41 Time Hacks

41 Time Hacks Used by ADHD Ninjas (aka Our Favorite Experts)

The Pomodoro technique. Kitchen timers. A paper planner. And 38 more tools, tricks, and rules these ADHD experts use to stay on time and productive.

Creative time management strategies for ADHD adults

There is Eastern Time, Central Time, Pacific Time — then there is ADHD Time.

Our internal clocks weren’t made with Swiss precision, nor do they keep time in seconds and minutes. We see time not as a sequence but as a parade of events that are connected to the people, activities, and emotions involved in them. We feel time rather than experience it. This explains our stormy relationships with clocks and deadlines.

What can we do? Here are some great life hacks that ADHD experts use themselves — real world strategies that have allowed them to befriend Father Time.


ADHD coach, host of the podcast “ADHD reWired” (erictivers.com)

1. I do not answer my office phone until I have written down my plan for the day. I love technology, but I use paper and pen for planning purposes. They allow me to see a lot of information at once. With pen and paper, I can create a visual plan. When I write something down, it creates a stronger connection in my brain.

2. I don’t just plan my day; I plan my week and my month. By planning days, weeks, and months, I make time to do things each day that are important to me. This strategy lets me see the big picture and the daily details.

3. When I work on my computer, I use the Pomodoro technique — 25 minutes of working on one task, using a timer, followed by a three- to five-minute break, also using a timer. I repeat the sequence four times before taking a longer break. Twenty-five minutes is the ideal amount of time to maximize focus while staving off hyperfocus.

4. I limit the amount of things that I work on during the day. I often have several projects going on at any given time, but I limit myself to three (sometimes two) a day. When I try to focus on everything, I get nothing done — the key word being “done.” There is a difference between being busy and being productive. To me, productivity means working on something and finishing it.

5. The key to productivity has more to do with energy management than with time management. When I get good sleep and exercise, I accomplish more because I have more energy. This makes the difference between remembering that I need to return a call and returning it right away.

6. I always wear a watch, and I have my daily plan in front of me all day.


Founder of primarilyinattentiveadd.com, author of Commanding Attention: A Parent and Patient Guide to More ADHD Treatment

7. I put every appointment/meeting/lacrosse practice/robotics competition/social event/payment due/important task in the electronic calendar on my phone, and I use Google Calendar. I set the entry so that my phone beeps and displays a reminder of the task. I set the reminder for at least an hour before the event or appointment, and sometimes I set it a week before for a bill that is due.

8. I review my calendar for the upcoming week every Sunday night before I go to bed. I am ready to go on Monday morning.

9. I do tasks, if possible, right away. Otherwise, I’ll forget them or procrastinate.

10. I do not argue, disagree, or get difficult when someone (spouse, child, friend) suggests a different time schedule for getting to an appointment or completing a task. Just about everybody’s sense of time (how long it takes to get somewhere, how long it takes to do something) is better than mine.


New York Times best-selling author and a leading authority on ADHD (drhallowell.com)

11.Watch out for unintentional time sinkholes, the most notorious being screen time on your devices. Cut back on “screen sucking,” and you will have more time to do important things.

12. Do what matters most first.


ADDitude blogger (“Executive Dysfunction“), founder of 18channels.com

13. I use a kitchen timer when I’m struggling to stay on task. Just knowing that it’s there, ticking away, helps me stay more focused. The other benefit is that I can break down long tasks into smaller ones. If I have a task that I know will take hours to finish, I don’t focus on the hours. I set the timer for 20 minutes. That’s a length of time that isn’t intimidating. Use any increment of time you want. I feel a sense of accomplishment after 20 minutes. Then I take a break, or I set the timer for another 20 minutes if I’m feeling motivated.

14. When I work on a couple of tasks at a time, I switch back and forth between the two. It’s easier to keep working that way, instead of focusing on only one thing.

