I’m not really sure if I have ever mentioned it here or not, but I’m a freelance writer. I specialize in several different areas (sort of a oxymoron, I know) including being a freelance financial writer and freelance technology writer. One of the websites I read from time to time is called Freelance Switch. Originally, I believe, it was conceived as a website to help people make the switch from regular day jobs to becoming full-time freelancers. Over time, it has morphed into more of a generalized resource for various freelance entrepreneurs, especially those work at home small business owners. It isn’t focused on freelance writers, per se. In fact, I feel like its focus is more on designers and developers, but much of what is good for freelance design work is also good for freelance writing business, so I try and drop by the site or catch up on the latest freelancing tips via the RSS Feed. Incidentally, if anyone is interested, you can “follow” my shared Google Reader items if you like. Be aware that they are both very self-serving (I share all of my own posts) and not at all targeted to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADD in any way.
I bring the subject up because time management and organization skills for ADHD are often just more intense or specialized advice that comes from standard organization tips and best practices. In particular, the crazy, hectic, self-managed, be-your-own-boss, lifestyle that is being a freelancer requires high-power time management techniques and organizational tricks to keep up on the many tasks that a small business owner must do to be successful.
A recent posting brought up the concept of a not-do list. The not-do list is a powerful companion to the more ubiquitous to-do list.
Not-Do List ADHD Trick Advice
Here’s how it works.
Now, this isn’t what you might think. A Not-Do list is not for those abstract ADHD traits that you want to manage by avoiding them. For example, do not procrastinate, might be a worthwhile goal, but it is not what goes on the organizing Not-Do list. Rather, the not do list is for items that have been deliberately and rationally dropped from your to-do list for whatever reason.
Generally, the end result of prioritizing your tasks is that some lower-priority items, or tasks with future due dates, are either dropped from your to-do list, or moved to the bottom of the list. One really good organizational tip when it comes to time management is to keep shorter-term to-do lists because they are more manageable. For example, if it is May and you need to register for classes in July, but the schedule isn’t released until June, that to-do item is just cluttering up your list for a month or more. If there is one thing people who are easily distracted do not need, it is extra clutter to focus on.
Which leads back to the not-do list. Unlike the to-do list, which you should look at to help determine what you should work on next, the not-do list is a reminder of the tasks that might draw your attention away from the more important tasks and pressing needs currently at hand, like writing posts for your ADHD blog. (Ahem!)
It’s an age old story among the world of ADDers about people with ADD going off and suddenly doing long-standing projects with laser focus for a period of hours when what they should really be doing is filling out those forms that have to be delivered in one hour. In other words, the not-do list is used to remind yourself of those important, but not pressing needs that might be particularly distracting for that day or week.
Try putting that necessary, but long-term project on your not-do list for this week as a way of maintain focus on those things that must be accomplished this week instead.
Let me know how it works out for you. I’ll be trying it myself.