Ana Natkins

Mindfulness in everyday life

Cultivating productivity and mindfulness every day

How to cultivate productivity and mindfulness every day?

 

Mindfulness: a modern fad or a practical tool for enhancing daily life?

Despite its ancient roots, some modern men and women still dismiss mindfulness as another fleeting trend, irrelevant in the practical world of business, family, and education.

Others may view it as a complex practice, reserved for the serene few who have hours to dedicate to meditation.

Mindfulness practice by child on pillow

I believe these assumptions are missing the bigger picture. Mindfulness is actually a simple, accessible skill that can be woven into the fabric of our hectic schedules to foster clarity, resilience, and productivity.

I am writing this article because within my own life, mindfulness practices have greatly reduced my overwhelm as much as being organized with my tasks and time. It really is the yin to the yang of organization and motivation.

This is my attempt to debunk the myths surrounding mindfulness and show practical ways to integrate it into your busy day, enhancing your effectiveness and well-being especially if you are a neuro-divergent individual.

What is mindfulness?

Imagine you’re the manager of a busy restaurant, it’s your job to keep an eye on everything—from the kitchen to the customers. Mindfulness is a bit like being that manager but in daily life. It means paying full attention to what’s happening right here and right now, without getting sidetracked.

Here’s what being mindful involves:

  • Noticing: It’s like being the coach of your own team. You notice what’s happening with you—your thoughts, feelings, and everything around you in the present moment. Are you feeling rushed? Is your mind buzzing with the to-do list while you’re playing with your kids? Ask yourself what you are doing right now and what you need?
  • Not Judging: Suppose you realize you’re feeling overwhelmed about a big project that is coming up on your schedule. Instead of getting upset with yourself for feeling this way, you simply say, “Okay, I’m feeling overwhelmed,” and let that feeling be there without any self-criticism. It’s like watching cars pass by outside—you see them, but you don’t need to run out and stop them.
  • Being present: Instead of your mind wandering to that difficult client call you had or the school meeting you need to attend tomorrow, you keep your mind focused on what you’re doing in the current moment. Perhaps you concentrate on the smell of the dinner you are making or really listen to the story your child is excitedly telling you about their day.

Mindfulness may be a practice that has ancient roots but in today’s world, it’s a tool used by people all around the world, including busy moms and entrepreneurs like you, to help manage the amount of responsibilities and tasks that are on our plates in our daily work or home life. Most importantly, the benefits of mindfulness it can help you handle stress, stay organized, and enjoy moments with your family and those you love more fully.

The Science behind mindfulness

Research shows that practicing mindfulness can tweak your brain, turning down the parts that deal with stress and turning up those that help you concentrate and give you positive emotions. This doesn’t just reduce anxiety—it makes you a more effective thinker and leader, able to handle both business strategies and family plans.

The Science behind mindfulness and productivity

There have been studies that claim that mindfulness and mindfulness meditation actually help increase activity in the pre-frontal cortex, or in the area of the brain that helps you reason and problem-solve, giving you more control over parts of your thoughts, including the ones that can cause anxiety and stress.

Mindfulness in daily life

 

Practicing mindfulness can be about always being calm and collected, but the flip-side actually helps you fully participate in your life. Whether you’re sorting out your business accounts, preparing dinner, or reading bedtime stories, the practice of mindfulness lets you truly engage with the task at hand, making everyday actions mean more in the moment that they happen.

As a mother, a woman and an entrepreneur, I am naturally driven and motivated to hit my next goal, or to celebrate a birthday with my children. Mindfulness has helped me really see the true values in my life, improved my mental health and enjoy the parts of my life that bring me joy. I’d love to help you do the same thing.

Productivity and mindfulness

 

As a busy parent, businesswoman and neuro-spicy individual, you may think that you are a lost cause when it comes to mindfulness. When you are frantically running from one task to the next, sometimes skipping lunch and eating at your desk so you can get your kids to dance practice at 5:15, is it even POSSIBLE to fit mindfulness into your day or work environment?

productivity and mindfulness in daily life

Let’s put it to you this way, if your car was out of gas, would you find the time to fill it up?

If your child needed help with a friend who hurt their feelings, would you tell them you were too busy to talk to them?

The same is true with mindfulness practice. It can actually HELP you be more productive and think more clearly, with better focus, no matter how many things are on your task list.

Here’s how mindfulness training specifically helps with productivity:

  1. Clears the Mental Clutter: Mindfulness is like having a broom for your brain. It helps sweep away the distractions and worries that aren’t helpful to you right now. With a clearer mind, you can focus better on what is right in front of you, whether it’s finishing a work presentation or planning your child’s birthday party.
  2. Reduces Stress and Burnout: Just like a computer can overheat if too many programs are running at once, your brain can get overwhelmed when you’re too stressed, let alone your whole body. Mindfulness cools down your brain by calming your thoughts. This not only makes you feel better but also can stop you from burning out, allowing you to remain energized to tackle more of your tasks.
  3. Enhances Decision-Making: When you’re mindful, you’re not just reacting on autopilot. Instead, you’re more aware of what’s happening around you and can make decisions based on what’s really important. This can be a game-changer when you need to decide which tasks to prioritize, what to delegate, or how to handle a tricky situation with a client.
  4. Improves Time Management: By training your mind to focus on the present, mindfulness helps you become more efficient because you are able to complete things faster with more focus. You might notice that you’re not wasting time worrying about what might happen next week, or dwelling on a mistake from yesterday. More time focusing on now means more gets done, and done well.
  5. Strengthens Relationships: Whether it’s with your kids, partner, or business colleagues, being present can make a big difference. Mindfulness helps you listen better and react more thoughtfully. Stronger relationships can lead to smoother days both at home and in your business.

Here is some more literature about mindfulness helps productivity through more sustainable work.

What can happen if we aren’t mindful?

 

You can understand the importance of mindfulness from a high level, but I wanted to dive a little deeper into what can happen if we aren’t mindful.

I believe that many of us can relate to a lot of these symptoms, which is why I want to share them with you. If you can relate to 2 or more of these, you may benefit from starting with some mindfulness practices.

Mental overload 🤯

Just like a computer slows down when too many applications are open, your mind can become bogged down when you try to juggle too many thoughts at once. This mental clutter can make it extremely hard to focus, especially if it is compounded by ADHD, leading to forgotten commitments and scrambled priorities. Imagine trying to prepare for an important business meeting while also keeping track of your child’s soccer schedule—without the ability to slow down and focus on each task at a time, the details can easily slip through the cracks.

mental overload due to lack of mindfulness

Physical stress 💪🏼

Often, we ignore the early warning signs of stress, but over time, these can manifest physically. You might find yourself struggling with insomnia, experiencing frequent headaches, or feeling a constant, unexplainable fatigue. It’s like pushing a shopping cart with a stuck wheel—no matter how hard you try, it will just add to your exhaustion and frustration.

I had this happen to me over 2 years ago when I had heart palpitations and passed out in my kitchen, it was a direct result of chronic stress and overwhelm and forced me to take some drastic measures and learn how to maintain my task load and release the stress.

Emotional spillover 🥺

Without a way to circumvent and process stressful situations, emotional reactions can become much more exaggerated. Minor setbacks might provoke undue anxiety or irritation, affecting your interactions with your family and colleagues. It’s as if your emotional buffer is gone, and every little bump in the road feels like a major obstacle.

Have you ever noticed at the end of the day your children or your spouse acting grumpier than usual, or have you noticed that little things that wouldn’t have bothered you at breakfast now drive you crazy? Someone eating too loud? Your older kid starting a fight with their younger brother? Your hubby always in the WAY in the kitchen?

Now add more stress to that and see what happens.

Missing the moments ⏳

Almost worst of all neglecting the ability to be mindful means you might brute force your way through your days without truly experiencing them. Important personal moments—like watching your child learn how to on their own or the sense of accomplishment from a well-executed project at work—can pass by unnoticed. Life can start to feel like a series of tasks that must be done, rather than a series of moments to be enjoyed.

Multitasking madness 🤹🏼

One of the greatest theifs of productivity is the one thing that we find ourselves doing TO be more productive, and that is multi-tasking. The act of multi-tasking, or doing more than one thing at the same time, has actually been found to make us less productive at the end of it all. When you are making a phone call, at the same time you are ordering something from an online store, while also watching your toddler color on the floor of your office. At least one of those tasks is going to either be done incorrectly, or end up being crayons on your wall. Being mindful of what you are focusing on will allow you to single-task on one thing at a time and probably still get everything done faster.

Multi-tasking

I talk more about the multi-tasking myth in this article

Mindfulness in action 🎬

Try this simple mindfulness exercise next time you’re overwhelmed: Pause for a minute, take five deep breaths, and focus only on the air moving in and out of your lungs. Notice how it feels cooler when you breathe in, and warmer when you breathe out. This quick break can help reset your mind and improve your focus.

Mindfulness and meditation practices

With a much better idea of how mindfulness is helpful to you, I’ve compiled a list of possible easy and effective mindfulness practices that can be used at almost any time of the day to help calm the mind and help you focus. Some of them may be obnoxiously obvious, but sometimes it is the simplest and obvious practices that are the ones we don’t even think about trying.

Breathing Exercises One of the simplest and most popular mindfulness practices is focused breathing. This can be as straightforward as taking a few deep breaths before a big meeting or while waiting in the carpool line, or if you work remote like me, while waiting to get onto a Zoom call. You breath in for a count of 3, hold your breath for 3, breathe out for a count of 5 slowly. After 3 of these, your heart will beat slower, your head will be clearer and you will be able to concentrate better on the conversation or task at hand. <<asdf breathing exercise image??

Meditation: Meditation practice is a great mindfulness option that doesn’t need special equipment or lots of time—just a few minutes each day can make a significant difference in focus and concentration.

Apps like Headspace or Calm provide guided meditations that can help beginners get started. Whether it’s a 10-minute session in the morning or a quick five minutes while sitting in your office, regular meditation can enhance your focus and reduce stress.

I use this when getting ready for bed at night, or if I’m having a particularly stressful day.

Mindfulness breathing practice

Yoga Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, making it a comprehensive mindfulness practice. It not only helps in reducing stress but also improves physical health. Classes can range from gentle to vigorous, and many are designed specifically for busy professionals who need a quick mental and physical reset.

Walking Instead of just walking as a means to get from point A to point B, turn it into a mindful practice. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your steps, the sounds around you, and the feeling of the air on your skin. This can be especially refreshing during a busy day and is easy to incorporate, whether you’re walking to your next meeting or around your neighborhood.

I walk with my dog every morning (if you follow my social media at all, you have seen him many times) and on most days when I pick up my youngest from school. It helps force a break, gets exercise and sit down with my tasks ready to work.

I found some more exercises, specifically for ADHD individuals listed here.

Alternative mindfulness practices

 

I want to include some other practices in here that I have either heard about or tried myself as they may be helpful to those who have a bit more time, or need more options.

Journaling Taking a few minutes to write down your thoughts reflect on your day, jot down what you’re grateful for, or simply document the moments you want to remember.

Mindful Eating Turn your meals into an opportunity for mindfulness by eating slowly and without distractions. Focus on the flavors, textures, and smells of your food.

Crafts and Creative Activities Engaging in creative activities like drawing, painting, or knitting can be wonderfully meditative. I did this when my kids were younger creating cute crochet hats for them.

Tech-Free Time Set aside time each day where you disconnect from all electronic devices. This can be during dinner, the first hour after you wake up, or right before bed. (Ideally, all three)

These mindfulness practices are not only popular but also versatile, fitting into various schedules and lifestyles, especially for a busy entrepreneurial mother looking to incorporate mindfulness into her hectic routine.

Finding time for mindfulness practices during a busy day

 

Even with all of these mindfulness possibilities, as a busy entrepreneurial mom, it can feel like every minute of your day is accounted for. However, integrating mindfulness into your routine doesn’t need to be time-consuming or cumbersome.

Finding time for mindfulness practice

  1. First of all, Start Small. Begin with just five minutes of mindfulness a day. It could be a few deep breaths before you start your car in the morning or a quiet moment of reflection before you sleep. Remind yourself to do it by adding it as a habit to your morning routine, or leave a note to yourself on the steering wheel of your car. These small practices can build a foundation for a more mindful lifestyle without overwhelming your schedule.
  2. The moments between activities (transition times) are perfect opportunities for mindfulness. These could be the minutes spent waiting for the coffee to brew, standing in line at the grocery store, or waiting for your computer to start up. Use these snippets of time to practice mindful breathing or to simply observe your surroundings and sensations without judgment.
  3. Schedule It Just like you schedule meetings and family appointments, pencil in your mindfulness time. It could be a 10-minute slot for meditation or yoga during your lunch break or right after dropping the kids at school. Treating mindfulness time with the same importance as other appointments can help ensure you commit to it. If it’s important, you put it in the calendar! 😀
  4. Mindful Habits Choose routine tasks to perform mindfully each day. Whether it’s doing the dishes, folding laundry, or organizing your desk, focus fully on the task at hand. Notice the details of your actions, the sensations, and even the thoughts that arise, bringing your focus back to the task whenever it wanders.
  5. Mindfulness can be a family activity. Spend a few minutes each evening discussing what each person was grateful for that day, or practice breathing exercises together if your kids will do it (getting mine to breath? Not yet… maybe when they are older). Not only does this set a great example for your children, but it also enhances your own practice.
  6. Use technology to your advantage by setting reminders on your phone or using apps that prompt mindfulness exercises. These tools can help you stay on track and make mindfulness a regular part of your day. I know the apple watch does this periodically, but you can also just set an alarm.

A final word on mindfulness and daily productivity

 

Finding time for mindfulness doesn’t require major lifestyle changes. Instead, it’s about making small adjustments and using moments already available in your day more intentionally. By integrating mindfulness in these simple ways, you can reduce stress and enjoy a more fulfilling life amidst the bustle of entrepreneurship and motherhood.

Mindfulness benefits and being present

So that is my deep dive on mindfulness and it’s importance in productivity. If you’re anything like me—a busy mom and entrepreneur juggling a million things at once—you might think adding mindfulness into the mix is a bit much. But trust me, it’s not about sitting silent for hours in a zen garden; it’s about finding small moments throughout your busy day to just breathe and be present.

Mindfulness is our secret superpower. It helps clear the fog during chaotic days and brings a sparkle to the ordinary moments, like really hearing the excitement in your child’s voice over a small win at school or feeling the satisfaction of nailing that client presentation.

So, let’s start small. Take a deep breath in the morning rush, feel the sun on your face for a minute, or just enjoy the quiet of your house before the day kicks off. It’s these little nuggets of calm that can transform our hectic days. Here’s to making mindfulness a natural part of our bustling lives and to enjoying the journey along the way. Cheers to living fully, laughing often, and loving the little moments!

If you like what you have read here, or want more help achieving this balance in your work or in your life, check out my productivity workbook or look into my Simplify & Conquer service where we walk through your business processes in 90 minutes and you get personalized actionable steps to reduce the chaos and simplify your systems.

