Time and task management, especially for those with ADD can be a challenge. You always have to get past the “Oh look, bright shiny objects” condition and soon enough, you are down a completely different path than you originally intended. I find that using lists help keep focus. You may tend to go down non-intended paths, but you are able to pull yourself back before it has been too long or too far. At any rate, read what this article says about task management for those with ADD or ADHD.
Time and task management, as we all know, is something we learn to do in school and is necessary to succeed in most areas of our life. However, when you have ADHD, you do not possess the brain function ability that your class mates or coworkers do. What may be elementary to them can be extremely challenging for you. What they may pick up naturally as a way to stay on track with their tasks and projects, you won’t have access to. This does not mean you are any less intelligent. In fact you are just the opposite! But it does mean that you think and work differently and because of that, you will not always be able to meet the expectations of the organizations and people around you. You will need to develop other ways to perform successfully. In this article we are going to talk about some solutions to time and task management that will help you do that. These strategies and practices have been used with hundreds and thousands people successfully. Hopefully, one or two of them will work for you.
Typically, workers with ADHD have trouble beginning and completing projects and tasks on time. But first let’s remember that today time/task management is not just an ADHD issue. Because life in the 21st century is increasing frenetic and overly committed, many of us run into difficulty beginning and completing tasks on time. Of course, this makes it twice as hard for people with ADHD to address their challenges than it did in the past. But the challenges of time and task management will always be greater for people with ADHD due to the role of executive functions in the brain where the ability to manage time and tasks is severely compromised. Remember that the executive functions of the brain are where ADHD challenges reside and basically are the ability to decide, recall, memorize, understand and inhibit.
So what are people with ADHD to do due to address the lack of executive function ability in the time and task management arena? How can they share their above average ability to perform, create and solve problems – but do it in a task and time managed way? Luckily there is help through understanding.
Time/Task Management issues arise from:
- Procrastinating and delaying getting started
- Needing the adrenaline rush of a looming deadline to get creative
- Getting distracted by/taking action on things around us of lesser importance
- Failing to plan ahead for how we will manage tasks effectively
- Hyper-focusing on an activity for long periods and losing track of time
- Forgetting the unexpected will happen and plan for it
- Not getting help when we need it or not knowing we need help
- Attempting to keep our brain activated by constantly seeking stimulation
So what do we learn from these issues? We learn that any solution that will hold weight for us will need to include structuring the environment around us, planning ahead for our day and week, understanding, accepting and managing our behavior, and finding fun and rewards in what we are doing.
Here is what I’ve learned from my clients about what really resolves Time/Task Management issues in the workplace:
- Learn to prioritize your values, tasks and projects. And, most importantly, once identified, stick with these priorities for 5 weeks, no matter what. By then, prioritizing will be a habit and you’ll be keeping your most important commitments. How would that transform your life?
- Break the tendency to hyper-focus during work. What structure do you need to put in place to alert you to the time? Things like a co-worker reminder, setting an alarm on your computer or watch, having your schedule book open right next to your computer, a sticky reminder on your monitor?
- When a project is assigned, or instructions are given, immediately record the due date and time on your calendar. Then work backwards, day by day and week by week, until you have captured, in writing, all the steps and resources necessary to get the project completed on time.
- When you need to be somewhere at a specific time, plan ahead. Start getting ready 30 minutes before you have to walk out the door and allow an extra 15 minutes for traffic congestion. Yes – that’s 45 minutes added to your usual timeframe. But this tactic could very well transform your life. And if you’re early, enjoy a cup of coffee, mediate for a few minutes and reconnect with the person you used to be before you started ignoring yourself. Or simply arrive early, showing that you care and are prepared for the day ahead.
- Keep in mind that change takes time. You will make mistakes. The key is that you learn from them and move ahead. Remember: “You cannot fail; you can only learn and grow.”
- Partner with an ADHD Coach to learn a task management system that puts you in control. Finding the best system for you may take some trial and error, so be patient and keep experimenting until you get it right. Be sure and write on a calendar or planner – no palm pilots or blackberries while you’re learning your new task/life management system. Remember: “If it isn’t written, it isn’t real”.
Talk to people with ADHD who have engaged a coach. You will find that those who enlist the support of a coach are happier and able to implement change faster and with longer lasting results.
As the founder and CEO of ADD Insights, LLC, Carol’s passion is to provide services that transform the lives of people with ADHD.
Carol Gignoux is well established as an expert within the ADHD coaching, consulting and training profession with over 35 years experience working with ADHD and over 16 years as a professional coach. Carol specializes in working with both teens and adults, with or without an ADHD diagnosis, who want to see better results in their academic, professional and personal life. In addition to being owner and CEO of ADD Insights, LLC, she has been with the Hallowell Center for over 9 years.
Carol is a Licensed Certified Financial Coach and is trained as an Executive Coach. She has worked with executives and managers to create high functioning, successful businesses locally as well as nationwide. She is a founding board member of the Institute for the Advancement of ADHD Coaching that is the responsible certifying body for ADHD Coaches worldwide.
In addition, Carol is qualified as a Senior Certified ADHD Coach: SCAC. She is a member of T. Harv Eker’s Private Circle Club, and has completed many of his training programs on marketing, coaching, business building, and personal transformation. She is a master at leading instructional classes on: meditation, knowing your financial blueprint, and finding peace and security in uncertain times.
Carol has spoken locally and nationally on ADHD topics, and is a motivational speaker on living powerfully and honestly. She trains and supervises new ADHD coaches, and produces tele-classes and seminars on a variety of important and relevant topics to those with ADHD.
More on Time and Task Management with ADHD:
Each was diagnosed with ADD or ADHD as a child, has adult ADHD, or exhibits many adult ADHD traits. Their brains work differently than most people. But, as soon as they turn on to my counter-intuitive time management techniques they experience a … Use the map of your energy fluctuations to match tasks from your To Do list with a time when you typically have the ideal energy level for that task. Almost effortlessly, you’ll give your productivity a huge shot in the arm . …
Publish Date: 05/13/2010
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