Does Your To Do List Give You Anxiety? Try a “Did It” (Or a To Done) List

ADHD Tip: Keep a “Did it” list to help you know how much you actually got done



One of the biggest problems of having ADHD is struggling to get stuff done, right? So, you get your handy, dandy paper or calendar, or planner, and your trusty pen or pencil and write down everything you have to get done. 

A wonderful, beautiful To Do List! 

Ta Da!

Now what?

Where do I start?

Oh no! A few of these things are over due! Which of those should I do first?

You go to your room, and see the clean laundry pile, not yet folded sitting in the decorative chair in the corner. You see piles of dirty clothes in the other corner, and on the bathroom floor, and maybe even a few things in your closet. Um… where did the laundry basket go again? 

You finally get all of your clothes collected and take them to the washer. Oh nuts! “That’s where my favorite shirt is that I couldn’t find earlier this week!” you say to yourself. It is still in the washer - but hey! it is now dry! Albeit wrinkled, and maybe not quite very fresh smelling.

Ugh! And you look in the dryer and more clothes are still in there. *sigh*

You start to notice the familiar sensation of being suffocated with feeling overwhelmed. The anxiety starts to grow. 

The paralysis that you feel so much of the time, maybe even daily, is back again today. Again.

Another ugh!

All you wanted to do was to make today the day you finally got productive.

Can you relate? I know I can.

When you feel overwhelmed, or feel like you aren’t getting anything done, or just having trouble getting started - you might start a “Did it” list instead of focusing on your To Do list.


What is a “Did it” list?

Simple. It is a list of things that you did today. And they don’t have to be items from your to do list. They don’t even have to be “big” or “important” items.

I use this strategy all of the time! Actually, I probably use it most days.

Here is an example of my average “Did it” list:

  • emptied the dishwasher
  • filled and ran the dishwasher
  • took a shower
  • returned client phone call
  • figured out dinner
  • fixed dinner

So, the above day might be a typical day for me when I’m struggling to do my “bigger” projects like send out this newsletter, or planning for group. Many of those items I struggle to do at all in my “I can barely move and get myself to do anything” days. Yes, I have those WAY more than I’d like to admit.

Looking at my list, I am reminded that I did actually do some stuff that day. Instead of beating myself up with “I’m so lazy”, I can see that I did actually do something. 

This ADHD strategy is one of my main strategies that I use when I’m feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed and paralyzed. And, I give myself permission to have “small” things on the list, like “take a shower”, “took out the trash”, “got prescription refilled”.


A Did It list also helps you keep a log of what you did, and when you did it. By looking back, you can take note of any patterns you might have, which can help you tackle projects or other To Do list items in the future.

Have you tried this ADHD Tip before? How did it work for you? If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to try it for a couple of days and see what you think.

And if you'd like help putting this or other strategies into practice, and are in the Kansas City area, I encourage you to contact me about my Adult ADHD Group Treatment option. It is a GREAT way to find support and help for your ADHD struggles you are having.

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