ADHD and Priorities: How To Decide What’s Important

by | Jun 6, 2014 | ADHD Productivity | 4 comments by: pakorn by: pakorn

It’s one of those days an ADHD coach experiences periodically, a day when client calls follow a common theme. Today a number of my clients have been wondering about ADHD and priorities: how to decide what’s important to focus on. In other words, how do they know what their priority should be.

When you have Attention Deficit it’s hard to know what’s important isn’t it? Exactly how are you supposed to know what to focus on?

The answer is this: Create a guide to help you determine your priorities. Without some sort of a guide, you’re always focusing on the urgent or the shiny; and not getting the important things done. It’s inevitable.

I often have my clients create an ADHD priorities list. It’s kind of like the triage system emergency rooms use to prioritize the first person who will get medical attention.

Your priorities list will help you think ahead about what’s most important to you.

One of my clients today decided his ADHD Priority List is:

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • His clients
  • Sales
  • Work projects
  • Everything else

(Do you find it interesting that this successful business owner put exercise and diet above his business? At first glance that may seem odd. However running a business if you have ADHD means you have to focus on the essential ADHD self-care that keeps your brain functioning. My clients realize this is a top priority.)

Writing out your ADHD priority list can be eye-opening. So if you find yourself flailing, bouncing from task to task, or not accomplishing your goals, give this a try. Create your own ADHD Priority List and use it to triage incoming tasks.

The Last Word in ADHD Success

The year I turned 30 my husband and I quit our cushy corporate jobs, sold our house in Los Angeles, and traveled for a year. We wanted to create a new way of life and find a new place to set down roots and raise our family.

That was my start as an entrepreneur. First as a professional organizer and, after I discovered my ADD, as an ADHD coach to help other adults learn how to live more successfully and effortlessly with ADHD.

The first half of our journey Favorite Husband and I traveled the US in our small Toyota pick-up truck. We then took a freighter to Europe where we called an old Volkswagen van home for six months.

No, this isn’t a travelog.

I’m bringing this up to talk to you about ADHD and priorities and how to decide what’s important.

When Favorite Husband and I were traveling, our priority was to stay on blue highways. Which in the olden days of paper maps, were the lesser traveled roads; not the interstate.

Since we wanted our adventure to be more beautiful and to truly see what our country was like, we chose the blue highways, the smaller roads on the maps. Those roads took us through small towns, beautiful countryside, and lovely places to visit and to see.

This decision simplified our planning and helped us stay focused on our priority. It allowed us to find our new home in Oregon.

The bottom line? If you have ADHD knowing your priorities is important. You’ll find it easier to make decisions and stay focused on the essential tasks that will help you reach your goals.

Dana Rayburn is an ADHD Coach in Oregon, but don’t worry… She works by telephone helping ADHD adults all over the world live more effortlessly and successfully with ADHD.



  1. Juan

    Tha k you for the article. Nicely written, inspirational. Keeps my attention!

    • Dana Rayburn

      Thank you! I appreciate knowing it helps! Dana

  2. Justin

    Thanks Dana! This is a simple but super effective practice that’s easy to get away from on busy days.

    I’m curious: I once heard that people with ADHD have a hard time recognizing what’s most important or what’s a priority in their day. Do you have a link to that research? That question is how I came across your blog (which I’ll use!).

    • Dana Rayburn

      Hi Justin – glad to help! I don’t have a link to research, but it makes sense. People with ADHD are attracted to the shiny and interesting. These things may not be priorities. Learning to focus on priorities is a muscle that needs to be built.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome to ADHD Success

Tired of struggling with ADHD? You’re in the right place. ADHD Success is loaded with free, practical tips to help you get organized, manage your time, and live more easily with Adult ADHD. Like what you read? Sign up for the newsletter now! No Spam. I promise!

Like Dana on Facebook: