Time & Productivity

10 Time-Management Tips for ADHD Brains

We are tuned into the clock on New Year’s Eve. The rest of the year? Not so much. Time management is a lifelong challenge for many people with ADHD. These tips and tricks from ADDitude readers can help.

Studio shot of young woman working in office covered with adhesive notes. Jessica Peterson/Getty Images.
Jessica Peterson/Getty Images.

Missed deadlines, perpetual lateness, underestimating how long a task actually takes — people with ADHD have many admirable traits, but time management acumen is rarely one of them.

This behavior is not intentional; many ADHD brains have two switches: “now” and “not now.” Couple that with weak executive functioning skills, poor working memory, and rampant time blindness, and it becomes clear why time’s not on our side.

Here, ADDitude readers battle that by sharing the time-management solutions that work best for them. Try one (or all), and share your own hacks in the Comments section below.

[Get This Free Download: 19 Ways to Meet Deadlines and Get Things Done]

“The Waze app will tell me when to leave if I schedule a drive in advance with arrival time noted. Breaking tasks into pieces and checking off each piece as I go helps, too, because I get an immediate sense of accomplishment.”

“I use a false (early) date for deadlines.”

“The Gmail ‘Schedule Send’ option is life-changing. I can write and respond to emails late at night and schedule them to send the next morning (when I otherwise may or may not remember to send things).”

“I log appointments and deadlines in multiple places like my bullet journal, phone calendar, office calendar, etc. The more times I repeat something, the better I remember it. Even if I forget to write something down, with three calendars, it’s probably in at least one.”

“I text myself reminders. I hate notifications, and I always check to clear them. Although, sometimes I open my reminder text message before I realize what it is, and I have to re-text myself.”

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“I let other people help me. I give them complete permission to point out the time, send me reminders, and share their observations about my time management (without being annoyed about it), and I thank them when they’ve done so.”

“My paper calendar is truly my second brain. I work in a deadline-driven job and need to physically turn pages and write down important reminders that I can visualize.”

“My best solution is the Sleep for Android app, which is militant for getting me out of bed. You can’t just turn off your phone — it requires me to scan a barcode in another room to make the alarm stop! I set it to play crashing waves so I don’t loathe it too much.”

“I use smart home devices. When I put my laundry in the washing machine, I tell Alexa to remind me to check it in 30 minutes. If I have to leave the house at 8 a.m., Alex reminds me to get ready to leave at 7:45 a.m.”

Time Management Tips: Next Steps

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