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Time Management Tips For ADHD Professionals – Manage Your Time Like A Pro

Written by: Kristina E. Proctor, 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.

 

While we know the importance of time management, starting to address it as someone with ADHD can be challenging and a bit embarrassing– but it doesn’t have to be!

Woman overloaded by too many appointments and lack of time

As a professional with ADHD, learning how to work with your ADHD– especially regarding time blindness–is important for your work in the area of time management!


What is time blindness?

People with ADHD sometimes experience time blindness in various ways. This can include losing track of time when you are focused on something of interest to struggling to identify how long tasks will take.


Regardless of how you experience time blindness, it can make day-to-day life and your work-life challenging.


Why you should adopt strategies to address time management


When you implement time management coping strategies, you support yourself for future success. Without strategies that address challenges like time blindness, you can be left with ongoing stress, procrastination, and disappointment. You might be in a space where you used to be able to stay up late finishing a project or a paper, but as we grow into our careers and adulthood, the strategies that once worked stop working.

When professionals with ADHD acknowledge and address their time management challenges, they are able to start testing out coping strategies to stop the overwhelmed and start reducing their stress.


Essential Time Management Strategies for ADHD Professionals


Regarding your workday, having time blindness and being challenged with prioritizing tasks can bring on anxiety for ADHD professionals. So how do you support yourself to be successful at work in these areas?


Planning and Scheduling

When you give yourself time to plan and schedule out time to do your work, you are giving yourself the space and permission to turn off other distractions (IM, company slack, email notifications, your phone), and focus on projects or tasks that need your attention. Plus, when you block out time to work, you also can group like tasks together so you aren’t jumping from one type of task to another, which can cause us (ADHDers) to lose focus.

To plan your workday as successfully as possible, you’ll need to plan it out. Ideally, the night before, but the morning works to start!

How to start planning out your workday:

  1. Gather yourself to start work. Think about what you need in order to trigger that the work day is starting. A coffee and a snack? Maybe it’s clearing off your desk and gathering materials like a planner, pen, and laptop. Give yourself permission to create a space to work!

  2. Review your day’s schedule: meetings, appointments, and deadlines. This gives you room to visualize how your day will go, identify key deadlines approaching, and clear up your available time to get work done.

  3. Identify the top THREE things you need to complete by the end of the day and ask yourself:

  • Ask: Do I have any questions about my top 3 tasks?

  • Ask: Do I have what I need to complete these tasks?

If you don’t have any questions and you have what you need, keep those top 3. Conversely, if you have questions and don’t have what you need, identify if those make sense to be in the top three OR if the task needs to be more of a follow-up item to get clarification.


Prioritization: How to prioritize tasks effectively to manage your time


ADHD professionals often struggle with task avoidance, prioritization, and procrastination. Often, it has to do with perfectionism (the fear that if we do the task and it isn’t perfect the first time, we are failures), task overwhelm, rejection sensitivity dysphoria, and sometimes getting very bored of what was once an exciting task or project.

So what do you do?

When you are experiencing challenges with prioritization, think about:


1. Deadlines: what is looming that needs to be addressed now? Schedule those tasks out.


2. Unclear tasks, ask for clarity: what items have you been putting off that you aren’t unsure where to start? Identify them and which part of the task or project is unclear.


3. Project/task overwhelm: You might have a project where you aren’t sure where to start. Task overwhelm is REAL. The first step is identifying that you are avoiding the project. Then:

  1. Write down the first THREE steps you need to take. They should be small, like opening a new Word doc, naming the doc, and starting an outline.

  2. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Visual timers help because you aren’t on your phone, and it can visually show you how much time a task takes, which helps with time blindness.

  3. Start the first three steps. Allow yourself to stop when the 15-minute timer goes off, and write down the next three steps for you to do later in the day or schedule for the next day. If you are in a spot where you find yourself on a roll with the tasks, keep going!

By giving yourself a path with the first three steps, getting clarity on unclear tasks, and addressing deadlines, you will be well on your way to improved prioritization and getting work done!


Time Blocking: How to use time blocking to manage your time and reduce distractions


ADHD professionals have amazing strength, and that’s hyperfocus! However, when we are interrupted during a hyper-focusing time, that throws us off our game! So what can we do to help with that?

Time blocking: This productivity strategy is meant to give you a visual cue in your schedule so you know what you are working on for a set period of time, and it groups like tasks together. This strategy can be used in an Outlook calendar or a paper planner like the Full Focus Planner.

What does this look like in practice? Morning:

  • 30 minutes to check and respond to emails, set up tasks from emails if needed, and reply to Slack messages.

  • 1 hour: New product research documentation: gathering updated analytics, past development docs, and resources from.

  • 45minutes: Project management overview, reviewing weekly tasks & following up on roadblocks

While there are many time management tips out there, many are made for someone without ADHD. You can take those recommendations and make them work for you with slight modifications.


Allow yourself to shift your mindset on what productivity means to you and start learning to work with your unique brain.


Are you looking for tools and strategies to support your ADHD brain in your job? Check out my ADHD DigitalTools shop, where I focus on goal setting and energy management and have on-demand training on creating the life you want while hitting your big, audacious goals without burning out.


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, PInterest, and visit my website for more info!


 

Kristina E. Proctor, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kristina Proctor is a force to be reckoned with, an ADHD Coach and Marketing & Communications expert who has dominated almost 15 years in corporate America with a passion for helping adults with ADHD work with, not against, their unique brain chemistry.


Kristina's lived experience of working through ADHD as an adult in a corporate-an environment not designed for brains like hers–sets her apart, giving her unparalleled expertise and insight to create powerful tools and coping strategies for ADHDers to thrive.


When Kristina isn't changing lives and crushing it in her own business as a marketing and communication strategist, you can find her volunteering, serving on community boards, spending time with her son, or tackling DIY house projects. Her ADHD brain makes her believe that anything is possible with enough information and training. She brings that same bold approach to helping her clients achieve their personal, professional, or organizational goals.


Ready to take your life to the next level? Connect with Kristina on TikTok, LinkedIn, or book a 1:1 session with her today at https://calendly.com/kristinaeproctor/45min. With Kristina by your side, you'll be unstoppable.

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