Some more helpful blog posts are

And finally, if you are interested in purchasing any of my ClickUp or Airtable Templates, designed to take you from neuro-spicy overwhelm to organized kick-ass busienss owner, check out everything here on my EVERYTHING page.

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work-life balance with adhd

10 Super Simple Ways to get work-life balance when you are ADHD

10 Super simple ways to get work-life balance when you are ADHD

 

10 Super Simple Ways to get work life balance when you are ADHD graphic

Are you eternally trying to achieve that “work-life” balance you keep hearing about? Having enough time to focus on work, and still be able to make it to your kid’s open-house at 6:00pm? Do you find yourself answering emails at 8PM for “end of the day” deliverables in between eating your own dinner and paying bills? Now add in a little neuro-spiciness into the mix… and if you are anything like me you have a recipe for overwhelm and burnout and just generally not feeling good about your life. It is difficult to achieve work-life balance when you are adhd. The cards feel like they are stacked against you. 

The fact is, you CANT have work-life balance unless you take specific steps and set boundaries to make sure that it happens, and sometimes, you will need to give more time to work, or your family, depending on what is going on. How do you know when that is? How do you figure out how to let go of the guilt? How do you give yourself the space to do your job well when your executive functioning doesn’t work like the “neuro-normals”.

Achieving this balance isn’t impossible, in fact it’s pretty simple if you just follow a few guidelines.

For individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD), achieving work-life balance requires intentional steps and coping strategies to manage both professional and personal responsibilities effectively. This blog post discusses 10 actionable ways to create such a balance, including assessing your current situation, setting clear goals, and automating routine tasks. These strategies help reduce overwhelm and burnout, fostering a healthier lifestyle and enhancing productivity by leveraging support systems and setting practical boundaries.

I can’t do it. I have too many responsibilities. I don’t have anyone helping me. I have adult ADHD and my brain doesn’t work that way.

Sound familiar?

These thoughts are common, especially if you have high expectations for yourself as a lot of us entrepreneurs, women, and perfectionists do. We all know what this feels like when we are hyperfocusing on something at work and then forget to have dinner, or pick up our kid from soccer practice…. no? Just me?

They are definitely holding you back from having a more healthy balance between your work, your family and your “play” time (or time you spend doing something for the simple reason that you enjoy doing it).

For years I thought that climbing the corporate ladder, no matter what it took was the way to my happiness. I took minimal maternity leave with my second child, worked at 5AM and until 10PM sending emails and striving to reach that next level… when in the end it got me nowhere and ended up raising my stress level so much I had heart palpitations and adrenal fatigue. Two years after this health scare, I also found out that I was ADHD, which added a whole other level of complexity to it.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot and I really want to share it all with you, so you don’t have to learn the hard way like I did.

So settle in to learn 10 actionable ways to achieve work life balance with (or without) an ADHD brain without having a health or mental breakdown in the process.

Yes, you can have this so-called “balance”, and I’m going to show you how.

#1. Assess your current work life balance

The first thing you need to do is figure out what you spend your time doing currently and why it is that you feel your work-life balance is out of whack. If you don’t know WHERe the problem lies, it’s hard to pinpoint what needs to change in order to fix it.

You can do this in a variety of ways, including keeping a journal, getting feedback from others, visiting a therapist or health practitioner, reviewing your personal goals, or my favorite – tracking your time and what you spend your time on.

Make note of the things that you enjoy spending time on, when you feel guilty for spending time on something, or even when your skin is crawling when you are working on something that you don’t enjoy but feel like you “have” to do.

Journaling to assess work life balance goals

#2 Set clear goals around the parts of the balance that you want to change

After you have taken a look at how you currently spend your time and identified the pieces that don’t bring you joy, or effect your mental or physical health, it is time to figure out WHAT needs to change in order to get you to Emerald City (aka, work-life balance).

This is the time when you want to be brutally honest with yourself about what you can or cannot do in order to be able to breath at the end of the day… or dare we say it, sleep at night.

Be forewarned, this may mean you will disappoint individuals in your life that have counted on you… or just expected you to do certain things. This could be the teachers that you promised to be room mom for, or your neighbor that you always help them shovel their driveway. It’s not that you like them any less or want to help them any less, it’s that you have decided to not sacrifice yourself and your time to endeavors that don’t fulfill something in you.

Keep the goals simple, clear and achievable, start with “I will spend 1 hour a day going on a walk by myself”, or “I will leave work at 5PM every day for a month”. These goals, also known as boundaries will be the markers to abide by in order to actually balance the things.

Goals of work life balance

Read my blog on goal planning or get my Airtable goal planner.

Pro Tip: You may benefit from writing your goals down on the family calendar or even a post-it note on the mirror in the morning. Keeping it front and center makes it a priority.

#3. Create a tribe of others who are also looking for work-life balance

Did you think you had to figure out how to do this all by yourself? 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

It’s a whole lot more fun – and motivating – when you are surrounded by other people who are striving for the same thing. Community that aligns with your values can be the thing that you fall back on when your internal motivation wanes (and believe me… when you get that panicked email from your boss at 9PM or your kids wake up in the middle of the night for the 4th night in a row… your motivation will take a nosedive).

How do you find these people? Facebook groups, talking with other parents of your kids that seem to be struggling with the same things. Heck, I bet you can think of 1 or 2 other people within your work sphere that are looking to achieve a healthier work/life balance. Even if they aren’t ADHD, with the amount of stimulation in today’s world and expectation on parents, they have very similar issues that they would appreciate support on.

#4 Prioritize quick wins

 

One of the hardest parts about making big changes in your life is JUST getting started. This is especially true if you are neuro-spicy and have 10+ ideas in your head at the same time. Where do you start? Of all the the things on your “goals” list, what is the one that you should figure out first?

One might think they should start on the one that seems the hardest, as it may take the longest time to complete, but that is opposite of what is actually going to MOTIVATE you to keep going.

That’s why we want to start with our quick wins.

Quick wins propel us forward to the next step

Let’s say two of your goals are cleaning up your workspace or making sure you have an hour every day to do something YOU want to do.

One of those is a lot easier to achieve than the other by the simple addition of a timer and alarm.

Finding the time in an already stacked day of responsibilities is EXTREMELY hard to carve out.

However, creating a habit to create a clean workspace and keep it clean is a much simpler step by step process that can happen instantaneously.

You can:

  • Remove Unnecessary Items from your workspace
  • Organize Supplies using organizers or simply only keeping the supplies you use.
  • Develop a simple system to keep your workspace organized long-term, like labeling drawers or allocating specific spots for certain items

Hitting easy to achieve goals like this will help to propel you further and immediately promote change to your mental “overwhelmed” state.

#5 Implement Structural Changes

Now that you have some quick wins in your journey to find that balance between the work and personal life, now you can look at the changes that may require more effort but are crucial to the long-term improvement of your life (and that, my friends, is really what we are all about).

Some of these changes may include

  1. Establishing Clear boundaries within all parts of your life. Your work schedule, your family and friend obligations, or even your sleep schedule (super-important by the way)
  2. Create an effective daily routine. Routines are what you fall back on when everything else has fallen to $hit and chaos reigns. Routines will keep you healthy, even-keeled, and able to whether the storms the inevitably hit for many reasons.
  3. Visual aids for organization. Perhaps the most concrete of structural changes, visual aids don’t let the priorities fall to the wayside. You can use of Whiteboards or Bulletin Boards (like I do in my kitchen) or Digital Tools like a shared calendar, project management or task management system for all parts of your life.

#6 Enhance Focus and Productivity Skills

This is where the “rubber meets the road” so to speak. Asking someone who is ADHD to “enhance their focus and productivity skills” can be like pushing them off a cliff and telling them to fly.

You CANNOT do this if the skills are not innate. However, you can start to work on these skills in different ways regardless of what your executive functioning or adhd symptoms feel like at the start.

Regardless of our natural skillsets, being able to be a functioning member of society is important. Because in the end, people need people. We have so many many gifts to share with the world. Being able to problem solve on the spot, being calm in otherwise chaotic circumstances and having ideas an the motivation to come through on those ideas in hyperfocused ways that is not possible for the neuro-typical… but executive functioning? We gotta work on. <3

The following are just a few way to help promote productivity and focus that I find most helpful in my life:

  1. Mindfullness practice and meditation. I use the CALM app to incorporate meditation and mindfulness techniques into my day as well as play ambient or binural music with Amazon Music or Calm while I need to recharge and do my focused work. It improves my focus and helps me get into “flow” quicker than if I was in dead silence. There is even clinical studies on this. Sometimes just sitting quiety for 30 seconds and practicing deep breathing is enough to get me out of my head and be present in the moment.
  2. Engage in physical activity. Regular physical activity is well-documented to improve both mental and physical health. For those with ADHD, it’s particularly effective as it can increase neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, which are crucial in attention and thinking processes.
  • Take a brisk walk, jump rope for 10 minutes, do something to get the heart pumping and the sweat glands activating. This is helpful for focus AS well as depression or low dopamine in general.
  • I take a 2 mile walk every single morning with my dog (who loves to appear in my social media as my best work partner), and it’s when I get my most ideas and motivation to focus on what will bring me closer to my goals.

#7 Adjust and Delegate

We can’t do it all. It’s just fact. If there are only 24 hours in a day, and 8 are meant for rest, another 8 for work, at least 8 for traveling, shopping, preparing food and cleaning… you really don’t have that much time for your personal life.

Delegating your tasks

Enter delegation. There are SO many various tasks that are on your plate that you probably don’t have to do. Honestly. So many women take the burden of household manager, as well as primary parent and breadwinner. Our fore-mothers paved the way for us to have it all, and damned if we aren’t going to do it all, right?

Wrong. This is a script for becoming a crazy woman, burnt out and worst of all, sick.

Our foremothers would want us to do what fulfills OUR hearts… whether that’s taking your adhd child to yet another psychologist or running your own company to show your kids what women ARE capable of.

So to do this, we need to delegate some of those tasks to others. It could be administrative tasks and keeping the ball rolling at your business, or sending your kids to aftercare after school even though you are home working.

  • Identify Delegable Tasks: Review your responsibilities and identify tasks that can be performed by others. Look for tasks that are time-consuming but don’t necessarily require your expertise or tasks where others can benefit from the experience as a learning opportunity. Look outside the obvious paid help. Your husband may be the one who could do the grocery shopping… or your kids be the ones to put the dishes away.
  • Choose the Right Person: When delegating, especially when it’s someone you hire, it’s important to choose individuals whose skills and experience match the task. Clearly communicate your expectations, deadlines, and any necessary details to ensure the task is completed effectively.
  • Provide Proper Training: Ensure that the people you delegate tasks to have the necessary skills and training to complete them. This might involve spending some amount of time teaching or mentoring, but the initial investment will pay off in the long run.

#8 Just Say No to non-priority requests

Saying no is crucial to protecting your time and energy for tasks that align with your personal and professional goals. Go back to those goals that you set for yourself in item #2. If you are asked to do something that doesn’t align with those goals…. well, you know what to do!

Of course, you will need to be professional when dealing with clients and team members, but how you hold your boundaries and say no will reflect what others can get away with, whether they are team members OR your clients. Be the example.

Just say no and hold boundaries

Here are some steps to be able find out which requests are non-priority and how to handle them.

  • Evaluate the Request: Whenever you receive a request, take the time to evaluate its importance and urgency. Ask yourself whether it aligns with your current priorities and goals. (See step 2)
  • Be Clear and Polite: When saying no, be clear and straightforward, but also polite. Express gratitude for being considered and briefly explain why you cannot accommodate the request if necessary.
  • Offer Alternatives: If possible, suggest alternatives. For example, if you can’t take on a project, recommend someone else or propose a time when you might be available.
  • Practice Regularly: Saying no can be challenging, especially if you’re used to saying yes to everything. Practice in low-stakes situations to build your confidence.

#9 Declutter regularly

As a mom of 2 boys, husband of a collector and adhd myself, this one is possibly the one practice to achieve work-life balance that I MUST do often or I am just plain overwhelmed with the sight of everything. Even though, many individuals with ADHD MUST have things within sight in order to even remember they exist (I lose my keys and phone on a regular basis), having too many things can have the opposite effect.

Which one feels better?

Cluttered versus tidy room

Regular decluttering of both work and living spaces is a highly effective way to minimize distractions and stress, ultimately enhancing your focus and productivity on the THING THAT MATTER. Visual clutter can significantly increase cognitive overload and distractibility… and ultimately shutting down.

Make decluttering your physical space a weekly habit, or even daily habit.

One of the ways I like to think about it is to prepare the space for the next time it will be used.

This means the dishes should be washed and put away prior to leaving it for the night, or your office desk cleared of post-it notes and random pens and put in a place they belong.

Invest in organizational tools to help keep the clutter put where it belongs and if it’s something you really don’t use, donate or throw them away.

#10 Automate wherever possible

Now that you have good systems to help your time management and you have delegated what is possible and decluttered your workspace, it’s time to automate.

Cute robot automating tasks

By reducing the time and effort spent on routine activities in work and your home-life, automation allows you to focus more on complex tasks that require critical thinking and creativity which is what we need as adhd entreprenuers. There are a variety of ways that these types of things can be automated, below is just a short list of ideas to start.

  • Bill Payments: 💵 Automate your bill payments using online banking services. This not only saves time but also helps avoid late payments and penalties.
  • Email Management: Use email automation tools to sort incoming emails, send automatic replies, or manage subscription lists. This can help keep your inbox organized without manual intervention.
  • Data Entry and Reporting: Automate data collection and report generation to save time and improve accuracy. Check out my blog on using Airtable for this here. Use software that integrates data from various sources and compiles reports according to your specifications.
  • Social Media Management: Schedule posts and manage social media interactions using tools like Buffer or Hootsuite. This helps maintain an active online presence without needing to be constantly online.
  • Inventory Management: Use automated systems to track inventory levels, reorder products, and manage suppliers, which is particularly useful in retail and manufacturing settings.

Many of these types of automations I implement for my clients with my team. We save our clients at least 12 hours a week by setting up the systems and the automations that do the work FOR them and allow them to revel in their zone of genius. (Find out more here)

How to Implement Task Automation

  • Identify Repetitive Tasks: Start by identifying tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming. These might include administrative duties, regular communications, or data management.
  • Choose the Right Tools: Select automation tools that fit your specific needs. Consider factors like cost, ease of use, and integration with other systems you currently use.
  • Set Up and Customize: Set up your automation tools according to your specific needs. Many tools offer customization options, so you can tailor them to perform exactly as needed.
  • Test and Adjust: Before fully implementing an automated process, test it to ensure it works as expected. Be prepared to make adjustments as necessary.
  • Train Relevant Users: If the automation tools impact other team members, make sure they are trained on how to use the tools effectively and understand the changes to their workflow.

There you have it! 

10 actual achievable steps to take to allow yourself to have a much better work/life balance. Starting with the big goals, the things you want to achieve in life will guide all of the “actionable” steps to take to get to that ultimate “balance” may mean makng some hard decisions. However, in the end, the work is worth it.

