I was officially diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD recently and it made sense of so much of my life, in particular why I’ve ended up with multiple businesses and love to constantly create and learn new things.
It has taken me almost a year to get that diagnosis, however, so within that time I’ve been reading various tips, trying out new techniques and getting to know my brain a bit better. So in this post I thought I would note down a few things that have really helped me so far.
Some are things I have been doing for years anyway without knowing they helped ADHD brains, and some are things that are probably beneficial for most business owners too so I thought it was worth sharing them all.
Watch the video here for a few tips that I recommend….
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I may start doing a few more posts around having ADHD and running a business if people are interested, but to start here are just a few things that have helped me personally, so far…
1. Give up Notebooks
First of all, I’ve ditched notebooks completely for work stuff - it’s pointless, I’ll write something down and never look at it again. And I’ve spent so much money on notebooks for them to just sit in a drawer to look pretty.
I do have one paper to-do list which I sometimes use, but it often gets covered in things on my desk and doesn’t always get seen or used, so instead I use Trello religiously. I just have it open all of the time as the first window in my browser and it’s my weekly to-do list, as well as where I brain dump all of my ideas and then I just pull those across into my schedule as and when I need to do them. I can also check it on my phone if I need to. And my husband and I have a joint board for things we need to organise between ourselves as well.
I did also try Notion but I’ve been using Trello for so long, I just couldn’t get into the groove of using it. But that does look like an equally good tool for organising everything too.
2. Get a Designated Tool Store
The next is quite specific to what I do, but if you own some sort of crafty business like me, then getting somewhere to either hang or store all of your tools is essential. This bucket is a life saver for me.…
I was constantly putting my scissors and weeding tool down and losing them. Now once I finish using something, I’ve trained myself to put it straight in the bucket. And I think this just works better for me than having something hanging on the wall as that would require more effort to keep hanging stuff and taking it down.
But obviously find something that works for you, and something that you’re likely to stick to!
3. Create a Vision Board
If you’re into manifesting this isn’t really a new thing - but I have my vision board hanging on the wall right next to my desk. For a long time, I resisted putting anything on the wall and I had a Pinterest vision board that I would look at every night. But then I fell out of the habit of doing that.
Then I got a manifesting jar. I have no idea what I even put in that.
So I thought you know what, I’ll make a vision board, make sure it looks cute and hang it right next to me. I found lots of stock photos and created my vision board on Canva, after writing a list at the beginning of the year of what I wanted to achieve.
Having it in my face actually makes me think about whether I’m on the right track, and if what I’m doing is actually helping me to meet a goal or if I have just been distracted by something shiny and am wasting my time.
Not that it always works mind you!
4. Introduce Background Noise
Another thing I do which I don’t think I realised helped my ADHD until I read more into it, is listening to podcasts when I’m making orders or doing anything that doesn’t require me to write. Or I have the TV on in the background when I’m designing things too. And I’ve also recently discovered brown noise too which is amazing if you’re really struggling with a busy brain.
Although if I really need to concentrate and am feeling particularly unmotivated I will often put my phone in another room. This doesn’t help if I need Siri to put a timer on for me however, so I’m really considering getting an Apple watch for this reason, (plus a reminder to get up and walk around more often wouldn’t hurt!)
I would love to hear other people’s experiences on this, so do let me know in the comments if you have one and like it.
5. Set Deadlines
The next thing I’ve done for a long time is to give myself made-up deadlines.
So, for example, I just finished creating a DIY Wedding Seating Chart course for Creative Fabrica. It didn’t have a hard deadline, yet I convinced myself that I needed to do it by the end of this week so anyone planning a summer wedding could take it. This deadline was totally made up, but it helped me to get it done! It doesn’t always work unfortunately, but it’s worth a shot.
That’s also why Etsy is perfect for me, as I have my shop turnaround time set as 3-5 days, so I know that I have to get everything done and sent out within that time, and I always manage to do it because of that deadline.
It is also why I had to stop bulk-creating content however, as it was making me really miserable. Now I do almost everything on the day or 1 - 2 days beforehand. Which isn’t great for saving time, but it’s what works for me. I also don’t put pressure on myself to post every day (I’m not a machine after all)
6. Drink More Water
One thing I haven’t cracked yet is drinking water. If I'm hyper-focusing on something at my desk I can go hours without filling up my glass and then wonder why I'm dehydrated at the end of the day!
I did have an App on my phone that would ping every so often to remind me to drink water but I just ignored it every time. I’ve also bought bottles and jugs to put on my desk but I just forget to fill them up in the morning.
I’d love to know if anyone else has any hacks for this?
I could make one of those large bottles with the ‘drink this much by this time on them’, but again, would I remember to fill it up?
Any tips would be appreciated.
And that is what I have learned so far!
Not every hack I’ve tried works for me, just as I’m sure some of these won’t work for you, and I’m still figuring out how my brain works. I still have half-done projects and businesses I’m bored of all over the place, so I am looking into getting some ADHD business coaching.
If I do get some ADHD business coaching, would people be interested in a video on my experiences of that?
Let me know in the comments, if so.
And again, I’m always open to any new tips or ideas too.
I hope you found that interesting and maybe helpful as well.
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