One of the biggest issues for people with ADHD is time management. We lose car keys and can't find a clean outfit to wear because we forgot to dry the laundry and it's sitting in the dryer wet going funky when we have 10 minutes to get out the door to be on time.
These are obviously time management issues that need to be helped with planning ahead. But, we also have issues with time management in that we get lost in things we are doing and time just flies on by.
We can be going along in our day...mostly on track and then we get caught up in something, and before you know it it's supper time and we have NOTHING prepared, and everyone is hungry and the chicken is still frozen solid.
Wibbely Wobbly Timey Wimey
One of my biggest deficits with my ADHD is a lack of an internal clock. I cannot tell how much time has gone by without having taken special note of the time before I started and then looking again afterwards. Usually, on a regular basis I am shocked at how fast time goes by when I'm fully engaged in something. ( and disappointed at how slow times goes by when it is a boring event! Lol )
While I'm not usually late to appointments because I plan ahead and go early on purpose, my lack of an internal clock shows up most when I am usually too long at things and fall out of my own set routine because I lose track of time.
A casual event like going to a neighbour's for tea can have me gone for two hours when I intended on only being gone for one.
For obvious reasons this upsets my husband and is one of the areas we argue about the most in relation to my ADHD. Rightly so because he is the one who suffers the most from my inability to realize how much time has passed and is left sitting around waiting for me all the time. He worries about me when I told him I was only going to be a half hour and I end up being gone 3 times as long.
Due to my handicap with time this way, we stay in contact with text messages a lot while I'm out. It reminds me that I'm past when I said I'd be gone, and it assures him I'm not in a car accident. ( though that allows him to be more annoyed with me than worried about me when I take longer, so it's only minimized the conflict a little thus far.lol)
One thing I do to try and stay aware of the time is have an alarm on my phone set for every hour of the day to go off and make me aware of the passage of time.
This can help me realize what time it is and where I should be and what I should be doing...but sometimes I get hyper-focused ( on a project outside in the yard for example) and I lose all track of time and dismiss the alarm and keep going thinking I'll just go for another 10 minutes...only to get a text from my husband asking me why I'm 45 minutes past my set time.
That is how I usually end up scrambling trying to make dinner for a hungry family two hours past when we normally have dinner on a more-than- we'd-all-like basis.
Name the Problem to Fix the Problem
Recently, In trying to figure out how my ability to stay on routine got worse in the last few years, I realized that I was setting my major daily tasks schedule off of the television. For me it is a good way to stay on routine.
When I watched George Strombo at 11pm every weeknight and then Craig Ferguson at 12:30, I was able to go to bed at a reasonable hour for a night owl like me and get up in the day better.
I also noted that I would look forward to watching Dr Oz and Ellen at 4 and 5 pm and that allowed me to cook dinner while watching tv and it made supper on time for 6 pm every weeknight evening.
When we moved to this house from town four years ago we lost cable. Living rurally and on a low budget...we opted out of getting satellite as a replacement. Most people talk about how tv is bad for you anyway, and think no television is a good thing or that being able to PVR everything and watch it whenever you want is better...but for me-NO live television is a bad thing.
I've noticed that ever since we lost the ability to have my routine tied to shows on at 4 and 5 and 11pm and 12:30 am. I have had a very difficult time staying on routine.
Now we watch movies or netflix far too late into the night and I stopped making dinner on time with no tv in the kitchen to watch Ellen and Dr Oz which we thankfully still can get on CTV via an antenna.
I'm trying to get back into a better routine to lessen the chaos and fly by the seat of your pants routine around here because while my poor non ADDer hubby is good at going with the flow...he is having an issue with the "white water rapids in a hurricane" flow this ADD house has.(All purely my own doing as the Chief Operations Officer of the house)
I know that we'd all function better if I can find a way to string my habits and routines to something that I look forward to and that keeps me on track.
I just hung the tv in the kitchen this month and now that it is September and Ellen and Dr Oz are back with new shows, I am starting to get back into dancing and cooking dinner in the Kitchen with Ellen and then Dr Oz at 4 to 6 pm everyday.
I miss watching Strombo at 11pm every night and Craig Ferguson just before bed....but they don't come in on the antenna. Hopefully I can soon find a habit to string my "shut down for the day" Routine off of.
For some people television can be a distraction. But for me. It helps keep me on track.
Do you have trouble staying on track? Maybe stringing your routine to another event that happens at the same time every day already like I have would help you too? How do you stay on track? Let me know in the comments below.