How do Things Sneak onto your Task List?
Quick! When you think of your task list, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Likely a feeling of dread - of a place where wonderful ideas go to die. Sorry for the dramatics but for many Global Creatives thinking about their task list does not produce warm fuzzy feelings. There can be numerous reasons for this but one is that the task list never seems to get smaller. You work and work and cross things off and yet your task list grows.
In Shrink Your Task List I speak to a significant discrepancy - the rate we add items to our list can be much greater than the rate we complete items on the list. This is a uniquely ADHD phenomenon. If you want your task list to become the resource it can be then take a look at how things are added to your list.
Your Melon Patch
Your task list is just a representation of projects - potential and current - and actions you are committed to and/or responsible for. A task list is like a melon patch where each melon represents a project or task. As you peruse your list you are walking among your melon patch categorizing and prioritizing which melons to pick and take to market (engage to a completion point).
Oh, if was only this simple!
For the overwhelmed ADHD professional, their melon patch is often overgrown with too many melons and the fence that surrounds the patch is in disrepair. For the Global Creative potential projects tend to grow abundantly. Not only do we produce them ourselves with our fantastic ‘idea generator’ but often we are handed ‘juicy melons’ through our broken-down fence (a boundary that is often compromised by our reluctance to say “No thanks!” and/or by our do-it-all mindset). To add to this, we will often go out searching for new melons than focus on the ones we have. It's stimulating to think about a new project or opportunity. The true challenge arises when we try to take that melon or project to a completion point often resulting in further overwhelm and frustration.
Getting super clear and focused on the melons that mean the most to us is an essential component of successful follow-thru and completion. Covey speaks of First Things First and Big Rocks. Global Creatives can be successful here too especially if we create awareness around the unique qualities of our own melon patch.
Walk Your Melon Patch
Before you freak out and close off your melon patch to the world get curious. “Walk the fence” and notice how melons slip through the fence. Is someone taking advantage of your ‘Doing’ skills and handing you their melons? Are you venturing out and seeking new exciting melons. These are potential external and internal ADHD distractors that can wreak havoc on the task list equilibrium.
Next, “walk among your melons”. Pick them up and take a close look.
‘Is this still a project that is relevant?’
‘Is there someone who can help me get this into action?’
Let go of any of those old dread feelings. They will not serve you and feelings of fear, frustration and urgency will not move your most important stuff forward. All of the latest neuroscience supports this. Focus on resources and positive (and realistic) outcomes. Benefit of Outcome is a great little exercise to create motivation and a picture of success and a path to get there.