Tag Archives: Time Management

8 Techniques to Combat Procrastination When You Have ADHD

 “The key to managing your procrastination is figuring out creative solutions to address the reasons you procrastinate in the first place.”By ADHD Coach Marla Cummins

If you are reading this article, it is because you were enticed by the prospect of learning how to stop procrastinating.

Like many people I work with, you’ve tried seemly everything under the sun to follow through, but to little avail. So, at this point, you may assume that, left to your own devices, you are going to continue this way.

And what you really need is someone to watch over you to make sure you follow through, right? If this is what you are thinking, I think you are wrong, sort of…

Sure, accountability can be an important piece of the puzzle in addressing procrastination. But, when it comes right down to it, adults with ADHD usually don’t want someone standing over them, telling them what to do.

Rather, the key to managing your procrastination is figuring out creative solutions to address the reasons you procrastinate in the first place.

Read on to find out how to counter your particular flavor of procrastination.

Oh, and please remember, procrastination is a really hard nut to crack, especially for Adults with ADHD. You can do it. Just don’t forget to be compassionate with yourself along the way.

Procrastination Fix #1 – Identify Where You Procrastinate

Right now, when you avoid a task, you may pause for a second. And then not give it another thought, at least for a while. Rather, you steer clear of it by getting lost in something else, anything else — another work task, the internet, organizing, etc.

Until the proverbial sh** hits the fan…

Then you knock your head against the wall, figuratively speaking of course, and scream internally, “Why do I do this?!” At this point, you may continue to avoid the task or you may get lost in addressing the fire drill of the moment caused by your procrastination.

While this scenario plays itself out again and again, I know you know this avoidance response isn’t helpful.

But think about it. If you have little clue as to why you are procrastinating on a task and even less of a clue as to what to do about it, it totally makes sense that you are sidestepping it.

Ready to learn how to respond differently?

List the tasks you are avoiding and then read on…

Procrastination Fix #2 – Clear the Decks

The next step is to decide whether all of the tasks on your active task list really belong there. Your immediate response may be, “I’ve already decided. After all, why would I put a task on my list, if I didn’t need to do it?”

Ok, got it. But, if your list is similar to many others I’ve seen, it may function more as a wish list. Because, given your current capacity, you can’t possibly do it all.

So, while you continue to put off tasks you really have no intention of doing, they stay on your list, hanging on for dear life. And you continue to beat yourself up for procrastinating.

But I know, even if you are willing to consider trimming your list, you don’t want to forget your ideas. Because, well, you might want to do them — someday.

Creating a Maybe/Someday List to store projects you’re not ready to kick to the curb forever is a great solution.

Here are a few suggested guidelines to get you started:

  • Have one for personal projects and one for business/professional projects.
  • Review them monthly to decide if you are ready to take action on any of your ideas.
  • Continue to add any task that comes to mind, but just is not ready for prime time — research fish keeping, start to video blog, organize attic, etc.
  • Delete those you decide you really aren’t going to do in the foreseeable future — make own dog food, take pilot lessons, etc.

One of the advantages of maintaining a Maybe/Someday List is you have made a decision not to do a task and are no longer procrastinating. Then you can stop heaping shame and blame on yourself for not doing what you said you would do!

Nice,  right?


Procrastination Fix #3 – Address Your Emotions

None of the typical solutions — breaking down your tasks, scheduling them, avoiding distractions, etc. — will help you manage your procrastination until you address the emotions that may be keeping you stuck.

So, that is the next step.

If you are a run of the mill procrastinator, like the rest of us, at some point your emotions— fear of failure, fear of success and resentment — will be the cause of your procrastination.

And, since your thinking is driving your emotions, you can start to manage them by practicing positive self-talk, such as:

  • “I might make mistakes, but that does not make me a failure.”
  • “Even if the worst happens, I’ll be ok.”
  • “This is going to be really uncomfortable, but I don’t want that to stop me.”

But, if you really want to address the emotions that contribute to your procrastination, you will need to dig in a little deeper. Start by checking out ADHD and Avoiding Negative Thinking Traps – Part 1 and ADHD and Avoiding Negative Thinking Traps – Part 2.

If, despite your best efforts, you are unable to make headway, you might need the help of a therapist to help you address the more deep seeded emotions underlying your avoidance behaviors.

Procrastination Fix #4 – Make Sure You Have Clarity

Another reason you may be procrastinating is there is some part of the task you just don’t get. You may not even recognize this is the reason you are stuck! You just continue to dodge it…

Completing the statements below for a task you are avoiding will help you figure out if the reason for your procrastination is lack of clarity:

  • The best place to start is…
  • The very next action is…
  • The process for doing this part is…
  • When I am done with this part / the task it will look like… (If you can’t visualize the end, it will be hard to know what you are supposed to work toward.)
  • I am going to work on this… (If you don’t have a specific date and time, it is easy to keep pushing it off to — sometime.)

