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Surviving self-isolation part 5 – daily task lists

We’ve nearly reached the end of my series on how I’m keeping my ADHD brain (relatively) healthy and productive through self-isolation.

That’s not to say that the isolation itself is, or should be, ending – even here in New Zealand we’re far from out of the coronavirus woods, and we’re doing a whole lot better than certain other nations. We still need to do everything we can to slow the virus’s spread, to reduce pressure on our medical systems, and to keep each other, and especially our most vulnerable, safe. And that means staying home as much as humanly possible.

But as far as this series is concerned, this is my second-last post. I’ve already talked about how I get myself going in the morning; how I keep the stress of a messy home at bay; the importance first and foremost of being kind to ourselves right now; and how I use scheduled check-ins to combat loneliness while keeping myself on-task and on time.

To finish off, this week and next week I will be looking at two techniques I use, in combination, to combat the biggest challenges of trying to be productive while self-isolating with an ADHD brain: overwhelm, difficulty getting started, difficulty finishing, overwhelm, lack of deadlines/priorities, and did I mention overwhelm?

This week, a strategy I’m really excited to talk about: daily task lists.

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Surviving self-isolation part 4 – setting up scheduled, external check-ins

In a weird twist of fortune, I actually spent the last few months before everyone got serious about coronavirus getting extensive practice at being cut off from people.

My most recent job – the one I had right up until everything went into lockdown – involved involved living and working by myself in a national park for ten days each fortnight. I wasn’t alone – it was literally part of my job to chat with the park visitors and overnight campers (nature nerd heaven!) – but my bosses were based in town, and it wasn’t unusual for me to not see another staff member the entire time I was there.

I absolutely loved being in the park, but that doesn’t change the fact that I struggles with working alone. My ADHD brain is not well set-up to stay on-task, let alone on time, when left to its own devices.

Fortunately, my job also came with something that turned out to be vital to managing those challenges: scheduled, external check-ins.

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Surviving self-isolation part 3 – be kind to yourself

This week, struggling to decide what to focus on for my next blog post, I reached out on Twitter to ask my fellow ADHD brains what they’re struggling with the most now that they’re stuck at home.

In response, I got people talking about the lack of external motivators, about time-blindness, about difficulty getting started in the absence of deadlines. I have a few good tricks I use to help with those, so buckle up next week as I get into my favourites.

But there was an unspoken theme to many of the responses, one that strikes right at the heart of what we’re all living through – and it’s one that can’t be addressed by clever productivity tricks.

The world is scary as hell right now, and our brains can’t deal with it.

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Yellow hazard sign lying on the floor. The text on the sign says cleaning in progress.

Surviving self-isolation part 2 – targeted tidying

As I said last week, I’m focusing my next few blog posts on strategies that help me cope with being an ADHD brain stuck at home, trying to minimise my stress while also maximising my ability to actually get things done.

This week: self-care through targeted tidying.

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