Trust me, I’ve used every excuse in the book to justify why the first draft of this article looked more like a tweet than an essay.
As you can see, I finally got it done. It wasn’t easy, but through the development of new skills, I managed to meet my timeline. Before my ADHD diagnosis, procrastination and I had just taken our relationship to the next level, and I was committing a significant amount of time every day to doing absolutely nothing.
I wasn’t too busy to work, as demonstrated by the three seasons of Schitt’s Creek that I had binged in a single week. I wasn’t cursed by the gods of writing or just plain incompetent. Instead, I was distracted spending key writing hours researching JFK’s murder and CIA conspiracies, unable to claw myself out from the internet rabbit hole.
Being diagnosed with severe ADHD as an adult came as a shock, but I’ve found ways to counter my natural inclination toward procrastination. I’m not alone in this. Many writers struggle with staying on task and completing a project, but those of us with ADHD face a particular set of challenges.
ADHD is a disorder affecting 2.5% of adults. It comes in three types: inattentiveness, hyperactivity/impulsiveness, or both. ADHD adults can struggle with planning and making long-term commitments.
This learning disability can feel isolating, but you’re not alone, and there are ways to manage these challenges. Not everyone who struggles with procrastination has ADHD, but if you do, this survival guide will help you efficiently manage your time while writing a novel or article.
Richard Lau is the founder and CEO of Logo.com, and Kari Amarnani is a writer for Logo.com. From their website, Logo.com describes their blog as follows: “Our blog is designed to give you inspiration and ideas for your business. We write about logos and design to help you understand how to make the most out of your brand and we interview founders from all kinds of companies to teach and inspire you in building your next business.”
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Picture this: You have this feeling that you had a great idea recently about something related to the essay you’re currently writing, but you just can’t remember it. But what if you had a digital note-taking system with tags, where you have kept all such ideas? It would take you mere minutes to go through the tag “essay,” and voila!
When I was in high school, apart from what was needed for studying, I didn’t take notes. It wasn’t until I was in college that I began to take notes on a daily basis. It was a downward spiral from there.
I started to fill one notebook after another with notes of books I read, videos I watched, my own thoughts, or interesting quotes. This continued until a few months ago, when I realized something momentous.
My note-taking habit was ineffective.
Despite the many notes I took, I barely remembered what I had learned. I couldn’t recall the memorable quote and interesting story I’d written down when I needed it. Worse still, I had to start from scratch with every new writing project—research again while racking my brain for little details to back up my points.
I took notes the same way school had taught me—that is, writing down verbatim what I learned and keeping the notes in the same place, never to look back again except for exams. Only, in real life there are no exams, so I didn’t bother to revisit the notes at all. Thus, all the hard effort went down the drain.
I realized I had to adopt a new strategy.
In this post I’ll show you why the old-fashioned way of taking notes fails us and how switching to digital note-taking can save the day—boosting your productivity and helping you succeed in your writing goals.
Dana Sitar is a copywriter, editor, and teacher who has been writing for online audiences since 2011. She has written about work and money for Forbes, the New York Times, CNBC, The Penny Hoarder, Money Under 30, The Motley Fool, Craft Your Content, and more. She is currently a columnist for Inc. Magazine.