Capture your thoughts visually to plan your project
With ADHD, you're full of ideas. But your plans just continue to swirl around in your head without turning into action. If you don't capture your thoughts in a way you can act upon, too many ideas can just become an overwhelming distraction that keep you stuck.
Last year, when we were forced to work from home, it may have seemed like the perfect time to work on that project you'd been putting off. Instead, most of us hit a wall.
There are several common ADHD reasons why you may find it paralyzing to begin:
- You’re not sure where to start.
- You don't know what all the steps are.
- There was something that needed to be done first.
- You don't know where the material or information is.
- The project is more complicated / long / unpleasant than you thought.
- You can think of so many possible ways to do it that you can’t narrow them down.
So instead of finishing the project, you barely get started on it. In short, you're STUCK.
Get unstuck with mind-mapping
Instead of letting your thoughts and concerns float around in your mind, capture them visually. There's a simple technique to do that: Mind-Mapping.
I learned about mind-mapping back in my corporate days, when I facilitated brainstorming meetings. Back before technology programs and apps, mind-mapping was a visual way of capturing people's ideas as they called them out. We used to line the walls of the conference room with brown paper and map the ideas on the paper so everyone could see them. Instead of just listing a bunch of phrases on a flip chart, the mind-map process tied the thoughts together in a way that made sense. Although it looked chaotic, we could come back to the mind-map days later and follow what it was telling us.
My ADD / ADHD adult coaching clients usually find mind-mapping to be a huge breakthrough in helping them plan through a project. I devote a whole lesson in my Productivity Pathfinder ADHD training program to mind-mapping for writing, planning and study.
Why mind-mapping is perfect for people with ADHD (or anyone with a creative mind!)
The mind-map technique allows you to follow your thoughts in whatever leaping, meandering way your mind works, instead of you having to force yourself to think in a linear “logical” structure. So you end up with a blueprint for what you need to do, but you created it YOUR way.
Although there are wonderful apps for mind-mapping, you don't need any technology at all. You can create a mind-map anywhere, even scribbled on the back of a napkin (but don't lose the napkin!)
Now learn how mind-mapping can help you break down a project, as the first step in planning.
. . . . .FREE WEBINAR. . . . .
“3 Essential Process Skills to Break ADHD Paralysis“
Learn a quick way to break down a project, plan, and prioritize
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I first learned of mind maps from a productivity coach 20+ years ago. Unfortunately this was before I knew I had ADHD, and even with two years of coaching I still couldn’t get things done. Just diagnosed a few months ago and have been on meds for six weeks, so I’m revisiting old tools. I can recommend a couple of easy, inexpensive apps: Coggle is browser/web based and is free for limited use, $5/month for more. Scapple costs $18 and runs on Mac and Windows. I used Scapple to map out is needed to become more healthy, reduce stress, and enjoy life (example at mcdonnas.com/pub/2022/happy-map.pdf). I’m using this as I try to set goals and priorities for my time.
Thanks for the app suggestions, Donna! Hope the meds are working well for you.