Tips for managing your time and staying on schedule
Trouble with time management is a common effect of ADHD. You may frequently lose track of time, miss deadlines, procrastinate, underestimate how much time you need for tasks, or find yourself doing things in the wrong order. Many adults with ADHD spend so much time on one task—known as “hyperfocusing”—that nothing else gets done. These difficulties can leave you feeling frustrated and inept, and make others impatient. But, there are solutions to help you better manage your time.
Time management tips
Adults with attention deficit disorder often have a different perception of how time passes. To align your sense of time with everyone else, use the oldest trick in the book: a clock.
Become a clock-watcher. Use a wristwatch or highly visible wall or desk clock to help you keep track of time. When you start a task, make a note of the time by saying it out loud or writing it down.
Use timers. Allot yourself limited amounts of time for each task and use a timer or alarm to alert you when your time is up. For longer tasks, consider setting an alarm to go off at regular intervals to keep you productive and aware of how much time is going by.
Give yourself more time than you think you need. Adults with ADHD are notoriously bad at estimating how long it will take to do something. For every thirty minutes of time you think it will take you to get someplace or complete a task, give yourself a cushion by adding ten minutes.
Plan to be early and set up reminders. Write down appointments for fifteen minutes earlier than they really are. Set up reminders to ensure you leave on time and make sure you have everything you need ahead of time so you’re not frantically looking for your keys or phone when it’s time to go.
Because adults with ADHD often struggle with impulse control and jump from one subject to another, completing tasks can be difficult and large projects can seem overwhelming. To overcome this:
Decide what to tackle first. Ask yourself what the most important task is that you need to accomplish, and then order your other priorities after that one.
Take things one at a time. Break down large projects or jobs into smaller, manageable steps.
Stay on task. Avoid getting sidetracked by sticking to your schedule, using a timer to enforce it if necessary.
Learn to say no
Impulsiveness can lead adults with ADHD to agree to too many projects at work or make too many social engagements. But a jam-packed schedule can leave you feeling overwhelmed, overtired, and affect the quality of your work. Saying no to certain commitments may improve your ability to accomplish tasks, keep social dates, and live a healthier lifestyle. Check your schedule first before agreeing to something new.