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  • Writer's pictureThuy Truong, M.A. Ed.

"How Do I Start Tasks Early, Not Last Minute Or Until 3 Days After I'm Out Of Clean Clothes?"

| by Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed., TPT Teaching and Coaching, 11/17/2022|

The easiest way to hit the groove and get things done when you are supposed to is to create an environment that is aesthetically, physically, and professionally pleasing as well as motivating. For some people, it's having something sweet right before. For others, it may be relishing in a newly bought house plant that they love and working in a beautiful environment make them feel at home and excited to get work done. Pay attention to the environment you are in when you do great work. Change your environment and you will change your productivity end result. Environment is everything. Think of it like this, if you saw a cockroach at a restaurant, would you want to eat there anymore? I think not. That's the power of environment. To unlock your true productivity, you have to create your own locker combination and curate your own work environment. You will hit the right note when you take the time to create an aesthetically pleasing ambience that suits your taste and pace, then work will not feel like work and you just bask in productivity organically. Below are some ways to begin that journey to find your heroic starting point:

Hook It To Something You Already Do

We all hit a slump at some point with our daily obligations. For most people, the period after lunch is hard and unmotivating. People often feel sleepy while being full, and it is hard to do work. The key ingredient is listening to your body and its energy then give it the momentum that it needs. If you have a task that you dread, then hook it to something you are already doing to make the task easier to accomplish. So this is about reengineering how you feel about the task. For example, you notice that you view grocery shopping as a chore lately. You do not enjoy doing it as you used to. Consequently, you will pair grocery shopping with exercising. You do walks twice a week, so you will write a grocery list before hand and bring it with you when you do your walks. Problem solved: Just do your grocery shopping on your way home from working out. Bonus: this arrangement will also save you gas because the stores are also within proximity of the place you exercise. Since you are already out and about for your walks, it is so much easier to grab grocery while you have the momentum to do so. In short, if you have a task that you don't feel so excited about, pair it with something that you are already doing and excited about. Spread that contagious excitement like icing on a cake and take that golden feeling into the next task! This is highly effective because most ADHDers have an interest-based nervous system as Dr. William Dodson had suggested. Try this strategy today!

The Small Glow

Introspection is one of the best and hardest skills to attain because its subtlety is so elusive when comparing to a link you find on Google. My point is, it is way easier to look at how others are succeeding and what works for them than going inside yourself to pin down the smallest factor that made you a success in the last endeavor that you had accomplished. Yep, I am talking about something so small and organic that nobody would put any significance to it. For example, how come you aced the paper in English about Robert Frost. Well, the truth is, his poems remind you of a small, rural town that you grew up in and the way he talks kind of reminds you of your grandma. The point is, start noticing something small that helped you skate through a task with excitement and did it effortlessly. Another common example is churning out papers at stylish coffee shops because you've got the cool music, background noise, and human connection to keep you stimulated to get the job done. The small glow here is being in a beautiful public environment makes it easier for you to focus and get to work because seeing the human collective in the coffee shop and the cozy ambience inspire you. Once you have pinpointed your small glow, you should always write papers at creative coffee shops and do long readings there. That is, you should replicate that productive experience for every task that you find challenging. The sky's the limit. Be judicious and pick something that works with your lifestyle and budget. Try to figure out the small glow that will light you home, to help you accomplish what you need to achieve. In order for this to work, it has to be something of personal significance to you! Just to you!

Visual Reminders In Unlikeliest Places And Things

We all need multiple reminders despite Google calendar. Electronic reminders are helpful, but that only sometimes is not enough. I am talking about the fun reminders like hanging a gold leaf on one of your jewelry branches. Does it always have to be this fancy? No, it just has to be you and it has to work with your lifestyle as well as your daily schedule. Make sure you pick out post-its in your favorite colors (no need to break the wallet, go to Dollar General) but do make the reminder attractive to you and hang or post it in a well-traveled corner in your home so you will remember the priorities that you need to attend to. Research also suggest that ADHDers are visual people because their occipital lopes are more active than other brain regions. If you want to be extraordinarily ornate, you can use erasable markers on glasses or cheap lipstick on the mirror. The possibilities are endless according to your personal taste and style. The point is decorate your reminders, make remembering fun, festive, and fantastic. Productivity can be hacked! This is how: You spread your inner excitement and the task will be charmed and conquered.

Getting things done when you need to is an essential skill for academic and career success. The key is personalizing an environment that doesn't make it feel like work. Essentially, avoid thinking just about the work, but think about an aspect that you enjoy about the task. Sometimes, you have to think of a way to make it enjoyable. That is when work doesn't become work anymore. It is about something you enjoy. Then, that's when you hit the ground running much easier. When you finally get that feeling that work isn't work anymore. Figure out how did you do that? Write it down in a notebook how you achieved that feeling and then you will re-create it for next time so you can reap great success and great results every time with a secret sauce that works only for you. I hope you will find it very soon!


Thuy Truong, M.A. Ed.

I am a certified coach and licensed professional educator, executive function expert, former tenured high school teacher and college instructor with 17 years experience. I am also a student success designer. I enjoy recognizing the missing puzzle in the student's learning and personalizing that solution in a language that is unique to that student. I love the creative challenge of inventing a new language for every child and remembering the little things about neurodivergent students and individuals that I have the pleasure to work with. Learn more here.

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