Any advice on how to improve time man... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Any advice on how to improve time management and ability to balance multiple priorities in your schedule?

2000sunflowers
2000sunflowers

I have always been bad at time management and balance, but lately it feels like I have absolutely zero capability of handling multiple priorities/tasks in my schedule, and no control over my time management (or anything that requires self-regulation for that matter). I am falling behind in my college classes, despite the endless hours of work I put in and the many different efforts I have made to try and improve my situation. I’m struggling to keep up with the frequent homework assignments, recorded lectures, and the material covered each week, not to mention the fact that I don’t have time to eat good meals, exercise, or see friends and family. I’m completely burnt out and exhausted from this, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I feel like improving my situation is hopeless, and there is no point in trying this hard just to fail over and over again. I’ve even thought about changing my major and reconsidering my plans to get my PhD after undergrad. I’m really considering therapy or something, really anything that could help with improving my executive functioning and also talking through the horrible emotions I’ve experienced because of my struggles. I will take any advice that could help my situation, from productivity apps, to practicing mindfulness, or therapy. Thanks to anyone that can try to help. :)

8 Replies
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Hey there, 2000sunflowers! Sounds like its been tough for you, I hope it gets easier!! Finding balance within, to the degree one can, should be at the top of the interest list. That's important. Finding a way to escape the external chaos will greatly help, even if only for moments here and there! Meditation, yoga, sports, cycling, running, whatever gets your blood flowing and is something for which you enjoy.

I have many challenges with time management/balancing priorities. Im ADHD'er with severe hyper-focus ;)... I've managed to routine in all the old tricks, made them so routine I can't remember to remember to trigger a routine to remind myself to do... wait, what are we talking about??? Lol. The more I tried to build routines in, the more effort I was forcing myself to put into managing it. When really, the structure we need is more basic than that. Maybe we are over thinkers, under-doers, poorly self regulated in many ways... but it just takes the right structure around us in order for us to find balance, manage our time and prioritize effectively.

Along with finding time for yourself to enjoy life... Id suggest finding an ADHD coach for your situation, if that's an option that's available to you. Time management and balancing priorities are exactly what a coach can help you tackle and overcome. I know from experience, its been very helpful for me and everyone else I have spoken with. Good luck! There are coaches on this forum occasionally, and there is also the webpage: adhdcoaches.org! Good luck to you! Keep fighting and pushing forward, it will be worth it!

Thanks for all the advice! I definitely have been wanting to get a solid routine going in my life, it’s just hard for me to figure out how to get that going in action. I’m assuming ADHD Coaching would help with that.

This may have been addressed in the comment below, but Bullet Journaling is really great for time management. I need to get back onto it actually. You can find 1,000,000 tutorials online regarding it, but i would go to youtube, search for "howtoadhd bullet journal" and this spry young red head will give you a basic breakdown of it. It truly does help. Best of luck.

Awesome I’ll be sure to check that out!

Hey sunflowers! I wrote you a novel here because I can absolutely relate to your situation. This was 100% me all the way through college, trying to be and do everything. I was so burnt out that I pretty much just slept for 3 months after graduation. I know that doesn't sound like a message of hope lol, but you've got something going for you that I didn't: you're here asking for help!

First, if you're on the fence about therapy, just do it. It will be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. A therapist can help you reshape your thoughts and build legit strategies.

Second, check out Brene Brown's work. The Gifts of Imperfection is a great place to start. It's probably not going to help you with your time management immediately, but everytime I listen to it, I'm reminded how and why to be kind to myself... and not getting emotionally derailed by feelings of failure is half the battle, amiright? (Lots of other good lessons on letting go of perfection, setting healthy boundaries, etc.)

Ok, finally, something tactical... simplify. Be absolutely ruthless with whittling down your to do list/activities, put your health at the top of the list, and learn to accept "enough." Your major, your PhD plans... those things will work themselves out one way or another... but YOU will still be here no matter how those things play out so your health must come first. You don't need to have the perfect exercise routine; just take a walk - maybe even make it a social activity by going with a friend or calling a family member. You don't have to create the healthiest meal plan; just pick something moderately healthy that you actually like to eat, and eat it all the time.

And if you can't bring yourself to cut quite so much from your to do list, try making two lists: one with your must have items (including your health!), and the other with your nice-to-have items that hides on another page in your planner. Keep the nice-to-have list out of sight so it doesn't distract or overwhelm you. This has really been helping me lately. I take about 30 minutes on Sundays and map out my week in a planner (including non-negotiable lunch and dinner breaks). Then I reevaluate mid week based on what I was able to accomplish.

Oh! I also get easily overwhelmed by large projects. I just put them off, put them off, put them off until the only way to complete them on-time is an all-nighter fueled by heart-stopping levels of caffeine and adrenaline... so I've been making progress with these by listing out the smaller tasks within those projects. This allows me to complete a piece, cross it off the list, get that little hit of satisfaction from completing something... and if/when I get distracted, the list let's me pick right back up where I left off. My ADHD brain actually prefers to float between projects like this. It has made managing competing priorities much less painful.

Thanks so much! I will definitely look into The Gifts of Imperfection, and I’m pretty sure I am starting therapy soon.

Best of luck to everyone!! I’m in my 40’s and still struggling to stick with a working process.

@pineappleprincess - I like your thought process, but am wondering how hard it has been to keep up with that routine, at least in the beginning?

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Check out "how to adhd" in YouTube. Very helpful!

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