I help adults who have ADHD tendencies with their procrastination and productivity problems. The method below has evolved through my own experience and my experience helping others.
1. Sprint don’t jog – plan a 40 minute work session rather than “sitting down until I cannot work any longer”
2. Separate the planning from the doing of the work items; write out the sequence of work items before you start, carving large tasks into pieces (e.g., brainstorm three ideas; go online to see which idea will work the best; write a thesis statement for the best idea…). This will reduce the load on working memory and planning, helping you sprint faster!
4. Write out time estimates for the individual work items
5. Fill up your Work Session Plan with 40 minutes worth of work items (put remaining work items for a large tasks down for the next Work Session)
6. Keep the Work Session Plan off to the side and cross off Items as you complete them; this provides “immediate gratification” which is helpful for persons with ADHD tendencies
7. Start the clock and try to beat your time estimates so that 40 min of work gets done before the time is up! The race context takes you out of your usual context, which has involved a lot of distractions and negative thoughts and feelings… and distractibility
8. If you do get distracted, notice that you are distracted, and return your attention to the Work Session Plan without negative judgment; repeat as necessary
9. If you are really feeling like procrastinating, JUST WRITE THE PLAN for 5 or 10 minutes, get your work area ready, and go binge watch Netflix or whatever it is you do; it will be much easier to come back now that the “mystery” has been removed from the task and you know that the 40 minutes is not going to be as bad as you had thought
Dr. Christopher Jones, R. Psych.