If you are not able to complete these statements, then lack of clarity may likely be one of the culprits for your procrastination.

Next, ask yourself, “What do I need in order to get clear where things are a little fuzzy.

Procrastination Fix #5 – Get Rid of Distractions

Once you have a plan and are clear on what you need to do, it is still easy, as an Adult with ADHD, to get derailed by internal and external distractions.

You may even inadvertently be using these distractions to evade a task. Sound familiar?

So, it is super important to be aware of these and figure out how to keep them at bay by asking yourself, “What distractions keep me from doing my work and how can I minimize them.

Here are a few common examples to help you think about your own distractions:

  • Internet – Use a site blocker, like Freedom.
  • Message alert pop-up for new email – Turn it off.
  • Personal Issues – Maybe you need to take care of it so you can move on. Alternatively, maybe you can put it aside by telling yourself, “I’m doing this and not that!”
  • Phone Calls – Turn off the ringer for a short time so you can work.
  • People knocking on your door – If possible, tell them, “I really want to give you my full attention, but I need to do this first. Can I let you know when I am available?”

What are other distractions that keep you from doing what is important to you, and what can you do to manage them?


Procrastination Fix #6 – Don’t Wait for Your Mojo

For many with ADHD, one of the most common excuses for putting off work is the questionable idea, “I need inspiration.” This often leads to the unconvincing promise, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” And you know what comes next. Tomorrow becomes — not now.

If you can wait for inspiration, great!

But the problem is — in many instances — you can’t really wait until you feel like doing the task. So, the key is to figure out what will help you to do it even when your mojo is just not there.

Some workarounds are:

  • Find an accountability partner.
  • Delegate the task.
  • Hire someone — another form of delegating.
  • Attempt to do it when you are most likely to be at your best — late at night, early in the morning, etc.
  • Work in an environment that is most conducive for doing that task — at a coffee shop, in a quiet office, with music, etc.

What do you need to do to tackle a task even when you just don’t wanna?

Procrastination Fix #7 – Fill’er Up

Sometimes, when you don’t feel like doing something, it is because you are not taking care of yourself. Yet, self-care is key to managing procrastination.

Use this checklist to figure out if the reason for your procrastination is because you are running on empty or your circuits are overloaded.

  • Do I need to eat?
  • Am I tired and, if possible, do I need to take a power nap?
  • Do I need to take my meds?
  • Do I need to get up and move —exercise — to wake up my brain?
  • Do I need to drink more water?
  • Do I need to slow for a few minutes and do some deep breathing because I am overloaded?

What other strategies do you use when your tank is low?

Procrastination Fix #8 – Use a Procrastination Journal

Now that you know some of the reasons and workarounds for your procrastination, it is time to start the hard work.

And the best way to stop procrastinating is to become more aware in the moment of decision — the moment you are deciding whether to do a task or not.

You can do this by recording your answers to the following statements in a Procrastination Journal:

  • the date and time of the impulse to put off working on a task
  • name of the task
  • what you were thinking and feeling when you thought of doing the task
  • what you were tempted to do instead
  • what you told yourself when you were tempted to something else
  • what you ultimately chose to do

Yes, it takes time, especially in the beginning. But the payoff  can be huge, really.

00 I write because recite


Sample Procrastination Journal

Below are a few fictional journal entries based on the hundreds of conversations I’ve had with clients, the journals clients have shared with me — and my own experience, for sure.

March 14, 8:30 am

I just got to the office and wanted to start on the quarterly report first thing because I didn’t want a repeat of last quarter when I got it in late.

Then I looked at the file on my desktop and thought, “This is going to take forever…” I started to feel overwhelmed — my heart was racing and I got this fuzzy sound in my head.

I opened my email, which I promised myself I would not do, and thought, “Maybe I should plow through some of these first.”

Then I remembered the conversation I had with Sheri, my boss, after handing in the report late last time…

And I told myself, “I don’t have to do it all today. When I feel overwhelmed with big projects it helps to break it down and schedule time to do a little at a time.”

So, that is what I did. I finished a little bit today, and felt pretty good!

March 17, 11:30 am

Ally emailed me last week with a question about the program, and I promised her I would give her an answer by tomorrow.

But I just don’t know the answer and I should! This is so pathetic… I’m so embarrassed that I am not pulling my weight.

