Staying on task is a common hurdle for ADHD programmers and others with ADHD. How many times have you committed yourself to building a feature, only to end up spending an hour on Facebook posts and YouTube videos?

A method I’ve found EXTREMELY helpful is to use a visual reminder to keep bringing me back to what I was working on. Here’s how it works.

The simplest version is to take a colorful post-it note. Pick a bold, vivid color that is easy to notice.

Write the name of your current task in about 5-8 words. For example: “Draft Focus Technique blog post.” Now put that sucker right in the corner of your screen.

Here’s the part you have to practice: while you’re working on your task, look back at that post-it note whenever you forget what you’re working on. See why we picked a bold color? It makes it easier to let the note grab your attention.

Now, if you’re getting sucked into social media (or just distracted in general), you might even forget to look back at the post-it note. This is where a timer like this one that goes off every 10 or 15 minutes can help remind you to look at the note until you build up the habit of treating that note as important.

I’ve used this method for years to help keep me on task. It works well with paper notes, the Stickies app for OSX, or even Evernote or Notion. If you go digital, this method works best with apps that can pin a note above all other windows so that it’s always visible.

Try this out! Let me know how it works out.