adhd getting things done

If You Have ADHD, Do These 3 Things To Get Things Done

Get Things Done in 2021: In this post, I will be revealing the best strategy for how to work when you have ADHD.

It's both simple and doable and will help make your work process adhd-proof so you can get more done.

ADHD and Getting Things Done

If you have ADHD you might recognize the following example:

You're ready to get stuff done.

You sit down at your desk.

You open their computer and...

All of the sudden it's three hours later!?

It's a common story for people with ADHD, and the one I hear most from clients: they just can't seem to follow through on the stuff they need to do.

And it can lead to debilitating anxiety, disappointment and shame.

If you don't get proactive and make a plan for how you work, your ADHD will sabotage your ability to get stuff done.

Here's what you can do instead. It's simple and doable, and will help you start following through on your work and getting stuff done.

3 step strategy how to work when you have adhd 1

Step 1: Use the Pomodoro Technique to break down your work into smaller chunks

With ADHD, if you don’t break your work down into smaller pieces, you’re going to get overwhelmedThis leads us to one the great secret tips for ADHD productivity: Use the Pomodoro Technique.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is just a fancy phrase for doing your work in 25-minute chunks with small breaks in between. 

Here’s how you do it:

  • Set timer for 25 mins. 
  • Work until timer goes off
  • Take a small break (5-10 mins)
  • Repeat
  • Take a longer break after 4 Pomodoros

You can use a physical timer or an online, whatever works better for you. There's a variety of Pomodoro timers on the web.

If you want to use the same one I do, go to Here's a glance at the simple interface below:

TomatoTimer web browser timer for adhd

Breaking your work down into smaller chunks helps things feel more manageable. Also capping your work time to only 25 minutes helps take some of the pain out of monotonous tasks.

In a 2019 study looking at coping strategies for young people with ADHD, one participant described how using the Pomodoro Technique was helpful:

"After a while, you just kind of get used to it, and it’s a lot easier for me to work ‘cause sometimes when I sit down to do work, you get so much anxiety about having to think about sitting down for two hours and doing something for a long time. That’s what it helps me with.”

Step 2: Use App Blockers To Take As Much Distraction Off The Table As You Can

Using the Pomodoro Technique as your foundation for breaking your work into smaller chunks, now it's time to ADHD-proof it a little more by taking as much distraction off the table as possible.

You must limit your access to distraction for the Pomodoro Technique to flourish.

Even if you know you can stay off your phone, or YouTube, etc., if you don't use App Blockers, you're still a rookie.

Here's the deal, sure, maybe you can fight the temptation to get on your phone or open a new browser tab, the point is: you're still burning energy to do so.

I have clients all the time who say, "Well, I think I can do it, I don't need..."

Let me say this clearly. Having the willpower to avoid distraction is NOT THE POINT.

The goal here is to power onward, follow through on the stuff that needs to get done.

Take willpower out of it, and use the app blockers, and put your phone in Airplane Mode.

How to start blocking the internet while you're working:

There are three important places to block the internet:

  1. On your phone
  2. On you laptop/desktop computer
Block internet on your phone:

The easiest way to block internet access on your phone is using airplane mode.

Airplane Mode For ADHD
Block internet on your computer:

If you're using a Mac, there's an open source software that's free called, SelfControl.

Here's how you can get it:

Go to and click the Download button.

selfcontrol app for adhd

Go ahead and install it on your computer.

Once you've installed the application and open it, you'll see it's a simple interface.

The first thing to do is setup the websites you want to start blocking. You have the option to block internet access via blacklisting or whitelisting.

Blacklisting Sites

Blacklisting sites allows you block access to individual websites.

To add sites individually hit the EDIT BLACKLIST button.

selfcontrol app editblacklist

Add the sites that you want to block one by one. When you're done, x out of the domain blacklist.

Blacklisting for self control app
Whitelisting Sites

Whitelisting sites allows you block access to ALL websites EXCEPT for the domains you select.

