Time management is hard & ADHD makes it harder

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Time as an adult is like water in a desert. If it’s found, it must be planned around and rationed out accordingly. If you’re not careful, the allure of its thirst-quenching nature can lead to taking it all in one gulp.

My experience with ADHD is like guzzling down a full canteen of water and then digging my nails into the sand desperately searching for more. I expect that out of the 6.1 million children diagnosed with the disorder, as of 2016, there are many who have struggled as I have. As a result of this struggle, I’ve written my own personal survival guide to manage my time in adult life — one that I would like to share with you.

A vital lesson I’ve learned about ADHD is that it makes the act of simply doing anything a much more taxing experience. This can be something as simple as getting out of bed, brushing your hair or checking your email. The time spent laboring on these basic, necessary actions burns the day away and makes time management in the future that much harder.

To improve my efficiency, I set consistent routines. In the morning, I check my phone, get out of bed and get dressed for the day. Before leaving, I pack my bag, brush my teeth and brush my hair. When I began to do this in a consistent manner, it became natural, and the dread I felt at the thought of doing all these things individually started to dissipate.

One thing I still struggle with is managing deadlines and homework in a way that ensures I do not get overwhelmed. However, I have found that when I look ahead at my schedule for the week and write down the most significant obstacles, I gain a much better understanding of how to organize my day. This may seem obvious to some, but I have met several people who struggle to commit to the routine. If you are one of those people, I want you to know that it is worth the effort.

What I want to emphasize is that organization and planning trump everything else. ADHD may make life harder, but a healthy amount of looking forward allows one to mitigate the difficulty of performing tasks in the future. With a disorder like ADHD, it is imperative that you are proactive with what you struggle with rather than confronting your struggle the moment it appears.

To you, the reader, I wish you the best of luck with the year. Whether you are new on campus or are close to graduating, I hope the best for you — ADHD or not. But just as important, I hope that any reader with ADHD knows that there are people out there who understand. Don’t let it define you. Instead, do your best to define what it means for you.