I’m really hungry. Maybe I should take a walk and eat lunch…

March 17, 12:30 am

Ok, better. I’m feeling a little more clear headed and a bit less stressed now that I took a walk and ate.

What I need is help figuring out how to answer her. Steve is really good at helping me talk through these things when I am stuck. I’ll call him, and see if we can meet this afternoon

In the above cases journaling helped Bob avoid procrastinating.

Of course, you will not necessarily come up with an immediate solution every time you write. But, keeping a procrastination journal will help you become more aware of the thoughtsfeelings, and behaviors involved in your procrastination.

Then you can work on changing them in the long run!

Question for You

I know I gave you a lot of information above.

Where do you want to start?


By ADHD coach Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD.

“Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva

Notebook photo created on Recite.com



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Get Unstuck – Tips for Easier Daily Transitions When You Have ADHD

 Starting. Stopping. Switching between tasks. You have to shift gears all the time. By Marla Cummins

Starting. Stopping. Switching between tasks.

You have to shift gears all the time. Throughout your day, you transition between thoughts and tasks when you are:

  • going to work.
  • starting a new task.
  • engaging fully in a new conversation.
  • beginning a meeting.
  • trying to “shelve” a thought/concern for the time being.
  • leaving work.

And, because of the challenges with transitioning, getting stuck in a gear is a real possibility for adults with ADHD.

What are specific times when shifting gears is the most challenging for you? Use the strategies below so you can transition with greater ease.

Isn’t it time to stop grinding your gears?

ADHD and Transitions

Transitions can be difficult for you in part because of the challenges of your ADHD symptoms, such as:

  • Activating – You may have a hard time starting a task because you don’t know how or where to begin.
  • Focusing – At other times when you do start you may have a tendency to hyperfocus on a task that catches your interest. Alternatively, you may just get lost in the details, whether they are important or not. In either case, it is hard for you to stop.
  • Managing Emotions – Your emotions –  frustration, annoyance, anger, etc. – may get in your way, making it hard to move from one task to another.
  • Regulating Action – If you are impulsive at times, and jump in before considering all the necessary details, it will obviously be difficult to transition effectively.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Ready to explore some possible workarounds?

Getting There On Time

Whether it is the office, meetings, social engagements, home or other places you may find it difficult to get there on time.

The key is to build your capacity to anticipate and plan for what you need to do in advance in order not to be late in getting from point “A” to point “B.”

I know. You knew that already.

But right now your standard operating procedure when going from place to place may sound something like, “Oh no, I didn’t know it was so late!! Where are my keys? I need that file. Why do I always do this?!!”

If you commonly utter phrase like these, and want to change this so you are not late so often or at critical times, adopt and practice the 4 Steps to Getting Places on Time.


Of course, all that preparation is not going to help you, if you can’t stop what you are doing so you can move on to your next task.

I know this may seem obvious. But it may also be one of the biggest challenges getting in your way of moving effectively through your day.

Here are some of the various strategies other Adults with ADHD use to make it easier to stop and make the flow of their day smoother:

  • Have a clear plan for your day so you have a reason to stop. If you are not clear on what you are moving onto next, you may just go down one rabbit hole after another.
  • Decide in advance how much time you are going to spend on a task and set a timer.
  • If you are in a hyper focus mode, you may ignore the timer. So get up and stretch or take a short walk when the timer goes off. Physical movement can help you get out of hyperfocus.
  • You may even want to change your environment by moving to a different room to work after the timer goes off.
  • If you know it may be hard to stop working on a particular task because it is particularly captivating, you may decide to do it only after finishing less interesting tasks.
  • Don’t start. If you know it will be hard to stop, and you don’t have enough time to engage in the task the way you want, don’t start it. Do it when you have more time.

Which of these strategies are you going to try this week?

Switching Gears

The above steps seem pretty straight forward, right?

But, as an adult with ADHD, you may feel all “jumbled” at times when you have to move quickly from one task to another.

So, to fully extract yourself from one task so you can fully engage in your next task, give yourself as much white space as possible between tasks as you move through your day.

Instead of rushing from one task to the next:

  • Stop and take note of where you are on a task before pushing it to the side. It will be easier to pick up when you get back to it and you will feel more confident that you won’t forget what you were doing.
  • Take a short walk to clear your head and think about whether you are doing what you need to do.
  • Review the agenda or your notes before going into a meeting.
  • Even if you don’t have time to make a full plan for the next day, stop a bit early and make brief notes to make it easier to start the next day.

These are just a few ways to slow down and take stock throughout your day so you can feel more grounded and transition easier.

Ready to slow down?


