How to Finish Projects If You Have ADHD

 In ADHD Productivity

Angry man doing his taxes at homeWondering how to finish projects if you have ADHD? Of course you are! We’re famous for not finishing what we start. Often leaving projects only 90% done.

Not finishing projects frustrates anyone living with ADD or ADHD. It annoys the heck out of the people we live and work with, too.

That’s why this headline in our local newspaper caught my eye. “South Interchange Project 90% Done”.  That’s the freeway interchange I drive through every day. Now I have a vivid idea of what a project looks when it’s 90% done.

When a freeway interchange  is 90% done the major construction is complete. The traffic flows pretty well. Except a bridge and an off-ramp remain closed and the lane lines are missing.

At 90% done, an interchange works okay but will be much better and safer when finished. Bridges, off-ramps, and lane lines are cool. Detours are annoying.

Now, let’s translate this 90% done idea into the world of adult ADHD and your unfinished projects.

The reality is that not finishing some projects doesn’t matter. When I was a systems analyst at a large corporation the last 10% was the documentation no one ever used. (Good thing, since it was my responsibility to finish it, and I rarely did!)

For other projects, that last 10% is important but not essential. My client Rick is installing software to track his billable hours at his law office. Rick’s system now works pretty well at the 90% point. But, since that last 10% will make tracking his time effortless, it’s worth the effort.

For still other projects, though, that last 10% is crucial. Using my book, Organized for Life, as an example, that last 10% took me longer to complete than the first 90%. Until I finished the last 10%, the entire project was dead in the water.

How To Finish Projects if you have ADHD

Here are 5 steps to help you finish projects if you have ADHD. Everything is easier when you have a road map to follow.

1. First you need to know what 100% is. Get clear about what the project will look like and how it will work when finished.

2. Next decide if that last 10% of the project is worth the effort. Perhaps 90% done is good enough. Of course if you have a specific commitment to someone else you best get it done or at least talk about it.

3. If you decide to finish your project, figure out what’s stopping you. Are you bored, afraid, or unclear about the last steps? Maybe you need a resource like time or money that you don’t have right now. Clarity is key to figuring out what to do when you’re stuck.

4. Write out the clear, easy steps to finishing. Figure out when you’re going to take those steps. Too often we say we’ll do something without allowing space in our schedule to do it. Also, decide which steps you need help with. You don’t have to do everything yourself, you know.

5. Finally, get to work, get the help you need, or get someone to finish it for you. Don’t underestimate the power of accountability. Find an ADHD coach or an accountability partner who expects you to get stuff done. This will light fire under you and help you follow-through.

Just because you have ADHD doesn’t mean you must resign yourself to never getting things done. If you’re stuck and struggling follow these steps for how to finish projects if you have ADHD.

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