How Well Do You Manage Your Time?
Do you use a planner of some kind to plan your day? And how do you think you’re doing?
Because there are some time management mistakes that can stress you out, and if you’re making them, you need to know.
If you’re not using a planner at all, or just once in a while, you really should give it more of a chance. Using a planner consistently is one of the keys to success for people with ADHD.
We need structure to our days and our lives, and a planner helps us see that and create it. Not only that, but the act of writing down our schedule – or anything for that matter – helps us remember it.
So, assuming you use a planner, how well are you actually utilizing it?
Learning to use the hours and minutes of your day, and do it well, can significantly make your day much better. It’s a skill worth developing.
Are There Parts of Your Day that Stress You Out?
Really give this one some thought; are there specific times or parts of your day that stress you out more than most?
When do you find yourself reaching for a piece of chocolate, your anti anxiety medication, or whatever it is you use to calm yourself down?
Now take a look at your planner or schedule.
Is there something happening at that time of day, most days?
What are you doing? Who are you with?
For me, there are two times: mid afternoon and just after dinner.
Those are the times that I typically begin working on this blog – which is a lot more work than you think.
Don’t get me wrong – I love doing this – but somehow I get stressed out just the same.
I know I’m a perfectionist – most of us are – and maybe that’s what is stressing me out. Trying to make each post perfect.
And I confess, although I use a planner religiously, I can still use some help when it comes to prioritizing what to do and when.
How Does One Relate to the Other?
How does time management relate to stress?
Poor time management can easily lead to stress.
Maybe you don’t plan ahead enough and get ready for the week as you should; therefore, Monday mornings might be especially stressful for you. Or maybe, by not checking at all, there is a nasty surprise waiting for you later on in the week and you get blindsided.
Maybe Thursdays are your busiest days, and therefore your most stressful ones.
And it’s not just things that go in a planner, although you could put them there.
How many times have you had to make do with whatever you could find because you forgot lunch?
Or prayed all the way to the gas station – or wherever you were going because you couldn’t stop and fill up?
Once you find the cause and effect between your anxiety levels and the way you are managing your time, you can begin to look for solutions.
What You Can Do Better
There are a lot of things that you can learn to do better that will help your stress levels go down, and beginning with time management is a good way to start.
- Are you spending some free time on Sunday (or another time) to look ahead at your week and see what’s in store? If you have a late night at work for instance, are you taking that into consideration as you plan meals?
- Are you using a planner of some sort to keep track of all you have to do? Are you good about using it? If not, figure out why and find one that works with you.
- Can you move certain things around so that your busy days aren’t quite as crazy? Or at the very least, can you build in a soothing activity – maybe a favorite lunch, a nice cup of tea, or a good book to read while eating – so that your entire day isn’t so stressful?
- Are you scheduling more than three to dos on your list every day? We all have certain things we’re responsible for on any given day, and these most certainly add up to more than three. Your to dos are the extra things you hope to accomplish that day: making an important phone call, running an errand, balancing your bank account. (That alone is stressful enough!)
- Are you just plain doing too much? If you literally have little to no free time to yourself (without giving up time to sleep), then you’re doing too much. Let some things go.
ADHD and Time Management
Those of us with ADHD often live for the thrill; we’re adrenaline junkies.
You may think that doesn’t apply to you, but if you’re chronically running late, leaving things to the last minute to get done, pride yourself on “working well under pressure”, then guess what?
You love the rush that it gives you.
But that rush, on a regular basis, isn’t good for you.
It’s stressing you out.
Take Some Positive Action
It’s time – no, it’s past time – that you took a good look at how you spend your days and make some changes.
Careful consideration and better time management can make your days more tolerable and less stressful.
So start a list now.
- Get a planner. Use a notebook if you have to; they have really pretty ones at Target and even at Walgreens.
- Schedule in some time when you are free every week to check the week ahead. It doesn’t take that long. Surely you have some time somewhere, even if it’s waiting in line at the drive through.
- Start crossing things out. Start saying no. Help me learn to do this one too.
- And add in some fun stuff on that planner. A massage, a pedicure, even just 30 minutes all to yourself.