Staying on Track is a critical component for managing ADHD symptoms in adults.
Having ADD/ADHD adds an additional layer of challenge to someone’s ability to keep track of stuff: deadlines, appointments, critical items, birthdays, etc.
The idea of being organized is a dream for some, and frankly a nightmare for others. Staying on top of daily appointments, deliverables, timetables, and deadlines are critical to feeling and being successful.
You can temporarily misplace your phone, keys, your briefcase, your purse, but if you miss a deadline the consequences may be far-reaching and hard to recover from.
My ADD/ADHD coaching clients frequently come to me with the following things in common:
- The desire to get organized (once and for all);
- Wanting to know the “secret” to getting (and staying) organized;
- A VERY long to-do list that they find overwhelming and rarely address on a regular basis;
- A VERY frustrated spouse, loved one, boss;
- Having tried every paper or electronic device/app ever invented for organization….and they’ve failed to find success.
Here’s my fool-proof plan for staying on track:
Determine the gaps in your time management system. This is a great exercise to do with your coach. Post your observations in your journal for ADHD strategies.
- Are you always _X_ minutes late for appointments?
- Is time unlimited for you?
- Is “tomorrow” your fallback deadline?
- Do you rush around at the last minute with late-nighters, or miss deadlines altogether?
- Do you tend to keep everything in your head and maintain a certain amount of pride in being able to do that (but find that it isn’t working)?
- Does your crazy scrambling upset your workplace or home-life?
- If you have a to-do list, do you ever check anything off, or just add to it?
- If you have a to-do list, do you know where it is, or look at it daily?
- Do you only consider what needs to get done “right now” vs today, or this week?
Are you surprised by the questions? Don’t be, they are frequently noted as adhd symptoms in adults.
Gain an understanding about time as a concept.
It’s not tangible, and because when it passes you can’t see it, hear it taste it or feel it, it’s a very abstract idea, hard for someone with ADD/ADHD to understand fully.
Couple that with managing time-related activities. The activity may be real enough, but the passing of the time towards realizing the activity is again caught up in the abstract concept of time passing.
Time may only really come alive for you is when you’re hitting a deadline (if you haven’t missed it) and your adrenaline is starting to flow.
Try these ideas and note which ones work best for you.
- Time It. Use a stop watch or alarm to determine just how long an activity really takes and keep track of it in a journal for ADHD management strategies.
- Ad a Fudge Factor. When you estimate how long an activity might take (including driving time), add 15 minutes to every 30 minute increment. It’s ok to be early.
- Set Your Alarm. Setting your alarm for :15 minute intervals will help you realize the passing of time. It will also give the opportunity to self-correct and get back on track if you’re distracted.
Learn how to use a “to do” list.
Because there’s so much to talk about, I’m going to postpone this discussion until my next blog post.
In the meantime, if you’d like to talk about your challenges with an ADHD Coach, contact me for a free 20 minute consultation.