15. I dread starting if I know that there’s a big project looming. But if I write down how I’m going to finish it, it’s easier to start. For example, if I have a paper to write or a home project, I might list all the parts of the project, then decide which days I’m going to finish them on. Write on paper, or on a calendar, whichever works for you, and make sure your plan is in a visible place. I used to print the months of my calendar and leave the current month on the table, so I could see and remember my plan each day. It’s satisfying to cross off each task as you complete it. This was an important skill for me in college and grad school.


ADHD coach, founder of addconsults.com, author of The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus, and Get More Done

16. I write every detail down in my At-a-Glance planner. I love this planner because it has big boxes to write in. Besides my work-related schedule, I write down everything I have to do for that day, including appointments, exercise, and so on. If it’s not written down, I don’t remember it.

17. For the more detailed things that I need to do daily, I have two systems:
> I use a project planner notebook that is like a to-do list in notebook form. Every night, I make a to-do list for the following day. I place a star next to things that are important. I circle things I didn’t get to, so that I can look at the sheet the following day and address those things immediately.
> I jot down anything that I have to do out of the house (errands, appointments, shopping) on a sticky note and put it in my pocket. That way, I always have it with me. I usually stick it on my car dashboard for reference.

18. I e-mail myself reminders, lists, and the like. When I’m out of the house, I check my e-mail frequently to make sure I haven’t forgotten something. I have all kinds of backup systems to prevent a “fail” day.

19. I keep a list of items I typically buy at the grocery store on my phone (I use the “note” function on my iPhone — it’s free, so why bother with expensive apps?). I don’t waste time wandering through the store. I can e-mail the list to my husband if he’s the one shopping.

20. To stop wasting too much time doing things I shouldn’t be doing (like pigging out on Facebook), I visualize the things that are waiting to be done, like the pile of laundry that’s been sitting around for a week. Then I ask myself: Will I feel better about playing around on Facebook, or will I feel better getting the work done? If I get the work done, then I reward myself with down time.

21. I use the calendar function on my Mac computer to help with reminders, and I sync it with my iPhone. The bubble that pops up with reminders irks me so much that I want to get things done so I can turn the thing off.


ADHD coach, and author of the ADHD Success newsletter (danarayburn.com)

22. I take great care of my brain. All the task lists and reminders in the world won’t help me if I don’t eat right, exercise, or get enough sleep. My brain care determines how productive I’ll be and how I’ll manage time.

23. I write my plan for the day every morning as soon as I get up. Setting priorities and seeing the tasks I want to get to gives me direction and allows me to accomplish my goals.

24. I keep a list of things to do when I don’t have anything to do. Activity voids make people with ADHD uncomfortable. Instead of thinking, “Ah, I get a break,” we think, “Oh no, I don’t have anything to do.” My backup list of productive and fun stuff is on my phone, where I can easily find it during those rare times when the planets align and I don’t have anything to do.


ADHD coach and founder of Catalytic Coaching, in Washington, D.C. (sandymaynard.com)

25. If a task takes two minutes or less, do it then and there. Adding an item to the grocery/shopping list, filling up an ice cube tray, emptying a wastebasket, hanging up a coat, or returning any item to where it belongs can save you time in the long run. Some things, like filling up your car’s gas tank, take more than two or three minutes, but it can be a lifesaver when we are running late for an appointment, and are forced to be even later because we have to stop for gas. Worse yet, don’t gamble on getting to the appointment on fumes and miss it completely.

26. Under-promise and over-deliver. Instead of telling the boss what you think he wants to hear, make an honest assessment of what you know you can do, and give yourself extra time to do it. Your boss will let you know if he needs it sooner, and you can ask for advice on prioritizing so you can get the project/task done as requested. No one will ever complain because they got something sooner than requested, but we know what the response will be if we turn in something late.

Under-promising gives you the chance to over-deliver and make a favorable impression. It feels especially good to tell someone that you will turn a project in on Monday (knowing that Friday is doable), and then get it done by Friday. I don’t mind doing work over the weekend, but it is great when I don’t have to.