If you like what you have read here, or want more help achieving this balance in your work or in your life, check out my productvitiy workbook or look into my Simplify & Conquer service where we walk through your business processes in 90 minutes and you get personalized actionable steps to reduce the chaos and simplify your systems.

Some more helpful blog posts are

And finally, if you are interested in purchasing any of my ClickUp or Airtable Templates, designed to take you from neuro-spicy overwhelm to organized kick-ass busienss owner, check out everything here on my EVERYTHING page.

The only way to learn something is to USE it!
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Save Time

Streamline Your Day: How to save time in daily life

Are You Truly Busy, or Just Busy Being Busy?

Do you often find yourself at the end of a seemingly busy day with little to show for it? You’re not alone. Many of us spend our days caught in a cycle of reactive busyness—responding to every phone call, email, and solving other people’s problems, which prevents us from making progress on our own important projects. It’s a common trap where being busy does not necessarily equate to being productive.

What is Intentional Productivity?

True productivity isn’t just about doing things; it’s about doing the right things that move you forward in your goals. It may seem like kind of a simple thing, but in many situations it can be tempting to do the easy thing, and not necessarily the thing that will move you closer to the end result you really want. It involves directing your efforts toward important tasks that align with both your personal and professional aspirations. This approach may not come naturally at first, but like any skill, it improves with practice. Often, this might mean asking yourself, “Is this really bringing me closer to my goals and dreams?” or even pondering “What exactly are my dreams?” It’s simple yet challenging work.

I remember in 2002 I was in the process of breaking up with a my long-term boyfriend and came down with Guillian-Barre (a story for another time) which left me broken-hearted and weak. I was extremely lost and made some bad decisions (another story) but I remember making the decision to go back to school, chase after something I enjoyed for myself and move to an apartment in a high-rise in a suburb of Chicago by myself.

It was just the first of a long line of decisions I made to pave the path to my future goals and to not waste my precious time on people and things in my life that didn’t serve who I was meant to be.

That, to me, is what productivity is. Living life with intention and not just about “getting things done”. But perhaps I have digressed a bit too much. Let’s bring it back up a notch.

Some of us run our own business, some of us are working full-time and have side-hustles, and some of us are just trying to get through the day and be parents to our kids, or some other focus in life.

And so, here we are trying to figure out how to eek a couple more minutes a day and not get lost in the endless funnel of energy and activity that we are all too familiar with. Here is my personal list of ways to save your time, your most precious commodity to spend it on the things and people you want to most.

So I have compiled this list of 10 of my best tips to be more productive so that you can do to be more time-efficient in your working day and beyond.

Dare to Plan your day

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

Plan your day

Taking 10 minutes in the morning to plan your day, you will be much more successful in doing the things you set out to do. Check out my “morning routine” post on how to do this.

There are multiple things that happen when you take the time to plan your day. Not the least of which is not having to cognitively make decisions throughout the day what to work on next. If you outline your priorities and figure out what work will help you reach those prioritized goals, you only have to do it once, not every time you finish a task.

Focus on 2-3 activities to work on per day

The word “Priority” actually means “the very first or prior thing”, or 1 thing… however, we all know that focusing on 1 thing is pretty much impossible in today’s fast-moving world. However, you can choose 2-3 different tasks and make forward progress on them. Be specific about what you are going to move forward on, and hold yourself accountable.

I’d also like to mention that the priorities can be in different parts of your lives, whether it’s personal health, family needs or work needs. There are only 24 hours in a day, and you need to share them all equally in every part of your life for complete happiness.

Time-block your way

I personally don’t know how any mother or individual DOESNT time-block their day in some way shape or form. Even if we don’t know we are doing it, we still put our kids soccer games in our schedules and doctor appointments, we should do the same with everything else. Now there are many ways to skin that cat (where the heck did THAT saying come from?) but in essence, it’s just setting aside parts of the day for specific types of work. Something you are interested in? Check out this (article on Time-blocking)or this (Creating a digital calendar organization system)

Time-blocking example

My personal favorite is to create an “ideal” weekly schedule of what I’d like to work on when depending on how I know my energy works. I am most awake and productive in the morning, so I tend to schedule most of my heavily focused work then, when I’m fresh, my kids are at school and I’m not exhausted from all the “doing”. Sometimes I am specific about what I’m working on, other times I am more general, knowing the type of work that I will do, but allowing myself a little freedom to work on what is calling me (following my hyperfocus) at the moment in time.

Don’t let interruptions ruin focused work

The hardest thing to do when working in an office is reducing the interruptions and producing time for focused work. Even at home in my daily life, I get distracted by emails, slack messages and the dog barking at the other dogs in the neighborhood.

Now, while I can’t do much about the dog, I can turn off my phone and slack when working on something that needs my concentration (automations anyone?) and when I worked at an office I’d often book a conference room when I had a particularly challenging project.

When I know I need to focus, I typically make myself a cup of coffee or tea and put on the headphones for ambient music (I use the Calm app and Amazon Music playlists mostly). Essentially, this is akin to muting my senses that frequently distract me (my hearing of “pings” and “vibrates” apparently) and allowing my flow-state to engage more quickly.

Leverage technology whenever you can

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention the awesomeness of using tech to take some of the admin work out of your day. There are so many automations out there that can reduce the amount of work you NEED to do, from changing a status on a project tool, to making sure the right information makes it to an onboarding form. In today’s digital world, the opportunities are literally endless.

Leverage technology for productivity

Not a day goes by where I’m not thinking of how to utilize technology to make more “space” in my life. For example, I am using an AI in one of my favorite tools, Airtable, to take my blog posts and help separate them into social media blurbs. Still my voice but I don’t need to rewrite everything. That’s at least 30 minutes per blog. There are many creative ways to use technology to improve your productivity, from using a scheduler to set the work hours you are willing to take phone calls, or an all-in-one CRM that makes following your leads simple and effective.

Declutter your physical and digital space

declutered physical space

A clean space with less items, be it within your physical space, or digital one, is less noise and information for your brain to process. With less input, your brain can understand and focus on the things it needs to more easily, and therefore waste less time. Decluttering, throwing out, or just plain organizing your physical and digital space will reduce your stress and anxiety. With less things around, you have less to worry about.

Look around the space where you typically do your work. Are there old coffee mugs that still need to be taken to the kitchen? Post-it notes that have last week’s meetings on them? Pick them up, throw them away, wipe down your desk. Have only the essential items out and easily accessible.

Next, go through your digital drive once a week and put your files where they belong. Clean out your download folder and clear out your inbox. Just doing this helps to clear the clutter and allow you to streamline your work and focus so you don’t wast valuable time searching the files and emails that don’t have anything to do with what you need to be working on.

Learn to write effectively (and quickly)

Learning how to write, speak, and explain things in an effective format not only helps communication efforts with others, but also saves you time and stress from miscommunications or back and forth messages. Essentially, communicating using the least amount of words as possible, bullet points where able and simple, non-complicated words are best practices.

Nothing raises stress levels more than trying to read someone’s email that doesn’t have a clear path from introduction to ending, that jumps from subject to subject or uses words that I may or may not need to refer to in a dictionary to fully understand what is being conveyed. It’s a waste of my time and you can bet I won’t be responding quickly… or at all.

Take breaks during the workday

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks in your daily schedule actually helps your productivity simply because you will “run out of gas” if you don’t. Taking breaks helps restore mental energy, allowing the brain to rest in between your tasks. Kind of like your body needs to rest at night to be ready for the next day.

Typically I will take a break after a meeting (as an introvert, I need a breather then), or right before a long work period… or if I can just tell my attention is wandering. I have the tendency to want to work through the mental fatigue, but I know from experience that it is more detrimental to push through if my brain just can’t make the connections because it is spent.

The Pomodoro technique, is a technique that can help you stay focused and productive throughout the day. By breaking your work into intervals of focused work and short breaks, you can maximize your efficiency and avoid burnout. Additionally, incorporating tools like time-blocking and prioritizing tasks can further enhance your time management skills and increase productivity levels in your day.

Delegate what you can

Delegation of work

About 6 years ago when I was still working in corporate, I was also managing most of the house, making dinners, grocery shopping and taking the kids on all their extra-curricular activities. One night, I told my husband, “I’m done, you are now in charge of all laundry and meals”. Ever since then he has been in charge of meal planning and grocery shopping and all I need to do is make dinner some nights of the week. What a gift!

This is to say that delegating aspects of your work and life can really help your efficiency, whether it be childcare, administrative services or a simple tasks like your lawn for you. If it’s not something you get inherent joy from, or make money from yourself, delegate to someone else. Hiring a Virtual Assistant may be a great next step to delegating the repeating admin tasks in your business. Here is an article that goes into ways to delegate to a virtual assistant.

Remember to review your day

It may be the LAST thing you want to do at the end of your day, but quickly writing down what you did/accomplished on any particular day is extremely fulfilling. Even on the days where you felt like you spun your wheels, looking back at what you actually did accomplish? (even if it was just taking care of yourself and your family) That’s a win my friends. Now go enjoy the free time that is well-deserved.

Review your day

 

There you have it! 

10 sensible, easy-to-follow, solid tips on how to spend your time in your day efficiently so you can go on that walk with your best friend, or snuggle up and read a story with your little boy, or heck, linger over a glass of wine and watch Netflix. No judgement!

Implementing these ten strategies can transform not just how you manage your day but how you approach your entire life. By focusing on what truly matters and optimizing how you use your time, you can live more fully and work more effectively. The essence of productivity lies not in increasing the number of tasks completed but in enhancing the quality and relevance of what you accomplish each day.

By refining your approach with these strategies, you can ensure that your busy days are not only productive but also aligned with your deepest goals and aspirations. Whether it’s advancing in your career, nurturing your family, or developing personal projects, these tips provide a robust framework for achieving more with your time.

Did you find these tips helpful? Send me a note and let me know if you have any other tried and true tips for efficiency .([email protected])

If you’d like a bit more help in this area, you can check out my Simplify & Conquer session, which walks through your business and your productivity struggles and gives you solid actionable and personal advice to smooth out the wrinkles. Check it out here and schedule a call if interested

For more on time management and productivity, including how to save 8 hours a week check out the posts below

And finally, I created a Productivity Workbook to help you get started with figuring out how increase your productivity in your own life. It’s free and has a ton of actionable tips and exercises specifically developed to save you 8 hour a week of wasted time.

The only way to learn something is to USE it!
Grab my FREE Productivity Workbook below

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Morning Routing

Early Rising for more productivity

The 5 AM Club: The health benefits of rising early

 

The quietude that dawn brings is not just a physical phenomenon but a metaphorical representation of the mental clarity and tranquility that can be achieved by joining the 5 AM Club.

Waking up super early, like at 5 AM, is more than just avoiding the snooze button. It’s about getting that quiet, uninterrupted time in the morning when you can think clearly and feel calm. This idea is from a book called “The 5 AM Club” by Robin Sharma. He suggests that starting your day early with some exercise and a bit of thinking can improve your sleep quality and make your whole day better.

Morning Activities

I read the 5AM club book about a year ago, and was inspired to try based on the recommendations of the Author, Robin Sharma. Robin Sharma says to divide the first hour into three parts: moving (like a morning walk), thinking, and learning. But doing this can be tough with a busy life, family, and personal stuff. Sometimes, the warm bed wins, and you end up hitting snooze for some extra time asleep.So let’s talk about it. Why the 5AM club is a thing, how it works for some people, and how other people can learn from the benefits of it, but make it work for their own chaotic lifestyle

While this is all well and good in a book, the actualities of it happening? Well, in my life, any downtime is usually spent decompressing, walking the dog or sleeping.

There is so much going on in daily life with a family, kids, and your own brain on a roller coaster that getting up early feels like it’s a crapshoot. You can have ALL the intention in the world, but when that alarm goes off and you are exhausted. Getting out of bed is super-fecking-hard.

Daily chaos of getting kids ready

The benefits of a morning routine

Okay, so you know I like productivity, I like the attempt at living your life with some intention and not just letting the winds of luck or privilege or “that’s what it’s always been” choose my path. The early morning hours tend to be seen as the most productive time of day because you are fresh from quality sleep and there are minimum interruptions.

Being productive really means using your energy wisely, so that when you are rested, motivated and energized, you do the things that take the most mental effort, to be able to move that much closer to your goals. You could also call this “peak performance”

What are the health benefits of rising early?

 

Rising early has numerous health benefits (duh!). It boosts productivity, enhances mental well-being, and allows time for exercise and a nutritious breakfast. Early risers tend to have better sleep quality and improved focus throughout the day, leading to an overall healthier lifestyle.

Peak performance is a concept that refers to achieving the highest level of productivity and efficiency in your work. It’s about being at your best, consistently. A morning routine can play a crucial role in reaching this state.

As a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur… this “peak” performance feels like something that some childless 20-something “bro” came up with.

As much as it irks me, it’s kind of right. In order for us to be able to be our best for our company, our family, our friends, taking care of ourselves should be our number one priority.

The point of the morning routine is to start your day with a clear mind, focused vision and healthy outlook. Being able to start your day slowly, doing things that you personally enjoy and fill your soul, whether that be meditation, writing, or prayer can fill you with a sense of calm and patience.

Having a morning routine can do wonders. It helps you tackle your day and tasks with energy and enthusiasm.

Basically it sets you up to succeed in whatever it is that you want to do for that day… and who doesn’t want that?!

Oprah Winfrey swears by her morning routine. She starts her day with meditation, followed by a workout, and then spends time planning her day. This routine helps her stay focused, energized, and productive throughout the day.

Other well-known entrepreneurs and businesswomen, Richard Branson and Michelle Obama take time every morning to meticulously plan their day including spending time with family and alone time to reflect.

A well-planned day is a day with room for everything that actually matters.

It’s not just about getting more done. It’s about spending time on things that make you feel good and are good for you. Starting your day with physical activity, like a short walk, is great for your body and can help avoid health issues like obesity and high blood pressure. Spending some time thinking or learning can help you feel more alert and ready for the day.

Morning Routines and Mental Health

 

Starting your day early can also have significant benefits for your mental health. Morning is a time of quiet and calm, perfect for activities that nourish your mind and soul that you wouldn’t have time or bandwidth to do otherwise.

Whether it’s meditation, yoga, reading, or simply enjoying a cup of tea in silence, these activities can help reduce stress, improve focus, and boost your mood.

One of my favorite morning activities is going on a 2-mile walk with my dog. Even just the act of going outside, breathing the cool air, and walking the neighborhood is enough for me to feel inspired and ready to take on the day.

For women entrepreneurs with ADHD, these benefits can be even more pronounced. ADHD can make it challenging to focus and stay organized. A morning routine can provide the structure and framework to boost dopamine, helping to manage these symptoms and improve overall mental health.

Health of morning routine and focus

Does it have to be in the morning?

 

This is the question that I find myself asking whenever I read books like the 5AM club.

Do you need to set your alarm clock super-early to have these types of morning routines?

Choosing to wake up early for the 5 AM Club means changing your sleep habits. It’s hard to go from your usual routine to something new, especially if it means getting less sleep at first. You have to fight the temptation to stay in bed. It’s about saying no to sleep inertia (that groggy feeling when you wake up) and using your morning for a head start on your day.

