People say things like “you have to live in the now” and “learn the consequences of your actions”. All these things people say are common to “recovery” guru’s, N.A, and every second author of such crap as “Giving up Drugs My Way – The only way that works (TM)“.
As a bona fide ADHD monstrosity of the highest order, virtually all this “recovery talk” could be swapped with “ADHD talk”.
10 Time-Management Tips for Overbooked, Rushed, Tired ADHD Adults
How to avoid the time-management traps of squeezing in one more thing, pleasing everyone but yourself, starting the day off stressed, and hiding behind your ADHD.
I don’t have to tell you that those of us with ADHD have a different sense of time than do most people. For us, there are two times: now and not now.
For some people, planning comes naturally; for people with ADHD, it is an acquired skill. We must train ourselves to realize that the future will work out much better for us if we prepare for it instead of wing it. Here are 10 tips I’ve used over the years to do just that.
1. Decide which time tricks have worked for you in the past — and which have failed — to help you manage time, plan, and avoid the peril of procrastination. One solution does not fit all.
We all have an internal clock that tells us how much time has passed.
For some, the clock ticks loudly and consistently, so they’re pretty good at judging the passage of time. They use that knowledge to guide their behavior and to make necessary adjustments, such as speeding up when running low on time or re-prioritizing their activities to get the most important tasks completed when circumstances change. They have a schedule in mind, and they know where they are on that schedule — what they have left to do and how much time they have to do it.
People with ADHD usually know what they need to do, but they have trouble doing it. Their internal clocks tick softly, too quiet to guide their behavior. As a result, they stay absorbed in fun activities when they should do more important, less thrilling things. Or if they are doing something important, they may not notice the need to shift to something else, like going to a meeting, getting to bed, or picking up the kids.
Blind to Time
Do the following scenarios describe you and your life?
TIME IS FLUID. Ten minutes doing a boring thing feels like an hour to you. An hour spent doing a fun thing feels like 10 minutes.
YOU UNDERESTIMATE THE TIME REQUIRED TO DO A TASK. It’s hard for you to predict how long things will take. When planning to do a project, you underestimate, not overestimate, how long it will take to complete.
YOU RUN LATE. You don’t realize when it is time to leave for dinner or a business appointment, because your internal alarm clock hasn’t rung yet.
YOU GET TO BED TOO LATE — EVERY NIGHT. You play catch-up all day, and this pushes your bedtime later. You don’t track the passage of time through the unstructured evening hours at home, so you don’t realize that it’s bedtime.
YOU ARE ALWAYS SPEEDING AND SCRAMBLING. Because you’re in a rush, you feel stressed by the time you get out the door, and you make up for lost time by driving faster.
YOU ARE SEEN AS A TIME WASTER. You are criticized for doing less important tasks first and not getting to more important ones — though it’s not a conscious choice.
Hang in There
The goal is to go through the process of committing to time-control strategies based on your strengths, weaknesses, and what you need to get done. I guarantee that the following strategies are good ones and will get the job done. It all comes down to using them. So take the pledge below, but don’t do it lightly. Think about it for a day or even a week. If you’re going to do this, give it your best effort. You deserve it.
I want a better life, so I commit to: > making changes and trying something new > doing my best to use these strategies diligently, even when I don’t feel like it > being open to learning from these experiences > being flexible when a strategy isn’t working > abandoning a strategy only when I can replace it with another that may work better.
2. Leave earlier for appointments than you believe you need to.
Yeah, okay doctor. How about suggesting that IF I LEAVE AT 8PM FOR A 8:10 FLIGHT THAT IS STUPID BECAUSE I WILL PROBABLY GET PULLED OVER BY THE POLICE AND THEN MISS THE FLIGHT?
Sense – Occasionally I make it.
Only, I don’t listen to myself.
I leave late and hope like hell I don’t get a flat tyre.
3. Avoid the trap of, “squeeze in one more thing before you have to leave.” You can’t! It makes you late and frantic.
Worse than making me frantic – It makes me totally pissed off at myself. Over and over.
But I am usually on time. Or close to it. But I stress and drive fast. I cut people off. I have fights with big Samoan fuckwits in front of my daughter. BUT I GET THERE ON TIME! So fuck you.
4. Get an oversized, ADHD-friendly wall calendar showing a day broken down into 15-minute segments. Make sure that it is erasable, so you can set up a new agenda each day. Plug in your day’s obligations. A visual display sharpens an ADHDer’s sense of passing time. When you can see when and where you are supposed to be, you increase the chances of being there.
have been planning on this for years. I have many “year planners”, dairies, calenders and wall charts. All of them seem to be like my passport – A couple of entries near the beginning and totally blank after those initial entries.
5. Alarms and timers of all kinds can help you manage time. You can set your watch alarm to go off when you need to make a transition. Get in the habit of setting it many times a day. This increases the likelihood of your making the transitions on time.
Waking up in the morning is another bugaboo in the land of ADHD. Use a flying alarm clock—one you have to get out of bed and catch to turn off. Search “flying alarm clock” on Google, and you will find a selection from which to choose. Place an egg timer next to your computer to reduce your screen time. People with ADHD can go into a trance in front of a screen and waste an entire afternoon or evening.
I don’t go into a trance in front of screens at all. It is the promise of interesting things that entrances. The screen is not relevant.
