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Mastering Time Management With ADHD

Written by: Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Lucie Petrelis

Managing time effectively can be a daily challenge for individuals with ADHD, given the complexities of time blindness and executive dysfunction. Distractions, forgetfulness, and difficulty prioritizing tasks can lead to frustration and reduced productivity. However, worthwhile solutions exist. By embracing advanced time management strategies tailored to the unique needs of adults with ADHD, it is possible to transform productivity and regain control over daily routines and needs. This article will explore some of the most efficient and cutting-edge solutions to help individuals with ADHD master their time and achieve their goals. The last two points are game-changers!


happy group of friends eating outside of the roof top building

1. Implement time blocks per category

Time blocking is a powerful technique that breaks the day into specific chunks of time dedicated to particular tasks or activities. This method proves highly effective for adults with ADHD. By using digital calendars or time management apps, individuals can allocate focused blocks of time for everything they wish to focus on each day. These categories may include time blocks for self-care, physical activities, rest, personal development, family, friends and social activities, household maintenance, meal preparation, work, admin, and more. During these time slots, achieving a purpose is highly recommended by minimizing distractions and maximizing mindfulness.


2. Set timers

Setting a specific time using timers can be highly effective in controlling the time used – especially for less fun tasks that could end up sticking around all day long. Techniques like the Pomodoro method capitalize on the brain's natural ability to focus for short bursts of time. Individuals can maintain focus and avoid burnout by setting a timer for 25 minutes of uninterrupted work, followed by a 5-minute break. After completing four Pomodoros, a more extended break can provide much-needed rejuvenation. Tailoring the timing to suit attention span and preferences can optimize this technique. Moreover, timers can also be vital for managing hyperfocus, gently reminding individuals to take necessary breaks and attend to other essential tasks and needs that might otherwise get overlooked.


3. Stay organized

Keeping track of numerous to-do lists scattered across various locations can be overwhelming. A simple yet effective solution is writing down all tasks and notes in a single notebook. This way, individuals can reduce mental clutter and avoid losing track of essential information (no more drowning in post-its!). To stay organized, dating each new list added to the notebook will help keep track of time and events. Prioritizing urgent tasks with specific symbols or directly writing them down at the top of the list can guide focus. Adding checkboxes next to each point of the list can also create a sense of accomplishment as they get completed. Tools like the Eisenhower Matrix can further assist in categorizing tasks based on urgency and importance, streamlining daily priorities.


4. Leverage technology

Leveraging technology to our advantage can significantly aid in managing time more efficiently. Electronic calendars, reminders, and alarms become powerful allies in keeping individuals on track with tasks and deadlines. By consistently utilizing these digital tools and setting multiple notifications, critical information is never overlooked, and tasks are completed promptly. For individuals with ADHD, setting specific notifications for each type of task or even multiple notifications for the same task, along with visual and auditory cues, helps them stay organized and focused. Committing to honoring these notifications and acting on them on time is essential to build a sense of inner trust and accountability. (AKA, if the notification says, "Prepare for the dentist," then prepare...now!)


5. Set realistic and specific goals

Setting realistic and specific goals and deadlines becomes imperative for individuals with ADHD to stay motivated and avoid becoming overwhelmed. To prevent underestimating the time required for each task, starting with fewer tasks per day can be a great starting point, especially for less frequently practiced activities. For long-term goals, breaking them down into smaller milestones fosters a sense of achievement and provides motivation as steady progress is made.


6. Outsource and delegate tasks

Recognizing that not every task must be handled alone is an essential step in effective time management. Being open to delegating or outsourcing tasks that do not align with strengths or passions or consume excessive time and effort allows individuals to focus on what matters most. Asking for help when needed is not a sign of weakness; rather, it allows individuals to concentrate on tasks that best match their skills and priorities. Embracing this mindset fosters collaboration and support, enhancing overall productivity and well-being. Supporting each other is a meaningful aspect of human relationships.


7. Selective perfectionism

Perfectionism can be both a blessing and a curse for individuals with ADHD. While it can drive excellence in certain areas, it may also lead to overthinking, procrastination, and a fear of failure. Adopting the concept of selective perfectionism allows individuals to direct their perfectionistic tendencies where they matter most and where they can be most beneficial. By being more forgiving and less rigid with the quality of execution for certain tasks, individuals free themselves from unnecessary stress and frustration. Choosing when to turn on and off perfectionism empowers them to be more adaptive and flexible, ultimately reducing overwhelm and increasing their ability to move forward.


8. A splash of dopamine

Dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, is crucial in motivation and focus. Managing dopamine levels can be instrumental for adults with ADHD in maintaining momentum and engagement in tasks, overcoming resistance and procrastination. Incorporating a "splash of dopamine" into daily activities can significantly enhance the experience and productivity. Making tasks more enjoyable and rewarding, even ordinary chores, infuses a sense of joy, purpose, and positivity into daily routines. This can be achieved by turning tasks into games, adding music and movement, setting rewards, or finding ways to make even the most unpleasant chores a more pleasurable experience.


Conclusion

Mastering time management is an empowering journey for adults with ADHD, leading to increased productivity and a profound sense of accomplishment. By embracing these advanced strategies tailored to their unique needs, individuals can overcome challenges related to time blindness and executive dysfunction. By implementing techniques like time blocking, setting timers, utilizing analog and digital tools, and embracing selective perfectionism, they can reclaim control over their daily routines and tasks. Adding a splash of dopamine to their activities infuses joy, pleasure, and purpose, fostering a positive mindset and increasing motivation. As they celebrate each small victory and stay patient throughout the process, they unlock their full potential and thrive in all aspects of life.

Do you need support to manage your time more effectively, stay in control of your tasks and goals, and feel proud of your day? Reach out to me today, and together, we will embark on a path of empowerment, growth, and true self-discovery.


Useful resources for ADHD

  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): The NIMH is a renowned organization that conducts research on various mental health conditions, including ADHD.

  2. Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA): ADDA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, resources, and advocacy for individuals with ADHD.

  3. Understood: Understood is a comprehensive online resource that aims to support families and individuals with learning and attention issues, including ADHD.

  4. CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder): CHADD is a national nonprofit organization that provides education, advocacy, and support for individuals with ADHD.

  5. ADDitude Magazine: ADDitude is a trusted publication that focuses on ADHD and related conditions.

I focus on raising awareness on MS – Multiple Sclerosis, ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sexuality, and gender identity topics, and on how to redesign our reality in a way that makes sense to us and brings us joy every single day.


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Lucie Petrelis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lucie Petrelis is a certified life coach supporting individuals with ADHD and MS to redesign their life in a way that makes sense to them, and that is based on their needs. At 22, she temporarily lost her ability to walk and was suddenly diagnosed with MS, forcing her to rethink her life’s perspective and priorities. Twenty years later, her diagnosis of ADHD gave her the gift of finally understanding the root of so many of her challenges. Using the power of her stamina, positivity, and proven methodologies, she inspires and drives others to take their life into their own hands, re-structure it, re-prioritize it, add a lot of joy in it, and above all be proud of who they are. Her motto: Your challenges are valid.

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