Even though waking up at 5 AM is great for some people, it’s okay to tweak it to better fit your life. Maybe you need a bit more sleep or prefer different morning activities. It’s all about finding what’s best for you and your sleep schedule preference.

The short answer is no. You don’t NEED to get up before everyone else, but you should find time sometime in the morning to center yourself, get your blood pumping through morning exercise and prepare for the day.

Being reactionary is not only unproductive, it is also stressful and causes anxiety when you flip from one thing to the other all day.

Starting your day with a morning routine, WHENEVER that time is, should help you maintain control of everything for the rest of the day.

It helps with mental clarity, consistency, and most of all, better time management.

The reason why it’s so effective to get up and start the day this way, is because you won’t be interrupted by small children, husbands asking questions, friends calling to ask you to bring their kid to school, clients with emergencies to clear up…. you get the point.

I personally try to get up by 5:45 to get an hour of my own morning routine, to wash my face, drink my water, journal my hopes and fears and plan the details of my day… all before the kids get up at 6:45. I think I would be lost without it.

Crafting a Productive Morning OR Bedtime Routine

 

So what makes a morning or bedtime routine perfect for crafting a productive day?

It’s basically a spa treatment for your brain. Involve a little movement, a little deep thinking, and a bit of forward thinking.

In short, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Robin Sharma recommends doing 3, 20-minute segments of movement, reflection and growth.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. When you get up, drink a cup of water to hydrate and help your kidneys clean out your insides.
  2. Include some form of exercise, even if it’s just a short walk.
  3. Add a mindfulness activity, like meditation or journaling.
  4. Identify your most important tasks for the day.
  5. Plan a healthy breakfast that will give you energy.
  6. Stick to your routine consistently.

Here’s my self-care routine:

  1. Get up and drink water and start the coffeemaker
  2. Go to restroom, wash face, brush teeth, put on sweats or something comphy that’s not my PJ’s
  3. Take my freshly made coffee downstairs to my office
  4. Journal about my health, mood, and things I’m grateful for
  5. Review my scheduled appointments for the day and the week and plan my day around those appointments so I’m prepared
  6. Wake up the kids and get them ready for school
  7. Take the dog for a walk
  8. Make a quick breakfast (oat bran pancakes and yogurt or an egg usually and more water)
  9. Shower
  10. Do my morning work activities which include checking metrics, replying to high-priority emails and client work.

For women entrepreneurs with ADHD, you too can have morning routine success

 

It can be helpful to include strategies that specifically address ADHD symptoms.

Using a visual planner, or digital tool that is easily accessible to help you prepare for the day. I have found that even though I have events of the day on my calendar, writing them out helps solidify them in my mind and make me less likely to be late to a meeting or accidentally skip.

Taking the time to meditate or pray in the morning, to clear your mind of obtrusive thoughts is also a GREAT exercise for those of us that have too many thoughts all the time. Even if it feels impossible, just the practice of it will help give you more control over time.

Prepare the night before. Leave a cup of water out by the fridge for your first drink. Make sure the coffeemaker is set up to go so all you have to do is turn on the switch (or better yet, set the auto-timer). Make sure your computer has all windows closed at the end of the night so you won’t be distracted on what you were working on before bed.

These are just a few tips that I have found works for those with ADHD, but again, everyone is different, you will need to find what works for you.

Successful Women Entrepreneurs with ADHD

 

There are many successful women entrepreneurs with ADHD who have harnessed the power of a morning routine. Take the example of Karina, a tech entrepreneur. She starts her day with a yoga session, followed by a healthy breakfast and a planning session. This routine helps her stay focused and productive throughout the day.

Or consider Lisa, a fashion entrepreneur with ADHD. She wakes up early to meditate and plan her day, then goes for a run before starting work. Her morning routine is a crucial part of her success.

I have also heard of other ADHD superstars who can’t STAND a morning routine. They like to roll out of bed at 9AM and hit the ground running. They are night owls, who’s energy peaks in the evening. They do have a nighttime routine where they make sure everything they need in the morning or have their workday planned the night before.

In the end, it doesn’t matter WHEN you do it, just that you do it.

For some who’s dopamine is best in the morning, using the self-control to get up early and take time for yourself is best. Others, they get a flood of dopamine in the evening. Whenever it is, grab hold of it and make it your own!

Collage of women doing morning routines

How to become an early riser to take advantage of this?

 

While the benefits of early rising are clear, making the transition is often met with hurdles.

Much like any sort of habit in life, consistency is key!

Your body gets use to your sleep/wake cycle that you normally follow. This is otherwise known as your body clock. This is why jetlag exists. When suddenly you want to walk around, when your body feels like it should be in a deep sleep, it will drag you down and make you feel as though you are walking in mud and just want to curl up in a ball and sleep.

So don’t expect to get up at 5 AM some day and feel happy about it. 🙂

It’s better to take it gradually and then be consistent about it.

If you want to start waking up earlier, do it bit by bit. Set your alarm just 15 minutes earlier and see how it goes. Keep to this new schedule every day, even on weekends, so your body gets used to the new sleep cycle. This can help improve your sleep quality and make waking up early feel more natural.

Once you are getting up at a time that feels good and allows you to fit in your morning routine… then make it consistent.

This means don’t sleep in on the weekends. A consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, to reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Yep, I said it, you may hate me for it, but you ASKED!

Keeping this consistent waking time even when you DON’T need to be up that early will not only make it easier to get up at that time but also make you more productive on the weekends. 😉

Granted, in actuality, I don’t get up that early on Saturdays, because I like to stay up with the hubster and watch a show on TV on Friday nights. But I know that it’s going to make it harder for me to get up early on Monday, but that’s a hardship I’m willing to face to be able to spend time with my husband.

Now you know the facts 🙂

I like to look at it in the words of Buddah:

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. – Buddha

Following a morning, mid-day, or evening routine really just allows us to live our life with intention and meaning. So many of us just kind of float through life following someone else’s plan for us or reacting to other people’s needs. We only get one of these things (that we REALLY know of) called life, and I personally choose to live it with intention.

This means taking the time to a) Understand what my values are B) create a schedule and activities that support those values and C) being consistent about revisiting and staying the course.

Especially for those with ADHD, a routine and systems are so important for us to have the structure required to thrive. A morning routine is a great start to establish that structure had habits regardless of the stress and chaos the rest of the day brings. You are in charge, you make the plans.

FAQs

 

What is the 5AM Club and why does it matter?

The 5AM Club is a concept popularized by Robin Sharma through his book “The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.” It revolves around the idea of waking up at 5 AM every day to dedicate the first hour of your day, which Sharma calls the “Victory Hour,” to personal development activities. This could include exercise, meditation, reading, or planning your day. The significance of the 5AM Club lies in its emphasis on using the early morning hours to focus on self-improvement before the demands of the day take over, thereby setting a positive tone for the rest of the day.

What are the benefits of waking up early?

 

Waking up early has several benefits that contribute to both personal and professional growth:

  • Increased Productivity: The quiet of the early morning is often considered the best time for deep, uninterrupted work. There’s less noise, fewer distractions, and it’s easier to focus on tasks.
  • Enhanced Mental Health: Early risers often report having a more optimistic outlook on life and lower levels of stress, as the morning routines help in setting a positive tone for the day.
  • Better Physical Health: Utilizing the morning for exercise can boost your energy levels for the day, improve your physical health, and help in establishing a regular fitness routine.
  • Improved Quality of Sleep: Following a routine of waking up early usually leads to going to bed earlier, which can improve the quality of sleep over time.
  • More Time for Personal Development: The morning provides a great opportunity for self-improvement activities like reading, meditating, or planning, which might be harder to fit into a busy day.

How can you craft your own 5AM Club?

 

To create your own 5AM Club, consider the following steps:

  1. Gradual Adjustment: If you’re not a natural early riser, gradually set your alarm earlier by 15 minutes every few days until you reach your 5 AM goal.
  2. Evening Routine: Establish a calming evening routine that supports good sleep, such as limiting screen time, reading, or meditating before bed.
  3. Purposeful Mornings: Plan your early mornings with activities that you find fulfilling and energizing. This could be exercise, reading, meditation, or planning your day.
  4. Consistency: Stick to your 5 AM wakeup time even on weekends to reinforce your body’s internal clock.
  5. Accountability: Share your goal with a friend or join a community of early risers for support and motivation.

Can you wake up early, or does another time of day make more sense?

 

While many people benefit from waking up early, it’s important to recognize that everyone’s biological clock, or circadian rhythm, is different. For some, their peak productivity might come later in the day or even at night. It’s crucial to listen to your body and observe when you feel most alert and productive. If early mornings don’t suit you, consider identifying another block of time that can be dedicated to personal development and focused work. The key is consistency and ensuring that you allocate time for your priorities, regardless of the time of day.

 

Want to know more about productivity and tips like these? 

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Early Rising for more productivity Read More »

ADHD and Airtable

Airtable for ADHD

Maximize Your Productivity with Airtable for ADHD

How does Airtable help individuals with ADHD stay organized and focused?

Airtable supports individuals with ADHD by offering a versatile platform that simplifies task and information management. Its user-friendly interface and customizable features like diverse view options, automation, and linked records cater to the unique organizational challenges faced by those with ADHD.

To say that ADHD has had a profound on my life is pretty much the understatement of the century. Of course, I didn’t realize how much of an understatement it was until I started to suspect and was finally diagnosed with neurodiversity last year.

I had lived for 46 years before that thinking that although my parents said I was smart, there were just some things I couldn’t wrap my head around, and although I was really good at problem-solving, understanding emotions, and music… there were just some HARD things. And I was frustrated.

The more I meet other women that have a similar story, I realized how our strengths can be so overshadowed by what’s HARD, that we constantly berate ourselves for not getting shit done.

It just so happens that my early problem-solving, combined with a Compaq computer, and lots of outdoor imagination time allowed me to mull on the ways I could make up for my “detriments”.

I became a big fan of spreadsheets, columns, and rows that helped me organize my information not only to organize my life but also to keep my notes for college classes and basically calm the overwhelming beast that would eventually take over my brain.

The world has come a long way since the first appearance of Excel, but I still feel that the structure a spreadsheet gives you can be extremely helpful in organizing information that our brains have a hard time putting together.

Airtable is a database tool that has become more and more popular in recent years for small and large businesses because of it’s flexibility and ease of use when it comes to the organization of information. It can be organized and viewed in a variety of ways, allowing the user to be able to use it in the way that works best for their brain.

I wanted to take some time to explain why the Airable features are so helpful to those who may be challenged with their executive functioning and make some recommendations for the use of this tool inside and outside of business.

What is ADHD?

ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurological condition that can affect a person’s ability to focus, control impulses, and maintain consistent energy levels.

It’s like having a brain that’s a bit differently wired than the neuro-typical person. It makes some things like executive function, cognitive control, and impulsiveness harder to control. As mentioned before, I have had this my whole life but only recently found out what it was. My two children have also been diagnosed with ADHD, which affects executive function and other cognitive skills.

While it can be viewed as a disability, I am extremely passionate about using the positive aspects of it to help my clients gain success and allow systems and technology to help keep focus on the things that matter.

adhd superhero

Nevertheless, there are some specific things that ND individuals can do to help themselves with the help of technology.

First, let’s talk about some of the main challenges that those who are “neuro-spicy” or neurodivergent may deal with.

  1. Easy distractions – ADHD individuals are easily distracted by multiple things in their environment. Eliminating distractions on the technology front can be extremely helpful.
  2. Trouble prioritizing. When everything feels important, nothing is important. Knowing how to identify the important tasks, data, and information quickly before their minds grab something can make the difference between focusing on a task or being distracted by something else. While we generally are better with routine tasks, sometimes things out of the ordinary may throw us off.
  3. Information Overload. One of the reasons why it can be difficult for those with ADHD is that we are easily overwhelmed by all of the information we can see on our screens. Being able to view everything at once may seem like a benefit, but in reality, making all those connections can just feel like a tidal wave washing over you.
  4. Keeping items in short-term memory. Because those with ADHD tend to have a harder time with focus on capturing and organizing information, it can be harder to keep things in short-term memory, even if they are right in front of our face. If we aren’t focusing on it, it will just pass us by.

Frustrated Entreprenuer

Features in Airtable that are beneficial for those with ADHD.

The best part about Airtable for ADHD in my opinion is that it is based on simple principles, columns and rows, but the way you can create multiple categories, and view it in different ways is what makes it SO powerful especially for ADHD brains that need to process information differently and have more unique challenges that most neuro-typical individuals.

Let’s review some of the aspects of Airtable that can really be helpful in this regard.

  1. Custom Fields: Airtable supports various field types like text, number, date, checkbox, attachments, and more. You can create a multitude of categories and fields that give a different bit of context to the main piece of information. For example, you can use attachment fields to store images or documents directly in your base, or link records to create relational databases.

    Airtable Custom Fields

  2. Linked Fields: How many times have you found yourself putting in duplicate information in different programs or even within the same software? Things like Client information and emails, or even your product descriptions, etc. Being able to link fields together in Airtable allows you to create “Master files” of different parts of your life or business and align them wherever you need to by using Linked and Lookup fields.

    Airtable Linked Fields

  3. Views: Views allow you to see your data in different formats, including grid, calendar, kanban, gallery, and form views. This flexibility helps in managing tasks, timelines, and workflows more efficiently and for different types of looking at the data. For instance, a Kanban view can be used for agile project management, while a calendar view is perfect for scheduling or looking at a Content Calendar.

    Airtable Views

  4. Formulas: Airtable allows for the use of formulas similar to those in spreadsheets, enabling you to perform calculations or manipulate data within your base. While this may be a little bit of a more advanced use case, you’d be amazed how some of the most simple formulas can help you expand the Airtable for ADHD functionality.
  5. Integrations: Through its API and services like Zapier or Integromat, Airtable can integrate with a wide array of other apps and services, automating workflows between platforms. Some of my favorites are Slack, Google Drive, and ClickUp. This means you can connect Airtable with your email, calendar, marketing platforms, CRMs, and more, streamlining processes across your tools and not having to THINK about it all the time.

    Slack Integration Automation in Airtable

  6. Base Templates: Airtable offers a wide range of pre-built templates (as do I!) for different industries and use cases. These templates can save time and provide a structured start for your project, whether you’re managing a marketing campaign, tracking a product launch, or organizing a content calendar. I don’t even start from scratch with my bases, I either use a base I’ve created before (find my templates HERE) or I use one of the many free ones that Airtable offers.
  7. Syncing: You can sync data between different bases or even from external sources like Google Calendar or Dropbox. This ensures that your information is up-to-date across all platforms, reducing manual data entry and potential errors. It’s like using multiple tech systems as 1 all-in-one system specifically designed for YOUR business.
  8. Automation – If the base is built for your business, and you have all of your views and custom fields set up to help you organize, find and act on the information in there, the next step would be to DEFINITELY include automation. I’m not even talking about external automation using third-party tools like Make or Zapier, there is a plethora of internal automation that you can create just within Airtable that puts it miles above the majority of tools available for small businesses and is a great help to those that have a hard time imprinting information in their short term memory and suffer from neurodiversity.

