You just want to stop borrowing time from your personal life and get work done at work. Most adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) struggle with time management in some way. It comes with the territory.
Getting tasks done on time, feeling like you’re wasting too much time at work, managing the workload without feeling overwhelmed. It’s all a challenge. And over time, it can lead to ending the day feeling demoralized. Struggling to get things done efficiently starts to impact self-esteem and erodes your confidence in your own abilities.
Combine actual struggles with time management, negative self-talk, and lowered confidence, and you’ll likely see an impact on your ability to function at work and home. This often leaves you up late at night when you’d rather be with your loved ones or taking a break.
Five Ways To Stop “Catching Up” After Work So You Can Start Being Present For Your Life
It’s common for adults with ADHD to be people pleasers. This often comes from trying to prove to others (and yourself) that you can do it. Or trying to make up for a perceived or actual mistake. The reality is, “just one more task” often leads to burnout, overwhelm, and delays getting things done. Be cautious about saying “yes” too much or too often and be realistic about what can get done in a day, week, or month.
Tackle procrastination….the right way.
There are many reasons adults with ADHD procrastinate. One is low internal motivation. This means you often need to be externally motivated to get things done. Sometimes this may be anxiety followed by the inevitable panic attack around a task. But this is not an ideal external motivator. Setting hard deadlines and rewarding yourself when you complete a task is usually a better choice. Also, breaking things down into specific tasks is critical. For example, “do project B” is not a task. A task is more like “gather emails,” “write out a plan,” or “call three contractors by Monday.” The more specific and planned out, the more manageable.
In addition to strategies, take into account that procrastination is often an emotional struggle. Another reason adults with ADHD struggle with procrastination is a lack of awareness of their feelings about an avoided task. For example, you might be saying a task is boring, but really you’re afraid or angry about it. Taking a second beat and identifying your underlying feelings can help unstick you from the procrastination glue.
First, consider what your environment is like when you’re at your most focused. Most people’s work environment is much more distracting than they realize. On top of that, they may not even be in the best work environment for them. For example, some people do well in their homes, others in coffee shops or libraries. If changing the environment isn’t an option, consider modifying what you have. Optimize lighting. Turn off distracting notifications. Lower distracting noises with white-noise machines.
Take brain breaks.
ADHD brains need extra breaks to reset and restore. While something you love might result in hyperfocusing, something you dread might require you to muster a lot of energy to get through it. You may benefit from something called the Pomodoro Technique, which means working for a baseline period of time (e.g. an hour) with a five-minute break built-in. The key is not doing anything task-oriented in those five minutes––so an actual break (like taking a short walk or meditation)––and using an external timer to keep you on track.
Plan ahead of ADHD and stick to the plan.
Make a plan and map things out. Start by getting establish your short-term goals, long-term goals, and today’s tasks. Keep it simple. No more than three major tasks outside of daily responsibilities a day. Review the plan the night before and get clear on your action items. Once you have a plan, find ways of making it easy to access––either with a whiteboard, sticky notes, or Google Task so it’s on your computer browser. The last key is having your plan in plain sight so you won’t wander off course.
And hey, be easy on yourself. Reversing decades of time management struggles isn’t easy, but totally possible for anyone with or without ADHD.
Begin ADHD Therapy in Columbus, OH
If you’re looking for more personalized help with time management, we can help. At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer ADHD testing and adult ADHD treatment from our Columbus, OH-based counseling practice. This way you can have a more individualized plan for managing work and life. To start your therapy journey, follow these steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a consult
- Meet with a caring adhd therapist
- Start managing time better, and meet your goals!
Other Services Offered At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
Because ADHD impacts people in different ways, Focused Mind ADHD Counseling offers a variety of services, including adult ADHD treatment, counseling for men with ADHD, depression counseling for ADHD, and anxiety treatment for ADHD. If you have any questions regarding testing or ADHD treatment, schedule a consultation with one of our trusted therapists.