How to Make Accountability Work for You

 

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STRATEGY 2:  (FROM MY STEP-BY-STEP BUSINESS BLUEPRINT) GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

Everyone, ADHD or not, works better when they are accountable, but ADHDers really need accountability. We just do. There’s something about beginning tasks, following through, transitioning from one task to another, prioritizing, and all of the other things that make you productive that get bogged down if you don’t have encouragement and someone to report to. You know you do better work when you’re accountable to someone, but when you own a business and you’re out there on your own, how do you you get that accountability?

Sure you could hire a coach, and if you do have a coach on an ongoing basis, congratulations, that’s wonderful accountability!

A coach can really light a fire under you and keep you on track. Just make sure your coach is holding you accountable for your business actions, ones that you agree to. This is what I do for my coaching clients.

Or, if you don’t have an ongoing coach who keeps you accountable, or if you need more ongoing support, get an accountability partner. Or several. There are a few ways to do this and make it work over the long run.

TWO WAYS TO GET ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS

Here are my two favorite ways to get accountability partners (other than a paid coach):

1.) get a “true” accountability partner, where you find another business person who also needs support and accountability, and you fill this role for each other, or [Read more...]

How to Plan Your Time

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 9.54.07 PMTime management studies say that the average person wastes fully one-third of their work day . . . one-third! Scary, huh?

And that’s for the average person. Think about what that statistic would be for the average ADHDer! And as business owners, we can’t afford to waste this much time.

That’s why it’s so important to plan up-front and be proactive about your time and productivity, and not let it get away from you. Once you drift off, those minutes go by really fast.

So what’s the best way to focus your time management and stop wasting so much time?

The most important thing highly effective people do

I’ve heard this one thing credited by management consultants as one of the most important actions successful and highly effective people take. (Not just successful ADHDers, successful people do this.)

It’s worked for me for over 30 years, so I like it a lot. And [Read more...]

How to Let Go of the Unimportant

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 10.01.28 AMYou know that combination frantic, frustrated, and disappointed feeling you get when you realize that, once again, you didn’t work on any of your big objectives in your work day?

It happens to all of us. And it might be because you think there’s really a way to “get it all done”—but you’re just not able to do it.

The biggest myth in time management

According to a popular Harvard Business Review article“the idea that we can get it all done is the biggest myth in time management.”

The article goes on to say, “Once we admit that we aren’t going to get it all done, we’re in a much better position to make explicit choices about what we are going to do. Instead of letting things haphazardly fall through the cracks, we can intentionally push the unimportant things aside and focus our energy on the things that matter most (emphasis mine).”

We think we can do the little things first

See, when you think you’ll be able to get it all done, you do the little things first, to get them out of the way. Pretty soon you’ve run out of time and haven’t done a thing to further your big objectives—right?

So here’s an exercise to try: give yourself a really [Read more...]

Three Steps to Stop Doing Stupid Stuff when You Should be Working

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.25.07 PMOne of the biggest challenges you face as a business owner—especially when you have ADHD—is spending your time well. Time is a non-renewable resource: once you use it up, it’s gone.

This is a big problem, because how you spend that time definitely impacts the success of your business and how much money you make. It can also make you feel awful if you aren’t productive.

This isn’t news—you know this. Then how come you spend so much time getting off course and doing stupid stuff? I do it too, we all do. We start our weeks and days with good intentions and then somehow get off course . . .

. . . and things don’t get done.

Maybe you, like a lot of entrepreneurs, need a good way to wake yourself up and get back to what you should be doing—things that will help move your business along.

Here are three steps you can take to help you STOP when you get off track and start doing stupid stuff.

Take these steps to stop doing stupid things when you should be working

Step 1.

Put a big note where you’ll see it throughout the day. It can say, “Pay attention,” or “Why are you doing that?” or “Hey! Get back to work!” or whatever you think will wake you up and get you out of that bright-shiny-object daze whenever you start to drift. For years I had a “Pay attention!” sticky note on my monitor, until it got to be part of my environment and I didn’t see it anymore—that’s when it’s [Read more...]

5 Ways You Confuse Your Clients when You Have ADHD

Confused woman trying to remember some informationDo your clients truly value your work, allowing you to charge what you’re worth, and trusting you to do more for them?

You may think you’re describing your work’s true value in conversations with clients and prospective clients, when you’re really not. Your clients may not be getting it.

If you’re not able to charge what you’d like to, it may be because you’re not communicating well enough — and if that’s the case, you can’t blame them for not knowing.

It’s not your clients, it’s you

This takes digging and thinking and putting some meat on the bones of how you talk to clients. It may be more you, than them.

Take a look at these five ways you may be talking about your work that confuse clients and stop them from seeing how valuable you are:

1.) You may be doing work you don’t believe in

If you’re not well placed in your work or if you’ve chosen the wrong niche — if you really want to be a dog trainer instead of the copywriter you are (but you became a copywriter because it seemed more sensible, or your parents wanted you to be a copywriter) — it’s going to show in your work. It’s going to show in the way to talk about how you serve your clients. And it’s not going to sound as good to prospective clients as it does when they’re talking to someone who really really believes in the importance of their work as a copywriter.

You’ve got to be passionate, and sound passionate, about what you do in order to interest people in working with you — you’ve got to be so passionate that they can’t help but see the value in it. If you can’t be passionate about your work, find a way to be passionate about the way you deliver it.

Or do something else.

2.) You may be offering what you think your clients need, instead of what they actually want

People value what they want, not what you think they need — it’s that simple. The first rule of marketing success is [Read more...]

How Simple Systems Can Supercharge Your Business when You Have ADHD

Abstract business flow chart diagramAs a business owner with ADHD, you probably don’t like systems. You think systems may stifle your creativity. Or you think they’re too difficult to set up. Or you’ll never follow them. But I urge you to give systems a second look—if you want your business to be successful.

