ADHD Organization Tip: The 80/20 Rule can be an effective strategy for ADHDer's to maximize their ability to hyper-focus.

Increase productivity by maximizing your ability to hyper-focus

Posted Sep 22, 2009

Most of you have probably already heard of the 80/20 rule. You know: The rule that states eighty percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. The flip suggestion is that 80 percent of the effort doesn’t proportionately impact your company’s bottom-line.

Although this rule sounds simple and may seem to have nothing to do with ADHD, it is one of the most powerful productivity enhancers available, and can be particularly effective for Entrepreneurs by with ADHD.

Because the 80/20 rule is counterintuitive it is frequently overlooked.

As intelligent people, we pride ourselves on being logical, therefore, we reasonably deduce that 50 percent of our results come from 50 percent of our efforts and 60 percent of our results come from 60 percent of our efforts…and so on. Even worse, we conclude that if we work 12 hours it’s because there wasn’t an alternative. It’s hard to imagine we could actually do more in less time.

Even when working with those who intellectually “understand” the 80/20 rule, I’ve rarely encountered a client who meaningfully translated the rule into changes in how they organized their work day.

Why you might ask? As a general rule, I’ve found it is easy for people to recognize when someone else is inefficient, yet it can be very hard to recognize this same tendency in ourselves. Accordingly, whether people “understand” the 80/20 rule people, or not, they frequently tend to complain about not having enough time to get things done.

For Example

Let’s say that you work a typical eight-hour day. If it’s true that you get 80 percent of your results from 20 percent of your efforts, what could happen if you got laser beam focused for 96 minutes each day (20 percent of eight hours)? To give it a try, get a timer and set it for 96 minutes. Without interruptions, focus on your No.1 priority for the day.

Try this as early in the day as possible, before you get bogged down with e-mails, returning calls, meetings or other distractions. Many of my clients who have tried this idea have told me they were amazed with how much they accomplished. Try it for one week and see how well it works for you.

Why Is This Approach So Effective For ADHDers?

Clients with ADHD have found this method particularly effective for two reasons. First, it reduces distractions that frequently impeded their productivity. Second, it allows people with ADHD to maximize their ability to hyper-focus. Hyper-focus is the tendency to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. Though they may have difficulty focusing, organizing, and completing certain mundane tasks, ADHDer’s frequently are able to focus intently on activities that interest them.