ADD and Becoming Productive – Part 4

Hopefully by now, you have tried the first three steps to getting your flow of work organized and assembled in such a way that you do not feel so overwhelmed. After the first three steps – collecting, processing, and organizing – comes the fourth of five steps in mastering workflow.

The “review” phase of mastering workflow is an important one for the ADD person. You need to be able to take a look at all of your outstanding projects and any loopholes you may have on a weekly basis. Yes, it’s true – this only needs to be done on a weekly basis. Remember you are trying to stay organized, and you need not waste time on a daily basis on reviewing your “To Do’s!”

So what do you review and when? I am assuming that you have already set up your organizational system as I suggested. If you did, then you should have a “Projects” list, a calendar, a list of “Next Actions,” and a “Waiting” list. These items will need to be checked daily for the most part. Okay, now you are ready to review!

The one thing you will review the most often is your calendar. This gives you a perfect overview of what absolutely must be done “today.” Now this does not mean that those things that must be accomplished today are the “most important.” They are merely things that have to happen today. Check them off as you do them – this will serve as a visual reminder that you are done and will spur you ahead to the next “have to do” item for that day.

Once you have checked your calendar, you will probably want to go over your “Next Actions” lists (i.e., “at home” list; “errands” list; “meeting planning” list, etc.). These lists contain the stuff you could do today if you have time or the desire.

You can review your “Projects” list and “Actions” list daily if you want, but you may find you don’t need to as often. Most people with ADD who know they have issues with organization tend to check theirs more frequently as this will cut down on unnecessary worrying.

Don’t forget that the ADD brain needs to stay uncluttered and focused. You can’t do that if you have all of these lists running rampant in your head! Even if you don’t review all of your lists daily, you must, I repeat, you must do so weekly at a minimum. If you don’t, then your organizational system will break down quickly.

The easiest way to incorporate checking on your stuff that needs to be done is to pick a certain time of the day to do so. Some people prefer to go over everything the first thing in the morning to get an idea of what the day looks like. Others review the night before. It’s purely a matter of preference. However, I have found that people with ADD have a hard time winding down at night anyway, so you might not want to review your next day’s lists then. If you think it will keep you awake while your brain goes over and over something, then your organizational system has failed you! The key is to be able to
turn it over” to your system and let your mind be clear.

In terms of your weekly review, make sure you do the following things:

§ Gather and process all your “stuff

§ Review your system

§ Update your lists as needed

§ Make sure you are as current and complete as possible

Most people do not have a thorough system for managing workflow so they live with a sense that something “needs” to be done, but they can’t quite put their fingers on what it is! Think about how you feel before you leave on a vacation. Most of us have a tendency to want to clean off our desks, finish what is needed to be completed, and know what you are facing upon your return.

Your “review” phase of managing workflow lets you do the same thing, but on a much more frequent basis. It leaves you feeling ready for the next challenge, without all of the anticipation that having an overloaded ADD brain can bring! This system works – but only until you have used it, repeated using it, and see the results will you believe me. So get going and get organized!