Time Management for ADHD Adults


time management for adhd adults

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As an adult with ADHD, you may struggle with symptoms of impulsivity, distractibility, or poor organizational skills. Another common, but  perhaps less well-known, symptom of ADHD is time blindness. If you often find yourself running late, are unable to prioritize tasks, or can’t conceptualize how long something will take, you may have time blindness. 

In this article, we will provide you with 11 helpful tips to help you better manage your time and stay on top of work deadlines, appointments, and daily chores.

Even if you follow all of the tips and tricks, ADHD can still make it difficult or even impossible to manage your time. If you suspect that you have adult ADHD, reach out to a medical professional on Klarity for affordable (insurance-free) and convenient online ADHD treatment. Take the first steps toward overcoming your symptoms today with our free online evaluation

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

11 Tips for Time Management for ADHD Adults

1. Keep a Planner

A great start to managing time is putting all of your events into a calendar. It has been 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 at the same time every day.

2. Create a To-Do List Everyday

People with ADHD can become easily overwhelmed, and often think too far ahead into the future about all of the things they have to get done. This can lead to procrastination, missed deadlines, and poor performance at work. 

To make things more manageable, get into the habit of making a list of what you want to accomplish each day as part of your morning routine. Keep this 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 they are infinitely customizable. 

If you struggle with distractions on your smartphone like social media, you can also 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 remember to prioritize your tasks as well. 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.

People with ADHD often struggle with prioritizing information. If you don’t know which tasks are most important, focus first on things that will have an impact on 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 actually manageable. Set a time for 15 minutes, and try to focus only on the task at hand. After those 15 minutes, you can take a short break. 

However, many people who use this method are surprised by how much they were able to accomplish in such a short time, and will eventually be able to work interrupted for longer periods. 

6. Use a Calendar App

If carrying around and writing in a physical planner doesn’t feel right 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 could 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 not be able to find your keys, and no one knows this more than adults with ADHD. Make it impossible to lose or misplace things by creating foolproof places where there’ll always be: 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)

Adults with ADHD often 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 utilizing timers is to align your senses with the actual passing of time and to understand how long each task actually takes.

9. Keep Clocks Where You Can See Them

Often, people with ADHD struggle to know how long certain 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, it’s difficult to know just how long a specific task is going to take. One of the best solutions is to estimate the time you think the task will take and then double (or even triple) that time, making the window for you to complete the task that much more achievable. This will make it easier to plan in the future, and keep you from feeling that sense of anxiety or urgency.

11. Use Sticky Notes, Everywhere

The more little 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 them to your computer, your desk, your bathroom mirror, your dashboard, or anywhere else where they’ll be most useful. Constant little reminders are often more manageable and easier to remember than lengthy to-do lists. 

Managing ADHD

There are many useful methods at your disposal when it comes to managing time – and as an extension, managing your adult ADHD. Even if you have mild ADHD, these techniques can go a long way in helping you stay on track and accomplish any tasks that come your way.

If you struggle with time management, you may have ADHD. Whether you’re looking for a diagnosis or treatment, Klarity is here to help. We can connect you with a licensed healthcare provider for simple and affordable online ADHD treatment. Start today by taking our short online assessment and receive a personalized treatment plan in just 48 hours. 

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Zoe Russell

Dr. Zoe Russell received a dual bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, pursued a master’s degree in public health from Michigan State University, and received her doctorate in osteopathic medicine from Michigan State’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2021. Currently, Dr. Russell is completing her residency training in family medicine and hopes to specialize in female reproductive and mental health.

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