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ADHD & Time Management

Here’s why (ADHD) time management skills require less structure than you think

 

Flashback to May 2017. It is 2 am. I am full of enough sugar and caffeine to cause an elephant to have an aneurism and my eardrums are being destroyed by high-tempo, Japanese-hardcore rave music. Why? Because I’m studying to be a Teaching Assistant and I have 24 hours in which to do six months of work. And that’s how it’s always been for me.


Sound familiar? In 2017 I didn’t know very much about being neurodivergent, nor would I have considered that it might be a label that applied to me, but jump back to the present and guess what? I now have a formal diagnosis of Autism and ADHD. Who knew, right?


I have a secret, though. You can keep a secret, right? That stuff I was doing back on the first paragraph? That is time management. I know what you’re thinking,


“But Joe, time management is using planners and reminders and clocks and getting up early and clocks and planners!”


Well, yes. If that’s what works for you. But the key point here is exactly that. You have to find what works for you. If that is doing the stuff they teach you in a schooling system that has barely changed since it was formed around the Industrial Revolution and was designed to stifle creativity in favour of producing factory workers - great. Go for it. It didn’t work for me. I had to unlearn a lot of that stuff because it was making things harder.


So what am I doing instead?


I don’t have all the answers, but my best advice is to get to know yourself. Analyse your behaviours - they’re very informative. For example, I used to try to write consistently for hours and then get frustrated that I’d only have a tiny amount of writing to show for all that effort. That frustration was my brain giving me a heads-up that I needed to try something different. Now when I write, I do it for ten minutes and then do something I like for a bit instead. And I only write when I feel the urge because forced writing isn’t my best writing. And I’ll do it at 1 am if I want to.


Most important of all though, is addressing the shame. If you spent your whole childhood being ashamed that you couldn’t do it like you were told you should, then you need to start praising yourself and being kind. It does wonders. This might sound a bit awkward, but there have been times when I’ve looked myself in the eye, in the mirror, and praised myself. Adult me felt a bit embarrassed, but inner child me flourished for it.


Us spicy-brains do things best when we do them our own way. Embrace that and be proud, because you’re more awesome and powerful than you know. If you can work on that, time management will start to fall into place on its own.


I managed to do that six months of work in 24 hours, by the way. I did a great job of it, too.


 

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1 則留言


Jana C-H
Jana C-H
6月12日

I love this! Accepting that the way it should be is not the way it has to be is so difficult but so important. I'm still struggling with this and have good and bad days but thanks for summarising it so succinctly :D

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