Time Management Is Self Management ADHD Adults Forget This

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Topic: Self Management Relating To Time Managment. Designing structures that help you manage yourself around issues of time. See the other Adult ADHD Issues.

Speaker: We had one of our members, Jeff, who has been very successful in learning and applying time management techniques speak on some of the strategies he’s used. I’ve also added some links to other resources at the bottom.

August 2004 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group


Here are some of the challenges members identified relating to time management.

Adrenalin addiction (waiting until the last minute until the stress cranks up anxiety and then adrenaline and adrenaline helps us focus but poisons us with cortisol making our ADHD symptoms worse and harming us physically and mentally)

Can’t start (clean, organize house)



Details – distraction – pressure on the job

Deviation from the plan

Focus on trivial things rather than things I should

Focus on what needs to be done and when it needs to be done

Getting back on track

Hard to focus, get fascinated by books – completion of one book

Keeping track of a lot of detail

Lack of focus, maintaining focus

Need to catch up on projects

Patience to keep on track



Remembering to check PDA

Remembering to do it (time management)

Structure & completion

Write a to-do list but do not complete it.


Jeff used to be disorganized, but he’s one of the most efficient ADDers at managing his time I know. Here are his notes for his presentation at our group meeting.

How can ADD impact your ability to manage time properly?

It impacts a person’s ability to:

  • Organize
  • Schedule
  • Be punctual
  • Complete tasks
  • How can this challenge affect a person’s life?

In many circumstances it will:

  • Limit career progress
  • Create a life of disorder and chaos
  • Impact finances
  • Ultimately, it impacts your ability to succeed in every part of your life and how others perceive you

What can a person do to gain control of their time management?

A) Simply write it down

  • Buy a bound workbook ($2.00)
  • At the end of every day, complete your To Do List for the next day
  • Use that book to write any thing down and build your To Do List based on your notes
  • This will keep all your thoughts and To Do Lists in one location.
  • One Simple Rule – keep it with you where ever you are and what ever you do, no exceptions.

B) Use a day planner ($5.00 to $25.00)

  • Buy a simple planner that allows you to schedule tasks at different times throughout your day.
  • Plan exactly when you are going to do something, how long it will take and plan your daily tasks with that in mind
  • Ensure you plan the amount of time a task will take, as this will directly impact how much you can plan in a day and help you to avoid over-committing to yourself and others
  • One Simple Rule – keep it with you where ever you are and whatever you do, no exceptions.

C) Set Goals and schedule them ($00.00 no cost!!!)

If you don’t set goals, you don’t have anything to work towards or achieve.
Set and schedule “progress checks” for your goals

D) Utilize technology

Outlook or Outlook Express – these common email programs have a calendar/organizer as a standard feature. If you have a computer with Outlook or Outlook Express, you already have this ability at your fingertips.
PDA – as an example a Palm Pilot can act as your personal electronic organizer.

It will allow you to schedule tasks at certain times, keep all of your contact information, set reminders, it is a clock, and alarm clock, a note pad and more.

Blackberry – this is a combination PDA with the functions noted above, cell phone and email unit. It is the ultimate organizer in one solution.

What has worked for me?

  • I started with a piece of paper years ago
  • I progressed into a day planner
  • I have continued to progress into PDA’s and now my Blackberry.
  • I schedule EVERYTHING electronically now and have an alarm that reminds me of each scheduled task.
  • I have also benefited from the medication Concerta. This is NOT medical advice. Results are unique to each person and you must check with your Doctor to discuss if medication is right for you.


How have I been able to stick with it?

  • When results will happen, you feel good and that motivates you
  • When I strayed from it, disorder and chaos returned
  • You must accept that you NEED some type of time management or you are in trouble
  • Keep refining it, as time passes you learn and can push yourself to more success
  • Schedule EVERYTHING! It will make your life so much easier and enjoyable.
  • Scheduling some things and not others will likely not work.
  • Keep it fun, if you like flowers make sure your day planner has a picture of flowers on the front. If you like hockey, use your time management system to schedule in some time for yourself to watch a Canucks game on TV.
  • Here is a challenge for you:

Your Goal Is:

a) Choose a time management system for you by next Thursday
at 6:00 PM

b) Refine the time management system you currently use, define how you will do this by next Thursday at 6:00 PM

Schedule It:

On a piece of paper, sticky post-it-note or whatever you use, set a day and time when you are going to start working on your goal, once you have committed by next Thursday at 6:00 PM.

Also, set a date and time when this goal is to be completed.

Do It:

No excuses, no putting it off, no rescheduling this goal. JUST DO IT!

Tell Us About It:

If you can attend the next Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group or CHADD Vancouver meeting, share your experience with us and let everyone know how it went, how it impacted you and how it made you feel.

Here are links to the handouts I gave

10 Keys To Time Management: A Guide (pdf) Environmental considerations and perspectives.

Time Management: Learning to Use a Day Planner (pdf) Great pdf from the CHADD USA. Discusses selecting the right day planner, effective strategies for using a day planner and using a day planner for short- and long-term planning. Good for adults with attention deficit disorder but good for others as well.

Also here’s a link to a page I created with links to articles and websites on time management.

You can not manage time. It is one of the few things that we all get equally. We all get 168 hours in the week, whether you run a country or just your apartment. You can, however, manage yourself around issues of times. Self-management is the key.

Traditional time management methods often do not work for people with ADD. An individualized creative approach is usually more successful, coupled with experimentation of different methods.

A great book on organization in general for people with ADD is Add-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Dr. Kathleen Nadeau. The 2016 version.

Another more visual book on getting organized for ADHD adults is this one.


Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, 2nd Edition-Revised and Updated: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized By Susan Pinsky


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