The Top 10 Strategies for Getting Things Done with ADD

by Bonnie Mincu

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) is a condition that impacts a person's ability to focus and sustain attention. People who have ADD usually are challenged in the areas of distraction, paying attention, getting started or sustaining tasks, and following through on projects or commitments.

Conversely, when a person with ADD is very interested in something, it is difficult for the person to pull his or her attention away from that interest.

Because true ADD is usually neurological, affecting the parts of the brain that focus and sustain attention, an ADDer will have difficulties in these areas despite strong desire and attempts to overcome it. A person with ADD may make commitments to take an action, but find that week after week, the commitment isn't followed.

These strategies will help you in your desire to get things done.

  1. Commit to one vision.

    You may have many brilliant ideas and plans, but without implementation, none are worth much. Choose ONE idea to flesh out and commit to. Write it down in detail. Picture exactly where you'd like to be with that one idea at the end of a year.
  2. Mark each little step on the calendar.

    After figuring out all the little steps, make a commitment to yourself as to exactly when you'll do them. Put them on a calendar so you can see all the steps, working backwards from your final goal or deadline.
  3. Chunk it down.

    Divide all tasks into small, manageable chunks. Instead of planning to file a huge pile of papers, plan on filing only one inch of paper at a time. Don't commit to getting rid of all the clutter in the house; but perhaps one visible shelf at a time.
  4. Plan on getting help.

    Many of the steps may be in areas where it makes more sense to get someone else to help than to do it all yourself. Consider people around you who might find it easy to do the things that you find daunting. For example, if you don't know Excel, ask your computer-whiz teenager to set up a database. Love to cook, but can't bear to file? Barter with someone you know who has administrative skills to help with filing. Hate research? Trade an hour of coaching time for your friend's researching digital cameras for you on the Internet. If clutter has become overwhelming, consider that the cost of hiring a professional organizer for a day (to do what would take you weeks to accomplish) might be worth it.
  5. Consider your best mode of focusing attention.

    If you need to learn new information, think about how you do your best concentrating and memorizing. Are you most effective seeing it, hearing it spoken out loud, or pacing up and down while reciting it to yourself. Maybe rocking in a chair while you make up rhyming lyrics about the information helps you focus best. Don't assume that the traditional manner works best for you.
  6. Learn to observe what distracts you.

    When you find your time frittered away without accomplishing your intention, start observing and taking notes on what distracts you. Is it your own thoughts, or the need to constantly check and answer email? Do you feel compelled to answer the phone whenever it rings, and then get into long conversations? Once you become clear on what your distractions are, you can start to create strategies to overcome them.
  7. Allow multi-tasking to work for you.

    Many ADDers tend to multi-task, doing two or more things at once to stay stimulated. This can be an excellent strategy for getting things done that don't require much concentration. You can file while watching TV, or learn Spanish through audio-tape while on the treadmill.
  8. Listen to the messages that you give yourself.

    Do you have a lot of "I can't" messages in your self-talk? Think about ways to change them to "I will accomplish my goals." Once you have a strategy for working with your special ADD traits, instead of fighting against them, you can achieve a great deal. Allow yourself to accomplish small steps at a time, and you'll prove it to yourself.
  9. Keep out negative messages from others.

    If important people in your life are constantly throwing negativity your way, you don't have to embrace the message. Think of your self-esteem as a fence with a gate. You can CHOOSE whether or not to open the gate to negative messages that drain you. Having a loved one in your life doesn't mean you must allow in every one of their utterances.
  10. Avoid black/white thinking.

    If something you try doesn't work, don't automatically throw it out. Think about what didn't go as planned. Perhaps your strategy just needs tweaking. The idea may still be great, but the implementation can be modified. Or maybe more trial and repeat is needed. Thomas Edison was said to have tried thousands of times before he got the light bulb right!

About the Author

Bonnie Mincu is a Personal And Business Coach who specializes in the coaching of adult attention deficit disorder. I help my clients understand the different strategies that are needed to create action and change in their lives. An ADD Coach helps people with ADD understand how ADD functions in their lives, so that they can work WITH their own flow and rhythm, rather than against it. You can reach goals you never thought possible! To find out more about me or to subscribe to my free THRIVE WITH ADD newsletter, please visit:

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