I have ADHD and I'm Autistic, so to say I think a little differently may be an understatement. But, I love to think of things with the end in mind.
And, because of this, if there isn't some gold-star-esque prize at the end of the day, the chances of me getting my to do list completed are nil.
It's true that my to do list usually only consists of work tasks. Your to do list may look different.
Lately, I've had a few things piling up, and my to do list keeps getting carried over to the next day – which is annoying for someone who actually enjoys crumpling up the papers when the list is complete.
This week, knowing I couldn't get much done (because kidney failure; more on that next week), I started a backward to do list.
Fun fact: “backward” is American, while “backwards” is British – though I'm prone to saying “backwards”
A backward to do list. What a novel concept, right?
this is how I do it:
After I've already been at my desk for at least 30 minutes, and I've knocked a few things out (things I wouldn't usually put on my list, but that doesn't matter), I start my backwards to do list.
The first things I add are things I've already accomplished for the day, even if it is something as trivial-seeming as eating breakfast. That's difficult for me to do some days!
After I list my accomplishments, it gives me a good little shot of dopamine and starts revving up the brain engines.
This bit of dopamine is enough for my brain to be like, “woah! I'm not just being a total piece of shit today? Let's get some work done!”
The tiny little flip that I did here, simply giving myself a “gold star” for doing things I already do (like getting dressed), gives me enough juice to actually get started on my real to do list.
So, the trick here is to brain dump – and do it quickly. As soon as your brain gets fired up for the day, take 5 minutes to fill in the rest of your to do list.
Don't forget to list tiny little tasks, too. I'm talking “take a 15 minute break” (which is totally not tiny for a workaholic like myself!), “eat lunch,” etc.
Anything that's easy for you to do should also be on your to do list. If you feel yourself getting stuck throughout the day, you can pick an easy-peasy task and get a little gold star action so you can get back to work.
Hell, maybe this is already a thing – I didn't look yet (avoiding rabbit holes today). But, it's working for me. Try it and let me know what you think!
If the PNG above doesn't print well, download this PDF and print it. Or, use it digitally on your iPad/tablet!
P.S. You don't have to enter an email or anything, this is all available in my Free Shit library (no sign-up required).