Even though it is a little out of my content scope, I wanted to talk about productivity and procrastination today. I think it affects us all, and I know I have struggled with this particular topic for most of my life. While I am a special case, I believe it is important for everyone to discover something that works for them. Especially if you have adult ADHD like I do.
For years (I mean years), I have struggled to find something, a system, a book, a calendar, anything that would help control my daily tasks, or items that I desperately need to get done. You name it-I have tried it. Google calendar, outlook scheduling, at least three different types of planners (including the famous Erin Condren’s). To do lists on my phone, handwritten to do lists, wall calendars, dry erase boards. Charts, excel spreadsheets, anything I could think of. It works for about a day, and then done. It just doesn’t work for me, I feel overwhelmed, and I rarely complete what I need to get done.
This doesn’t apply to my day job, or when I was in college. Funny thing, I was always able to focus on the tasks I HAD to do in order to succeed at work or school. I was medicated in high school for my ADHD, so that doesn't count. I had to be productive, it was channeling all of my energy into one place! But I realized early on into blogging, that I had to find something that would work. See giant list of attempts again for everything that I attempted. I absolutely adore blogging. Cooking is my happy place, so putting the two together seemed like a recipe for success. (See what I did there). BUT, just because I love to do something doesn't mean that I am working efficiently or being productive. Especially with my ADHD.
Even though I am no longer on ADHD medication, it is a lot more controlled than it was when I was younger. I believe this is due to the fact that my food allergy is under control, I exercise six days a week, and I eat as clean as I possibly can (which can effect adult ADHD, article here). So I figured that since I appeared to be having an easier time managing my mind that goes into nineteen directions, that working on something I loved (the blog) would be a piece of cake.
I was wrong.
Even though I love everything about the blog, the process that goes into it, I was struggling to sort through my mental checklist and prioritizing. Things I am normally quite good at during my day job. The procrastination was eating away at me. I was attempting to do too many things at once, which in turn caused me to do nothing. Then one day, scrolling through Instagram, a blogger I follow (fill in later), was discussing how the Intelligent Change Productivity Planner completely changed how she approached her work (she blogs full time).
I was intrigued, so I went on Amazon and took a peek. This planner stood out like a sore thumb to me among the world of planners. No flashy colors, one size, and extremely simple. My mother is the queen of planners. I mean this woman has a planner for every different part of her life-and she keeps up with all of them! This planner is unlike what I normally would pick. I was the Lisa Frank girl growing up, and that carried on over to adulthood. I like cute things. Little zebras march across my wedding planning binder amongst a sea of green and black stripes. My pencil holder is a sea green elephant that uses it's trunk to hold my phone. I have a rose gold pineapple pen that I use religiously. So in short, a plain black journal with a simple gold "Productivity Planner" stamped across the front isn't the first item I would normally reach for. This is part of the beauty of the productivity planner. No distractions, no clutter, every day is laid out exactly the same and requires you have the same dedication. You take a moment to think about what absolutely needs to be done.
What is number one on your list? What would you deem a productive day if you only checked that one item off your list?
List two supporting "importants" of the day, and another two less important (but still productive) tasks to round out the day. Work on your most important task of the day, once that is done, move on to the other items of the list. Track your time in 25 minute increments to see if your time matches up on what you estimate. This is yet another effective part of the planner: being realistic. Don't put down an item that you know will take seven hours as the most important task. Break that task up into five segments, and figure out what absolutely needs to be done first.
As an example, I am currently working on a free Ebook to offer to everyone as a newsletter sign up. If I would write down "Write Ebook" as my number one task, that does nothing for me. As this item would take well over the course of a couple weeks, therefore I wouldn't be able to move onto my other tasks. SO, in order to remedy this, I have broken out my Ebook into chapters that require about 2-3 pages of writing. Something I can easily accomplish in two hours. This is a doable "most important" task. Then utilize the other steps to make manageable commitments. I have listed a sample day out of my productivity planner:
Most important task of the day:
1. Write out one chapter of Ebook Estimated time: 100 minutes
Secondary tasks of importance:
2. Post on all social media about newest blog recipe Estimated time: 25 minutes
3. Write out recipe instructions for Tuna Salad Estimated time: 25 minutes
Additional tasks (complete these only if the tasks above are completed):
4. Brainstorm new content/recipe tests Estimated time: 50 minutes
5. Begin additional chapter of Ebook Estimated time: 25 minutes
What I love about this planner is it teaches you very quickly how to create a manageable workload so that you A) do not over extend yourself, B) actually get your tasks done. Each day I have learned how to break up my days and have the ability to still get (almost) everything crossed off. And since I have prioritized successfully, even if I only get two items done, they were the most important and something I desperately needed to get checked off. I was completely blown away at how much this as affected my procrastination. Exhibit B: Laundry. I hate laundry. Despise it with an utter passion. I hate it so much I usually let it pile up until it is a point of emergency when I finally do it. So, I tried to see if writing it as my most important task of the day in my personal productivity planner would work. Not only did it work, but I did literally every piece of laundry that needed to be done. I didn’t complain, I put my head down right away Sunday morning, and before I knew it everything was done, and folded. It is almost like a game to me. As long as I get that most important task of the day done, I know that I can tackle all of the other tasks with easy. Now it may seem silly that I need to write laundry down, but honestly it is an area I struggle intensely with, and by making it a priority, my procrastination melted away. Complete magic, I tell you.
I like to reflect at the end of the day (and plan the next day). There is a section for you to fill out how you felt the day went, what positives were achieved. It also has a productivity score chart for you to fill out as well. Each week there is a weekly check-in that keeps you in line and the quotes from great minds and business giants keep you motivated every single day!
Now, I am not saying you HAVE to buy this particular planner. I happen to love it so much I use it for my business and my personal life (which is also helping with wedding planning!). Even though you may not want to purchase that planner (and this is not at all sponsored), but if you have issues with staying on task, I implore you to try this system or buy the planner right meow. For chronic procrastinators, or those of us ADHD challenged, it really opened up my eyes to a way of working I have never experienced.
It has been the single best purchase/discovery for my business and I have already seen a giant leap in my productivity. It feels almost like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders as now I have this system that finally, FINALLY works for me. Who would have thought I finally found the key?!
To purchase the productivity planner, you can visit their website here:
Or go to Amazon and buy it here: