How Do You Get Things Done?


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That’s an honest question.

What? You think cause I write this blog and am the resident ADHD Expert at, that I have all the answers?

Nope. Not even close.

I struggle with getting things done just like you do.

Sure, I have some great ideas on how to do it all, and sometimes I actually have it all together.

But other times?

Not so much.

See this?


That’s a photo of my planner showing the first 3 days of this week.

You might notice that while I had 4 things on my to do list, only 1 got done. The other 3 were sent to Tuesday, which already had an item listed.

I actually managed to get 3 of the 4 done, pushing the last item, “order marker” to Wednesday.

Here are a few thoughts on getting things done, and why it’s so hard for you and me:

  • We have trouble prioritizing. Note that looking for a piece of paper and doing laundry got done while ordering the marker for my dad’s grave did not.
  • Our emotions get in the way. See above.
  • We often choose to do the easy things rather than the ones we dislike or that are hard.
  • When we write them all down, we end up with a giant list that overwhelms us and we don’t know where to begin. That little list on my planner is nothing compared to the real list in my head. And that is totally an ADHD thing.
  • We keep lists in our head instead of writing them down and then we forget. It’s hard to prioritize in your head, especially with that much stuff.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Instead let’s talk about things we can do to help make the situation better:

  • Start a dump list and put it where you can find it but not where you see it all the time. For me, that might be in the front or back of my planner or at the end of the month. Click on the link to find out more about dump lists and how to use them.
  • Note any items that have a due date attached to them and be sure to put them on your calendar in time to get them done. (I promised the cemetery that I would order the marker on Monday. Oops.)
  • Do your best to prioritize the remaining items. Color code them for easy identification. You might want to put the date you added the to do item as well. I would do simple categories for prioritizing: this has to get done, it would be nice to get this done, and it won’t matter much if this doesn’t get done. I would highlight or color code the first two.
  • Be realistic. Don’t add more than 3 or 4 things to your day. Do the most important one first.
  • If you’re like me and something important that needs to get done isn’t, take a look and see if you can figure out why. Then see if you can find a way to get it done. Maybe delegate it to someone else or ask for help.
  • Finally, I think it’s also useful and inspiring to make a list of everything you did accomplish at the end of the day. I have a rule of 3; as long as I got 3 important things done each day, I call it good. Now I implemented this idea when I was caring for my dad, so my days were already pretty full. This was in addition to that. If you find that 3 things are easy and you have plenty of time left in the day, add in one more and another after that if you can. I wouldn’t go any more than that because you risk burnout.

We can try to do the best we can and that’s really all we can do. There will be times when we shine and other times when we’re a little tarnished. That’s OK.

The biggest, best thing that you can do for yourself during those not so shiny times – and really, all the time – is to tell yourself good things about you.

So tell me: how do you get things done?


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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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