Hello everyone! Today, we’re going to talk about how I suck at managing my time. As someone with ADHD, I’ve always had the worst time trying to manage my time. It’s damn near impossible for me to get everything done that I need to and want to in one 24 hour period. Adding my depression and anxiety into the mix makes time management worse and super stressful.
Now that I’m an adult who’s responsible for my own time, it’s been a trial of patience for not only me, but everyone I know. I’m surprised I still have friends because I always show up late, if I show up at all. Even when I do show up, I show up empty handed because, of course, me rushing around to get to where I need to be means I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to bring along with me.
“So what is this post really about, Mary?” you may be asking right now. “You sound like you’re just complaining about how awful you are at keeping time.”
You’re right! I am complaining! But I wanted to share this post with you all because I have ways to navigate through my awful time keeping that I think may help some people in the same predicament as myself. If you’re also awful at keeping up with the flow of time, maybe the following little tips can help you be not so bad at it on a day to day basis!
Set A Timer
The only reason I’m ever on time to work is because I set timers for myself in the morning. Having a soft blueprint of when I should be clothed by, when I should have eaten by, and when I should be leaving the house has done WONDERS in getting me to work on time.
I usually set alarms in my phone to tell me when to get things done. For example, if I’m still in the shower at 9:45AM, I may have to speed through my skincare routine so that I can eat before my shift starts. If I haven’t left the house 15 minutes before it’s time to clock in, I’ll show up late.
I also rely on timers for when I do fun things, too. I love playing Animal Crossing, but if I don’t regulate my time with it, I’ll be on there all night and I won’t ever get anything done around the house. There’s a clock in the game that helps me keep time, but I also set a little timer on my phone to give myself play time.
Writing my NaNo project this year has also given me the chance to go back to 45/15 minute increments of writing and taking a break while working on a writing project. Usually for this blog, I write and edit until I’m done. I know I can’t do that with a 50,000 word novel, so I write for 45 minutes and take a break for 15, ready to hop back into writing once break time is over.
This all may sound pretty silly, but making sure I hold myself accountable to my alarms and timers has really helped me be productive and stay productive. If timers don’t work for you, try putting on an album or a video and doing your task within the time it takes to get through said media. When I don’t use my timers for tasks, I use that method. Writing while listening to music has always been my go-to, and when I’m not doing the 45/15, I’ll write as much as I can within the limits of the time it takes to listen to an album.
Get A Buddy To Hold You Accountable
This one only works some of the time, but it works! If I’m procrastinating or otherwise not using my time appropriately, I’ve noticed my husband Matt is great at helping me structure my time. Having someone to talk out your plan of attack for tasks is surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, depending on how you look at it) helpful for actually getting tasks done. I enjoy talking about my daily plans with him because I know he’ll ask me about them later in the day.
Sometimes I don’t get everything done, and Matt is very good about helping me figure out what I need to do before bed and what I can save for the next day. Usually this works best if it affects everyone in the house (dishes, laundry, stuff like that), but personal projects have also gotten done thanks to Matt’s motivation and confidence in me.
Your buddy doesn’t have to be your spouse. It can be your roommate, your parent, your friend. Anyone that you can work together with to hold each other accountable is someone you can trust! And obviously, you don’t want to depend on them too much. At the end of the day, having a buddy to help you keep up with your time shouldn’t be too stressful for the other person. They have their own things to do! You and your buddy can motivate each other while also remembering you and them are two different people with two different lives.
I also want to make sure to say that your buddy shouldn’t make you feel bad for losing track of your time and not getting everything done. Negative reinforcement has never worked for me, and I don’t think it is a good idea to have someone who will make you feel bad for things that, at the end of the day, can be put off until tomorrow.
Make a List
If you don’t have a buddy around to talk through problems with, lists might help you instead! I have made lists for myself since I could write, and I genuinely think that writing out everything you need to accomplish within a time frame and putting it where you can see it helps almost anyone get things done.
I have lots of responsibilities at work as the administrative assistant, and without my notepad full of tasks and reminders, I would not be helpful in the slightest. My GM is also a huge fan of lists, and together we get things done by writing on each other’s lists things that we can finish both together and on our own.
Of course, lists are helpful with or without someone else’s input. Without my habit of list making, I don’t think I would have been able to get anything done ever in my life, and no that’s not be being dramatic…I actually depend very heavily on lists to make sure I’ve gotten the important stuff done in my day.
Sometimes, you don’t need to write out lists. If you have a routine, that’s a type of mental list you check off every day. Think about your morning routine and try to list out everything you do to get out the door. Is there anything that can be taken out or added to the list to make it more time efficient? I do this from time to time with every routine I have to make sure I’m using the time I have as best I can. It might sound like you’re doing too much when you do this, but if you have a hard time keeping up with day-to-day stuff, it might be beneficial to look at how you can rewrite your lists!
Hopefully this post can help with people like me who are awful at keeping track of time. I know time management has been basically nonexistent for lots of us this year thanks to quarantine (is it November already?). It’s important to remember how to keep up with your time regardless if you are working from home, working in your place of employment, or not working at all. It’s also important to remember that time is an illusion, and you’re allowed to slack off from time to time!
I try to balance work and play as best I can. Having these three tips in the back of my mind every day helps get me to a place where I’m happy with my productivity, or at least decently pleased. I know I’ll never get everything done within the 24 hours given to me everyday, but I also know that I am able to at least give myself the tools I need to at least try to do so. Trying is so important! At the end of the day, if you’ve tried, you’ve already won over someone who didn’t try at all.
If you liked this post, let me know! Follow me on Twitter for daily Mary shenanigans (including me complaining more about how I never have time…!). I’m in the middle of figuring out how to self-publish as well so that you all can read my NaNo project once I’m done with it! I signed up for Ko-Fi so that I can start funding for it, but I’m still setting it up so I’ll link my page next week once I’ve figured it out.
In the meantime, I hope you all get out and vote!! Tomorrow is the big day, so let’s do our civic duty and get to the polls! I’ll see you next week if the world hasn’t caught on fire by then!