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Secrets to Getting to Work on Time: Learning Effective Time Management Skills for Adults With ADHD

Time is a finite resource, and for many of us, time is essential when we’re getting tasks done such as going to a doctor’s appointment or getting to work. However, for many adults with ADHD, the thought of being able to get to work on time seems quite daunting. It can feel impossible when the proper steps aren’t taken. With this, it’s imperative to different ways adults can prepare themselves for work that make being on time a breeze.

Create a Routine for Yourself

It is said that “if you fail to plan you plan to fail” and this is quite true when speaking about ADHD. It is difficult to get out of the door on time when your thoughts are scattered and you’re looking for misplaced car keys. Preparation is quintessential. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, creating a day-to-day routine has been proven to significantly increase productivity and reduce morning anxiety in adults with ADHD. Before stepping out of the house, try curating a list of all the activities and tasks you need to complete, along with the time it takes to complete them. It may make a world of a difference. Make sure that this list is somewhere that is always open and visible to you (i.e., whiteboard, calendar.) so that each step is recognizable. This method gives structure to the individual and can also help access the total time needed to be ready for the day.

In addition to creating a morning routine, it is also crucial to block off extra time in your morning schedule for activities outside of getting ready. Typically, most individuals will only account for the tasks that must be completed in the house before leaving, but it is also important to factor in tasks that you will encounter even after leaving the house. This includes work commute time, finding a parking spot, the time it takes to walk from your car to the office, and any time needed to unpack or set up your workspace before your shift begins. Factoring in these minuscule but cardinal parts of your routine can further enhance the chances of getting to work on time. As time goes on and this routine is repeated every day, there will be a better understanding of exactly how much extra time to factor in for personal needs.

A recommendation that enhances this process would be to set multiple alarms after learning the time it takes to complete each task. When a task is complete, the alarm will ring or vibrate, giving the satisfaction of the completion of that task. This will help to indicate that it is time to move on to the next task. An example would be to set an alarm to go off at 7:30, with the label, “Put on shoes and grab things to leave the house," but you are still at the table finishing up breakfast. The alarm will give the mind a signal to finish eating and move on to putting shoes on so that you’ll have enough time to drive to work.

Prepare the Night Before

Along with planning, action is essential to move efficiently. This includes preparing your belonging the night before. When preparing your belongings for the next day include your clothes, shoes, and jewelry/accessories. Preparing your clothes, the night before makes mornings much more seamless. It gives you more time to add to your routine and is one less thing to worry about in the morning. Another effective strategy recommended by Keath Low, an ADHD subject matter expert, would be to establish “holding spaces” within your home. When preparing your belongings such as your work bag, lunch box, car keys, etc. you want to establish a specific area within your home, keeping all of your things at the front door. This strategy helps to alleviate attempting to find all your things scattered around the house in the morning when you are on a time limit. Low tested this theory in a study among adults between the ages of 22 and 30. Eight out of ten adults reported finding this strategy helpful in helping them remember everything they needed to bring. Preparation isn’t always just physical; it is mental as well. Along with physically getting yourself ready, you need to mentally prepare for your day. This can be accomplished through grounding. There are many different grounding techniques that can be used, including stepping out onto the grass barefoot, meditating, journaling, and more. Grounding is especially important for those of us with ADHD because it allows for the mind and body to relax and be in the present moment. Grounding has proven to help with focus throughout the day. Many of the tasks from your morning can trigger feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. Grounding can help prevent this leaving you more energized, focused, and ready to attack the day with a clear mind.


Ask For Accommodations in the Workplace

There are many different rules and regulations that as we must abide by as employees and citizens of a democracy. The great thing about the workplace is that it provides many protections and rights for the people that serve them. One of those laws is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This includes jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places open to the public. This law is important to understand because the ADA recognizes ADHD as a disability. That means that if you are a diagnosed adult, you can lawfully receive accommodations in the workplace to help complete your job more effectively. Some of the accommodations that the workplace can provide for individuals with ADHD include, but not limited to: · Frequent breaks · Providing an unused area away from distractions to work in when working on something that requires a high level of focus · Providing a mentor in the workplace · Changing positions · Work schedule changes · Technology assistance · Realistic workload · Continuous feedback · Extra time to complete tasks · Working from Home

Communicating with your employer about having ADHD is essential to ensuring that you are treated with proper care and given an equal chance to demonstrate good performance amongst your colleagues. Receiving assistance can help prevent burnout and has shown over the years to also: · Increase job retention · Higher attendance · Lower turnover rates · Better safety records

Final Thoughts

Furthermore, only you have the power to invest yourself the time, preparation, and accommodations that you need for your ADHD diagnosis. We can spread awareness about ADHD by learning more about it and bringing awareness to our loved ones, trusted coworkers. It is an effective way to educate others in our lives about our experiences and what we need as individuals on a standard basis to function effectively. You are capable, you are brave, and you are powerful. Speak up, out, and freely about your experience. With a strong mindset and organized priorities, nothing can inhibit your potential.

With warmth,

Allison, owner of FLORAMENTE: Holistic Solutions

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