10 Productivity Hacks for ADHD Entrepreneurs - Phil Drinkwater Coach

Find out how your ADHD executive function challenges impact you

10 Productivity Hacks for ADHD Entrepreneurs

Starting or growing a business with ADHD can be a challenge, but with these productivity hacks, you'll be flying!
What we'll cover
We all likely know that running a business has demands from variety of areas. Things like organisation, focus and motivation all fuel our productivity, and sometimes that becomes overwhelming for people with ADHD. But, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. There are plenty of strategies to help you navigate your changes in productivity while on your entrepreneurial journey.

Here are ten tips to boost your productivity as an ADHD entrepreneur. Though all of them may not work for you, they are designed to be general solutions for all ADHD business owners.

1. Subdivide Your Tasks and Use Mind-Mapping Tools

The first and one of the most important things you can do to boost productivity as an ADHD entrepreneur is to break big tasks into smaller steps. Productivity is often fueled by motivation, and when you can’t see an endpoint to a large task, it’s hard for you to get started. Breaking a big task down into manageable steps allows you to track your progress and celebrate your victories. My number one recommendation to accomplish this is to use mind-mapping tools, such as MindMeister.

Mind-mapping combines your ADHD mind’s love for visual stimuli with the necessity of subdividing tasks. This allows you to organise and structure your ideas. You can even open and close different ideas and sections to keep your mind streamlined toward the tasks at hand and avoid the overwhelm you likely feel from large projects.

2. Build in Time for Distractions

Distractions are a normal part of life for everyone, no matter who you are. The only difference is that it’s more intense for those with ADHD. This is why building what I like to call “wiggle room” is so important.

Your mind needs to now that it’s okay to wander sometimes, and your whole plan for the day won’t implode when you do so. Embracing your distractions isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it’s a new idea or solution to a problem with another project.

Instead of viewing your distractions as a constant nuisance, embrace them as brief, yet beneficial interruptions. By adding an extra 20% to 30% to your estimated completion time, you can allow yourself the space to acknowledge distractions, write them down and plan a time to address them later.

3. Begin Each Day with Two Key Tasks

A productive day is one that starts off with the right goals in mind. If you sit down at your desk ready to work with no direction, you may find yourself jumping between various things and going down rabbit holes without actually accomplishing anything.

Each morning, identify two tasks that you absolutely want to accomplish by the end of the day. This could be something simple or complex, like responding to a particular email or finalising a business proposal. Doing this adds structure to your day and allows you the satisfaction and stimulation that ticking off tasks provides, motivating you to keep going.

4. Use Tools to Catch Wandering Thoughts

ADHD often comes with a rapid-fire thought process, which can be a huge benefit! However, it can also intensify distractions. When you view your rapid thoughts as a bad thing, you do your best to ignore them, which is the opposite of what will help. Instead of this, it’s important to acknowledge the value of your thoughts by writing them down or dedicating a time to work on them later. Apps like Otter.ai is a good idea transcription app for this. Remember, your ADHD can be harnessed as a true superpower with the right attitude and tools!

5. Seek External Accountability

Many of us thrive on external accountability. Getting slight pushes toward your goals can help you stay on track, feel ownership over your tasks and motivate you to complete them. This could be an ADHD business coach like myself, a mentor, or even a peer group on Facebook.

6. Navigate Through Uncomfortable Tasks

Let’s face it, not all tasks are enjoyable. You can try to make them stimulating and intriguing, but some things are just boring. When faced with such tasks, consider outsourcing them to someone who might be better suited for them. If that’s not possible, try “body-doubling” – having someone work alongside you, even if they’re working on something different.

Just the presence of another person can make a boring task feel less daunting. Additionally, remember to take it slow. Rushing through an unpleasant task can lead to mistakes and added stress.

7. Keep Your Vision Close

In the hustle and bustle of daily tasks, it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing all this. A vision board or a motivational photo can serve as a constant reminder of your ‘why’.

Whenever you’re struggling or feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to look at this visual representation of your goals. It’s a powerful tool that can reignite your passion, remind you of your purpose, and inspire you to keep going.

8. Prioritise Important Tasks Over Fun Ones

I write, and speak a lot about the importance of making tasks interesting and stimulating, if possible. It’s human nature to gravitate towards tasks that are enjoyable. However, like you’ve just read, some tasks simply aren’t as fun as others, but they’re still important. Oftentimes, we chase the excitement of stimulating tasks and leave other ones for later. But, sometimes they’re too important to ignore. This is where “delayed gratification” comes into play.

When you have an important task that isn’t as fun as others, tell yourself that you’re allowed to do the fun tasks only after you’ve completed the important ones. This strategy not only ensures that your crucial tasks get done, but also makes the fun tasks feel like a well-earned reward.

9. Embrace Automation

In today’s digital age, there are countless tools available to automate repetitive tasks. By becoming an expert in automation, you can save precious time and reduce the cognitive load, allowing you to focus on the tasks that truly need your attention.

Whether it’s automating your emails, social media posts, or even your grocery shopping, every little bit of saved time adds up, making you more productive in the long run.

10. Learn With Purpose

Entrepreneurs, especially new ones, often may feel that they need to learn every aspect of owning a business before they can be considered one. But, learning just for the sake of learning can cause an array of problems for ADHD brains, such as burnout, lost motivation, and overwhelm. So, rather than forcing yourself to learn something abstract, focus on learning when there’s a practical need for it.

Our mind learns best when we feel a necessity for the information, naturally causing us to become more engaged with the content. You don’t have to know everything today, so just focus on learning new things when they’re needed to move forward.

Which Of These Hacks Really Works For Me?

When I find myself in a state of confusion and uncertainty, I find immense comfort in using a mind-mapping tool. I’m a big fan of automation – so much so that I believe it’s what drew me to programming all those years ago.

I lean on external accountability provided by my team to keep me on track.

I’ve also come to accept that distractions are an inevitable part of my journey. Instead of berating myself for it, I’ve learned to roll with the punches.

To Finish

Being an entrepreneur with ADHD certainly comes with its challenges, but with these productivity tips, you can harness your unique strengths and thrive in your entrepreneurial journey.

Remember, it’s all about finding strategies that work uniquely for you, and being kind to yourself in the process.

Happy entrepreneuring!

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