ADHD: Break Large Jobs Into Small Pieces
Over and over again, when I’m giving talks about ADHD, people ask me how I could ever get it together enough to write an entire book. Here's how...
It took me almost a year to write my first book, because I owned two companies and was giving about fifty speeches a year around the country.
Over and over again, when I’m giving talks about ADHD, people ask me how I could ever get it together enough to write an entire book.
The system I use is one I learned from Michael Kurland, one of the most brilliant writers and finest human beings I know (you can find his books in any bookstore). His idea is to break the big job of writing a book down into little pieces.
I now work on my books for a few hours every afternoon, and then go to my other jobs for the rest of the day. Occasionally, I’ll take a weekend day, or even a free weekday and write all day, but this is the exception. Writing for only 2-3 hours at a time is a strategy that many writers use, and it seems to work well.
The same strategy of breaking big jobs into little pieces can be applied to just about any other type of project. Start out by planning the project in outline, and assigning timelines to the parts you’ll need to do. And then go about doing it, step by step.
Randy in Kentucky wrote:
For me, the key to getting things done is to know that if it will take more than an hour, I’ll put it off forever. That’s why the garage never gets cleaned, and why the big projects at work only get done at the last minute. By then, I can’t put it off anymore, and I have no choice.
What I started doing a few years ago was to break jobs into pieces. My wife actually got me started on it with the garage. She suggested that I organize only the tool-bench one Saturday, so I went out and did that.
The next weekend, she asked me to organize and clean out the boxes of old junk we’ve accumulated, from old Christmas tree trimmings to pictures of the kids.
I did that. And the next weekend it was the lawn stuff.
By the end of six weeks, the garage looked great. She pointed out that she’d been looking for one-hour chunks to have me do, and suggested that I should learn how to do this for myself.
I follow this method now all the time, and it’s really useful.