With structure comes freedom

If you know me at all or have worked with me, you know that one of my favorite sayings is “with structure comes freedom.” Many of the people I talk to want it the other way around. They want the freedom to work on things without the structure. They want to work “when they feel creative,” because they didn’t start their business to become a slave to time or schedules. You may feel this way too. I guess that’s okay if your business isn’t serious and you don’t want to make money.

The purpose of a business is to make a profit

I’m going to be hard on you here for a minute. The definition of a business is “the purchase and sale of goods and services in an attempt to make a profit,” so obviously money is a big part of it. And you can’t make money if you don’t have reliable systems with which to do so. Really, you can be creative just to be creative in your free time. During business time, you have to set up structures to be productive.

Systems give focus, comfort, and confidence

You may say it’s boring to work by a system, and as an ADHDer, you don’t work well with boredom. That’s true about the boredom part. But my experience with ADHDers is that without systems, ADHDers lose focus. Without systems, you miss a wonderful [Read more...]

How to Snap Out of ADHD Brain Fog So You Can Be Productive

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 10.07.25 PM**Marcia is on vacation this week, so we’re re-running an older article we think you’ll enjoy. Use this strategy and let us know how it works for you!

So there you are, another morning with brain fog. And there’s that important project you know you should be working on, but you can’t get through to your brain about actually working on it.

Yes, you know what you should do. And you know how to do it. But you just can’t get your brain to go along with you.

Here is one of my favorite ways to work with your ADHD (instead of fighting against it) to get your brain to pay attention:

Step 1.

When you notice that you’re drifting or have that “mired in mud” feeling and just cannot do the thing you know you should be doing, or, you watch yourself getting involved in something else you can “get out of the way quickly,” which of course is just procrastination -- the very moment you notice it, STAND UP. If you’re already standing up, take a step back, shake your arms, jump up and down a few times, and stand at attention. (Okay, you may feel weird doing this, but it’s worth it.)

Step 2. 

From there, give yourself marching orders. Whatever it is you should be doing, say it [Read more...]

How to Curb Your Impulsivity When You Have ADHD

ThePauseIf you have ADHD and run a business, you know your impulsivity can sometimes get you in trouble. You want to buy that new piece of equipment right now, without checking your budget. You want to implement that new business direction right now, without having thought it all the way through. You want to say what you want to say now, before you forget it, even though it means interrupting your client.

Not good. Not if you want your business to be successful.

So why are you so impulsive? It all has to do with creating a pause.

Dr. Ari Tuckman explains the relationship between impulsivity and the executive functions. “Executive functions” is an umbrella term for a set of mental processes that help connect past experience with present action. They include working memory, sense of time, remembering to remember, emotional self-control, self-activation, hindsight and forethought, and problem solving.

Dr. Tuckman says the executive functions “live in that little space between stimulus and response.” People without ADHD are able to hold back an automatic response to the world around them (like the urge to react or do something right now). This critical ability to stop creates a pause that allows them to think through the various response options and then choose the best one — and it usually happens in a split second. This gives the executive functions time to do their thing.

People with ADHD have difficulty stopping long enough to create that pause, which means you can’t [Read more...]

How to Always Appear Smart when You Run a Business and Have ADHD

Index cardsDo you ever wonder how people in the public eye—politicians, executives, media personalities—manage to sound so intelligent in interviews, and even when caught seemingly off-guard? (Most of the time, anyway.)

Many of them are no smarter than you and me, and some of them may even have ADHD. So how come they can pull off sounding smart when it counts, and you can’t?

Does any of this sound familiar?

1.) The telephone rings and it’s a client you really want to impress. You’ve been working hard on his project, but your brain picks that moment to freeze up and you can’t remember what the heck you’re supposed to talk with him about, or how to say it.

2.) You go to a business networking event and someone asks you what you do. Oh my god, you can’t bring the information to your speaking function. What is it you do again? And how do you talk about it so it makes sense?

3.) You’re making a point in a business conversation and someone asks a question. You do know the answer, so you spend 5 minutes going off on a tangent and lose the attention of everyone else about the main point you really wanted to make. And of course, you can’t remember the main point now, anyway. Darn!

Enter talking points

Remember the smart politicians and media personalities we talked about earlier? They can have the same problem. The difference is that they’ve had [Read more...]

Why Can’t I Focus When I Know I Should?

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When you have ADHD, you know how hard it can be to focus on things that aren’t interesting to you, and how easy it is to get supercharged by things that are. You’ve probably heard this, or something similar, your whole life: “If you can pay so much attention to ___________________, why can’t you ever finish  ___________________?”

It can happen at home or at work. The tasks that are mundane or boring seem almost painful to you, and you have many procrastination and avoidance tactics to get around doing them. You’ll move mountains to get to the interesting stuff, though, and work through the night with laser focus and brilliant productivity. It almost doesn’t make any sense, to others or to you. How can you work so well at that, when you can’t do this?

Your interest level changes the chemistry of your brain

According to Dr. Thomas Brown and the recent studies into the science of ADHD, your interest level actually changes the chemistry of your brain, allowing release of chemicals that enable you to accomplish tasks. Here’s the catch—it’s not within your conscious control.

It all happens on a subconscious level, before you even get a chance to think about it.

So you can’t say, I choose to be interested in this task, therefore I will now release dopamine and/or norepinephrine now so I can accomplish it. Nope. It doesn’t work that way.

In a non-ADHD brain, a chemical is automatically released so messages jump the gap of brain receptors when a task is considered, making it easy to focus. In the ADHD brain, we don’t release and [Read more...]