Five Ways to Follow Through and Get Things Finished

finish line

When we did our ADHD and business survey in November, over 70% of you ranked “follow through” as what you wanted help with the most. Getting better at following through is not an easy, overnight fix—it’s very individual, it takes knowing yourself and your ADHD, and it takes commitment.

Here are five tips that will help you to follow through:

#1. First, understand the elements of your business that can only be done by you. Take these on as your responsibility, and, if at all possible, delegate the rest.

You’ve got a lot on your plate, and you’re getting new ideas all the time. Too many times, you get hung up on the boring things—no wonder you can’t get them finished! Your brain isn’t wired to do the admin stuff of your business or to chase down details, so if you can (and it’s probably more possible than you think it is), get someone else to do these things so you can focus on your genius work.

#2. Notice what lights a fire under you and gets you to finish things, and find a way to purposefully work those things into your project for planned accountability.

Some things really work to clear your head and get you to focus and wrap up projects, and others just don’t. So, what gets you moving?

• Impending important deadlines

• Set-in-stone client meetings

• Getting paid—as in, you get paid as soon as it’s finished

• A deadline for something public, like speaking

• Presentations and reports

• Going on vacation—getting everything off of your desk before you go

• Being reminded by someone else, to keep you on track


Once you know what it is that lights a fire under you, find ways to make it happen in your schedule. For example, when I have a new topic I want to research or write about for my business, I know I’ll put it off unless I work in some planned accountability. For me, nothing works like knowing I have to speak on the topic, so I sometimes create my own speaking opportunities by announcing a teleclass. I pick a date and make a public announcement. When people start signing up, I know I have to produce—there’s no getting around it!

One of my clients chose doing check-in reports to his clients on a weekly basis to help him follow through and get things done. The clients will come to expect the reports, so he has to follow through with his work in order to make the check-ins. This accountability will keep him on track with his clients and build trust and goodwill at the same time.

#3. Turn off mobile devices, close your door, shut down your email, and make yourself unreachable.

I know, you think you can’t do this. You think you always need to accessible. But when you’re in meetings with clients you’re not reachable, so you can be unreachable when you’re in a meeting with yourself, too—if only for a little while.

Technology and PR expert and creator of the PR service HARO, Peter Shankman (who is also very public about his ADHD), took this idea to the extreme. When he wanted to write a book in two weeks and needed to make himself totally unreachable, he bought a business class ticket on a flight to Tokyo. When he arrived, he drank a few espressos, and took a return flight home, finishing his book in the air in 30 hours. Shankman says the trip cost him $4,000 and was worth every penny.

#4. Jot your ideas on a notepad to address later.

You’re always being interrupted by your own great ideas, right? Well, you don’t have to be a slave to these interruptions. Keep a notepad by your computer and jot them down so you won’t forget them, then get back to the task at hand. You may find they’re not worth following down the rabbit hole when you look at them later on, anyway. And if they are, great, you’ve got them all on one sheet of paper—and you were able to finish what you were working on.

#5. Get someone else to finish what you start.

You’re good at starting things, right? And if you really do not like to through, you can often get someone else to finish what you start. From the beginning, take a look at your project strategically, and plan to only do the portions that need your particular genius. Plan on not doing it all from the start, even if it IS your genius work—this can be tricky if you’re not used to seeing how others can fit into your work until it’s too late to hand it off.

Figure out what parts absolutely have to be done by you, and stop with that. Make notes on how it should be taken from there, and hand it off to someone on your team. This could be an employee or trusted freelancer who knows, or can get to know, how you work. It’s incredibly freeing! They can always check back with you on their progress for approval, and you can move on to the next important thing on your list.

Do it now.

Choose at least one of the above five tips and apply it to a project you’re working on right away. Today. Now!

Good luck, and let us know how it goes :)

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