Staying on Track:

Strategies for Time Management and Organisation with ADHD

In the UK, it’s estimated that between 3%-4% of adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD*. Whilst more common in men, anyone can be affected, with one of the most common symptoms being difficulty focusing. This can pose a challenge in the workplace, particularly with time management and organisation – even without the juggling act of family life. But by finding the strategies to best suit your needs, you can be on your way to overcoming obstacles and taking back control.

Make Use of Your Alarm

Your alarm clock isn’t exclusive for your morning wake-up call (however many ‘snoozes’ it may take to get you out of bed!). For some, to-do lists work brilliantly for staying on top of task management. However, for many individuals with ADHD, it can be easy to get sidetracked, or even ignore the list altogether.

Instead, you can make the most of your alarm clock (either on your phone or computer) to remind you of your priorities throughout the day. Regardless of how big or small the task is, having an alert that signals what needs to be done at a specific time can be helpful.

Time to Take a Break?

Scheduling time for breaks is crucial for staying on task with your work and family life – especially for those with ADHD. But, with the hustle and bustle of home, taking a breather at work is the perfect opportunity to recharge your batteries.

Some individuals with ADHD report brain fog and fatigue, which, in turn, can lead to a dip in concentration. So, structuring breaks throughout the day, means that you can dedicate set times for eating or simply stretching your legs and stepping away from your work for a breather.

Discuss possible adjustments with your line manager. Perhaps a series of 10–15-minute breaks throughout the day would be a better fit if you are able to work longer core hours.

Deadline Dedication

Two of the biggest challenges those with ADHD experience in relation to meeting deadlines are perfectionism and becoming overwhelmed. Taking pride in your work is great! However, issues can arise when perfectionism interferes with submitting your work on time.

Practising self-compassion is the first step to tackling this. Would you be so critical of a colleague? Accept that making mistakes is human, and that no one expects total perfection. Setting reasonable goals will also help, freeing up more time to work on what’s most important.

Saying ‘no’ to projects you don’t have the capacity for can be difficult, especially if you have people-pleasing tendencies. But, getting into the habit of doing so can free up more time to focus on existing responsibilities. It can also help to get into the habit of overestimating how long you think your tasks will take to complete. Do you think it will take you an hour to finish reporting? Give yourself two.

Everything Needs a Home

Ever heard of ‘tidy space, tidy mind’? While true, motivation to get cleaning doesn’t always come naturally when you have ADHD. The key is to make sure everything has a home. Use labels if this helps as a visual reminder of what is supposed to go where and try getting into the habit of returning things to their home right after you’ve used it.

Another tip is to stay focused on one area at a time. It can seem a lot to tidy an entire home so maybe it’s just a section of your bedroom to start or perhaps a drawer in your work desk.

You can even incorporate setting your timer again for your tidying session. This way, you’ll be able to stay focused on the task at hand and less inclined to get distracted.

Distractions out

We’re all guilty of getting distracted by our phones, be it at the office or home. Just five more minutes of scrolling or a quick catch-up can quickly turn into an hour, causing us to neglect work and our social interactions. But there’s no need to dive into a digital detox to help you stay on course of your organisation.

Depending on what specific areas of organisation or time management you’d like the most help with, there are different apps to suit. Use technology to your advantage, whether it’s to keep you on top of project management, meal plan, time block or even a digital journal.

Living with ADHD can mean seeing the world through a different lens. When it comes to time management and organisation, your perspective or way of working won’t necessarily be the same as others. But along with some of these tools and the support of your loved ones and peers, you can work with your ADHD rather than against it.

*Prevalence | Background information | Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder | CKS | NICE