27. Make time to exercise. Exercising regularly gives us energy, improves our mood, and increases our ability to stay focused. It improves the quality of our sleep as well. Steady exercisers feel less tired and get more done in a shorter time. I sleep so soundly when I exercise routinely that I get by on seven hours of sleep instead of eight.

28. Set boundaries around your schedule. If someone asks you to do something and you don’t think you can spare the time, say, “Bummer, I can’t do that. I’m flattered that you asked me, and I hope you will keep me in mind the next time you need help with xyz, but right now is just not a good time.”


Adult ADHD coach and founder of adhdsolutions.net

29. Find a trusted system that is easy to use that keeps track of your tasks and prioritizes them. I like Google Tasks, because I can access it from my computer, phone, and iPad. I like being able to “drag and drop” my tasks to put them in the right order.

30. Banish the words “let me just” from your vocabulary. Once you decide what you want to work on, don’t say, “Let me just check my e-mail” or “Let me just check Instagram.” Remember, nothing ever takes just 30 seconds, and your day will get away from you if you keep putting other (less important) things first.


Founder of the ADDiva Network (addiva.net), author of Confessions of an ADDiva: Midlife in the Non-Linear Lane

31. Clocks! Lots of them, in every room, including bathrooms, walk-in closets, the laundry room, foyer, garage, deck, garden. Important note: You should be able to see the clock no matter where you’re standing or sitting. I have found a clock to be an inexpensive lifesaver — in terms of helping me meet deadlines.

32. Become a time efficiency expert — dice all the veggies you’ll need for the week, say, and store in plastic bags, instead of dragging out the cutting board every day.

33. Visit shops that are in the same area at the same time to avoid extra trips. It saves gas and time. Some smartphone apps plan the quickest route.

34. Begin with the end point and work backward from your appointment time. Say your appointment is at 1 p.m. Estimate your prep time (90 minutes to shower, dress, drive, park), then subtract from your appointment time. This means you should start getting ready no later than 11:30 a.m.


ADDitude blogger, mom to a son with ADHD, wife to a husband with ADHD

35. Allot one hour for you to get ready to go somewhere. Add 45 minutes per child, then pretend your event takes place half an hour to an hour before it’s actually been scheduled. This means you’ll arrive around 15 minutes early.

36. For grocery shopping, make elaborate charts that detail what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire week. My BFF does it. Or you can plan an extra hour or so to visit the grocery store each evening. If you can’t spare that hour, you’re eating a) pasta, b) sandwiches, c) takeout.

37. Put everything into your phone calendar. Everything. Even if it’s just a let’s-get-together-tomorrow play date or a recurring “damn-I-should-remember-this” sports practice, put it in your phone. Otherwise you will double-book, forget about it, or show up at the wrong time. Set two reminders.


Senior certified adult ADHD coach, founder of thrivewithadd.com

38. When putting appointments and meetings in your calendar, don’t forget to block off the time it takes to get to and from the meeting. Travel time might include parking, walking from your car, waiting for a subway, or even taking a slow elevator.

39. Consider whether you’ll need to look for anything before you start a project. If so, include extra time for the “search for” step. Once you’ve spent an hour looking for things you can’t find, taking time to organize starts to seem more attractive.

40. Does your brain flow better doing certain kinds of thinking or at particular times of the day? Take advantage of your best times for creativity, analytical thinking, or administrative work by planning to do that type of work when it’s easiest for you to do.

41. Any time I have to call tech support for my computer, I’ve learned that it will take at least an hour, most of it spent on hold. So I use that time to work on administrative tasks — cleaning out my inbox or sorting papers.

Kaizen = Continuous Improvement


Kaizen (改善?), is the Japanese word for “continuous improvement “. In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain.[1] It has been applied in healthcare,[2] psychotherapy,[3] life-coaching, government, banking, and other industries.

By improving standardized programmes and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first practiced in Japanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part by American business and quality-management teachers, and most notably as part of The Toyota Way. It has since spread throughout the world[4] and has been applied to environments outside of business and productivity.