I could go on, but I feel as though 8 is enough to tackle at this point 🙂.

So HOW are these Airtable features helpful for Neurodiversity?

Because every person’s brain works differently, tools that are made to be flexible are always the best bet when it comes to working with them. Sometimes it takes a bit to set it up, but once it’s there, it’s smooth sailing.

Always out software for yourself to make a decision, especially if you are overwhelmed and/or think differently than the average person, but if you are someone who is easily distracted, has trouble prioritizing, lack-of-clarity, suffers from information overload or have trouble keeping information in your short-term memory, you can understand how the features above, particularly the single trusted system, can help you get things done. This is especially beneficial for neurodiverse individuals who may struggle with sensory overload and context-switching.

Being able to have all the important information you need in one place (imagine all of your Zoom links and Calendar scheduling links in one place), reduces the need to hop between different tabs or browser instances. Much less of a chance of seeing an unfinished task and getting distracted from what you were doing. Additionally, Airtable’s email management feature allows for automatic sorting of incoming emails into specific folders, reducing clutter in your inbox and saving mental energy.

Business Hub in Airtable

How about sending out an email to a lead if you haven’t contacted them in a week automatically?

Or syncing your Google calendar to your Airtable base so you can see when you have availability for consulting sessions without ever having to leave the program?

Finally, you can view the images for all of your social media posts in one place thanks to attachments AND can automatically post them on the prescheduled post-date. Amazing for your brain and saving a lot of time? Yes, please!

Interested in figuring out how to do this? Schedule a FREE Strategy call with me!

How you can get started on Airtable as a neurodivergent business owner

I want to point you to all of these awesome functionalities because I truly believe that Airtable is one of the best programs out there to do EVERYTHING that needs to be done to organize and streamline a business. However, much like any tool, starting out on it can feel a bit daunting. Especially for an ADHD entrepreneur or business owner who gets distracted by all the shiny objects.

Shiny Object

Steps to get started in Airtable

Steps to get started in Airtable

  1. Figure out the information in your business that you would REALLY benefit from it was organized. Client data? Product information? A centralized place for all of the disparate links and important things you need to see?
  2. Once you know what that is, check out my templates (here) or Airtable free templates to see if there is one that reflects your needs.
  3. Set up your first table with the MAIN information needed for the information.
    Examples: Client First Name, Last Name, Email, Socials
  4. Set up additional Tables for “related” information.
    Examples: Products Clients have purchased, Financials of when clients have last paid and what they paid, any forms that you would like them to fill out.
  5. Customize fields (Short text, long text, drop-downs, multi-list) as needed to best classify and
  6. Add all of your data and information
  7. Link the fields and tables that require it for a fuller understanding
  8. Experiment with the views to find one that works best for you and/or your team.
  9. Share and collaborate with other team members or embed the view into another tool.
  10. Iterate and Improve over time.

Want a video or youtube of these steps? Let me know! (Email me here! [email protected])

In conclusion, Airtable for ADHD 😙

So regardless of your “condition” or your struggles in everyday life with executive functioning or just being overwhelmed by all of your ideas and thoughts, make sure you take the time to recognize your unique strengths.

We are super lucky to have tools like Airtable to be able to manage some of the areas where we feel like we lack (or rather there is so much going on in our heads that we NEED something out there to put in all our brain thoughts.

The flexibility and adaptability of such platforms are especially beneficial, allowing you, and everyone to leverage their strengths and address their challenges effectively. Airtable’s features, from customizable fields to automation, provide a structured yet adaptable environment that can be tailored to various cognitive and organizational needs.

I challenge you to try it out, see how it can help you and organize all the things.

The only way to learn something is to USE it!
Grab my FREE Productivity Workbook below

Airtable for ADHD Read More »

Distraction for work at home moms

Managing distractions as a work from home mom with ADHD

Managing Distractions for ADHD Mompreneurs

How do you manage distractions as a work from home mom with adhd? Being a mom is a challenging task, when you add ADHD and entrepreneurship into the mix, it feels as though you are pushing a boulder uphill while blindfolded with your hands behind your back. As mothers, we all want to give our children the time and attention they need, but we also need to have our own identity, with our passions and goals priorities.

ADHD mompreneurs face unique challenges, with their attention split in 15 different directions, as well as constantly reigning in the “squirrel brain” and raising good humans. One of our most significant hurdles is managing distractions, whether it be external, or mental, especially when working from home with children present. This sounds almost next to impossible… but with some planning, asking for help when you need it, and a few little tricks to help you get focused, it IS possible.

How do I manage my distractions?

Discovering the essential strategies for ADHD mompreneurs to conquer distractions and boost your work-from-home efficiency in this blog We off practical tips, balancing parenting, and professional responsibilities with a blend of understanding ADHD, structured planning, and utilizing time-saving and tools to help out.

Understanding ADHD and Its Impact on Productivity

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is “defined” as a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Yes and no….

In reality, especially for women, ADHD affects several different and often unexpected ways based on personality, upbringing, and skills learned throughout their lives. What remains true is that there are Executive Function challenges. That means, we struggle with the processing of information and organizing it in our heads. It also means that we are more sensitive to the multiple sensory stimulation (like noises, smells, sounds, touch) that seem to be constantly vying for our attention.

This makes focus EXTREMELY difficult unless its something we are super-interested in, and then the “feel-good” chemicals in our brain flood our system and we can spend HOURs on that one thing. If only we had a “Productivity” button. 

Productivity Button

In my case, that thing is problem-solving and making databases and interconnecting systems that resemble huge lego-block castles in my brain. It just makes SENSE, and I love the satisfaction of looking at my creation once it’s complete…. but I digress.

Unfortunately, we can’t go down our rabbit holes all day, we have responsibilities and little mini-me’s that need our attention and patience, so we need to do deep work while we can and leave the other parts of the day available for those that need us.

This unique situation can lead to increased distractions and decreased work efficiency. But there is hope… if you know how to deal with it.

Identifying Distractions at Home

Distractions are a common issue for individuals with ADHD and can come from a wide variety of sources. These can range from external factors like noise and interruptions to internal distractions like racing thoughts or hyperfocus on non-work-related tasks. (Don’t I KNOW it!)

For mompreneurs working from home, additional distractions can include home maintenance issues, children’s needs, and other family responsibilities. These distractions can (and do) significantly impact work efficiency, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress.

Ever heard of “mom guilt”? You know, when you have half your attention on your kids, but you feel guilty for not being fully present, but then also half attention on your work and you feel as if you suck at what you do? I feel you girl…

So sit down for 15 minutes with your cup of coffee, and write down a list on whatever scrap of paper is available of all the things that have distracted you in the last 24-48 hours.

Here’s mine:

List of my most frequent interruptions

Strategies for Managing Distractions

There are strategies that ADHD mompreneurs can use to manage distractions and improve work efficiency, believe it or not. And these are not strategies that I’ve just read about and repeating to you. They are things I have tried and have had success with myself.

Keep in mind, that some strategies that work one day may not work the next, this is the fun that is ADHD (and motherhood in general), but with these in your back pocket, you can always try another one.

  1. The first step should be to create dedicated workspace or home office that will help separate work from your home activities during your work day. An “office” if you will, even if it’s a corner of your dining room. Generally, it is better to have a door between you and the “distractions” so they are out of sight. A “place” to do work is a silent clue to your body that you are in work mode and you are more apt to be able to focus on it.
  2. Structured schedule. Okay folks… I know you ALL cringed at the word “structured”, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. While having a schedule, or certain times of day for certain tasks, sounds confining, it ALLOWS you more freedom for the things that matter. Here is my example.My ideal schedule Routines are your friend…. so are habits, especially when you have ADHD brain. This doesn’t mean you have to always follow the schedule… but it does allow you to pay attention to the pressing matters
  3. Use tools and apps for focus. When you have the chance to sit down and work, there are a variety of things you can utilize to help you. Some of my favorites are The Pomodoro Technique, The Calm App (ambient noise) quick meditations for mindfulness, and Essential Oils like Doterra.
  4. Turn OFF the things that are most distracting for you. (I’m looking at YOU Instagram and Facebook,…. and sometimes YouTube and Pinterest)

Balancing Work and Parenting Duties as well as ADHD

Balancing work tasks and parenting responsibilities let alone house duties and cleaning is another significant challenge for ADHD mompreneurs. If you are like me, not only are you doing client work, “pounding the pavement” for sales, and marketing, but you are also the first in line for your kids needs.

Child Distractions are huge for work from home mothers

While both my children are school-age, I am still the one to pick them up if they are sick, attend all of their 504 and IEP meetings, organize their distance learning if a snow day calls for it, let alone do all the runs for their doctor appointments. My children, with their own unique needs end up being my responsibility because I am the one that works from home, allowing me more flexibility, but it also means I am more easily distracted.

Their school days also end at 2:15 (which feels EARLY), and therefore my afternoons are taken up by snacks, homework, piano practice, fits, broken toys etc. so I need to make use of the morning hours to do the majority of my business work.

This means that I have to be strict with myself on when I work and PLAN before the week to circumvent those “things” that pop up unexpectedly. I also need to think ahead as far as how my daily schedule is going to work to make sure I have the time to get it all done.

If you have a plan, you can change the plan if something derails you. If you don’t have a plan, your life might as well be ruled by chaos.

Weekly Planning: Sitting down with a cup of tea and some ambient and relaxing music on Sunday night or Monday morning and do the following

  1. Write down all the events you have going on during the week for your home and work schedule
  2. Write down anything you need to do in order to be “ready” for those events.
  3. Write down anything else that needs to get done this week outside of those events
  4. Look at the “quiet” times in your schedule for the week, plan the “heavy thinking” items for those times.
  5. Admin things you can get done during kids practices, while they are watching Bluey (which I have never seen by the way… but I hear it’s good).
  6. Self-care time. Yes, this is important.

Then at the beginning of every day, write down your big 3 priorities for the day keeping that initial llist in your mind.

This allows for flexibility but still keeps the most important items.

Also remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, but a necessity for maintaining balance and managing ADHD symptoms. Make sure you save time for a shower and a hot cup of coffee.

Tips to manage those distractions IN the moment

So I know that all of these hints are well and good, but what do you do when you are IN the moment, and you KNOW you need to get things done but your noisy brain keeps taking you down the rabbit holes?

Well my friend… first, recognize that you ARE going down rabbit holes. Recognizing WHEN you are distracted goes a long way to figure out what is distracting you and why.

If you are thinking about if you have the ingredients to make dinner, write down that question in a notebook or something and GET it out of your head so you can refer to it later or the next day.

If you have too many tabs open, and every time you go to one to close, you get distracted by what’s on the page and start doing something (not that I just did that 5 times in the last 10 minutes). Close your WHOLE browser and start fresh. Open ONLY the PM tool, or wherever your online task list is, or your manual notebook with your priorities for the day and ONLY open what you need.

Headphones and ambient music. I don’t know what it is (and it may be different for everyone), but it’s like being in a cave for me and all of the “noise” falls away.

Managing distractions in the moment

Seeking Support and Resources in Motherhood

Regardless of what distracts you and when, your mental health is important. If you have executive function struggles (either from ADHD or just being over-tired and overwhelmed) it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this journey.

Seeking help when needed is crucial for managing the challenges of being an ADHD mompreneur. There are numerous resources available, from ADHD coaches and therapists to online communities and support groups. I know I didn’t hesitate to reach out to these support networks, even before I knew that I was neuro-spicy. They can provide valuable advice, encouragement, and understanding. Something we all need from time to time.

CHADD – https://chadd.org/

Additude Magazine – https://www.additudemag.com/resources/

More to ADHD – https://www.moretoadhd.com/

All in all….

Managing distractions is crucial for work from home efficiency, especially for ADHD mompreneurs. Despite the challenges, remember that with some help, you have the strength and resilience to overcome them.

Try these strategies, search for some more resources, and local support, you can manage your priorities, balance work and parenting duties, and achieve success, whatever that means to you.

Keep going, keep striving, and remember to take care of yourself along the way. You’ve got this.

The only way to learn something is to USE it!
Grab my FREE Productivity Workbook below

Managing distractions as a work from home mom with ADHD Read More »

Multi-tasking is a myth

Boost Productivity: Ditch Multitasking Myth

Ditch Multitasking: Boost Your Productivity Instead

Are you someone who prides themselves on their ability to multitask? Do you feel like you’re getting more done when you juggle multiple tasks at once? Unfortunately, research shows that the opposite is true. Multitasking can lead to a decrease in productivity and cognitive ability. But don’t worry, there’s a better way!

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the science behind multitasking and why it’s not as efficient as we once thought. Learn why multitasking is a myth and how you can enhance your productivity. We’ll explore the downsides of multitasking and how it can impact your work life. But most importantly, we’ll provide you with practical tips and techniques to transition from multitasking to single-tasking. You’ll learn personalized strategies for ADHD business owners and when it’s actually helpful to multitask. So let’s ditch multitasking and boost our productivity instead!

Understanding what multi-tasking is…

Multitasking, in its simplest form, refers to the act of handling more than one task simultaneously.

Spinning multiple plates in the air

Sound good right? Two tasks for the price of one.

On the surface, yes, it does. If I could do 10 tasks at once I would be the consultant/wife/mother of the century… but the fact is, I am human… and human’s CANNOT actually multi-task, even if that’s what they want you to think.

What is the definition of multi-tasking?

The concept of multitasking is often misunderstood. It is believed to be the ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, but there is much research shows that it leads to burnout, distraction, and reduced productivity at the end of the day.

In reality, true multitasking is a myth as our attention and focus cannot be divided efficiently.

The Impact of Multitasking on Productivity

So let’s talk about multi-tasking in the lens of productivity. The whole POINT of multi-tasking is to be productive right?

That is the part that is the myth… multitasking makes you less productive. Sorry old boss!

Multi-tasking for a human is actually the same exact thing it is for a computer, it’s not multi-tasking, it’s task SWITCHING.

(On a separate note, computers memories and processing has improved exponentially year over year, but our human brains have NOT so it’s not even a fair comparison to make)

It is literally impossible to focus on two tasks at once. Like the aforementioned computer, you are just switching your attention from one task to the next. When this happens you get “attention residue” which is the lingering effects of a previous task on our ability to FOCUS and perform well on subsequent tasks.

MultiTasking at work

When we switch between tasks, some of our attention remains on the previous activity and hinders our performance on the new task. This phenomenon is particularly relevant in today’s world, where we are constantly bombarded with distractions from various sources such as emails, notifications, social media and the Slack sound constantly going off.

The cognitive consequences of multitasking are also far-reaching, impacting individuals’ ability to effectively manage previous tasks while transitioning to new ones. The key word here is “effective”. Managing something effectively means being able to be fully absorbed and focused on every aspect of it in order to make sure everything is accounted for. (Read – detail oriented)

This, in turn, affects the productivity of knowledge workers, creating a false sense of being a great multitasker. In reality, the distractions caused by notifications on the cellphone, laptop, or even the dog under the desk hinder the seamless transition from one task to another. As a result, multitasking mismanagement becomes a significant challenge for individuals striving to excel in their endeavors. Recognizing the detrimental impact of multitasking is the first line of defense in reclaiming focus and productivity, enabling individuals to break free from the multitasking myth and adopt a more effective approach to task management.

