Time Management for ADHD Adults: 11 Tips
Updated: May 3
Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or adult ADHD, often find themselves restless, impulsive, and having a hard time paying attention. They also think about time differently. An inability to plan properly, a remarkable ability to procrastinate, and an inability to ignore the noise around them - all these traits lead to trouble with deadlines or even just showing up on time.
ADHD and Time Management
If you’re struggling with time management, we understand. Life can be overwhelming and hectic, and if you have adult ADHD (or suspect that you do), then your challenges can be even further magnified. Online ADHD treatment could be the answer–start the process with our free 2min Self Evaluation.
The Challenges of ADHD
ADHD brings with it an overwhelming set of challenges. Simple everyday tasks can easily become complicated. Hyperactivity, trouble keeping focussed, interrupting others - these are just a few of the ADHD symptoms that can interfere with daily life. Time management - not just getting things done on time but understanding how to manage time itself - can often pose the biggest challenge of all.
11 Tips for Time Management for ADHD Adults
1. Keep a Planner
A great start to managing time is putting all of your appointments into a calendar. It doesn’t matter if it’s an actual calendar, a smartphone app, or a day planner–keep it in one spot and check it throughout the day, ideally at the same time every day.
2. Create a To-Do List Every Day
Creating a master list is a crucial step in combating symptoms of ADHD. Get into the habit of making a list of what you want to accomplish every morning. It’s best to 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 is a handy way to prompt yourself to do your tasks, and they are infinitely customizable. You could even set your reminder to tell you to “Check Calendar.”
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 method that works best for you: numbers, letters–it’s your choice. The key is to make sure your high-priority tasks are first, followed by tasks that could be accomplished later.
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. 15-minute chunks make it easier to accomplish one goal, then move on to another.
6. Use a Calendar App
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 dedicated nook for your wallet, 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
Analog clocks can help you fight time blindness, or a lack of awareness of the passage of time, which is a common difficulty among many adults with ADHD. In some cases, hearing the ticking of a clock can be useful in helping you detect the passing of time and with the pacing and timing of tasks.
10. Estimate 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 help you determine once and for all exactly how much time a particular task will take, making it easier to plan in the future.
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.
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 Think You May Have ADHD, Klarity Can Help
If you struggle with time management, you may have ADHD. Whether you’re looking for a diagnosis or treatment, Klarity is here to help you find the right provider. Schedule your 30-minute online visit with a medical professional–you’ll get an appointment in 2 days, there’s no insurance needed, and treatment starts at $25 per month. Start your journey towards a more organized - and happier! - future