How do I become organized?


So, how does the meaning of something translate into organization? Pick up anything around you that you’re wondering what to do with, and ask yourself which of these descriptions is the best fit:

* I don’t need or want it = trash
* I still need to decide what this means to me = IN basket item
* I might need to know this information = reference
* I use it = equipment and supplies
* I like to see it = decoration
* When I could possibly move on it, I want to see the action as an option = next action reminder, reviewed when and where it could be done
* I need to be reminded of this short-term outcome I’ve committed to = project list item, reviewed weekly
* I need to have this when I focus on a project = support material
* I might want to commit to this at any time in the future = Someday/maybe list item
* I might want to commit to this on or after a specific time in the future = calendared or “tickled” item incubated for review on a specific future date
* I want to achieve this “bigger” outcome = goals, objectives, visions that you review on some longer interval
* It’s something someone else is doing that I care about = item on Waiting-For list, reviewed at least weekly
* I need to consider it when I do certain recurring activities = item on a checklist

You can organize anything in your work or personal life by asking yourself whether its meaning matches its location.

Organizing tools should not be so mysterious – they are merely to support these various functions.

#getorganized #howtoorgnize #organize #notamess #incontrol #knowwhattokeeportoss #organizedlife #anorganizedlife #simplify #betterorganized #bestorganizingsecrets

Friday Organizing Hacks for An Organized Life

Cool hacks for real-life families!

1. Add extra bins to your fridge to keep things from becoming a muddled mess.

Look at how nice and contained everything is!Get more information at Four Generations One Roof.

Look at how nice and contained everything is!

2. Eliminate dinnertime stress and put together a menu planner.

Write your go-to dishes on sticky tabs and arrange them by type (pasta, veggies, protein, etc.). At the beginning of each week, you move the dishes you plan to prepare onto a calendar and then put together your shopping list. Learn more about this time-saving strategy and print out the templates at Home Made by Carmona.

Write your go-to dishes on sticky tabs and arrange them by type (pasta, veggies, protein, etc.). At the beginning of each week, you move the dishes you plan to prepare onto a calendar and then put together your shopping list.

3. Make a list pad and hang it on an easily accessible spot in the kitchen.

Installing it right beside the fridge is ideal, so everyone (young and old) will remember to add things to the shopping list as they run out or expire. Full tutorial at The Merry Thought.

Installing it right beside the fridge is ideal, so everyone (young and old) will remember to add things to the shopping list as they run out or expire.

4. Keep an inventory on top of your freezer.

If you don't know what's in there, you probably won't use it--that's just wasteful.Learn how to take your own freezer inventory at The Kitchn.

If you don’t know what’s in there, you probably won’t use it–that’s just wasteful.

5. Declutter your counter and move all of your utensils over to the wall.

Add a few extra containers for plants (just because they're pretty).Find the full tutorial at A Beautiful Mess.

Add a few extra containers for plants (just because they’re pretty).

6. Keep adult, child, and pet medications in separate containers.

You wouldn't want to mix up your dog's medication with your daughter's. Now you just need to remember to periodically weed out the expired stuff.Learn more at Clean and Scentsible.

You wouldn’t want to mix up your dog’s medication with your daughter’s. Now you just need to remember to periodically weed out the expired stuff.

7. Store your trash bags on a roll so they’re easier to grab.

Maybe now your family will remember to take out the garbage. It's worth a shot!Full tutorial at Simply Organized.

Maybe now your family will remember to take out the garbage. It’s worth a shot!

8. Put the cleaning supplies you use most frequently into an easily transportable toolbox.

Whenever someone decides to clean, they just have to grab the box and they're good to go. Get more information at The Social Home.

Whenever someone decides to clean, they just have to grab the box and they’re good to go.

9. Convert a bread box into a charging station for your electronic devices.

Simply drill holes through the back to thread the charging cords through. Full tutorial at Four Generations One Roof.

Simply drill holes through the back to thread the charging cords through.

10. Ditch the DVD boxes and organize your movies alphabetically with plastic sleeves and small tubs.

The boxes take up so much space! You’ll free up so many shelves and–if you prefer–you could organize your movies by genre instead of title (holiday movies, musicals, cartoons, etc.).

11. Store every single cord in your house in one labeled container.

“Mommmmmmm, where’s my Leapfrog charger?” “Have you seen my kindle cord?”

Look to the cord box, kids. Look to the cord box.

12. Use a kitchen baking sheet organizer to hold binders filled with important information.

Manuals, doctor's notes, mortgage info...everything you may need to look at; everything you don't want to risk losing. Learn more at A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Manuals, doctor’s notes, mortgage info…everything you may need to look at; everything you don’t want to risk losing.

13. Eliminate even more paper clutter by following the suggestions on this chart.

For more tips, head on over to Clean Mama.

14. Put together a homework station for your son or daughter to study at.

Younger kids = you'll want to supply lots of crayons and markers. Older kids = they'll probably need things like a calculator and protractor. Get more information at Craft-o-Maniac.Younger kids = you’ll want to supply lots of crayons and markers. Older kids = they’ll probably need things like a calculator and protractor.

15. Don’t have the space for a designated homework station? Make an easily transportable one instead.

Just the necessities.

16. Keep especially memorable homework assignments (and other papers) in keepsake boxes.

One for each of your children.

17. Organize the greeting cards you can’t bear to throw away chronologically.

It's easy to keep your sentimental snail mail under control without becoming a hoarder and you can learn how to at The Realistic Organizer.

 It’s easy to keep your sentimental snail mail under control without becoming a hoarder

18. Use picture frames to make wipe boards that’ll keep you organized *and* actually look good hanging on your wall.

Print out the free templates at The Chic Site and then add them to any 8x10 frames. Hang them in your entryway (so you'll remember what you need to do after heading out the door).

Print out the free templates at The Chic Site and then add them to any 8×10 frames. Hang them in your entryway (so you’ll remember what you need to do after heading out the door).

19. If you really want to be the king or queen of organization, outfit a wall with a command center.

This one (by The Caldwell Project) is particularly awesome. There's a weekly menu, a calendar, a magnetic note board, slots for mail, coupons, and take-out menus, even places to leaver your cellphone!

There’s a weekly menu, a calendar, a magnetic note board, slots for mail, coupons, and take-out menus, even places to leaver your cellphone!

20. Drawer knobs are one of the easiest ways to add storage to your entryway.

Just add more (and more, and more) as you need to. Bonus: you can paint them to match the wall. Get the tutorial at A Beautiful Mess.

Just add more (and more, and more) as you need to. Bonus: you can paint them to match the wall.
#getorganized #simply #smallspaceliving #organizedlife #anorganizedlife #notamess #icanfindit #beautifulspace #easystorage #organizing hacks

The Power of a Well-Crafted To Do List

Great article by Judith Kolberg on a well-crafted to-do list creating enhanced productivity.


The Power of a Well-Crafted To-Do List

Creating a master list is the first step to combating symptoms of ADHD, says master organizer Judith Kolberg. Use this time-management system to turn your stagnant to-do list into a daily action plan.

Getting things done with ADHD on the job

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience time and time management differently than people without ADHD.

Rather than a series of discrete moments following one another in predictable fashion, people with ADHD sense time as one long NOW. That’s great when it comes to solving problems and handling crises — and it certainly makes the day go faster. But the ADHD way of experiencing and managing time complicates things if you’re trying to complete the items on your to-do list.

My client Julia explained her time-sense this way: “Each day goes along like a rudderless boat, lurching through rapids, bashing up against rocks, and then finally landing on shore. I wind up completing only one or two to-dos from my list. It’s very frustrating.”

