Personal Development

7 Simple Ways To Stop Procrastinating & Get Stuff Done NOW (ADHD Life Hacks)

A woman looking overwhelmed, surrounded by post its with one on her forehead
A woman sitting at her computer, looking stressed, surrounded by post it notes & with a post it on her forehead

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Overwhelm and Procrastion: A Vicious (and Totally ANNOYING) Cycle

Procrastination has gotten the best of all of us at one point or another.

As someone with ADHD, I tend to procrastinate on projects that seem too big. I start thinking about everything that needs to get done, and the short period of time I have to do it…and I freeze.

The mere thought of my never-ending ToDo list can make me feel so overwhelmed that my body physically becomes exhausted and I need to take a nap in order to regain enough energy to start thinking about the task again. And because I wasted so much time feeling overwhelmed, I now have even less time to get everything done, which makes me feel even MORE stressed!

Yeah…it’s a vicious and thoroughly NOT helpful cycle that I felt trapped in for years before I was officially diagnosed with ADHD and started implementing the tips on this list.

And what sucked the most was the shame I felt about not being able to get things the way my neurotypical counterparts could. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, or why productivity seemed to come so much easier to everyone else, even though I knew I was just as smart and capable of succeeding.

Turns out my brain and nervous system just need a little help getting centered so I can get started.

So if you’re anything like me, I want to help you knock out your ToDo list and succeed in life as peacefully and easily as possible. Here are 7 simple tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine to have productive work sessions and reach your goals!

7 Simple Ways To Stop Procrastinating With ADHD

1. Make a general ToDo list overview.

I live by the motto, “If I don’t write it down, it’s not real”.

I don’t feel like I have a good idea of what needs to get done until I can see it in writing in front of me. So the very first thing I do is write down an overview of all of the tasks that need to get done. And I mean every single one, because I’ve learned that if I don’t write something down it gets trapped in an “open loop” and my mind constantly brings it up to make sure I don’t forget.

So for the sake of my own peace, I write everything down.

I don’t get too specific here. Instead I try to zoom out and only look at the major tasks, which I call “projects”. For example, “Organize the House” is a project, and I will have to check off a number of smaller tasks in order for the project to be completed.

2. Write out all of the small steps.

Here’s where I get extremely specific. I literally write out every single task that needs to be done in order for a project to be able to be marked “completed”.

I do this for a few reasons.

1.) When your ToDo list is long, it’s easy for things to get overlooked. Writing everything down helps me make sure that I don’t skip any steps or cut any corners.

2.) Ironically, this helps me to avoid overwhelm. It may seem counterintuitive because I’m basically making my list look even longer than it already does. BUT breaking everything down into smaller makes it easier for me to celebrate my “little” wins, and gives me regular dopamine rushes every time I check an item off the list.

This helps me to “enjoy the process” instead of feeling stressed all day because I’m only focused on the end goal.

3. Order projects by priority.

Now that I have everything mapped out, I ask myself 2 questions:

  • What absolutely HAS to be done by the time I fall asleep tonight?
  • Are there any projects that can’t get done until another project is completed?

For example, can Project C not get started until Project B is complete? If so, I need to focus on Project B first.

Now that I’m clear on exactly what needs to be done, I can move on to the next step.

4. Get clear on YOUR essentials. Outsource when needed.

One of my favorite books is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. In it, he talks about how we spend the majority of our time doing tasks that are not essential to achieving our goals and maintaining our well-being. They may keep us busy, and make us feel like we’re being productive, but they aren’t doing anything to help us produce results quickly and efficiently. They may need to get done, but they don’t have to be done by US.

90% of the tasks we do on a daily basis can be outsourced to experts on Fiverr for as little as $5 – $10 per task. And while this may seem like an unnecessary expense for people that are on a budget, look at it this way:

If you could spend $10 and free up 2+ hours of your time that you could instead dedicate to doing tasks that help increase your income, boost your business’ sales, or strengthen your relationships with your loved ones, would it seem worth the price?

Everything comes at a price. We’re either paying with our time, energy, attention, or money, but we’re always paying with something.

Before you start every task, ask yourself: “What is this gonna cost me? Is it worth it?”

Then act accordingly.

5. Get Centered with CognoZen

A gif showcasing CognoZen exercises, which are one of the recommended ways to stop procrastinating with ADHD and get work done

I’m not ready to do some deep work until I do a CognoZen session.

The breathwork and brain-activating neuroplasticity exercises really help me to get centered and grounded, and I find that I’m much more productive and my output is far clearer and more creative when I do a quick 10-minute session before getting to work.

That’s why I love CognoZen, and why I created it. It’s a quick and easy way for me to naturally regulate my nervous system and quiet my mind, and the sessions have a ripple effect that benefit every area of my life.

If you haven’t tried it yet, check out the CognoZen Freebie Hub for free mini sessions and a ton of other awesome bonuses you might enjoy.

6. The Deep Work Soundtrack

The CognoZen Deep Work Soundtrack playlist

As an ADHD-er (is that word even real?) who’s dealt with some health challenges, chronic fatigue can kick my butt sometimes. My brain needs constant stimulation to stay energized and focused for me to get (boring) work done.

A couple of months ago I learned that upbeat trance and chill house music work like magic for ADHD brains and neurotypical brains, and it completely changed my life. Once I tapped into the CognoZen Deep Work Soundtrack my productivity shot through the roof.

Where I used to fight for my life to get through 30-minute Pomodoro sessions, I can now breeze through 3+ hours of deep work with no problem, only taking breaks to get a sip of water or stretch my legs, if needed.

This has helped me to create courses, content, build this blog, and knock out projects for my clients so much more easily and joyfully.

Yes…I actually enjoy the time time I spend working now. It doesn’t feel nearly as stressful as it used to because I really be jamming!!!

I 1000% out of 1000% recommend that you give this playlist a listen. It’s really a goodie, with a ton of different style options to fit your current mood and vibe.

7. Take breaks and reward yourself regularly

The easiest way to avoid burnout is to make the process FUN! The best way to do that is to sprinkle moments of relaxation throughout your day.

For example, now that I’ve reached the end of this blog post and a 1-hour deep work session, I’m going to get up and spend a few minutes outside, enjoying the sunshine and the sweet birds singing. I may grab a snack and some water and cuddle with my adorable puppy before coming back to my laptop. And I’ll definitely do another CognoZen session to recenter before I start working on my next project.

It’s little things like this that make the workday feel not only bearable but enjoyable.

How do you reward yourself throughout the day?

Happy working!

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