ADHD and Time Management: How to Conquer Time Chaos So Life is More Joyful
Does this sound like you or someone close to you?
I’m busy all day long but I’m not getting anything done.
Time escapes me.
I get distracted and lose track.
Things take longer than I expect.
I don’t know how to schedule my time.
I wish I had time to do what I want to do.
My email runs my day.
I get into a zone, then miss deadlines.
I can’t get off the late treadmill.
I’m afraid I will always let people down.
I’ve lost control of my time and my life.
These comments refer to challenges with time management and time awareness. If you live with ADHD, you may experience the following:
• disorganization: events are disconnected and out of sequence, creating challenges for planning, scheduling, and follow-through
• inhibition: distinct events ceaselessly flow together making the passage of time unpredictable
• impulsivity: series of immediate, unplanned events that must be accomplished now and tend to compromise priorities.
• external distractibility: loss of focus can lead to random task-switching, and problems returning to the task at hand
• internal distractibility: multiple thoughts are like a runaway train speeding from one station to the next with little scheduling awareness or planning
… which tend to create a state of chaos, loss of control, and erosion of self-esteem.
If you or someone close to you struggles with time management, it doesn’t mean you’re damaged and broken. It means this is an opportunity for learning how to work with your unique brain, so you’re not flooded by a tsunami of frustration, fear, and stress.
Time management is having more intention, control, value, and ownership over your time and the events in your life, so you can live your life according to what’s important to you. Time management is a skill you can learn!
Here are three exciting ways to conquer time chaos so life is more effective, productive, and joyful.
Make Time Physically Visual
As you know all too well, individuals with ADHD can live in the “now” or “not now. It’s not that they don’t have future goals, it’s that they unintentionally get stuck in the quicksand of distractions and disorganization.
With time being intangible, it’s challenging for the typically visual but highly distractible ADHD’er to envision and identify the passage of time.
• Wear a watch – Rather than relying on your phone that’s stuck in your purse or pocket, your watch is attached to your wrist. And ….. once your phone is out of your purse or pocket, you see a text, which has an Instagram attachment, which you click on, and you know what happens next …. Get that watch!
• Use an analog clock. The traditional clock face spatially represents the passage of time. You can see the time that has passed, the current time, and the future time represented on the clock face.
• Keep concrete time tools in your immediate environment wherever you may need to see the time.
Plan with Intention
According to Russell Barkley, Ph.D., the ADHD brain struggles with anticipating and planning for the future, because of a very short “time horizon.”
Imagine you hear a plane that’s far away; you know it’s coming, but you can’t see it, at least not for a while. Soon you see a dot in the air and as it approaches and enters your field of vision you can see its large wings as it prepares to land. A person with strong vision sees the dot of the plane earlier than someone with poor vision — in other words, their “horizon” is much longer.
Likewise, a time horizon measures how close in time an event must be for you to “see” it and act.
• Get your tasks out of your head – although it may be stimulating to ruminate on everything you need to do, creating systematic to-do lists, calendars, and reminders can be a game changer.
• Evaluate your priorities. What are your values? What’s your long-term mission? What are your primary needs? How are you maximizing your time for what’s most important to you?
• What are your urgent to-do’s that shout out “Now!” How are you handling them?
Beat Time Blindness: Create a Clear Path to More Joy with ADHD!
That’s why I created this new video course, ADHD and Time Management: Create a Clear Path to More Joy with ADHD!
In this self-paced, ADHD-friendly course for conquering time chaos you will:
• Discover how to take control of your time and shift your mindset so you lose the guilt and gain more agency and freedom
• Learn about ADHD, its distinct relationship to time, and what goes on in the ADHD brain
• Target specific systems and strategies for consistent time awareness and dependable time management
• Master a clear ADHD-friendly path to having control over your time and your life so you live with more joy every day.
Let's get to it ASAP with:
See you in class!