Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Overwhelmed. That’s how you feel right now. You stare at your boss walking away. She’s given you another task to add to what feels like your ever-increasing pile. You look around your desk at the lists, the post-it notes, the emails filling up your inbox. How the heck are you supposed to keep on top of this!?
Feeling overwhelmed is, unfortunately, a common emotion with ADHD. One of the reasons for this overwhelm is struggling to prioritise –. Looking through tasks and picking out important or urgent items often requires working memory, time visualisation skills and time estimation, which can all be difficult with ADHD , . Below I have outlined a method that I have developed and tested in coaching to help ADHDers prioritise tasks in a way that allows you to externalise working memory and visualise urgency.
This prioritisation system along with other time management strategies will be part of our time management group coaching. Coaching starts next week, so if you would like to learn more about managing time effectively and reducing overwhelm, click here to sign up for our course. There is no payment required for the initial sign up.
Step 1: Make a list
The first step is to list all your tasks, either digitally or on paper. Don’t hold back. Whether it’s a document due tomorrow or wanting to learn a new language, write it down!
Step 2: Assign your tasks colours
Tasks are often sorted based on what they are, e.g. home, school, work. In contrast, in this step, we organise tasks based on when they need to be done. This helps you instantly decide how you need to prioritise your tasks for the day or week. You can use whichever colours you like, but the most common are red, orange, green.
Red = due this week,
Orange = due this month,
Green = due in the future/no date.
Step 3: Place red and orange tasks in your planner
Once you have your tasks organised by colour, put your red and orange tasks into your planner system. Choosing a neurodiverse friendly planning system is something we cover in weeks 1 and 2 of time management group coaching.
Step 4: Move green tasks to a master list
Separate the green tasks from your planner. This will help you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks and help you resist the urge to focus only on what’s less urgent. Instead, keep your green tasks in a master document that can be easily adjusted (often a Word document).
Step 5: Review your lists
One of the essential parts of the system is reviewing your list. Set aside time weekly to look through your red, yellow and green lists, tick off what was done, change colours as needed and add tasks to your plan for the following week. Don’t forget to add some fun activities and dopamine to your week while you do this!
Hopefully, using this prioritisation system will help you feel more in control of your time.
Talk to you next week,
Feeling stuck and want to develop effective ADHD strategies?
We are a team of coaches who have lived experience of ADHD and are passionate about providing you with strength-based, research-backed ADHD strategies and support.
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