Time Management is one of the many executive functioning skills that we need to function on a daily basis. For our students with ADHD, this is a tough one. What usually happens is that our children, adolescents and young adults with ADHD think about the long list of assignments for school/college and quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of tasks to complete, knowing that it will take much sustained attention to accomplish it. The result: feelings of stress, anxiety, frustration, and shut down. What is often the end product is a list of incomplete assignments that lead to shame, embarrassment, and feelings of failure.
How a person with ADHD “Sees Time”
A student with ADHD often divides the world into two categories: fun and not fun. Simple, right?
The ADHD brain searches for the interesting, shiny, curious, remarkable, and exciting, that is then deemed “fun.” Fun affects their levels of drive and motivation. In fact, it leads to the release of dopamine in the brain – the ‘feel good’ neurochemical.So how is homework labeled? That’s easy – not fun. Not fun at all. They experience negative emotional stimulation when they are assigned homework in their least favorite subject in school and they avoid doing it. Sometimes a little mom pressure gets the homework bus in motion but not until the night before the test, quiz, paper or project is due.
Then, there are the multitude of mundane tasks, like brush your teeth, put away your laundry, follow up with your teacher about that study session, etc, etc. Super boring with very little emotional stimulation, making it harder to start the task or complete it.
The Parent Experience of Poor Time Management
We have all been in this situation once or twice. Its 8pm on a Thursday and your child has a test in algebra on Friday. The test was announced on Monday. You realize that she didn’t review the material… not even a little bit.. this week.
What a horrible feeling for a parent, right? What do you do? Start the “you should have started this sooner” tirade? I’ll tell you what your child hears – “Wa Wa Blah Blah Wa Wa”. Save your breath. Do you email your child’s teacher to extend the deadline? Do you get studying with your child and become her executive functioning brain?
In an effort to teach your child the skills needed to function as a student and in daily life, let’s take it one step further. Let’s talk about a few ways to your your child improve his time management skills.
Why is prioritizing your time important?
Some activities are more important than others. Making these activities a priority ensures they will get done.
Important activities may have negative consequences if they are not completed on time. Scheduling time for important activities leaves time for fun. Break your activities into three categories.
- Obligations: The Have to’s!
- Aspirations: The Want to’s!
Going out for dinner with a friend
- Negotiations: No time limit!
Going on social media
Time Management Skills
The Pomodoro Technique
Do more in less time by scheduling your school assignments based on your energy level. The Pomodoro Technique is a simple and useful concept that can ignite the brain and this method can be modified:
- Before you start working on any assignment, decide on the task you want to get done.
- Set a time for 30 - 40 minutes
- Take a five-minute break to remove yourself from the work. This is counted as one set.
- After the five-minute break, get back to the task and give it your full attention for another 30 – 40 minutes.
Time Management is an important executive functioning skill for students and adults alike. By identifying this area by name, it becomes easier to help guide the development of the skill in an effort to just get things done!