Now imagine all of that as an ADHD individual who is already dealing with racing thoughts, executive functioning challenges and getting through the “boring stuff” so they can chase the dopamine.

Understanding how multi-tasking myth concept is crucial for anyone looking to optimize their work habits and improve efficiency.

What is the draw of multi-tasking why do so many people do it?

Many people are drawn to multitasking because they believe it increases efficiency and productivity.

Actually, I believe it’s because of 2 reasons: 1. We have been trained through smartphones and devices to react to competing stimuli immediately and 2. because we are constantly chasing the dopamine that comes with “discovering” something new that needs our attention.

Example: We are waiting for a file to load or a program to open on our computer. While we are waiting, we hear a “ping” from some device, or the computer itself to let us know that we have a message. While we are still waiting for the computer, or person, or whatever to finish a task we think “why don’t I just check on the message to see what it needed”. Suddenly you are going down a rabbit-hole

However, studies have shown that the human brain is not built for multitasking. Multitasking is actually a myth, as it leads to attention residue and negatively impacts working memory, ultimately reducing overall productivity.

The Illusion of Efficiency: Exploring the Downsides of Multitasking

Despite the natural tendency to get more done in less time, our brains just are not meant for multitasking Studies have shown that working memory suffers when switching between tasks. There are times when there seems that we have to multi-task… At this moment I’m listening to my son practice piano while I’m writing this blog for example… but when I REALLY need to focus… I take steps to make sure my brain can focus on that one thing.

Illusion of Efficiency

Multitasking is a Myth: The Ultimate Guide to Getting More Done (By Doing Less) <<<asdf Picture of someone thinking really hard>>

Burnout is a common result of too much multi-tasking. Burnout, a form of exhaustion that can come from the mental and emotional fatigue of “trying to do it all” and constantly feeling swamped by all of the responsibilities you or your job requires from yourself. It’s the result of excessive stress… which can come from constantly trying to do ALL. THE. THINGS.

You can see how multi-tasking though not the only cause of burn-out can definitely add to the feeling of overwhelm and panic.

Surprisingly, multi-tasking can actually lead to decreased productivity as our brain switches between tasks. I know, it’s funny how something we do because we want to get more done in less time actually causes us to go SLOWER in our attempt to check everything off of our to-do lists. Our brain switches between tasks so quickly that it can’t hold all the information necessary to remember the pieces needed for each task.

This leads me to the accuracy issue that is tied in with the myth of multi-tasking. Everytime your brain switches tasks, you pay a small “tax” that basically just tires you out and makes you less able to do the deep-thinking that your most valuable tasks require.

Everytime you are QAing an email, double-checking an automation or making dinner you need to make sure you are accurate… or someone could end up with salty cookies.

Multitasking and the Workplace: A Troublesome Partnership

Despite numerous studies demonstrating its detrimental effects, the myth of multitasking still persists in the workplace. Many times (like in my case) it is even celebrated or required for certain roles.

Multitasking actually causes different parts of the brain to function simultaneously, resulting in negative impacts on attention and task performance and therefore is like asking someone to perform at suboptimal level.

The negative consequences of multitasking can be seen through switch cost and the lack of focus when dividing attention, imagine trying to set up a complicated workflow or write a company-wide communication and have constant interruption with emails and phone calls.

This undermines productive time and diminishes the quality of work due to attention residue. Businesses and entreprenuers need to understand that being a great multitasker does not necessarily mean being effective in their jo. Instead, focusing on one task at a time can lead to better results and reduce cognitive strain for effective and a happier team.

A Better Way to Achieve Productivity – Single-tasking

Transitioning from the myth of multitasking to the reality of single-tasking opens up a world of productivity potential. And we all know how productivity can open up your time to spend doing those things you ACTUALLY love.

Embracing single-tasking as a productive time management technique allows knowledge workers to boost their full attention and efficiency on specific tasks.

Why focusing on one thing at a time benefits productivity

Let’s talk about Focus for a moment.

Focus on one thing at a time

Focus is the act of directing your attention on a single object or activity without letting distractions take it away. All of your mental energy is pointed at a particular task, subject, or thought. With all of your cylinders running in the same direction, you are able to think more clearly and accomplish tasks more effectively.

Being able to focus on one task or one problem at a time not only allows quicker thought, but it allows for deeper thinking and better problem solving or ingenuity than just getting as many tasks done as possible.

This is why meditation and clarity techniques are so effective, especially for those of us that are ADHD and often are thinking about multiple tasks or subjects at the same time. Once we are able to slow down our brain, and our bodies, our ability to problem solve and gain clarity seems to multiply exponentially.

Transitioning from Multitasking to Single-Tasking

Okay, so how do we actually move from Multi-tasking to sitting down and doing 1 thing at a time? In a world where everyone is so busy doing ALL the things, taking the steps to actually FOCUS on a task can seem…. counterintuitive.

When I asked my community about whether they thought multi-tasking was a myth, I got a variety of answers from “If I didn’t multi-task I wouldn’t be able to live my life” to “completely impossible”.

The fact is, we all multi-task and it is part of our everyday lives, but we really need to figure out HOW and WHEN to single-focus task in order to keep the plates spinning, but the deep-thinking work required to solve complex problems, to be able to explain them to others cannot be done simultaneously with other tasks.

Finding the time for those tasks the require the focus, that need deeper thinking is a combination of prioritization and learning how to reduce distractions and single focus on the task at hand. This is a combination of figuring out what available time you have in your day, how to structure it so that you are able to prioritize deep-thinking tasks as well as get the other “smaller tasks” that are also important but don’t need the deep thinking.

Techniques to Enhance Focus and Reduce Distractions

Enhancing focus and reducing distractions is crucial to boosting productivity, but I find that there are so many apps and techniques out there to choose from, it’s difficult to really figure out what will work. The answer is, there is no “one size fits all” to help increase focus for any individual, but some of the items below will help figure out the areas in which you can work in order to reduce the multi-tasking for the areas of your life where it’s needed.

Mindfulness Practice, in addition to being good for your mental health and decrease of burnout, mindfulness practice can be excellent to help focus your energy into one task. It helps trains your brain to focus on the present moment, which can directly improve your ability to concentrate on tasks, especially for those that are ADHD like myself. By clearing away the clutter and reducing stress, it creates a mental environment where creativity and innovative thinking can flourish.

I personally use the “Calm” app to help with my mindfulness practice, as well as play Binural beats when I am writing or need to concentrate.

Techniques to enhance focus

Prioritization Matrix: While there are quite a few options of matrix to choose from out there, I prefer to keep it simple and constantly refer to the Eisenhower matrix when looking at how to prioritize my tasks.

Every morning I get up, get my cup of coffee and site down to my mindfulness and quick journaling practice where I identify that tasks I need to get done that day and then prioritize them into “Urgent/Important”, “Not-Urgent/Important”, “Urgent/Not-Important” and finally “Not-Urgent, Not Important”.

<<<asdf>>> image of Eisenhower matrix

For more in-depth understanding of the matrix, check out this from ClickUp or my blog on productivity and adhd.

Time-Blocking – Time-boxing, also known as time-blocking, is a time management technique that involves allocating a specific, fixed period of time (a “time box”) to each task or activity. This approach is designed to increase productivity and efficiency by providing a structured way to manage time and tasks.

This technique can be extremely useful to help organize your days in order to use the time that you have wisely. It also can be very eye-opening when you really look at the time you actually have for focused work with everything else that we typically have going on in our lives. From general house and family maintenance, to kid’s activities, to work meetings, to doctors and health appointments… the time we have for actual productive focus is quite small. Make sure you

Minimizing Distractions. I think it goes without saying, that if you minimize distractions you are able to increase your focus. This is sometimes harder to do than you realize. Finding a place where you won’t be disturbed or interrupted (like an office where you can close the door), as well as turning off all unnecessary notifications (I don’t turn off my phone in the case of a phone call from my kids school), will significantly help with this.

ADHD TIP I also find that listening to ambient, lo-fi or binural music on my headphones has been a game-changer to help me focus on 1 mental task at a time, while keeping my brain busy processing the auditory but non-distracting sounds is extremely helpful. Added bonus if you use earbuds or headphones to physically block your ears from external stimuli

When would multi-tasking actually be helpful?

Multitasking can be helpful and sometimes unavoidable in certain situations. While it would be great to live in a perfect world where we can all do one task at a time, it is not our reality… especially if you are a parent or adhd. In fact, it is sometimes necessary to do two things at once to get the benefit of both activities.

I know I know, it is counterintuitive… just keep in mind that It is productive when working on tasks that don’t require full attention or when working on different tasks that don’t overlap.

Doing 2 tasks that don’t both require your focus

When working on tasks that don’t both require your full attention, it actually possible to be productive, but you have to choose the right tasks. Usually this is when one of the tasks is physical in nature, doesn’t require a lot of brain power (exercise, walking, running) and the other is only requires a smaller amount of focus.

For instance, I tend to make dinner while listening to a podcast or audiobook, and I believe that it actually HELPS me to focus on the task at hand as long as what I am listening to doesn’t require me to do equations on my feet. (Translating how many tablespoons go into a 1/4 cup however, I can handle).

Multitasking the right way.

As a member of the neuro-divergent community, I also find that when I’m on a meeting, I find it EASIER to understand and absorb the information being presented by either Mind-mapping or doodling or coloring while the meeting is going on. This is because my brain tends to wander when it’s bored (even if I know the information is important), and so I use the power of the physical action of writing and coloring to keep the dopamine in the brain while letting my ears listen and grab onto the concepts.

If you are interested in some of the types of tasks you can do at the same time, I encourage you to read the book “Thinking Fast and Slow”

 

Conclusion

So despite what your boss, your friend or your cousin may tell you (they are AWESOME at multi-tasking), the fact is… no one is awesome at it, and if we insist on living in a world where our attention is spread thin over a multitude of activities at the same time… you are asking for burnout.

It may not be today.

It may not be tomorrow.

But eventually, your mind and body will retaliate… and by then, it may just be too late.

But we’ll save the conversation of burnout, what it means and how it can permanently effect you for another day 🙂

If you want to move forward toward your goals and dreams… do less. Do only those things that truly matter to you. It may mean that you need to make some difficult decisions about things you have already committed to, or tell someone that you can’t run the classroom party this year.

Set priorities, eliminate distractions, practice mindfullness and enhance your focus. Accomplish more in less time.

Want more? Join my mailing list for productivity conversations and real talk about life as a neuro-divergent entrepreneurial mom. (and get notifications of when my blog comes out!) Sign up here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some alternative methods for boosting productivity?

Boost your productivity with these alternative methods: break tasks into smaller, manageable chunks; prioritize based on importance and deadline; take regular breaks to avoid burnout and maintain focus; utilize productivity tools like time management apps or project management software.

Are there any tools or apps that can help me stay focused and productive?

Yes, there are various tools and apps available to enhance focus and productivity. Some popular ones include Trello, Asana, and Todoist, which help with task management. Additionally, tools like RescueTime can track time spent on tasks for better time management. Focus@Will is a music app that claims to boost concentration and productivity.

Can I offload some of my tasks so I can focus on the ones that matter?

Yes, offloading certain tasks can be a great way to prioritize and focus on the ones that truly matter. Consider delegating tasks to colleagues or outsourcing them to freelancers. By doing so, you can reduce stress and improve overall productivity. Remember to prioritize the tasks that only you can do and delegate the rest for maximum efficiency.

Boost Productivity: Ditch Multitasking Myth Read More »

VIP Day Benefits

The Power of VIP Days for Productivity: Boost Your Biz Development

The Power of VIP Days for Productivity: Boost Your Biz Development

I was talking to a potential client this week regarding a systems project that she was looking for some help on. She was excited to meet me and hear about how I could help her business but seemed to approach the conversation with a little trepidation. As I dove into her backstory a bit, I realized that a lot of her frustration came from the fact that she had gone through the wringer, trying to find individuals who would improve her systems and automate as much as possible.

I could see it in the way she talked to me, that she was extremely gun-shy and worried about putting more money into it when she had already done so much already.

My heart went out to her… mostly because I “get” it. Most of her previous contractors were hired on a long-term project, either putting pieces of a system together over months and months of work, only to have direction change or priorities shift onto other parts of the business.

I see it time and time again and have for years at this point, which is why I have started to prefer to do my work with Clients “intensely” within a short period of time with a solid deliverable, with a map of what is next, but almost viewing it with smaller deliverables instead of a large project to streamline all their systems.

Enter the VIP Day.

Enter VIP Day on a platter

I’m not the only one who sees this, VIP Days are gaining popularity amongst entrepreneurs as an effective way to dedicate an entire day towards advancing their goals. This is especially beneficial for individuals who have to balance the demands of their professional and personal lives and need to optimize their productivity when working. VIP Days provide a tailored approach to this productivity, allowing entrepreneurs to make significant strides in both their personal and professional spheres.

For entrepreneurial women with ADHD, VIP Days are particularly useful as they help blend focus with strategic planning, making decisions on their own systems, and providing the information for the deliverables.. This approach can lead to achieving great success QUICKLY in both personal and professional aspects of their lives.

During a VIP Day, I prioritize tasks and work on areas that need improvement, surgically fixing the parts that are causing the most problems.. The day is structured in a way that ensures every moment is aligned for success, making it easier for individuals to achieve their goals.

In short, a VIP Day can be a game-changer for those looking to make significant progress in their personal and professional lives.

VIP Days are more than a tool for enhanced productivity; they are transformative experiences that equip entrepreneurs with the skills, strategies, and insights needed to navigate their journey more effectively. They represent an investment in yourself, your business, and your future, offering tangible benefits that resonate in both your professional and personal life.

What Are VIP Days?

So, what ARE VIP Days?

Ana with questioning lookBasically, it’s a concentrated effort tailored to you, the client. It’s an opportunity to step away from the daily grind and immerse yourself in a structured and supportive environment designed for intense focus on your most pressing projects and goals.

These days can be varied, depending on the expert that is performing them, they can be about developing a new business strategy, tackling a challenging project, or planning for long-term goals,

A VIP Day is a commitment to making the most progress in the least amount of time. These days are meticulously crafted to align with your specific objectives, ensuring that every minute is optimized for maximum productivity.

Client (Your) Benefits of VIP Days

So, now that we know what VIP days ARE, and I personally have a list a mile long of how much I love them for personal reasons, it’s more important to really outline the benefits for you the client regarding the work that is done during that day.

Most of us are use to long drawn-out projects that have umpteen deliverables that all require signoffs one week before the project is due. We tweak something here, make a change there, and suddenly a 2-month project is going on for 4+ months and you still don’t have a finished product.

Focused VIP experience solves that by A) focusing in on a specific problem to solve B) using your energy effectively to solve the problem and C) giving you a solid deliverable in a very short time frame.

