You know the feeling.
You try extra hard to pay attention.
Be it with a client discussing their needs with you or a slew of emails you have to respond to.
But doing these tasks feels like you’re running a marathon up a cliff.
And it’s not because you’re lazy. You’re actually quite dedicated.
But it may be because you suffer from something very real and very distracting that could wreak havoc on your business. Something that’s not even your fault.
That something is called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is a common mental disorder that’s diagnosed most often in children but it can very possibly follow them into adulthood. According to WebMD, while there is no known cause to ADHD; some doctors credit genetics and other mental health disorders for the chronic inability to pay attention more tentatively.
ADHD occurs when the neurotransmitters in the brain work abnormally, affecting things like your attention to detail, listening, and memory.
You may feel there’s no way to run a business if you can’t even pay attention to simple tasks.
But there are numerous ways to improve your time management skills for your business. Let’s lay out 17 of them below.
Get A Proper Diagnosis
For some people it’s easy to get attached to the notion something is wrong when it really isn’t.
And even worse, some people will try to use it to their advantage. This could be bad for you and your business.
So, one of the main steps in improving your time management skills is to admit something’s truly wrong with your time management.
This is where you’ll either come to the conclusion that you’re simply unorganized and need some help at running a business or you have a very real disorder that must be addressed.
WebMD spells out some of the main symptoms of ADHD including:
- Chronic problems with showing up to work on time with no valid excuse
- Paying bills on time
- Monitoring children properly
- Keeping commitments
- Lack of sympathy towards others
- Becoming easily annoyed
Visit a doctor to get checked for ADHD. Only then can you truly address your management problems effectively.
Ask Yourself: “Do I even want to run a business?”
Sometimes, people are drained by managing a business that’s run it’s course. And the lack of attention the business may deserve lies upon the fact that your heart simply isn’t in it anymore, which could have nothing to do with ADHD.
Think about it for a minute.
What skills do you need to run a business? What activities happen in a business?
Listening to other peoples’ needs. Staying organized. Paying expenses. Monitoring market trends applicable to your business. Caring about clients and coworkers.
These common thoughts may cross your mind:
Oh my God. Is he still talking?
Goodness, these spreadsheets are a pill!
This meeting is taking forever!
While some people with ADHD may find grave difficulty in finding time to balance all those activities – getting lost in business meetings, hating the loud office space, feeling overwhelmed with just a few tasks – it may be because your interests have simply floated elsewhere.
If you find yourself giving other projects more undivided, dedicated attention, it may not be a ADHD issue. You may simply have no interest in being in business any more.
Close the curtain on it and get your life back.
Get (and Keep) A Regimen of Medications
The results are in: you have ADHD.
But before you fall in a rut, understand ADHD can be monitored and treated successfully.
And one of the best ways to keep your symptoms under control is by taking your prescription medications as necessary.
Common ADHD medications like Amphetamines and Dextroamphetaminework by regulating the brain chemicals responsible for your attention span, impulses and hyperactivity.
While you should be cautious of any potential side effects, medications are only as good as you are at taking them. You will continue to experience the same symptoms if you don’t take your prescribed meds regularly.
Cody Lister, owner of an online marketing strategy business, stated in an email interview that setting your alarm clock to remember important tasks (like remembering meds) is one of the easiest hacks in managing time for folks with ADHD. He also recommends setting calendar reminders on Google Calendar so you’ll receive email reminders (and phone reminders for Android users) via your cell phone where ever you are.
Todoist and Remember The Milk are two more apps Lister recommends as both all-in-one task managers, popular with busy business folk, who juggle several important duties in a day’s time.
Hire A Nanny
This may sound extreme, but hear us out!
Not hiring extra help could be the difference in sustaining your business and watching it go south.
According to Sandy Maynard, a writer with, hiring a nanny to improve your time management could be all the difference in making more time for your business.
Folks with ADHD often have a hard time focusing on things that are not truly pressing. For example, they could have difficulty stressing over why their house isn’t perfect (i.e. clean, spotless dishes, making sure every coil of dust and dirt is vacuumed from the floor, spending an hour to iron a shirt, etc).
Give these tasks to a nanny if you can afford it.
Provide her a set of tasks and a schedule and the chores become someone else’s problem, allowing you more time to focus on your business.
Do Small Tasks the Day Before
If you have a business meeting tomorrow, and there are small chores you may have planned to the same day, do them right now.
Grocery shopping planned for tomorrow? Do it today.
Promised to take the kids to the movies? Do it today.
Don’t know what suit to wear for the meeting? Pick it out now so you’re not worrying about it tomorrow.
Handling small tasks today allows you more time tomorrow when you have serious business commitments to keep.
Set Your Clocks Back a Hour On Purpose
This is an easy hack that forces you to think you have more time in the day.
Setting all your clocks back, especially the clock in your car, makes you not only keep business appointments but it helps you address these appointments earlier than scheduled.
This will help you build trustworthiness with your clients as well as those in your social circle.
Your reliability will help you sustain more business, build a more positive brand for yourself, and help you feel better about being able to keep commitments.
Imagine What Failure Feels Like
Additudemag.com details an interesting way approach ADHD as a business person: fear.
What will happen if you turned in a half-done project to a client late? Or not at all? Or fail to process a refund within the time you promised?
It could feel like your business is going through a public beheading.
Try imaging everything around you falling apart.
Your business crumbles.
Your spouse and kids walk out on you.
The utility company cuts your lights off.
All because you simply didn’t know how to control your ADHD.
But the sad part is that when it comes to your business, clients usually don’t care.
They are doing business with you for your products and services, not to be sympathetic to your health problems.
Sounds cruel, but it’s true.
