What to work on first? Prioritization matrixes for ADHD writers

Do you have what seems like hundreds of ideas for projects? That can make it incredibly difficult to figure out what to focus on first, can’t it? Even if you have already read my blog posts on Theming your schedule and the Pomodoro technique for ADHD writers, you won’t be able to use those until you have figured out what to prioritize. Luckily, there are some tools that can help you think through your priorities, that you don’t have to completely rely on your intuition for. So let’s get right to it: in this post I introduce you to two priority matrixes for ADHD writers, that can help you figure out what to work on first! And if those don’t work for you, I’ll give you tips on designing your own prioritization matrixes at the end. 

The Eisenhower Matrix

The most popular prioritization matrix is the Eisenhower matrix, named after the former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Using this matrix, you can prioritize your tasks and projects based on two criteria: urgency and importance. 

To show you want it look like, see this post from my Instagram account. 

By using the Eisenhower matrix, you can identify which tasks and projects need your immediate attention and which can be delegated or postponed. Rather than doing what you feel like doing, using this matrix can help you make sure that you get things done before your deadlines. 

If my daily task list is too overwhelming, I always create an Eisenhower matrix to figure out what to work on first. 

The 3x3 Prioritization Matrix

The second of the prioritization matrixes is the 3×3 matrix. This one is a little bit less popular but I’ve found it incredibly helpful. Though ADHDers are motivated by urgency, meaning it makes sense for us to work on the thing that’s most urgent—the thing we often need most help with is figuring out how much effort something will take us, and what impact it will have on our lives. And those just so happen to be the two factors that are mapped out in the 3×3 prioritization matrix! 

What’s more, this matrix has an extra column and row for the “medium” version of each criterium. I’ve created an example below, using fruits as project names. 

prioritization matrixes: the 3x3 priority matrix

When you’ve mapped out your tasks or projects in this matrix, what you want to do is work on the high impact category first. After all, these are the tasks and projects that will have the most positive effects on your life or career! Then, work on them from low effort to high effort. In this case, that means apples, grapes, and finally oranges. This way, you can start building momentum and knock the easy ones off your list to start making your list more manageable and less overwhelming. If something is high effort and low impact, such as the pears in this case, it should not be a priority. 

As you can see, this priority matrix can help you identify the projects that can give you the greatest results with the least amount of effort. It helps you make sure you are not only focusing on tasks that are easy to do, but are also considering their long-term impact on your personal or professional growth!

Prioritization matrixes: create your own!

Now that you understand how these matrixes work, and how they can help you decide what to work on, you can use this concept to build your own matrix. 

  1. First, decide if you would like to work with 2 or 3 columns and rows. 
  2. Then, figure out what two criteria you want to use to create your matrix. Some criteria you can think about are motivation, personal interest, or relevance to your goals. 
  3. Build it! That’s it! 

By defining your own criteria, you can create prioritization matrixes that align with what is important to you. How magical is that! 

If you come up with your own matrix, let me know in the comments. 

Concluding thoughts on prioritization matrixes

These prioritization matrixes can be life savers for writers with ADHD. Where overwhelm is one of the main obstacles for ADHD writers, prioritization matrixes can help. They can give you the clarity and structure you need to finally finish your thousands of unfinished projects and ideas. That is why I’ve included them in my upcoming book specifically for ADHD writers, called “Writing Traps: The ADHD Writer’s Map to a Finished Book.”

This book will delve deeper into the strategies and tools that can help you overcome ADHD-specific writing challenges and complete your writing projects with confidence.. and speed! 

If you want to receive updates about my upcoming book, and want to be the first to know when it’s available: you can subscribe by filling out the form below. By subscribing, you will get exclusive access to tips, tricks, and insights specifically tailored to ADHD writers.