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11 min read

11 tips for ADHD time management for adults

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Apr 23, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

Table of contents

If you’re an adult with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may struggle with impulsivity, distractibility, or poor organizational skills. In this article, we give you 11 tips for ADHD time management for adults to help you stay on top of work deadlines, appointments, daily chores, and everything else life throws your way.

If you suspect you have adult ADHD, reach out to a medical professional on Klarity for quality ADHD treatment. Book an appointment with an ADHD expert today.

How does ADHD impact time management?

If you’re an adult with ADHD, your time management skills are impacted by ADHD symptoms of impulsivity, distractibility, and difficulty with organization. You might often struggle to prioritize tasks and miss deadlines. 

Time blindness — a lesser-known symptom of ADHD — makes it challenging for you to accurately gauge the passing of time, resulting in frequent lateness and difficulty estimating how long tasks will take to complete. You may have difficulty staying focused on tasks for extended periods, leading to frequent interruptions and inefficiency. This can make it challenging to stick to schedules and complete tasks within the allotted time frames. 

Additionally, the tendency to become overwhelmed by multiple tasks can cause disorganization and difficulty setting realistic goals and meeting expectations. Overall, ADHD’s impact on your time management underscores the importance of implementing effective strategies and seeking appropriate support to work around these challenges and improve your functioning.

Why wait to prioritize your mental health? Get started toward a happier, healthier life on Klarity now.

Time management tips for adults with ADHD

1. Keep a planner

A great start to managing your time is putting your events into a calendar. It’s proven that writing things down on paper aids in memory recall and can help you remember important tasks or appointments. Keep it in one spot and check it throughout the day, ideally the same time every day.

2. Create a to-do list every day

If you suffer from ADHD, you may become easily overwhelmed and think too far ahead into the future about all of the things you have to get done. This can lead to procrastination, missed deadlines, and poor performance at work. 

To make things more manageable, make a list of what you want to accomplish each day as part of your morning routine. Keep your list realistic so you have a chance of getting everything done. When you complete a task, cross it off. 

3. Set reminders on your phone

In addition to a physical planner, your smartphone can be a terrific tool for keeping you focused and on track throughout the day. Setting reminders and alarms throughout the day is a handy way to prompt yourself to do your tasks, and reminders are infinitely customizable. 

If you struggle with distractions on your smartphone, like social media, you can set screen limits to prevent you from scrolling for hours instead of accomplishing your tasks. 

4. Prioritize your tasks

After you’ve created your planner and set your reminders, it’s important to prioritize your master task list. Pick a list method that works best for you: numbers, colors — it’s your choice. The key is to ensure that your high-priority tasks are first, followed by tasks that could be accomplished later.

You may often struggle with prioritizing information. If you don’t know which tasks are most important, focus first on things that impact others. First, completing work deadlines, appointments, and favors that you agreed to can help you prioritize and make you feel more accomplished.

5. Break tasks into 15-minute chunks

Taking your schedule and breaking it down into 15-minute chunks is a perfect way to change what feels like a mountain into something that’s manageable. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and try to focus only on the task at hand. After those 15 minutes, you can take a short break. Many people who use this method are surprised by how much they accomplish in such a short time, and are eventually able to work without interruption for longer periods. 

6. Use a calendar app

If carrying around and writing in a physical planner doesn’t work for you, calendar apps are a great way to keep your ADHD from getting the best of you. Everyone carries their phone with them everywhere they go; a calendar app will never forget to remind you of what you otherwise might easily forget.

7. Arrange the things you need so you won’t forget them

Everyone knows what it’s like to want to leave the house but aren’t able to find your keys. No one knows this more than you as an adult with ADHD. Make it impossible to lose or misplace things by creating foolproof places where they always are: a hook for your keys, a tray for your wallet, or a prominent place for your notebook. Focus on repetition when it comes to leaving important items in the same place, and you’ll never misplace them again.

8. Set timers to understand how much time tasks take

As an adult with ADHD, you may have a different perception of how time passes. Timers can help you allot limited amounts of time to each task and alert you when the time is up. For longer tasks, consider setting an alarm that goes off at regular intervals. Ultimately, the goal of using timers is to align your senses with the actual passing of time and to understand how long each task takes.

9. Keep clocks where you can see them

You may struggle to know how long tasks will take. Keeping digital or analog clocks nearby can help you fight time blindness and learn to adjust your schedule. Invest in a watch or alarm clock for your desk to keep track of your time. 

10. Estimate the time it will take for specific tasks, then double it

Being “blind” to the passage of time makes it difficult to know just how long a specific task will take. A good solution is to estimate the time you think a task will take and double or even triple it, making the window for you to complete the task that much more achievable. This makes it easier to plan for the future and keeps you from feeling that sense of anxiety or urgency.

11. Use sticky notes

The more reminders you leave for yourself to keep on course with the things you want to accomplish, the better. Sticky notes externalize a necessary function that ADHD sometimes makes too difficult to manage, making it easy to mimic the notes that should be inside your brain.

Stick notes to your computer, desk, bathroom mirror, dashboard — anywhere they’re most useful. Constant reminders can be more manageable and easier to remember than lengthy to-do lists. 

ADHD medication might help with your time management skills

Prescription medication can enhance your time management skills as someone grappling with ADHD. Stimulant ADHD medications, such as Adderall, Focalin, Ritalin, and Vyvanse, among many others help with focus, concentration, and impulse control so you can better prioritize tasks and sustain your attention on important activities. 

By modulating neurotransmitters in the brain associated with attention and executive function, these medications alleviate symptoms of impulsivity and distractibility that frequently undermine effective time management.

Non-stimulant medications like Strattera and Wellbutrin also contribute to improved time management by addressing ADHD symptoms through alternative mechanisms. Strattera works by targeting norepinephrine reuptake, enhancing attention, and reducing impulsivity. While Wellbutrin acts on dopamine and norepinephrine levels, promoting sustained focus and cognitive function.

When integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan alongside behavioral strategies and support from healthcare professionals, ADHD medication fosters a more consistent and predictable level of focus and energy throughout the day. This stability lets you better plan and organize your tasks, allocate time efficiently, and meet deadlines with increased efficacy.

Get ADHD treatment from a provider on Klarity

If you struggle with time management, you may have ADHD. Whether you’re looking for a diagnosis or treatment, find a licensed healthcare provider for simple and affordable ADHD treatment on Klarity.

Find a provider and get an online or in-person appointment within 48 hours. 


ADDitude. “ADHD Minds Are Trapped in Now (& Other Time Management Truths).” Ari Tuckman. Oct. 11, 2023.

PsychCentral. “Time Management Tips for People with ADHD.” Janelle Cox. April 4, 2022.

Advanced Psychiatry Associates. “Strategies for Adults Living With ADHD.” May 11, 2021.

Calendar. “18 Time Management Tips for People with ADHD.” John Hall. Dec. 16, 2022.

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