Sit back and just imagine what life could be like if you lost it all. Sometimes, that’s enough to take health problems seriously.
Become a Minimalist
Simply put: the less you own, the less you have to worry about.
When you convince yourself you have many tasks to accomplish in 24 hours, you attention could be stretched between meager jobs and very important tasks, like running a business.
By the time you realize it, you have no time for nothing else because of your struggle to focus.
The less clothes you have, the less ironing you have to do. Sell them at a yard sale.
The less dishes you have, the less you have to wash. Give them away.
Take a grocery list with you, every time, to the store, so you know you won’t overspend.
And as far as business, take on only a few loyal clients or spread the workload across other employees.
Hire students as part of an internship or part time employees to reduce your expenses while meeting the workload.
When battling ADHD and multiple tasks, always remember less is more.
Many times, when someone has difficulty focusing, when they do actual settle for a task to do right, they go for perfection.
But perfection doesn’t mean the project gets turned in on time.
Laurie Dupar, a senior certified ADHD coach and psychiatric nurse, states inthat perfection can be detrimental to people with ADHD trying to manage their time better.
She explains that it’s better to have a project 85% perfect but turned in on time than to have a project 150% perfect and turned in late.
Late delivery in business dealings could hurt your ability to work with clients in the future.
Just Say No
When you have ADHD, it’s easy to assume you’re the problem.
But that’s not always the case.
Not every client or business deal deserves your time. Sometimes, they’re late or they don’t respond to your inquiries.
And that’s an obvious waste of your time!
Not every customer can get an instant reply, regardless how hard you try. Sometimes a product doesn’t work because they didn’t follow the directions.
A wise man said the fastest way to misery is trying to please everyone.
And in business, any good business owner tries to make each customer happy.
But it’s proven time and time again to be an impossible feat.
The most you can do is to do your best. But that doesn’t suggest being a door mat to please people.
When you know people, even customers and clients, are taking advantage of your time, politely tell them no.
There are many exercises that are well-known for building concentration and focus for anyone.
One of the most popular being meditation.
This doesn’t always include yoga mats and awkward stretches.
The practice of mindfulness and awareness could simply be sitting in a quiet room, focusing on nothing but your breathing.
You can also exercise your brain’s memory and concentration functions.
Learning a new language or a new complex job skill can all help build better focus for you.
Or you could simply program on your Google Calendar each and everyday, like Mr. Lister recommended earlier, to take a short walk between meetings at work.
These all in turn could make time management for you more doable. It wont’t feel like your struggling to meet every commitment for the day.
Explore Your Curiosity
If there’s something you’ve been curious about, make time for it.
There’s a new product in your market you want to know about before your competitors do.
You should make time to research it.
The very idea that you’re making time for these curiosity should be a milestone for you.
You can concentrate and focus on things!
Use this as a means to approach other things in your business. When you allow your curiosity to play a part in all your company dealings, you find yourself focusing better on the company as a whole.
Try Some Listening Exercises
Next time in you’re in a business meeting or interviewing a potential client or employee, do little talking.
Force yourself to listen to the other person and how they can benefit you and your company.
It may seem like a drag, but forcing yourself to listen to others helps build empathy and generosity.
More importantly. it helps eliminate miscommunication when approaching serious deadlines, like signing a contract or delivering a project on time.
Additionally, stresses at home can affect your work performance. This exercise could be extremely helpful if there are communication issues within a marriage where ADHD is causing a spouse to appear uninterested in the other.
Seek More Pleasure
On the outside, ADHD can sound depressing.
The difficulty concentrating and focusing on everything could be stressful on your business and personal lives.
Sometimes, one can get wrap on the crippling idea of ADHD without realizing you can still live a fairly normal life.
Make it a point to enjoy what you love without fear your ADHD will ruin a good time.
When you feel more lighthearted and content, meeting items on your schedule won’t feel like such a strain.
Study People You Admire
How do they do it all in one day without losing their mind?
When you come across that one Superman or Superwoman who seems to balance work and family like a boss, study them.
See what they do that you may not have thought of before.
If they are people in your social or working circle, simply reach out to them during a conversation and just ask.
Compliment their ability to make it all work and just ask for some tips.
It’s very likely they’ll be happy to provide you a tip or two.
Or study celebrities with attention deficit disorders by simply Googling them. According to Additudemag.com, celebrities like will.i.am, Lisa Ling and Justin Timberlake have all have been diagnosed with the disorder affecting their ability to focus and concentrate.
Are You Eating The Right Foods?
This one was saved for last for a reason.
Eating right is necessary to combat anything in life. But there are also foods which can help people with ADHD focus and find more time in the day for their work.
According to WebMD, there are several foods that help with ADHD symptoms. Here are some of them:
- Natural sugar (in fruits)
- Breakfast foods, especially whole grain
Incorporating these into your routine could help you maintain your schedule and meet appointments more effectively.
Don’t Be Ashamed of ADHD
At the end of the day, the fact remains you have ADHD.
But that’s not to suggest it’s something to feel down about.
ADHD is not a death sentence.
It only has a negative connotation in your business and your life if you allow it.
There are many support groups online for people with ADHD and similar conditions.
Some notable national support groups include Children and Adults with ADHD and the Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
Consider joining one if you’re having some trouble accepting your ADHD.
As mentioned throughout this article, it’s easy to get tied up in the existence of ADHD and forget about the existence of still enjoying life.
Approach your ADHD with a can-do attitude. Talk to your doctors and follow the regimen they provide you.
Or consider the numerous tips provided above.
So, the next time you feel down and out because time management is proving to be your weak spot in managing your business (or your life in general) due to ADHD, just remember a few final points:
This can be treated.
It doesn’t define the good business man or woman you are.
And you can still lead a successful and happy life.