The theme for this month is Time Management & Scheduling. What I have found for me is that I am better able to manage my ADHD with a schedule, and I can schedule my time easier when my ADHD is being managed.
Creating systems and structures to externalize the executive functions of the brain is a pillar of effective ADHD Management. Yet sticking to one such schedule can also be one of the most difficult things for folks with ADHD to implement. The novelty of the plan, schedule, or system wears off and we are on Amazon looking for the next calendar, constantly reinventing the wheel. Then shame can make us want to give up trying, worried that it will never work.
I think the key is to (like Dory) Just keep swimming, keep trying, keep restarting.
It is ok to admit that this is hard. Having any kind of schedule though, even if it’s not perfectly consistent, is better than floating like an amoeba through time unable to maintain any control. That is when you end up running in to work 20 minutes late, sleeping through the exam, or forgetting your kids at school.
In our TOOLBOX this month we have listed a few tips and tricks that work for some of our members and that you might find useful. The best time management system is the one you will actually use, and remember together we can thrive, not just survive!
~ Sandy Slade
WEDNESDAY ADULT ADHD SUPPORT GROUP MEETINGS are continuing online until further notice: WHEN: Every Wednesday evening at 7:30pm-9:00pm Atlantic Time. WHERE: Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9720415025
Meeting ID: 972 041 5025
If you haven't used Zoom you can check it out here. The first time you join a meeting you may be prompted to download some software, after that zoom will be able to launch from your computer when you click a meeting link.
ADDing to your Toolbox
5 USEFUL TIPS AND TRICKS ADHD PEI MEMBERS USE TO HELP WITH SCHEDULING AND TIME MANAGEMENT!
1. USE THE BULLET JOURNAL METHOD:
The first thing to know is that bullet journals (or BUJO for short) do NOT have to be fancy. You ~can~ make them pretty if that appeals to you, but the basic concept was actually designed by Ryder Caroll to help him deal with his own ADHD.
The system provides the benefits of an analog schedule/time manager but allows flexibility if your schedule changes through the year or if you just get bored and want to change things up without ditching your entire system. You can customize it based on what's working for you (and use pretty colours!). You can learn more about it here: https://bulletjournal.com/
The pomodoro technique is great for getting started on a task (initiation) and taking breaks or ending the task (task switching), both of which can be difficult for those of us with ADHD. The basic concept is that you set a timer for a specific duration of time to work (usually 25 minutes) and when the timer goes off you stop working and take a break for a specific duration of time (usually 5 minutes). Sound too rigid? It actually doesn’t feel rigid when you are doing it - it really works, and you can get so much done without even realizing how much time has passed.
Knowing that you only have to work for 25 minutes and then get to stop can make it easier to get going. And the little bell reminding you to take a 5 minute break can help keep you from falling into hyperfocus. Limiting your time into digestible chunks can make you work more efficiently without even trying!
3. ACCOUNTABILLIBUDDIES / BODY DOUBLES /ACCOUNTABILITY TEAMS:
Tell someone else what you need to do and when, then check back in with them about the thing. The simple act of telling someone outside of your head what you intend to do means that you have defined the task and specified a deadline (which is already going to put you closer to your goal). If that person can also check back with you and remind you of what you said you’d do it works even better!
It can be especially helpful if your accountabilibuddy is someone who gets you, maybe someone who also has things they would like to be held accountable for and you can use each other to keep yourselves on-task.
Sometimes just having a buddy to work alongside you (called body doubling) either physically or in this COVID world virtually can be amazingly helpful!
4. ADD BUFFER TIME TO ALL OF YOUR APPOINTMENTS:
Time blindness is a common issue for those of us with ADHD. We leave at 8:55 for our 9:00 appointment because we ‘know’ that it’s a five minute drive - but we don’t necessarily think about the fact that we’ll have to tie our shoes and find our car keys, that the drive might only be 5 minutes under ideal conditions (which is probably not the norm), that you have to find parking when you get there… and then suddenly we are ten minutes late for that appointment and can’t understand why this is happening again!!
If this sounds familiar then instead of trying to figure out why you are always 10 minutes late, just get into the habit of marking down ALL appointments 10-15 minutes earlier than the actual time. You’ll be amazed at how often you end up getting there ‘just’ on time, and if you are a bit early - take a moment to relax and meditate and pat yourself on the back for not being late!
5. REVIEW YOUR NEXT-DAY PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE:
For some people this means making their next day’s to-do list the evening before, for others it might be reviewing the tasks they’ve already set for the next day or choosing a ‘top 3’ from their next day’s list.
We all know that it’s unwise to go grocery shopping when you are hungry, likewise it’s not good to plan your tasks when you are already into your day. Developing a habit of reviewing your daily tasks the evening before lets you mentally disengage from the day while at the same time set your intentions for the following day. When you get up you won’t have to waste precious executive function energy figuring out what to do, it’s already been decided! And by checking just the tasks planned for the following day you know exactly what you need to focus on.
Bonus tip: Set out any materials needed for your tasks the evening before. Is your first task to go to the gym? Make sure your gym clothes, ID card, car keys, water bottles, etc are all in a bag by the door and ready to go. The fewer hurdles you have to jump the more likely you are to get started on the task, and then you are one step closer to having it checked off your to-do list!
We hope you have found these tips helpful! If you are already doing these, or they don’t work for you then also check out this ADDitude Magazine article about time hacks from other cool people: https://www.additudemag.com/its-about-time-2/
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stress and disruption for everyone, but for those of us with ADHD there are some particular reasons it may be difficult to cope. We've assembled a collection of external resources that we think may be helpful to you: