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David Baxter

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ADHD and Time
by Dr Hallowell, DrHallowell.com
March 2, 2018

In the world of ADHD, there are only two times:

  • there is NOW, and then
  • there is NOT NOW.
In ADHD, time collapses, making life feel as if everything is happening at once. It’s now or never…or maybe later. This creates panic. One loses perspective and the ability to select what needs to be done first, what needs to be done second, and what can wait until another day. Instead, you are always on the go, leaping before you look, always trying to keep the world from caving in on top of you.

So how to best manage your time when you have ADHD?

Here are some tips that have helped me get things done:

  • Make deadlines.
  • Prioritize. Avoid procrastination. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Take a deep breath. Put first things first.
  • Break down large tasks into small ones. Attach deadlines to the small parts. Then, like magic, the large task will get done. This is one of the simplest and most powerful of all structuring devices. Often a large task will feel overwhelming to the person with ADHD. The mere thought of trying to perform the task makes one turn away. On the other hand, if the large task is broken down into small parts, each component may feel quite manageable.

*Adapted from Delivered from Distraction, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., John J. Ratey, M.D., Ballantine, 2005
 

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