Transitioning from one task to another is not always easy if you're struggling with ADHD. In fact, if you are doing something you love, the time often slips by without you even noticing it. This can come with consequences like being late to meetings, having disappointed spouses and children, or going to bed too late.
Using timers is a very common strategy when you're working on time management. The alarms and timers are needed to remind you that it’s time to stop a task and move on to the next. Digital clocks just don’t work - you actually need to see the time physically go by to be the most effective at managing your time.
Based on my own experience and research, I've found a few different types of timers that have worked well for people dealing with ADHD. Here is a quick summary of each one:
The Pomodoro Technique* - This is one of my favorite time management techniques. In summary, you focus on a set task for 25 minutes, then you take a five minute break, and repeat. The Pomodoro website is full of information on how to make this technique work for you and you can purchase the book and tomato timer to put it into practice at home or work.
Time Timer* - The Time Timer is a helpful, visual timer that can be used in any setting. In addition to helping teach time management with those struggling with ADHD, it’s a great way to teach children too. The timer is set for the amount of time you choose and starts a solid red color. As time goes by, the red starts to go away. It is a clear visual of how much time you have left to work with. Time Timer has clocks, watches, and apps available on their website at: http://www.timetimer.com/.
Zen Timer* - You may remember Pete Wright, the co-host of the ADHD Podcast, and I talk about Zen Timer. It’s an app you can buy for the Apple Mac** $4.99. It’s a beautiful tree on your computer that you get to see mature over the course of the time you have set, and as it gets closer to the end, you slowly see the tree lose it leaves.
Phone Alarm - This is by far, the most common way I see clients using alarms and timers - they set them on their phones. I often see people programming timers not only to manage time, but to remember daily tasks, like taking medication or picking up their kids from school.
To keep the ADHD mind stimulated and interested, it is recommended that you change your timer periodically. You don’t want to start ignoring your alarm. If you notice you are starting to get bored with the sound or the technique, it’s time to switch.
Until Next Time...
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