Let’s discuss these benefits

Enhanced Productivity

How would you like a week’s worth of work into a single day’s achievement? Sounds pretty good right? We’ve all heard that multitasking is the enemy of productivity and focus, but rare is it that we can actually follow that advice and solely focus on 1 thing at a time, such is the nature of business… but for the important aspects of your business, like solving where you are bleeding money, or fixing a sales system, or even just planning out the next 3-6 months in a logical way, the focus is paramount.

By zeroing in on key tasks, eliminating distractions, and harnessing your focus, you will experience a significant boost in productivity. The impact is immediate – tasks that seemed daunting are completed, projects move forward, and a sense of accomplishment pervades, propelling your business development in leaps and bounds.

(Read more about ADHD and productivity here: CLICK ME!)

ADHD brain illustrationg

Better Time Management

VIP Days offer more than just a productivity spike; they are a masterclass in time management.

These types of days can help with prioritization and efficiency, skills crucial for any entrepreneur, particularly those managing ADHD. Learning to identify and focus on tasks that offer the most significant impact helps in utilizing your time more effectively, not just during the VIP Day but in your everyday work life. This strategic approach to time management ensures that every hour of your workday is as productive as possible.

Mindset and Self-Care Improvements

The sense of achievement that comes from a successful VIP Day can also be a substantial boost to your mental health and mindset. For many business owners, the constant battle with time and productivity can be more than overwhelming sometimes. The relief you receive from focused support for one day and the amount you can get done in the time, offer a much-needed mental reset, reducing stress, and fostering a sense of control and confidence.

After all, many people start their businesses to reduce stress, create their own schedules, and spend time on their passion. Might as well stop spinning all the plates and remember why you are doing this all in the first place.

Achieving Work/Life Balance

One of the most significant outcomes of a VIP Day is the insight it can provide into achieving a work/life balance.

We can often struggle as entrepreneurs to separate our professional ambitions from our personal lives, which can lead to burnout and reduced productivity very quickly. VIP Intensives exemplify how focused work can lead to more free time and therefore, a better quality of life.

They demonstrate that it is possible to pursue ambitious business goals without sacrificing personal well-being.

Overcoming Challenges

Every entrepreneur’s journey is riddled with unique challenges, and VIP Days are designed to tackle these obstacles head-on.

For women with full schedules and executive function difficulties, challenges like procrastination, time management, and maintaining focus can be particularly daunting and difficult to work through. VIP Days provides targeted strategies and solutions to these issues.

They are a chance to confront and overcome hurdles in a supportive environment, paving the way for smoother, more efficient business operations.

Maximize Productivity

You’ve heard of the phrase “Work smarter, not harder“.

VIP Days are the secret sauce to working extremely smart. Being able to focus on 1 part of your business to analyze, define, and implement a solution within a short period of time is exactly what “working smarter” means.

A well-designed and thought-out VIP Day, which is what I provide for my clients, has a discovery phase, a resolution phase, and next steps for the one who runs the VIP Day and the client in order to make use of every single moment of the full day. (Of course, we have break time built in to let the brain breathe and bathroom breaks. 😉 )

We also have a specific goal to accomplish within that day and all of our actions are designed to accomplish that goal. When you know you have a dedicated day for certain tasks, you can prepare accordingly leading to much more efficient use of time.

Productivity… *Chef’s kiss* The piece de resistance of my work.

Chefs Kiss!

 

 

Success Stories

The true impact of VIP Days is best illustrated through the success stories of those who have embraced them. Many clients share experiences of breaking the cycle of overwhelm, gaining clarity, and rediscovering their purpose both in their work and personal lives. These narratives are not just testaments to the effectiveness of VIP Days but also serve as inspiration for other entrepreneurs grappling with similar challenges.

Client A. Marketing Agency- This client’s PM system was a self-admitted mess. Their Project Manager couldn’t keep on top of all the projects or operations in their company and they were falling further and further behind in their projects and their clients were getting frustrated.

During our VIP Day, we took a look at their Client Journey, re-organized their heirarchy to flow “smoothly” and updated the custom fields to reflect categories and estimated times for their tasks.

By the end of the VIP Day, they had a functional system, smooth communications, and a much better idea of how long their projects would take.

Time saved? about 2 hours a day PLUS tons of frustration and stress.

Client B Coach and Course-creator They wanted to automate their onboarding process so they don’t need to manually send out emails, send intake forms or invite their clients to every single session. It was taking them hours and many mistakes were happening within their admin department.

During our VIP Day, we mapped out the onboarding process for the clients, built an Airtable Database that collected all of the client information, automatically sent forms and emails as well and set up an external automation tool that notified the team whenever a new questionnaire came in.

Time saved? at least an hour per client.

Excited business owner

Looking Ahead

The benefits of a VIP Day extend far beyond the day itself (as you can see per the client stories above).

Like anything related to systems, a little focused time upfront means that you get freedom later. Freedom from stress, freedom from angry clients, freedom from not being able to find what you are looking for, freedom from WASTING hours on things that someone else or SOMETHING else should be doing.

That my friends is why I’m such a fan of giving, and investing in VIP Days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can VIP Days help if I struggle with focusing for long periods?

A: I structure VIP Days are structured to cater to varying focus levels. By breaking down the day into manageable segments with clear objectives, helps maintain concentration and ensure progress, even for those who find sustained focus challenging.

Q: Are VIP Days only for large-scale projects?

A: Not at all! VIP Days are incredibly versatile and can be customized to suit any scale of project or goal. Whether it’s kick-starting a new venture or tackling a specific project or goal, the day can be tailored to fit your specific needs. For my VIP day clients, you can get your entire ClickUp setup from scratch, or you can plan out a complete launch setup that has been frustrating you.

Public Service Announcement:

Ana, through her business ‘Ana’s Simple Solutions,’ offers these VIP Days as a cornerstone service, particularly to help entrepreneurial women with ADHD. Utilizing ADHD-friendly tools like ClickUp and Airtable, Ana creates an environment where productivity thrives, and goals are met with remarkable efficiency.

Interested in her VIP Days? Connect with Ana HERE or join her email list HERE.

The Power of VIP Days for Productivity: Boost Your Biz Development Read More »

Why you aren't reaching your goals

10 Reasons You’re Not Achieving Your Goals (And How to Fix Them)

Why you are not achieving your goals

Stop me if this sounds familiar. You’ve been hitting the gym consistently and sticking to your budget like a pro. To your friends, it looks like you’re on the fast track to success, but the truth? You’re far from reaching your personal and professional goals. Frustrating, right? Feel like throwing in the towel or questioning why you started your journey in the first place?

Don’t burn it down… I promise it’s not the answer!

Hold up and read this article I’ll show you why those goals still feel out of reach and how to turn things around before you spiral into doubt and frustration. Do you want to achieve your goals but are frustrated at your lack of progress? Let’s find out the best way to achieve your goals. Get your favorite coffee and pen and let’s start exploring the importance of goal setting and reasons why you may not be following through on them.

In my 20+ years in business, I’ve seen firsthand why people struggle to reach their goals. Often, it’s down to a few key reasons. Understanding these can be your first step to living the life you’ve always wanted.

And hey, if you want more insights like these, join my exclusive newsletter – spots are limited, so don’t miss out!

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What are some common reasons for not achieving your goals?

Common reasons for not achieving your goals include lack of clarity, procrastination, lack of motivation, fear of failure, and not having a plan or strategy in place. It’s important to identify these barriers and take actionable steps to overcome them in order to increase your chances of success.

These could be your Goal-missing Reasons

In the majority of situations, the following issues could be getting in the way of achieving your goals. Especially for those who are ADHD, it can be even more difficult to use the brain energy to motivate yourself to do something every day to achieve those goals. Those of you with neuro-divergence… I feel you (only too well some days). These may resonate even more with you. The good news is, there are tactics that can help us move forward.

Reason #1. You’re Setting Vague Goals

Ever heard “A goal without a plan is just a wish”? That’s what happens when your goals are as clear as mud. Set specific, measurable, and time-bound targets. Ever hear of “SMART goals”?. Well yes, there is a “corporate feel” to that, but there is a reason why they are so popular. It is because they are an easy way to create goals that are clear enough to allow you to achieve them.

Start small, only set 2-3 goals to start out using the SMART method. Remember that the goals themselves don’t ensure your success, but it is the imagined finish line that you use to create your habits and systems in order to achieve your desired outcome.

Need more guidance? Check out my blog on SMART goals.

Reason #2. Procrastination and distraction are Your Middle Names

Hey, friends, no judgment here. We’ve all been there, ignoring that to-do list in favor of taking the dog for a walk binging the latest Netflix “Working Moms” season or a number of other distractions.

It’s time to face those tasks head-on.

3 tips to help overcome procrastination.

  • Create a space where you can close the door, turn on ambient music, and leave your phone texts outside. Having a space that is specific for work helps your body and mind understand that it needs to focus.
  • Use the Pomodoro method. Set the timer for 25 minutes to work, then take a 5-minute break. I just set it with my Amazon Echo to help me get over the distraction hump
  • Eat the Frog – Do your most difficult or the task you are avoiding earlier in the day (or when you have more energy)

Reason #3. You’re Not Crystal Clear on Your Goals

To achieve success, clarity is key. What does success look like to you? Write it down, prioritize, and focus. Struggling with this? I help my clients, like Marissa Romero, who was once in your shoes, find her path through my Strategic Mapping.

I talk through this in my goal setting video you can find here from the beginning of 2023, but still relevant!

Planning for 2023 Digtally

Reason #4: You’re Working Hard, Not Smart

Friends, it’s not about the hours you put in but how you use them. I used to work round the clock with little to show for it. It wasn’t until I learned to work smarter that I saw real progress. Time to rethink your approach for a game-changing effect.

How do you work Smart? Let’s start with keeping things simple:

  • Create routines and habits about how and when you work.
  • Make your meetings productive by using an agenda
  • Work on the difficult tasks when your energy is the highest. Morning? Afternoon? From 1-3 AM?

Reason #5. You’re Going Solo When You Need Support

Still stubbornly doing things your way by yourself? I can relate. I am sometimes relentlessly independent, but sometimes, an outside perspective is what I really need to move forward. Hiring a coach or mentor or joining a group of like-minded women can transform your approach and fast-track your success. There are many ADHD business coaches out there as well as programs for women or business owners to help you get to that next step.

Two I recommend are Tara Wagners Breakthrough Boss or for Agency owners, Juliana Marulanda’s “ScaleTime” Program

Reason #6: Fear of Failure is Holding You Back

Fear of failure - goal-setting

Does the thought of failing make you want to run for the hills? Fear of failure is a massive roadblock. But remember, every successful person has failed (probably many many many times). The trick is to learn from these experiences and keep moving forward. Embrace your fears as part of the journey.

This is a mindset block that I only know too well. Fear of failure, Imposter syndrome, etc. Using mantras, meditation and planning are all helpful ways to reduce this. I am a fan of the “Calm” app as it helps me do a quick meditation whenever I feel the “imposter syndrome” peeking it’s head around the corner.

Reason #7: You’re Not Tracking Your Progress

It is essential to reflect on the progress you have made in life and acknowledge your achievements. Taking a moment to celebrate your accomplishments can help boost your confidence and motivate you to keep pushing forward. Remember that success is not just about achieving big goals but also about the small wins along the way. So, take some time to appreciate how far you’ve come.

Celebrating wins

ClickUp comes with a “progress” feature that’s really helpful to track how close you are to completing project or a task. Using this for goals is also helpful to measure how far you have to go.

ClickUp Progress Feature

Reason #8: Your Goals Don’t Align with Your Values

Here’s a thought: maybe your goals aren’t really what you want?

Sometimes, we chase goals that don’t align with our core values or intentions. Take time to reflect on what really matters to you. Align your goals with your values, and you’ll find the journey much more fulfilling.

Reviewing your values and your goals every 3 months or so helps make sure that you are being honest with how those goals truly fit in your life.

Reason #9: You Lack the Necessary Skills or Knowledge

This one is a hard one for me and some of my close entrepreneurial friends It’s okay not to have all the answers.

Maybe you need to upskill or learn something new to reach your goals. Embrace learning as part of your journey to success. There are plenty of online courses and resources to help you gain the skills you need.

lacking skills

I help my clients focus on their skills and personal upleveling experience as part of our Strategic Mapping and it’s helpful to make sure the goals are achievable.

Reason #10: You’re Not Adapting to Change

In a world that’s constantly changing, flexibility is key. If your strategies aren’t working, be open to adapting your approach. Sometimes, the path to our goals requires us to pivot and try new methods. Stay open to change and be ready to adjust your sails when needed.

As someone who is a huge fan of systems to get things done, this can be exceptionally hard for me and for others that are ADHD. Our lives literally depend on having systems in order to be fully functioning. If we don’t, then the amount of brain energy that it takes to focus and remember every little things can get overwhelming.

Reviewing your goals at a regular cadence will help adjust where needed, while still maintaining the systems you have in place. Think of how to adjust, rather than change course completely.

Establishing a growth mindset when it comes to your goals

It’s a bit of a shocker ⚡ to realize that the biggest obstacle to reaching goals is often ourselves, but not in the way that you would expect.. That’s right, self-sabotage is a real thing and a bit more prevalent than we’d like to admit. It’s a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, acknowledging that we might be our own worst enemies in the pursuit of our dreams.

growth mindset

Keep in mind, there’s also a silver lining in this realization. Knowing that you have the power to change your situation is incredibly empowering. As I like to say, “user error” is the best kind of error there is, because it’s the most easily fixed.

I’ve been exactly where you are now. There are times when I set a goal, get started, and then somehow find ways to trip myself up or be in situations where my life causes me to go another direction.

Whether it was procrastination, fear of failure, or just not planning effectively – I’ve experienced it all. It sometimes feels like a cycle I can’t break.

The game-changer for me was when I started to take intentional steps towards my goals. It wasn’t just about setting targets but also about understanding the patterns of my own behavior that held me back. Yes, seeking help was a big part of this transformation. I talked to coaches, joined support groups, and surrounded myself with people who had been through similar struggles, receiving their honest feedback. Their guidance and the sense of community are still invaluable.

Now, I’m in a place where I can share these insights with you. It’s not just about overcoming obstacles but transforming the way you approach your goals and your life. With the right mindset and willingness to adapt to change, you will give yourself the power to overcome any challenges that come your way.

I want to help you identify those self-sabotage traps and equip you with the tools to avoid them. Remember, understanding where the issue is, is the first step to overcoming your obstacle. Let’s turn those stumbling blocks into stepping stones on your journey to success.

Ready to break through those barriers? Contact me about my Simple Path to Success VIP day.

Not quite ready for that big of a commitment? Join my free newsletter for regular tips and support in a community of like-minded individuals.

Join My Newsletter

Stay connected for more insights and tips on achieving your goals. Follow me on social media – I share not just business advice but also my journey with ADHD with my family. You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I stay motivated when progress is slow?

Slow progress can be particularly challenging when you have ADHD. Remember, it’s normal for motivation to ebb and flow.

Celebrate Small Wins and revisit your “Why”. Both of these can keep you on track when you start falling off.

What should I do if I feel overwhelmed by my goals?