Toggle the radio button to WHITELIST and add the sites you want access to only for the duration of the timer.


You can x-out when you're done adding sites to your whitelist or blacklist.

The last step is to select how long you want to block access for. Use the slider to select in 30 minute increments.

Select your amount of time and hit the start button!

Start blocking apps
Block internet in your web browser:

When you have ADHD and you're trying to get things done on the web, opening a new tab can send you down a time sucking rabbit-hole.

If you're using Chrome browser get yourself an app blocking extension.  The one I've used is BlockSite.

Here's how you can block access via your web browser using BlockSite extension.

use blocksite chrome extension to avoid distraction

Step #3: Partner up with someone and work together in real time

Accountability can be tricky for people with ADHD, and how you approach it can be the difference between getting work done and doing absolutely nothing.

The best kind of accountability for ADHD when you're trying to get stuff done is simply working together with another person in real time.

Simply telling someone you’re going to do such and such and expecting yourself to follow through won’t work. Especially if it doesn’t matter to that person whether or not you get that particular work done.

Finding a work partner

Find a partner who also needs to get some work done and could benefit from working together. If there isn’t anybody in your immediate circle who you can work with in-person, that’s okay, find someone you can work with online. 

Places to find a work partner:
  • Online groups
  • Online forums
  • Facebook groups

Post in a couple different facebook groups and set up some calendar dates.

Set Up Coworking Sessions For Getting Things Done

Don't wing these sessions, have a plan for how to work beforehand.

Here's a template for doing coworking sessions online with a partner, as well as a few key things to keep in mind.

How to work: Use the pomodoro technique for working together

What tool to use: Use Google hangout, Zoom, Skype for online video conference call.

How to structure a 2-hour co-working session:

Let's say your session starts at 11:00am, here's a timeline for how to use your time:

11:00am - 11:15am:
  • Say hellos
  • Each of you spend 5 mins making specific goal for your first pomodoro. 
  • If your work goal is too vague, help each other clarify and break it down further
11:15am - 11:40am:

Pomodoro #1

11:40am - 11:55am:
  • Discuss what you accomplished
  • State goals for next pomodoro
  • Help one another if work needs to be clarified and/or broken down further (spend 5 mins per person)
11:55am - 12:20pm:

Pomodoro #2

12:20pm - 12:30pm:
  • Discuss what you accomplished, and state goals for next pomodoro
12:30pm - 12:55pm:

Pomodoro #3

12:55pm - 1:00pm:

Sum session up and say goodbye

Comments 6

  1. Can you still use the Pomodoro Technique effectively if your job involves a lot of interruptions e.g. urgent emails that pop up while you’re working on something else?

    1. Post

      If the interruptions are incessant, I’m not sure.

      My first thought is: how can you set up your role where you have chunks of uninterrupted time? I would question how urgent the emails are. It may totally be the case that responding to emails as soon as you get them is absolutely vital to your role and the company. If they are, I would say the Pomodoro Technique isn’t going to be much help. You have an interruption problem, and I would say how can you address that first.

      I had a friend who was getting incredibly overwhelmed at work and when I asked why, he mentioned he would get emails from his bosses all the time and he felt obligated to respond to each one. It got so bad it was splitting his attention throughout the day and affecting his productivity. After talking about it, he realized he could better do his job if he wasn’t having to respond to each one. So he decided to let his bosses know and work it out that he would reply on certain days of the week so he could get work done. It helped him immensely.

      If the interruptions are so bad that it’s affecting being able to do a good job, I would say it’s a problem worth trying to solve. Having a conversation with higher-ups and negotiating for some uninterrupted time might be helpful.

      I don’t know the situation in depth, and so if this example doesn’t fit, then of course ignore this.

  2. Soooo….a lot of these ideas would work even if you don’t have ADHD.

    I would add that sometimes people work better in different environments – offices are nice for this. Sometimes, at least for me, working from home is way less productive. I just don’t feel the urgency the same way I do when I’m in the office.

    1. Post

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