Steps to Help College Students With ADHD Create a Time Management System

When the young adult starts college, they may be excited by how much unstructured and unscheduled time they have. But that freedom can be difficult for students with ADHD who have trouble with time management and with sensing the passage of time. The last minute homework assignment or studying for an exam can easily derail their efforts to stay on track. Creating a schedule can help the young adult with ADHD leave enough time to get their assignments done, get to work, cut down on procrastination by taking away the constant need to make decisions about what to do when. Here are 6 steps young adults with ADHD can follow to create a time management system that works.

First, block off a half an hour from your schedule, it can be right now or it can be later in the day. However, the longer that you wait, the longer you will procrastinate. So the sooner you can make a 30 minute appointment with yourself the better. Once you have reserved the 30 minutes for yourself, set a a timer and try using the alarm on your phone.

Second or Step 2 ,for 5 minutes, you can grab a pen or use your computer, tablet or a regular notebook and make a list of what you need to do. While this may sound easy, there is a catch: instead of making a long running list divide the list up by categories.What do you need to do for your Chem 420 class? What do you need to do as club vice chair? What do you need to do for your financial paperwork? Create, in essence, a bunch of mini-lists and categorize them by topic.

Step 3: Mentally walk through your schedule for the rest of the week. Think about where do you have to be like class or work and where do you want to be like taking a nap or catching up on homework. Use whatever time management system you have to mark down what you have to do and what you want to do.

Step 4, for 10 minutes break down your lists using micro lists and ask yourself the following: What must be done today? What must be done tomorrow? What can wait until tomorrow? What can wait until next week? Be honest with yourself, too; there are only so many hours in one day and there is only so much you can do. What can wait? What cannot? Assign to-do items from your lists to various days in a way that sets reasonable expectations about how much you can get done in a certain amount of time.

Step 5: For 5 minutes specifically break down how you are going to spend the rest of the day or night. Figure out as much time as possible in your schedule, making sure to account for things like breaks and meals.

Step 6: Spend your final 5 minutes getting yourself and your space ready for class or work? Do you need to go for a brisk walk? Go to the library? Get some water and coffee? In essence: get yourself moving and prepare your environment so that you can hit the ground running.

Once the 30 are up you’ll have made to-do lists, organized your schedule, planned out the rest of your day (or night), and prepared yourself to start.  Ideally, this will allow you to focus on the tasks at hand over the next few days; instead of always worrying about studying for an upcoming exam, you can tell yourself, “I’m studying for my exam on Thursday night. Right now I must finish this paper by midnight. By doing these steps you will feel in charge and know that your plan of attack will allow you to finally get things done. You got this!

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