It always helps to repeat the phrase “What is the next best thing to do?”. In essence, break down your goals into manageable tasks (you can use ClickUp or Airtable to do this!) Also remember that self-care and guarding your energy is extremely helpful when dealing with overwhelm.

How important is it to set deadlines for my goals?

Goal deadlines help to “create a sense of urgency” as well as help prioritize tasks that you have on your plate and a specific time. Being able to understand the steps needed and the amount of time you have to complete them helps use that motivation to propel you forward.

Looking to learn more? 

Check out these blogs:

Mastering Client Communication: Tips for Success

The Ultimate Productivity System: ClickUp & Airtable

Airtable Goal Tracking Made Simple: Achieve your Goals

 

As always, Keep it Simple,

Anas Signature

 

10 Reasons You’re Not Achieving Your Goals (And How to Fix Them) Read More »

Embed Airtable in ClickUp

Airtable and ClickUp Workflow: Optimize Your Processes

Airtable and ClickUp Workflow: Streamline Your Processes

Quick… tell me how many of your tech pieces integrate together? How often do you feel like you are constantly opening up new tabs and trying to remember the name of that new software you just bought that’s supposed to “change how you do business?”.

Yes, that is a common occurrence in the field of small business. While we are super lucky we live in a time where there are SO many different types of technology out there that small businesses didn’t have access to 10 years ago, the sheer amount of it can be overwhelming, let alone trying to manage it.

This is why understanding your process and streamlining will optimize your productivity in surprising amounts.

I hear from so many clients that they want an “all in one” tool, and I get that, it feels as though things will be simpler if you can get everything you want or need from one tool

The fact is, that it’s impossible to find one tool that does everything you want and need it to do. Every business is different.

One more time for the people in the back…. EVERY BUSINESS IS DIFFERENT. That means, that there is no one tool that can handle EVERYTHING you want it to. It’s best to find tools that “play nicely” with others, otherwise known as integration

A little process mapping, a little understanding of what your business is actuallly NEEDING to reach it’s goals will go a LONG way to save you money, time, and best of all stress.

So, let’s figure out out how you can revolutionize the way you work with systems that integrate.

What are the benefits of integrating your systems?

You can greatly improve the management of your business workflow and enhance team collaboration by integrating the tech systems you utilize every day in your work. Connecting different systems increases data accuracy and accessibility, and enables better decision-making. It can also boost productivity (yay!) and therefore the effectiveness of your team.

By process mapping, you can start to streamline business processes, project management, and customer relationship management through system integration. While this article isn’t about process mapping specifically, I would be reticent to NOT mention it, as the process steps, the documents and information points involved are all vital parts of your business and need to have easy access wherever they reside.

What does it mean to Streamline Your Processes?

Streamlining your processes means optimizing workflow for maximum efficiency. By mapping out and identifying and eliminating bottlenecks or unnecessary steps, you can save time, reduce errors, and increase productivity.

It also improves collaboration, communication, decision-making, and project completion. Integrating your tech systems, such as Airtable and ClickUp, can be a game-changer for streamlining your processes and optimizing workflow. By connecting these systems, you can reap numerous benefits that will enhance your business management and team collaboration.

The Power of Integration: ClickUp and Airtable

So in the essence of streamlining, I have found through many projects in my corporate and consulting career, that the key pieces of how your business runs is within HOW you do your tasks, where the information lies (WHAT) that the tasks either need to be completed or is the deliverable of that task and also WHERE documents and files live.

Project, Info, and Document Management

The two biggest components of these really are the HOW and the WHAT. (the WHERE is a whole other blog post… but for the sake of brevity, I will shoutout to Google Drive and Dropbox)

The HOW of your business is the steps you need to take in order to get something done. You can also refer to these as TASKS. This is where ClickUp, or any other project management software, steps into the business and not only can you create your tasks lists, but you can also categorize them in a way that makes sense for your brain and your team.

I could go on about the aspects and features of ClickUp that are awesome for business owners, especially ADHD business owners, but I’ll let this blog speak for that at the moment.

The WHAT of your business is the information and details that the HOW of your business creates. This includes links to important websites or software, a client list and all their details, and assets created for clients as WELL as yourself.

This is where I believe the usage of tools like ClickUp starts to get a little convoluted. I have come across so many individuals and clients who keep the WHAT of their tasks inside the HOW. This means, that Designs are uploaded and messages sent in subtasks of a task of a folder of a space. They also use the somewhat limited database functionalities of custom fields to create spreadsheets. While I’m a HUGE fan of custom fields in ClickUp, creating a database that should ideally be created in a tool that can analyze through different views is arduous and clunky.

Let’s be honest, it’s frustrating as heck when you can’t get it to do what you REALLY want.

Let’s let ClickUp be what it is, a PROJECT MANAGEMENT tool with some cool extra functionalities that assist in the HOW things are done.

Airtable is possibly the only tool of its kind in the small business world (yes there are competitors, I see you SmartSuite) but Airtable truly stands out in it’s information management capabilities. It takes the concept of info management to a whole new level, offering a powerful and versatile platform for organizing your business data, links, and graphics.

Unlike ClickUp, which primarily focuses on task lists and project management, Airtable is designed as a dynamic database that allows you to structure and categorize your information in any way that suits your needs. In my humble opinion, there is no comparison when it comes to the ability of housing information, comparing it with other information, and automating based on the information’s criteria.

Imagine having your client list with all of their information, as well as when they purchased from you, how much money they have given you, what types of products/services they have purchased, and the deliverables from those services combined with your current tasks for that client, when the next projects or tasks are due.

All of your information in one place, but with tools that do their specific thing EXTREMELY well.

Pretty dope! (I’m showing my age here, I know. 🧑‍🦳 )

Benefits of Integrating ClickUp and Airtable

So you are starting to understand why it’s important to have tools and systems that do specific things very well, but don’t see how integrating clickUp and Airtable will help, especially if the whole aspect of the integration takes more work.

Firstly, the power of a unified view of projects, tasks and data cannot be overstated. This is a large reason why many clients look for an “all in one” type of software in the first place. In order to have a “second brain” for their business operations, they don’t want to go to multiple places to find it.

Secondly, with an integrated view, none of the information will need to be entered in twice. As someone who spent many years in looking at data and information, I can’t tell you how much DIRTY data is out there (yes, data can be dirty… dirty dirty data…. I digress). When I say dirty, I mean that there are 3 instances of the same information, with different details attached to each one. Although there are many reasons why this can happen, some of it is simply because the information is entered into 2 different systems 2 times.

No offense to you perfectionists out there, but every time information is touched by a human… the higher the chance of that information is wrong.

Automation is the magic sauce that makes my heart happy. I don’t necessarily mean automation BETWEEN the two programs, I mean the automation that is innate to each of the programs. ClickUp has been building on their automations over the last few years allowing for conditional logic, and Airtable has a REALLY decent internal automation system that can be used to send emails, update information between different tabs and a variety of other things.

This allows for simpler automation between the two programs using tools like Zapier because you are only pulling over specific information, not an additional 100 fields. As someone who is up to her knees in automation daily, this makes life MUCH easier in the long run.

ClickUp and Airtable Connecting

Lastly, the increased efficiency and productivity by leveraging the best features of both tools is a huge benefit to the integration of these two tools. For example. I have a use case where I run my CRM out of Airtable (you can check that out here if you are interested in the template for this.) While I have some of my processes automated (calendar appointments turn into leads), I always check it every day to make sure all details are filled in and the leads don’t need to be moved to the next stage. Instead of having each of these as a task in ClickUp to check, I just state “Check CRM and update as needed” to my daily task list. If needed, I can have a video or SOP on how that’s done if/when someday I pass it off to a VA or salesperson.

Update CRM Task List

So let’s just agree to agree. It’s time to matchmake these two tools in your business and get the best of both worlds.

How Does the Integration Work?

Integration by definition means to seamlessly share data or workflows between two software that allow for better and more enhanced functionalities of both tools.

This means that there are really 2 ways to integrate the tools, either to pass information or data between them using APIs (a computerized set of rules and protocols for interacting software applications) or actually using and/or providing the information in 1 tool to the other where it’s needed for the workflow.

This is important to know when integrating Airtable with ClickUp, mostly because a lot of the situations where integration is desired, are really just wanting to see the information in the other tool, not necessarily changing the information.

The simplest and most straightforward way to integrate ClickUp and Airtable is to simply embed an airtable view into ClickUp using the embed code from Airtable.

The second way would be to involve a third-party tool, such as Zapier or Make (formerly Integromat) to transfer vital bits of information needed for specific workflows from one tool to the other.

Continue reading for more information on when this is most applicable.

Streamlining Business Workflow with ClickUp and Airtable Integration

Remember the explanation about the HOW and WHAT of business tasks? This is important to remember when finding the best places and WAYS to integrate two tools together. Because ClickUp provides the ability to embed snapshots of other tools into it’s interface we will be considering that our MAIN point of entry into all of the information and tasks.

Airtable Embedd in ClickUp

Scenarios: Embed Airtable view into ClickUp Task or View for Customization

Many of the requests I have received in my work have been to pull information over from Airtable and make it visable within ClickUp so project managers can assess the completeness of a task or project or know at a glance the completion of said tasks.

This is as simple as adding a view with the Airtable information to the project itself. There are some examples below.

  • Group programs – embed an Airtable database of the members, their progress, their payments and how much time they have left as a view in the “activities” that must be completed.
  • Content Calendar – While ClickUp has some cool key features, nothing can overshadow airtable’s capabilities to capture all sorts of Content information, making it super-simple to reutilize for different needs in the future. You can have the steps to CREATE the content in ClickUp, and have the team update the airtable with all of the pieces needed for publishing. Embedding the view makes it super-simple to see what is not yet completed.
  • CRM – While many businesses utilize a CRM such as Hubspot, Dubsado, or Close, I have found that having a CRM built for you in Airtable not only gives you more power over the aspects you need, it also give you more visibility and ownership to nurture those leads. Also, having a CRM where you can embed the information into ClickUp is almost worth it in itself (interested in my CRM template? Check it out here)
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To find out exactly HOW to embed airtable views into ClickUp, check out my Youtube

 

 

** Please note, you are unable to edit the airtable view in ClickUp, you will need to go to the application itself, but that is because no one should be “accidentally” or “unknowingly” changing your data. The reasons for this I will discuss in an upcoming blog.

Integration by Workflow Automation: Connecting by Zapier (or other tools)

There are other instances however, where key metrics or information would be better utilized by actually having information sent to your Project Management tool. specific tool. This is a bit more complicated than embedding an airtable view, but definitely a time and energy saver in the long run.

Imagine being able to close a client, and suddenly have their project and onboarding tasks show up in ClickUp, automatically assigned to the right people (and an email sent out to that client automatically to ask them to provide information for the project). Pretty cool, right?

There are some specific situations where this type of integration is super-helpful, some include:

  • Once a Lead becomes a Client, their Name, Project Name, and template are sent over to your Project Management tool, and the project teams are notified that the onboarding can start
  • If a client misses a payment, a task can be sent over to the project management tool to let the right team member know to follow up with them.
  • If you have a content calendar in Airtable with all your planned posts, an integration can create corresponding tasks in ClickUp as soon as a new content piece is added. It could also update the task if the status of the content piece changes in Airtable.
  • When a new job application is received in Airtable, create a task in ClickUp for the HR team to review the application and initiate the interview process.

While these use cases are extremely attractive to the business owner, it does take some know-how in order to plan out, create and manage a third-party tool like Zapier and Make that can handle this integration. Even in the age of AI, sometimes it takes thinking like a programmer to put together the logic to make sure this happens. Luckily there are a lot of courses out there to help as well as individuals who specialize in helping companies tie together their main systems using an integration tool.

If you are interested in Ana helping out with Airtable custom databases and ClickUp integrations specifically, feel free to reach out!

Call me: ☎️  https://www.anasimplesolutions.com/contact/

How can integrating Airtable and ClickUp Workflow increase productivity?

Okay, so you understand that using Integrating ClickUp and Airtable can boost productivity by streamlining tasks, project management, and collaboration. With automation, task assignments, and project workflows become more efficient therefore making you and your team more productive.

ClickUp and Airtable Workflow

Centralizing task management and team collaboration into one tool can enhance productivity. Leveraging the individual strengths of Airtable and ClickUp and tying them together can super-power that productivity so that you and your team can spend your time and brainpower on moving the business forward or creating new lines of business.

Integrating ClickUp and Airtable also unlocks a plethora of powerful features for teams aiming to enhance their productivity and streamline work management. Whether you are part of large teams handling extensive business plans or individual users focusing on specific projects, this specific integration is a great way to optimize time management and ensure that every due date is met with precision. Airtable’s strength lies in its ability to manage relational databases, which, when combined with ClickUp’s versatile task management capabilities, provides teams with a comprehensive view of their projects through Gantt charts, timelines, and various other visual tools.

For those on a free plan, the integration still offers a wide range of features that significantly boost efficiency. Airtable records can sync with ClickUp, ensuring that all data is up-to-date and easily accessible, enabling teams to make informed decisions swiftly. This integration is not just a great tool for software development teams; it caters to small teams and individuals in various fields, adapting to different needs and workflows.

The best part? The transition and synchronization between the two apps are fluid, making it easy for teams to adopt and implement. From managing customer support tickets in Airtable and creating corresponding tasks in ClickUp, to visualizing project timelines in a Gantt chart for a holistic view, every aspect of project management is covered. Plus, with real-time notifications and comprehensive dashboards, teams stay informed and on track, regardless of the complexity of their projects.

This integration stands out as a beacon of efficiency, offering a solution that best fits the dynamic needs of diverse and remote teams. With its extensive features, robust customer support, and flexible pricing options, integrating ClickUp and Airtable is undoubtedly a consideration for any team looking to elevate their productivity and work management to new heights.

Wrapping it up 🎁

Navigating the dynamic landscape of project management and task collaboration requires tools that are not just robust, but also flexible and integrative. The seamless synergy between Airtable and ClickUp uncovers the myriad of ways in which their integration can transform your work processes, boost productivity, and foster a collaborative environment that is second to none.

From the simplicity of embedding Airtable views directly into ClickUp for immediate access to vital information, to harnessing the power of third-party automation tools like Zapier or Make for a more nuanced data transfer and task assignment, the possibilities are as limitless as they are innovative.

We’ve seen how these integrations can cater to a plethora of scenarios, from group programs and content calendars to CRM management, providing real-time visibility, and ensuring that every team member is on the same page.

Businesses of all sizes can do their work better and faster with this combo. It doesn’t matter if your team is big or small, or if your projects are simple or complicated. Integrating Airtable and ClickUp makes everything smoother, from planning to doing the work, and checking off tasks.

Take the leap, integrate, and watch as your workflows transform from good to exceptional. Welcome to a world where every task is an opportunity for excellence, and every project is a step closer to success.

Looking to learn more?  

Check out these blogs:

Simple Task and Project Management 👈

Planning your Week and Calendar Scheduling 👈

How to focus on the right things 👈

As always, Keep it Simple,

Anas Signature

 

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