Question. Do you know what almost every ADHDer has in common?
Answer. A strong desire to get more things done in a day!
Why is this? Here are 6 common reasons
- You feel that it takes you longer to do tasks than other people. This may or may not be true, but it feels like it is.
- You had a poor performance review, and your boss is watching you very carefully.
- You work hard all day, cross lots items off your to do list, and yet it is still as long as ever.
- You feel like you are responding to emergencies all the time and never get time to work on the important stuff – the projects that will get you recognition at work or move your personal projects forward.
- You have so much you want to do in this lifetime! Like all ADHDers, you have many interests and projects that you want to squeeze into your life.
- You are a human being, it’s 2017 and like most other humans you are on a quest to improve your productivity!
Whatever your reasons for wanting to increase your productiveness, there is a simply way to increase your productivity by a staggering 23%!
In a Harvard Business School study researchers compared 2 groups of people. One group spent the last 15 minutes of their work day reflecting and writing down how their day had gone. The 2nd group carried on working for those 15 minutes.
By taking time to think back on their day, the reflection group increased their productivity by an incredible 23%!
Belief in Yourself
Researchers found that not only did people’s productivity improve, but so did their self efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief someone has in their own ability to complete tasks and reach their goals.
This is a huge bonus to someone living with ADHD given that an underlying theme in their lives can be not trusting or believing in themselves to follow through with their plans.
Time For Pause
Another great benefit of the productivity journal is that it provides time to think about your actions and learn from them, rather than dashing from activity to activity and repeating the same mistakes. Reflection time isn’t typically part of ADHDers lives, so the productivity journal creates time for this reflection.
Set Yourself Up For Success!
The journal allows you to get to know yourself really well, which means you set yourself up for success. One of my ADHD friends realized that she works really well in 20 minute bursts. After that her brain needs a mini break before she does her next 20 minutes. This realization totally changed how she felt about herself and how she planned her day. She has always loved days when she could hyper focus on 1 activity. However, she couldn’t control when or what would trigger her hyperfocus to kick in. Before the productivity journal, she would allocate a whole day for 1 task. However, after 20 minutes, if she was not in hyperfocus mode, she would stop and then procrastinate. Then she would feel bad about herself for wasting a day
The productivity journal acted as a mirror to show her how she works best most of the time. Now she plans her days in 20 minute chunks, is productive and feels great about everything she gets done.
We all have ideas about how we would like to work; however, the journal allows us to see how we actually do our best work. Then we can plan accordingly.
The productivity journal also helps motivation. It is very easy to take action when you are feeling motivated and almost impossible when you aren’t. Motivation is such a key feature of ADHD that Doctor Russell Barkley says ADHD is less about attention and more about motivation.
I have noticed that i am much more motivated to climb the 6 flights of stairs to my office when I am wearing my Fitbit to track and document those stairs, than on days when I don’t have my Fitbit.
The same principle applies when you are keeping a productivity journal. Knowing that you will be acknowledging how you spent your time in black and white, will provide the motivation to stop surfing the web or checking Facebook and write that boring but necessary report.
You will also be able to notice themes, daily, weekly, monthly and eventually annually.
For example, your energy levels throughout the day, coming down from your ADHD meds, PMS and SAD. Rather than resist these factors, you can acknowledge that they happen and work out how you can do your best work given the circumstances.
What Do You Write in Your Journal?
What to write? The great thing about the productivity journal is that there are no rules. You will develop a style that is most helpful to you. However, to get you started, ask yourself 2 questions.
What worked today..so you can do that again.
What didn’t work today…so you can make changes.
- You could list everything you worked on that day.
- Use it to make keep track of important deadlines so that they remain fresh in your mind.
- Plan for tomorrow.
Some days if I don’t feel I have much to report I ask an additional question, which is “How could I be more productive?’ and often get great insights.
I have used my productivity journal to hold myself accountable as I implemented new productivity habits. The biggest habit change was waking up and writing for 2 hours before doing anything else, including checking email. It was hard in the beginning; however, reporting to myself and the journal every day kept me honest.
How To Start Your Productivity Journal
Choose where you will write your productivity journal. You could use, a Google, Word, an app like One Day or Evernote, or simply a notepad and pen. I use Google Docs.
Set an alarm 15 minutes before your work day ends. For example, if you finish work at 5pm set an alarm for 4:45pm and use those last 15 minutes to write your journal.
Don’t write for longer than 15 minutes! Lots of people with ADHD get into perfectionism mode and will want to write THE perfect entry. It will take a really long time and because it took so long they will be turned off from making it a consistent daily habit.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and stop writing after 15 minutes.
After you have been writing in your productivity journal for while you will find it takes less and less time.
I got the idea of writing a productivity journal after listening to this podcast. Check it out if you would like a little inspiration and hear how other people are using their productivity journal.