Control your browsing
What are your time sinks? I'm betting that one of them is browsing the Internet. It's a real trap for anyone with ADHD. All those interesting links that lead to new places, and you tell yourself that you're just going to surf for a couple of minutes. Next thing you know, an hour has gone by. There are A couple of options to control your surfing. If you have the Firefox browser, you can install the LeechBlock or Tea Timer addon. Or use the Title Bar Browser Timer or Minutes Please, in case you can't install anything on your work computer.
Use your most productive time block wisely
For many people, including me, morning is the most productive time. I try to delay all time-wasting activity till the afternoon, when I know that my brain is ultra-distractible and a little sluggish. For you, it might be afternoon or evening. Whenever your productive time block is, don't waste it, or it will be gone for the day. If I look at the clock and see that it's 9:30 and I haven't accomplished anything, I get to work. I know I've already wasted half of my most productive time block. If answering email seems to suck all your time away, put it aside till you're out of your productive time. If answering phone messages is the time sink, delay that till you're satisfied with your productivity for the day.
Don't kid yourself about time spent on tasks
Don't kid yourself about how much time you're spending on a task. I call it rubber time. You know, how you swear you've been working on something for an hour, but in reality it's only fifteen minutes. This is a common problem with ADHD. You can use one of the timers above to handle this. Set the timer for the amount of time that you know the task will require. Until that timer goes off, keep working. Don't keep checking the clock.
Move around as much as possible
If possible, at least once an hour, get up and walk around. Go to the bathroom, or just pretend to. Go get some water from the water fountain or run up a couple of flights of stairs. At lunchtime, walk around outside or even up and down the hall.
Cut down on distractions
Do you have your email program set to alert you in some way when you get a new email? Even if you don't have ADHD, there's a good chance that the alert will work on you like a bell did on Pavlov's dogs. See alert, check email, lose track of what you were doing before alert popped up, get back on track, see alert...rinse and repeat.
When you are in that productive time block, whether it's morning, afternoon or evening, your best bet is to shut down any distractions on your computer - your email program, your instant messaging program and possibly even your browser. You know that it will make a big difference.
So now that I'm done helping you to be more productive at work, I'm going to start my email and instant messenger programs up again and start web surfing (with a timer on, of course).
Learn more organization and time management strategies here.
Published On: June 24, 2009