Because of the fundamental methodology it implements, Priority Matrix has been recommended as a tool to help people with ADHD better organize their days. We asked a series of experts to share their prioritization tips and techniques. As you can see, many of these recommendations apply to every single one of us, whether you live with ADHD or are neurotypical.
Careful about what you work on
Billy Roberts, a therapist in Columbus, Ohio, highlights the importance of saying no: “This is particularly relevant to adults with ADHD living their best lives. Often, overworking a result of someone with ADHD feeling that they have to make up for something. Ironically, the more one takes on, the less accountable they can be to all aspects of their lives. Taking stock of what can be turned down can ensure higher accountability to other aspects of life.”
The flip side of this is knowing when to say yes: “The most successful people are highly aware of what they enjoy and are good at doing. Learning to say yes to help on less desirable tasks also helps ensure that time is spent on your strengths and passions.”
Rebecca Tolbert, an ADHD-specialized psychotherapist and coach with Conscious Strides, urges individuals with ADHD to “Learn your strengths and weaknesses, and then delegate away your weaknesses: ADHD individuals frequently feel such shame around organization, time management, and other skills based in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. I need glasses because my eyesight is terrible. I don’t shame myself for needing them, I just use the tools I require. In the same way, it is helpful to use the tools you require and expend your energy in other ways.”
Important, or just urgent?
Jacquelyn Tenaglia, LMHC, explains in her own words the familiar priority matrix approach: “ADHDers regularly struggle with prioritization and urgency. An email that just arrived about a clothing sale can feel as important as a report due today. Try to categorize tasks by identifying: what’s urgent and important, urgent and unimportant, important but non-urgent, and frivolous (can wait/not essential).”
Marketing expert Savannah Cherry advocates for a goal-driven process of prioritization: “Sometimes, everything seems critical. When this happens, you need to step back and decide what’s most important. Have a supervisor or higher-up? Ask them what they see as the most essential area for you to focus on. Are you that higher-up? Think back to your business values and goals. What’s the main one? Tackle tasks that align with that grand objective.“
Accountability matters: Don’t be a flake
Once you have committed to something, neuroscientist Ben Spielberg insists that you be accountable for it: “If you say you’re going to do something, do something. Don’t tell someone you’ll email them by the end of the day without actually emailing them. And don’t tell your children you’ll take them to the park without taking them to the park. When you’re accountable in your daily life, you operate with integrity, respect, and trust. When you’re not accountable, your peers and colleagues get frustrated and distrustful. They will think of you as a flake.”
In the coming weeks, we will continue to share tips and recommendations from experts on ADHD, as well professionals living with ADD/ADHD who still manage to make the most of their busy lives.
If you haven’t tried Priority Matrix yet, take a look now. You might like what you see.