ADHD and Time Management

  • Put to-do items on your calendar

If you find that your tasks languish on your to-do list, put them on your calendar. Without a specific date and time, we may subconsciously continuously question when are we to do a task, especially if there is no deadline. Use your calendar to block of time for specific tasks. This will also help with the common issue that many with ADHD have which is “time blindness.” We don’t always understand the passing of time or how much time it takes to do things. If we schedule blocks of time, it will help with this awareness.

  • Break tasks into smaller chunks

We often get overwhelmed. It can feel overwhelming to have a long to-do list. We can also feel overwhelmed if the task is a big one. We can fix this by putting just a few things on our calendar for the day. If the individual task is a big one, break it down into smaller chunks. For an example, I have had on my to-do list to schedule a doctor appointment for several days. But the task is actually to look at my insurance plan to see who is covered, choose a doctor, find the phone number, and finally call and schedule the appointment. I would be more successful if I put on my calendar to look at the insurance plan and go from there.

  • Use technology

The use of timers, reminders, and various apps can be very beneficial. When I put something on my calendar, I will often use the option to be notified at certain periods before the event. I also use the reminder app on my phone and will adjust the notifications depending on what I need. I tie my calendar to my GPS app so I get notifications on when to leave for commitments outside the home. Focus apps are also available and can be used for study sessions or periods of deep work. The one I use (Focus Keeper) also has a notification based on a lack of use. It sends a reminder to get busy.

  • Master list

There are several reasons to keep a master task list. It serves the purpose of a brain dump. Clearing our minds of tasks we need to do but are worried we’ll forget is a great way to reduce stress and overwhelm. Update and organize this list once a week. But don’t work from this list as it can be overwhelming. Choose 2-3 items at a time from this list to work on. If there are items that continuously stay on the list, look at why they are there and what can be done to mark them off. Is it something that needs to be delegated? Or does it need to be broken down into smaller tasks.

  • Schedules, routines, and habits

Having a schedule or routine is helpful with time management and helps us remember to do what needs to be done. If you find routines difficult to implement, take it one step at a time and wait to add anything until your current routine has become a habit. Work towards habits that help with time management. If you struggle to get out the door, look at what is tripping you up. Do you need a “landing pad” where you always place your keys, sunglasses, handbag or wallet, and anything else you need when you leave the house? If you create the habit of always placing your keys in the same place then it may support you in leaving the house on time to get to your appointments.

What have you found useful for time management? 

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