Try Doing Less


Those of us with ADHD often have to-do-lists that are extremely long with many items competing for our attention but we never seem to get much done. With our racing brains we generate brilliant ideas and so many things we want to get done. However, a long to do list can be overwhelming and leave us wondering what to work on first? One solution is to try doing less. 

Keep a long master to-do list and write down all the things that you want to get done and when you get new ideas add them to your list. Your master list is your brain dump where you get the ideas out of your head and on to paper. The master list might include long term and short term goals. If you were to try to complete everything on your master list it might take you months if not years. In addition to your master list try keeping a very short and friendly daily to-do list that has been pared down to three items that you can realistically accomplish in a day. Assign times to the things you want to get done. When you complete those items, cross them off your list. Instead of feeling overwhelmed you’ll feel in control and accomplished.

Here’s what my short list might look like: 

10am – Clean up desk and de-clutter paper for one hour. 

1pm – Work on website for one hour.

3pm – Run errands for one hour.

These are not items that I work on every day and two of the items on my list are not things that I will complete in an hour but I will commit an hour to working on them and I scheduled enough time between tasks so if I want to spend more time on those tasks I can. I scheduled running errands for the late afternoon because thats when my mental energy is low.

Of course there are other things I’ll be doing today such as seeing clients, making phone calls, general housework, walking the dog, exercising and meditating but I can fit these three things into my schedule without feeling crazy. I have assigned a specific amount of time to each task as well as a time to get started.

The next time you want to get more done, try doing less and see how it goes.

Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach in Brooklyn, NY. She helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD with time management, planning and prioritizing, getting started with and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and improving social skills. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in downtown Brooklyn. For more information visit her website: or email Kathy at

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