To accomplish everything you need to do each day with maximum efficiency and minimum hassle, you need more than a calendar or a to-do list. I’ve had clients who were meticulous about maintaining their calendars — and yet were habitually late to meetings and events, if they showed up at all. And I’ve had clients with to-do lists so long it would take them two lifetimes to get everything done.

What you need is my simple, three-step “system with a rhythm.” Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Create your master to-do list.

A master to-do list should capture everything that’s currently on your plate. I’m talking about big things, like planning a wedding or moving, all the way down to simple tasks, like hanging a picture.

To create the master list, gather all the reminders you’ve written yourself in recent days — the scraps of paper, sticky notes, napkins, envelopes, and so on — and compile them into a single list. Transcribe the list into a single word-processing document; a computerized master list is much easier to update than a master list on paper.

Each task added to your master list should be a simple one. By that, I mean something that takes only a single step — making a phone call, buying a hammer, or sending an R.S.V.P. This means you’ll have to break large-scale projects into smaller units. Instead of “buy new car,” for instance, create separate entries, such as “research options,” “calculate how much to spend,” “determine trade-in value of old car,” and so on.

Your master list might contain scores of tasks and events. Obviously, you won’t be able to do everything; you’ll have to set priorities. I recommend the “A-B-C” system: Mark high-priority items (things you absolutely must attend to) with an “A.” Lower-priority items get marked with a “B” (if I have the time) or “C” (fat chance).

Of course, you can use numbers (1-2-3), symbols (3 stars, 2 stars, 1 star), or colors (red-yellow-blue). One of my clients prioritizes her master list using the terms “Now,” “Later,” and “Parking Lot.”

Step 2: Prep your planner.

What you’re able to accomplish depends on how much time is available to you. Sounds simple, right? Yet many adults with ADHD overestimate the amount of time they have — because they fail to recognize how many hours of each day are already “booked” with regular obligations, appointments, events, and tasks.

Sit down with your calendar, smartphone, or daily planner, and enter all the time- and date-specific items, such as events, birthdays, anniversaries, due dates, meetings, or appointments, one week at a time. Schedule in all the daily and weekly chores you routinely do, as well — shopping for groceries, exercising, balancing your checkbook, and so on.

Once you’ve entered all your time-sensitive and everyday tasks in your calendar, you’ll be able to see, at a glance, how much time you really have to work with.

Step 3: Put it all together.

Now you have two things: a master list of everything you need to do AND a calendar that tells you how much time is available to you each day.

People with ADHD often have unrealistic expectations of what they can accomplish in a single day. But biting off more than you can chew sets you up for failure. To figure out your daily action plan, look at today’s page in your calendar or planner and then review the A- and B-priorities on your master list.

Estimate how many high-priority master-list items you can fit around your scheduled tasks. Ask yourself, “Given the things I already have scheduled today, is my plan practical?” Consider these points:

  • Plan to do less than you think you might be able to accomplish. That way, you’ll have a “cushion” in case you’re waylaid by heavy traffic, a sick child, or some other unforeseeable problem.
  • Remember to leave enough time for meals, as well as travel to and from appointments and errands.
  • Be sure that each day includes a mix of “high-brain” and “low-brain” tasks; if your day is taken up solely by things that are hard to do or that require lots of decision-making, you’ll be exhausted.
  • Each day should include time outdoors; “green time” has been shown to improve focus and mood.

Once the high-priority items and your scheduled activities are put together, you have that day’s action plan. You can write this list right onto your calendar or planner, enter it into your smartphone, or write your list on a separate piece of paper.

As you go about your day, keep your day-planner or smartphone handy so you can “capture” new to-do items as they occur to you. When you get home, transfer these to your computerized master list. Once a week or so, re-prioritize the items on your updated master list, and start the entire process anew.

With this system, you’ll be able to accomplish all of your A-priorities, and quite a few of your Bs. What about your Cs? Every once in a while, review your master list. You’ll probably decide that many of the Cs aren’t worth bothering with. That’s a good thing. After all, life isn’t entirely reducible to to-do lists.