Entrepreneurs Need Productivity Too

Entrepreneurship and ADHD go hand in hand. For many ADHDers, entrepreneurship is the best career choice. In the right business, one that excites you and that takes advantage of your strengths, entrepreneurial success is within your reach.

Entrepreneurship can solve many problems for ADHDers, after all, as an entrepreneur, you can’t fire yourself and you can definitely delegate those tasks that don’t interest you. There are many role models of successful entrepreneurs with ADHD, and I’m not describing a select few “rock star” business owners. Every day, I work with entrepreneurs successfully facing and conquering their ADHD demons, and even using their creative genius to their advantage.

Of course, these same entrepreneurs are quick to confirm that maximizing your productivity is an absolute necessity for any entrepreneur to succeed. Time is money; really, time is more valuable than money… you can’t get more time if you run out! You may not have a boss to impress (besides yourself), but the forces that will judge whether you were productive enough are even less forgiving than even the toughest boss. You need to be amazingly productive.

Most entrepreneurs start their business as a solopreneur. You’re responsible for every aspect of your business, from creating the vision right down to every gory little detail, like sales, invoicing, chasing payments and managing paperwork. And you have personal and home responsibilities, unless you want to come home late one night to find your suitcase waiting for you on the front porch!

You must maintain your health with exercise, a good diet and sufficient sleep because if you miss a day, there’s no one to take your place. And staying financially healthy, though often more challenging when you’re in the early stages of starting a business, is essential. There’s nothing more distracting than creditors’ phone calls!

It’s easy to see how so many entrepreneurs get overwhelmed or neglect essential aspects of their lives. So how do you do it all?

You adopt strong entrepreneur productivity practices. Productivity is not only about work performance, it includes all the commitments you make to others, to yourself, and to all that supports you, including your health, work-life balance and financial security. It’s about self-management.

Neglect your self-management and you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed, possibly in divorce court and procrastinating on your invoicing or sales calls. And that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

What have you been neglecting lately?

Is That the Best You Can Do?

Creative Geniuses, including adults with ADHD, often use procrastination, sometimes even intentionally, to get things done, at least those things that don’t pique your interest.  For days, perhaps even weeks, you try to coax yourself into completing a task you’ve committed to or have to do.

Each time you sit down to do it, you’re distracted by something more pressing, more important or, let’s face it, more interesting, and despite your effort, you don’t make a dent in it until…

At the last minute, mere hours away from the deadline, you swing into action!  With adrenaline pumping, you’re able to focus like a laser and plow through the project or task.  You’re “in the zone.”  Nothing keeps you from getting it done, not the ringing phone or emails arriving, not your colleagues or your hunger, family commitments fall by the wayside as does everything that normally distracts you.  You’re a machine!

Most Creative Geniuses recognize themselves in the above description, and even tell me how amazing it feels when they are able to achieve this level of focus, even hyper-focus.  Many admit it’s their standard approach for anything they do.  And they insist the work they produce is great.  But is it?

Or if it is great, have you ever wondered how much better you’d be able to do if you were able to achieve the same level of focus without waiting until the last minute?  Could you go beyond great and be amazing, perhaps even be the best?

For Creative Geniuses, time is often elastic; when you’re in the zone, you’re three times as productive as most people but you can’t accomplish a boring task in a month of Sundays!  No wonder you’re usually a poor judge of how long something will take to complete.

In fact, you may even rely on external signals (your boss screaming, “You haven’t started yet!?”) as an indication of when to start working.  Unfortunately, it’s half-past the eleventh hour and there’s no time to review or do a final check, so even if your work is good, it’s far from the best you could have delivered.

If you think there are benefits to procrastination, consider these questions.  Even if you’re “getting by,” ask yourself, could you do better if you started earlier?  Are you tapping into your true potential when you use this procrastination strategy to get things done?  How much better could your work be if you’d had the time to put your best effort into it?

Many Creative Geniuses tell me, “If it wasn’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done!”  If you rely on that approach, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.  Maybe it’s time to consider learning some alternative strategies.

Productivity is More Than Getting Work Done

The entrepreneurs, ADHD adults and other creative geniuses who come to me are usually struggling with productivity. Perhaps that’s why my first questions are so unexpected. They’re surprised when I ask how much sleep they’re getting, or how often they’re able to exercise. They’re shocked when I ask about their hobbies, their beliefs and how much time they spend doing things that interest them or that allow them to be creative. A common misconception, they equate “productivity” with getting things done, especially at work.

True productivity must include the “stuff” that supports your well-being, your happiness and your goals. Of course, that includes work-related productivity but it also includes honoring your commitments to your friends and family and more importantly, to yourself.

Everyone benefits from seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night and a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise each day. In fact, anyone who doesn’t get enough sleep can experience ADHD-like symptoms. However, for adults with ADHD, sufficient sleep and regular exercise will improve your ability to concentrate, your memory and your ability to deal with stress.

Awareness of how you work best allows you to optimize the use of your time so that you’ll have “spare” time when you can inject interesting activities in your life. If, instead of working two extra hours at work, you enrolled in an art or dance class, or even just spent quality time connecting with your friends and family, you’d have more energy and you’d even be more productive at work. Oh, and you’d feel a lot happier.

Of course, this process feeds on itself. Becoming more productive at work would free up even more time you can dedicate to exercising your creativity, forging new connections and pursuing leisure activities. And that’s why my first questions are a little surprising but entirely necessary. Improving your productivity starts with having a healthier lifestyle.

If you want more information about improving your overall productivity, visit http://www.productivitymythsbusted.com to request a free report called Top 10 Productivity Myths… Busted!

How to Overcome Procrastination with ADHD

I was reading an article on How To Overcome Procrastination by Tai Goodwin of The Examiner.

She mentions the biggest sources of procrastination as fear of success, fear of failure and fear of work. For ADHD adults and entrepreneurs I would also add a very important source of procrastination: Boredom!!!

The expectation of boredom causes you to avoid the task as your brain cannot energize when faced with a boring task. Despite your “turbo brain” when faced with a boring task, you turn the key but the motor won’t start.

Of course there are many other causes of procrastination, such as overwhelm, holding limiting beliefs, and problems focusing on one task at a time but we won’t get into those right now.

Tai offers solutions that I often use with my clients:

  • Stop using the excuse that you have too much to do
  • Keep your eyes on the benefits once it’s done
  • Use accountability to ensure you keep your word
  • Use the power of three tasks. Most people can’t get much more than 3 to 5 tasks done each day. Identify the 3 tasks you’ll focus on and don’t derail
  • Celebrate!

Solutions to procrastination problems require that you look at the source of the procrastination and you address that. If you have fears, face your fears. Consider how likely is it that what I fear will take place? How can I minimize the likelihood? If boredom is what’s keeping you from getting going, inject interest, novelty, competition, anything to make it fun or interesting.

Enjoy what you accomplish! Celebrate!

What tasks do you procrastinate?