Walk upstairs to my bed ➡️ Pass the eff out!
For those reading who are neurotypical, welcome to our executive dysfunction hellscape!
For those reading who are neurodivergent, y'all know there were a million side quests each of those 40 steps had the potential to send me!
Back to the soup...
🥺 When I tell you I had ZERO in the tank I wasn't joking.
I stood there staring at that can of soup in the bottom cupboard and started to cry from pure exhaustion while mentally adding up all the steps I'd have to take before eating.
So, I went with my default...
🥪🥪🥪 Put on my shoes, walked 5 minutes to Loblaws, grabbed a pre-made sandwich, and scarfed it down while watching Game of Thrones.
You need to EAT!
(And you need to eat BEFORE getting to the point of starving and mentally shutting down)
Some tips that might help...
- Have nutrient-dense snacks and quick meals on hand.
- Set an alarm to go off for lunch and dinner every day so you remember to eat.
- Go ahead and write down the next day's meals when you write down your 3 tasks at the end of each workday so you don't get tripped up by what you're going to eat.
- Keep it simple and make it easy for you to eat foods that will fuel your brain.
My go-to is plant-based chicken strips in the air fryer for 15 minutes on top of a bagged salad kit (my current fave is dill pickle) and an apple with peanut butter.
Nutritious. Delicious. Ridiculously simple and fast to make!
(And if I make it before I'm starving my brain cooperates a lot better too)
8. Move Your Body Before and After Work
Before you sit down at your desk and dive into your to-do list wake your brain up with some fun movement!
(Hint: Ditch perfectionism, laugh at your clumsiness, and just have fun moving your body!)
Dance videos like these or any kind of high-energy bursts of movement are great when your brain starts to get tired, overwhelmed, or bored!
As you wrap up your day and you have tomorrow's meals planned out and your top 3 tasks for the following day written down, cap off your day with some gentle movement like yoga, a walk (or run) outside, or even some stretching.
Enjoy a quiet, slow pace as you debrief your day to yourself and mentally shift from work mode into anything-but-work mode.
These two self-care tips honour your body and your brain, and will go a long way at keeping you focused, productive, and feeling good!
9. Don't Force It; When You're Done, You're Done
This one's gonna take a lot of self-acceptance and self-compassion!
Listen to your body and your brain. If you're trying to get work done but it's just not happening; you can't focus, you're staring blankly at your computer screen, you're bouncing from task to task to task, or your energy is in the toilet...
Come back tomorrow and start fresh when your brain is ready to tackle your to-do list.
And remember...start with the biggest, scariest, most taxing task on your to-do list first while your brain is fresh!
10. Stop Comparing Yourself and Go at Your Own Pace
Hey, if you struggle with executive function like me I get it...
It can be super frustrating to see others whip up complex funnels, courses, websites, social posts, etc. while you struggle to figure it out.
I used to think I was lazy or dumb (Ha! If you've met me you know how ridiculous that is) and it took me a long time to recognize and accept that, heck no, I'm wicked smart, am a hard worker, and my brain is super fast!
ADHD just makes my brain get lost in the weeds a lot of the time and it takes me a few tries to figure it out.
For example, I've always loved WATCHING friends play video games but could never play myself.
Too much happening on the screen, all those different soundtracks and sound effects, and so many buttons to push.
And all the side quests got overwhelming, fast!
I mean, video games really lost me when the N64 game out with the weird hand controller that vibrated when something intense was happening.
It was all too much and my brain got overloaded and shut down.
During the pandemic, I decided I wanted to develop the skills required to focus on and play video games.
I was sick of watching my friends play...I wanted in on the action.
🎮 I play on the easiest of easy modes
🎮 I have a notebook by my side and hit pause and take notes to help me remember which buttons do what or which cues I need to remember
🎮 I gave myself permission to be ok when my player died or if I skipped over parts I wasn't enjoying
And, this is a big one for me...
🎮 I let go of the pressure to follow all the side quests!
I make playing video games work for ME!
And that goes for work too.
I take the time that I need to figure something out, play with it, and get comfortable before I go all in.
I also don't sweat it (ok that's a lie, I totally sweat it until I remember I don't have to) when I see others adopting technology and social media trends, or pumping out content faster than my brain will let me.
Make your life and your business work for YOU and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.
Let's keep it real!
ADHD and other neurodivergence can really mess with your plans to get ish done in your business.
But, with a little planning ahead, strategic use of SHORT & SIMPLE lists, and a ton of self-compassion and self-acceptance you can have a productive day that works for YOU!
Can you run a business with ADHD?
Can people with ADHD become entrepreneurs in the first place?
Heck yah you can!
When you're part of my radical crew you're never left on your own to struggle or flounder when getting your biz off the ground.
Get FREE support while getting ish done on our Live Coaching & Coworking Sessions on Zoom!
Until next time friends, I'll see you online!