Do you normally find it a struggle to accomplish even everyday tasks and do you often find yourself disorganized and distracted until time is wasted? Or are you a time optimist – thinking you have plenty of time to get things done (and then procrastinate until it’s that final hour)? Or do you get overwhelmed feeling there’s just not enough time?
The daily challenges of ADHD are very real especially when it comes to time management. And now, when you toss in all the tree trimming, decorating, shopping, gathering and celebrating that comes with the holiday season, often our normal strategies to manage time and get through the day go completely out the window. Then we don’t get things done, feel terrible about ourselves, often frustrate loved ones or colleagues and start to lose the holiday spirit.
But there is hope.
Here are some steps to help you build confidence, maintain your relationships, clarify and prioritize your goals so you can accomplish all the holiday activities, minimize your ADHD challenges, and get you past being stuck to actually following through and enjoying the holiday season.
- PLAN — Start each day by taking time to think about what you want to accomplish that day with specific emphasis on one to five things. Don’t overwhelm yourself with all the to-dos. And see if there is something you can cancel so you can find the time to relax and take care of yourself.
- CHECK-IN PERIODICALLY DURING THE DAY- Ask yourself frequently during the day if what you are doing at that moment is what you want to be doing and if it is helping you accomplish your goals.
- USE A PLANNING SYSTEM -The more time we spend planning, the less time is spent running around frantically at the last minute. For example, if you haven’t already, sit down and write down all the people you need to buy gifts for (with ideas on what to get them). Add their names to a note on your smart phone so you have it with you at all times.
- CONCENTRATE — The amount of time spent doing something is not what counts; it’s the amount of focused, uninterrupted time. Make sure you are in the right head space when you work on an activity so you can focus and get it done. This also goes for quality time with loved ones.
- TAKE BREAKS — Working for long periods of time can decrease energy, as well as increase stress, tension, and boredom. Switching from a mental task to a physical task and back, can provide relief, increase your efficiency, reduce tension, and even benefit your health.
- REDUCE CLUTTER — In most cases, clutter hinders concentration and causes frustration and tension. When you find your desk or work space becoming chaotic, take time to reorganize. Maybe move that jolly singing Santa to another area of your home or office.
- AVOID PERFECTIONISM — There is a difference between striving for excellence and for perfection. Getting something 85% perfect and finished is better than not doing it at all. So don’t worry about all those bows and ribbons and perfect wrapping. Gift bags work just as well to hide the present.
- LEARN TO SAY “NO” — Learn to decline, tactfully and politely, yet firmly. Practice what you will say often. You don’t have to attend every party or winter activity.
- DON’T PROCRASTINATE — Waiting to the end may feel like you have more energy to do the task, but more than likely you end up rushed, out of time and buying the wrong gift. Try to change habits immediately and buy your gifts early, but don’t take on too much too quickly.
- DELEGATE — Decide to delegate the tasks that someone else can do, wants to do and take you too long to do!
Most of us with ADHD feel like there’s just not enough time to do everything, but with a few simple adjustments to our attitude and behavior, we can find that time to celebrate and enjoy the holidays.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season!