It’s why we procrastinate. Aren’t on time. Get distracted by the dings emitted from our phones. Watch TV when we’re supposed to be getting ready for work.
To succeed with time management, ADHD adults need a deep understanding of their relationship with time. So they can become better at Outsmarting their ADHD.
You see, ADHD brains are wired for stimulation. That makes us view the world through two time frames: Now and Not Now.
The Now vs. Not Now Effect:
The Now is whatever is in front of us at the moment. Those are the tasks we take action on.
The Not Nows? Everything else. No matter how high a priority. Or how essential it is to our success, peace, and happiness.
I’m convinced this “Now / Not Now Effect” is the root of much of ADHD’s procrastination and chaos.
The ADHD Now / Not Now Effect keeps:
- The manager from writing her meeting agenda until moments before the staff meeting.
- The hostess from cleaning her house and going to the market until the morning of her dinner party.
- The dad surfing the Internet instead of cooking dinner for his family.
The Now / Not Now Effect is a real part of living with ADHD. It causes worry, stress, and feelings of inadequacy.
Time management for ADHD means unless we’re careful, we ignore the Not Nows. Putting them off to do later.
And, that’s where our trouble lies.
Until you get a handle on this, the only thing that will flip a task from a Not Now to a Now is a looming deadline.
Then you’ll be forced into frantic, immediate action.
The worst part is, it doesn’t matter how big the task or project is or what else is going on in your life. You’ve got a deadline and you’ve gotta meet it.
Yes, when that deadline looms, we’re focused and productive. But the stress can be unbearable.
So, what can you do about it?
How to Make Time Management for ADHD Easier
It’s hard to trick an ADHD brain to believe something is a Now when it’s still a Not Now.
But you can learn to soften the impact of this ADHD time management tendency.
Manage your time with the awareness that your energy and focus won’t happen until the task becomes a Now.
Plan to procrastinate. Do as much as you can ahead of time, but leave time in your schedule to complete a project right before the deadline.
If you don’t have a solid deadline, create one. Work with an accountability buddy or a coach. Someone to hold you accountable to get things done.
The Now / Not Now Effect has a huge influence over the lives of adults with ADHD. With awareness and a bit of planning , you can make time management for ADHD your friend.