6. Don’t use ADHD as an excuse for being late, but do let others know that punctuality is a virtue you struggle to achieve. Your ADHD is an explanation for a weakness you have, one that you are working hard to fix. Most people will understand, as long as they see that you take it seriously and are doing your best to make progress.
I used this for swearing too often…. I told people to tell me when swearing and make a comment. Try doing the same with your co-workers… Get them to actually tell you each time you are late somewhere. And get them to tell you why they don’t like it. “We already purchased ten coffee’s and now you’re making a real problem of our coffee order” for instance.
This can work. But requires others to keep at it.
7. Practice “pattern planning,” in which you assign recurring tasks to be done the same day and time each week. Tuesday at 9 a.m. you meet with your assistant; Thursday after work you stop at the dry cleaners; Saturday after breakfast you pay bills; and every other Friday, date night with your significant other.
Now this is a good one. Like me and my room – I know I will fail at cleaning my flat.
But, IF I SPEND HALF AND HOUR A DAY AT 10AM TIDYING MY FLAT>……. It works.
8. Beware of over-booking. People with ADHD can be victims of their own enthusiasm. This leads to your committing to more than any person can do, even those who are good at managing time.
I am always doing this. YES I CAN PICK UP THE DRUGS AT 9AM. YES, I CAN DELIVER THE DRUGS AT 9.05 AM ACROSS TOWN. Along the way I will find time to cook, use, share out and give someone a lift to A&E. Of course I will then speed, get pulled over by the pigs and start letting people down. No matter how bad my back. No matter how many flat tyres, no matter how many police incidents…
I will get EVERYONES jobs done. No matter how big or small.
9. When you’re hurrying because you are late, don’t hurry too much. This is when accidents happen.
No, this is when I end up with injuries that really should result in medical treatments, but I am too busy running late to bother with that crap. OR, if you mean “accident” as in the “Police pulled me over” type of “accident….”
10. Give yourself a break and relax now and then to recharge your battery. You’re more likely to be on time, and be a good manager of time, if you operate at a sane, even-keeled pace.
SANE and EVEN KEELED?
What the hell is that?? Who are you kidding?
The crazy thing about all that is most people would be able to look at their lives in the mist of severe addicti0n and relate to all those things.
But guys, that is about ADHD.
The chaos that is drug addiction and the drug lifestyle is simplistic compared to what my average day was once like. Drug dealing, keeping everyone happy, avoiding police, sourcing drugs, sourcing ingredients, sleeping a couple of hours in every 24, hiding all these activities from different groups and people, whilst trying as much as possible to get EVERYONE knowing in other circles.
Hard work for someone capable of order, foresight and the ability to look at self.
For a hard case ADHD guy – All this is just fucken brilliant. Absolutely perfect fit.
And then again – All the drugs that were consumed would slow one down, just enough. Just enough as to not drive everyone up the wall. Slowed down enough not to be jumping around and talking over everyone. In short, slowed down just enough to stay alive in a business not known for genteel and polite debt collection or dispute resolution processes.
Without the drugs we would end up in jails, institutions or death. (TM)
Have I shown you my latest tattoo yet? NO?
My doctor is always busy. Never too busy to ask to see my latest tattoo’s. Never to busy to have a laugh at me being the only adult in the known world to achieve positive results for incubating and manufacturing sexually transmitted bacteria within ones vision sockets. Yes folks, CHLAMYDIA IN THE EYE. As an adult. A true claim to fame.
When I asked for 10 or 20mg more Ritalin six months ago he had to send me to the Psych people to get it okayed. They then took all Ritalin away and fucked me over with a replacement that did not work as well. I had to throw all manner of toys out my cot in order to get back on the shit.
I even borrowed toys of neighbouring people to throw more toys out the cot.
They then gave me back the original script with a muttered inference that they would “revisit the issue of dosage” once I had settled back onto the Ritalin.
Well… Come on.
My life and life style is NOT theirs. My life and life style is MINE.
I try to manage it. Sometimes I fail.
I admit to using more Ritalin than prescribed and having to go back to get early repeats for the next “month” supply. I go through 30 days worth in 21 or 27 days, but have been doing okay with my life. Using an extra 10% here or there when I am out and about or doing different social and professional things seems totally fair to me.
If you are in pain you have a few more pain killers in order to play football with the kids.
HAVE NOT BEEN IN SERIOUS POLICE TROUBLE. CHECK
HAVE BEEN DOING SOME GOOD CREATIVE STUFF AGAIN. CHECK
HAVE BEEN POSITIVE ABOUT THE FUTURE. CHECK
HAVE KEPT IT MOSTLY TOGETHER WHILST BEING A FOOTBALL COACH AND EVEN GOT THE RESPECT OF OTHER ADULTS ALONG THE WAY. ENOUGH RESPECT THAT THEY ARE MORE THAN HAPPY FOR ME TO BE IN COMMAND OF THEIR KIDS. THEIR KIDS WROTE THANK YOU CARDS. CHECK
AND YET THE DOCTORS AND PSYCH PEOPLE WILL LOOK AT ME LIKE I AM DRUG SEEKING AND TRY TO REDUCE MY DRUGS RATHER THAN LET ME HAVE 10-20% MORE. CHECK
Idiots. The lot of you.
Classic idiot. Sign me up for the newsletter.