I often coach entrepreneurs affected by ADHD. They all seem to fall into the same trap. They are behind in their work and desperate to get something done so they wait for a completely open day they have and plan to get a lot done that day. Usually they don’t. However, when what they are working on is due that day the pressure does gets them going.

Completely open days can be dangerous for those of us affected by ADHD if we plan to get something done. All the time my entrepreneurial clients try to schedule days with no appointments thinking they will get a lot done. Often they get little or nothing done those days. They tend to be most productive on days when they are already busy.

Busy can be good. Busy can provide structure to your day. I know I get a lot done when I work between appointments. I think scarcity has something to do with this. A limited amount of time seems to force action more quickly than an open unlimited amount of time.

Often I get calls from parents of college students who are in trouble because they are behind in their work. These students were often good students in high school and the parents can’t figure out why they are having trouble in college. I often learn that when the student was in high school the day was highly structured with classes and activities. Also family often helped them manage their time to get their homework done. When they get to college they often have a more open schedule along with a lot of unstructured time. This often leads to failure. Large quantities of open time can be difficult for those affected by ADHD to be productive.

Structure helps many affected by ADHD to be more productive. This is especially so when the structure is from forces outside of the person affected by ADHD. We really struggle with imposing structure on ourselves. I have worked with unemployed people while they are looking for a job because they struggle to stick with the job hunt day in and day out. I always advise they start volunteering somewhere. They worry about doing this because they feel they must put all their time into the job hunt even though they are mostly just procrastinating. Volunteering part-time gives structure to their day. Their time becomes limited and therefore most likely more productive.

The times in my life that I have accomplished the most was when my schedule was full. It forced me to work more efficiently. Getting started on tasks was easier and completing tasks was easier. There simply wasn’t time to procrastinate.

If you have open days when you need to get a lot of work done force some structure on those days. Make some appointments and activities to break the day up and work in between the structured times.

Of course this won’t always work but it can help you get your tasks done.