Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Women with ADHD often struggle with time management and productivity, especially when running their businesses.
As a female entrepreneur, I know how challenging it can be to stay on top of my schedule and get everything done. However, I also know that some strategies and tools can help. In this blog post, I will share my top tips for productive time management for women with ADHD.
To begin with, I want you to try and forget the traditional rules of business. They will cause you more stress if you try to make yourself conform. They are outdated and not suited to women, especially if you have ADHD.
Women in business are usually taking on business ownership on top of everything else in their life, like family, a job, and running a household. Time is precious, and trying to do it all yourself will see your burn out faster than your business grows.
The best time to establish these tips is when you are starting out, but if you are already established then start today. Even spending 10 minutes a day on your productivity is progress.
Traditional business, and yes even the courses I used to teach said that you must have set goals and work towards then. That never worked for me. I did not know how to set goals I could connect with.
I was busy, really busy. But only a small amount of that busy time was me actually doing what I love most – coaching clients. The balance of me doing what is in my zone of genius, and of me doing tasks that were not was out of whack. When that happens it causes anxiety and fatigue.
But you can’t just neglect all that business ‘stuff’. So what is the answer?
You need to make your time count. And setting yourself up for success as soon as you know how important it is – which I hope you are realising is now – is worth the investment of your time.
Scrap Your To Do List
The to do list has a lot to answer for. I have been a list girl for a very long time, but those lists got out of control. They became longer, and overwhelming, and then I would lose my list and start another one. Before I knew it I have a dozen lists. Tasks were duplicated on multiple lists, some things didn’t even make a list and were missed. It was a total mess.
I realise you might be feeling anxiety around not having a to do list, but I am recommending you do your to do a little differently. For example, you have an electricity bill every month, so it becomes your habit that on the first of every month you pay that bill.
The first step to managing your time effectively as a female entrepreneur with ADHD is to develop habits so that tasks don’t feel overwhelming, they are simply something you work on regularly. Decide which tasks are most important and do them at the time of day when you are operating at your peak. Use time blocks to group similar tasks together to get them done more efficiently. Time blocking also reduces stress because you know that you have time set aside to take care of your tasks. Use tools like a planner or task app to help you stay organised and keep track of deadlines.
Break It Down
Breaking down larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks can make them feel more achievable. Create a project outline or use a mind-mapping tool to break down each project into smaller steps. Then, assign each step a deadline or schedule it into your planner. Depending on your ADHD type, you might find it helpful to break down tasks into 10-15-minute blocks. Use a timer to work on these blocks and take frequent breaks to keep your focus and energy levels up. Using the Pomodoro technique works for many people.
Create Routines & Stick to Them
Establishing routines for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks can help you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Set aside specific times for important tasks like email management, updating your social media, and reviewing your finances. Having a routine can help establish habits and reduce decision fatigue. It also helps to create a consistent environment for your work.
I know routine might make you feel like the adventure and fun just got sucked out of your life. That isn’t true. The fun and adventure happens within routine. Because the routine is all about providing protected time for you to explore your fun and adventurous side. If your routine is to go to the gym then maybe its the gym once a week, the beach once a week and pilates once a week. There is wiggle room inside of your routine that allows for variation.
Delegate & Outsource
As entrepreneurs, we often feel like we need to do everything ourselves. However, delegating and outsourcing tasks can help us focus on what we do best. Identify tasks that are taking up too much of your time or that you don’t enjoy doing. Consider hiring a virtual assistant, bookkeeper, or social media manager to take on tasks that aren’t your strength. Or make use of the plethora of free and low-cost technologies that will do a lot of your mundane tasks for you (and some quite complex ones too.)
Find an Accountability Partner
Having an accountability partner can help you stay focused and motivated. Find someone who understands your ADHD struggles and is willing to support you in your business goals. Check in with them regularly and share progress updates. Set specific, measurable goals together, and celebrate your successes. You may have heard of body doubling before and this is one way you can collaborate with your accountability buddy (or a coach).
Pair Your Tasks
There are those things you have to do that you just plain avoid doing. Those things that you have the best of intentions towards, but always manage to block yourself from doing. So you need to get creative – which you are great at – and start pairing those tasks you avoid, with those you actually like doing. This takes the sting out of those yucky tasks and you will get them done.
As a female entrepreneur with ADHD, managing your time and productivity doesn’t have to be an impossible task. By developing habits, breaking down larger projects, creating routines, delegating, and finding an accountability partner, you can achieve your business goals while staying on top of your ADHD challenges.