Cameron Gott, PCC
ADHD Coaching for Leaders & Professionals
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The Global Creative Blog

Shrink Your Task List

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How is it that it’s so easy for things to get on your task list and yet so hard to cross them off?

Does this seem fair?

Do you see a problem here?

Global creatives are excellent front end loaders. There is no shortage to the ideas we come up with. But how do we get it all done?

We can't and we don’t.  It would not matter how productive or effective we were or if we magically had a 27 hour day. There’s no way we can complete all of the ideas that come out of our abundant creative thinking. Yet this challenge is very real.  Actions and projects just waltz right on our task list but removing them without doing them feels like a total failure.   Like a restrictor plate on a NASCAR race car we have to look at the role of an effective inhibitor. Disinhibition is trademark ADHD and it can really mess up a working task list.  Limit Scope is a REBEL concept and a useful approach to getting the most important things done.

If October was ADHD Awareness Month let’s make November the month we strip our task lists down to something lean and mean (as in meaningful)!

Strip Out the Old Lifeless Stuff

Think of all those old ‘shoulds’ and ‘some-day-maybes’ that when we look at, we have a pang of regret and a sense of guilt. Really think about how you want to spend your time. Let go of old tapes that reinforce 'doing it all' is the only way.  You are changing.  Your task list should change to reflect who you are not who you were.

Have the Idea but don't Commit, Yet

We need to address this ‘rate of addition’ versus ‘rate of completion’ discrepancy.  Have the idea but don’t give it a free pass to your task list.  Don’t collapse thinking about an idea and committing to its completion.  Separate these two events and guard your task list. Guarding your task list is really guarding your time, your attention and your collective energy.  Unsure what to do with all those ideas?  Park them for a month or just give it away.  Yes! Give it away!

Balance the Stimulation of Adding Tasks with the Satisfaction of Completing Tasks

There is a fine line between satisfaction and stimulation.  Feeling a little euphoria as you add items to your list?  Careful friend.  You could be inadvertently utilizing your task list in a high risk/novelty seeking activity that results in a lovely but short lived dopamine response.  Binge brainstorming?  Yes it can happen so limit here and shift your attention to the fulfillment and satisfaction of completing key steps of your commitments.

Limit your Focus to Key Completions. 

Pushing actions to final completion can be exhausting especially the last 10%.  Pick a few to push through and enroll others by partnering or collaborating to help see it to completion.  Get clear on your 'benefit of outcome', how things will be different and better if you push through.  Finally don't ditch creativity in the final stages of completion.  Turn it up a notch.

Limit Scope can feel like a completely foreign activity for the global creative.  But exposure to this practice of limiting can be very effective.  Embracing Limit Scope allowed me to dismiss many ideas so I could focus my creativity and skill-set to push the really rich ones to rewarding completions.