ADHD & Time

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This morning I came downstairs to a dirty kitchen. Don’t you just hate that? It makes you feel like you’re already behind.

The bad part was, I did it to myself. Last night after dinner I was too lazy to wash the pans. I didn’t want to take the time; I just wanted to relax.

So instead of washing them last night, I had to do them first thing this morning. And you know what? It took less than 10 minutes.

If you have Attention Deficit Disorder, time is a very hard concept to grasp. Sometimes it races by, sometimes it drags, and overall, we just don’t have a clear, concrete idea about time and it’s passing.

Because for people with ADHD, time is very elastic, they have a tendency to do two things:

1. Be completely off when estimating how long something will take. Like me, they can look at a couple of pots to be washed and picture it taking far too long to finish. Or they can be like my husband, who assumes painting a room will only take an hour or two. The same person is likely to visit both ends of that spectrum; it isn’t either/or.

2. Assume that they can do far more than they actually can within whatever allotted time they have. This ties in with #1 – not realizing how long something will take. A person with ADHD may decide that over the course of a weekend, they’re going to landscape the front yard, paint a room, fix a leaky faucet, and 6 or 7 other things. At times, the average ADHD person’s to do list might be actually doable, but you have to take into consideration the tendency to become distracted and lose focus.

I’ve found that a timer, a notebook, and a little attention 😉 to the matter helps greatly.

Write down a task you plan to do, then estimate how much time it takes. Then do it and time it. You will probably have to do this several times to get a realistic idea. At first, there is that need to beat the clock, so your actual time may be off. You may be surprised at how long things really take.

Once you have an idea of how long things take, you can make a better, more realistic plan for your day. For projects that are long term or involved – like landscaping the front yard – I suggest taking the time and doubling it, or at least adding half the time in. This way you will be prepared for any distractions or unforeseen events.

Taking a good look at where and how you spend your time can make a big difference in your life and stress level. It’s worth it in the long run.

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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