If you’ve gotten this far in the article, you get that being able to plan, stop and switch gears are all key to transitioning well between tasks.

But what about activating, starting, initiating?! Once you stop, how can you make it easier to shift into first gear again and get going on your next task?

You don’t want to stall out.

The first step is to chunk down your project into parts. Because, if you are not clear on what your need to do, procrastination can easily set in – you don’t start.

The amount of time you choose for each part will depend on your attention span for that particular task, energy and time available. While the allotted time for each part may vary, be sure each part is discrete and you can see a clear beginning and end along with a due date.

You don’t have to have your whole plan prepared in advance. But you do want to see the next few steps as you are working. To see how this might work let’s look at the example of writing an article.

  1. Determine your objective, as this will guide you and keep you from going off into tangents.
  2. Review recent questions you have received, news items and other sources to get ideas for a topic.
  3. Decide on the topic.
  4. Decide on the title of the article. Again, this will help guide you as you write.
  5. Create a rough outline of the article. You can always change it, but at least you have a loose structure of what you want to include.
  6. Write a draft of each section. Don’t worry about too much careful editing as you go along. That will just bog you down.
  7. Edit the whole article at once to make sure it hangs together and you have met your objective.
  8. Add, delete or rewrite sections as needed.
  9. If you have someone editing your article, send it to them
  10. Make corrections per the suggestion of the editor.
  11. If you don’t have an editor, do a final edit.

The second step is to create an environment that will help you get started.

  • Choose the optimal time of day for you to work on a particular task. If you are writing an article, figure out when you do your best writing.
  • Clear your space of potential distractions. Turn off your email notice. Close your door. Turn off the ringer on your phone.
  • Have enough food and water, so you don’t get distracted by thirst and hunger.
  • Set a timer.
  • Put on the proverbial horse blinders and remind yourself, “I’m doing this and not that!!”
  • Play music or white noise, if that will help.

What can you do differently to get started on a task you are working on today?

ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line

Slowing down and creating a plan for better transitions can help Adults with ADHD feel more grounded and get more of the right stuff done.


By ADD coach Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD.

“Image courtesy of Sailon/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” – Modified on Canva.com
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ADHD and Time: 4 Steps to Getting Places on Time

 Time can be elusive for many with ADHD. So, it is no wonder that running late is a common problem.By Marla Cummins

Time can be elusive for many with ADHD. So, it is no wonder that running late is a common problem. Yet, I know you want to get to places on time because you want to be responsible and honor your commitments.

It would also be nice to be grounded and present once you arrive at your destination, right? Just think of those times when you arrived someplace feeling like you had just slid into home base. How ready were you to engage in the task before you?

Even if getting to places on time has felt like a fire drill up until now, you can change this.

Use the suggestions below to the degree that you need. Of course, if you are going to a job interview, you will want to do a lot of preparation. But, if you are meeting a friend for coffee, you may not want to put in as much effort.

Looking Ahead

The first step is to visualize and write down everything you need to do to get ready for your appointment.

For example, if you are going to a meeting, the following are examples of what you may need to have ready:

  • clean clothes, stockings, etc.
  • purse/wallet with keys and phone
  • business cards
  • documents for the meeting
  • address
  • phone number (you never know when an unforeseen incident may delay you)
  • money for the meter
  • time you need to leave

The second step is to check and make sure you have what you need. Do this a few days in advance, so you have time to get what you don’t already have at hand.

The third step is to schedule when you intend to accomplish what you need to do to get ready. When are you going to get ink for the printer, iron your shirt, get quarters for the meter, etc.?

Yes, I know it may seem like a lot of effort. But I think you will enjoy the peace of mind that will come with preparing.

Estimate the Time Needed

As estimating time is a challenge for many with ADHD, determining when to leave for an appointment can be a bit tricky.

A helpful strategy is to think about how long it could take for each step along the way, such as:

  • programming your GPS
  • driving in traffic for that time of day
  • finding a parking spot for that time of day
  • walking from your car to your appointment
  • going to the washroom, if you are going to an interview.

In Boston, where I live, traffic is more of a factor than the distance. And there is almost always traffic. According to my GPS, it “should” take about 20 minutes to drive Downtown. But I will add as much as a 1/2 hour to my travel time to make sure I can get to meetings on time.

If it is critical that you get to the appointment on time, try overestimating the time needed. I heard your gasps of surprise at this suggestion! And I know you may get bored easily. So, bring a book or some other work to keep yourself occupied in case you arrive early.


It is true. Preparation and intention may not be enough to get to your destination on time.

You still need to stop what you are doing and get ready to leave. Not always an easy feat! If transitioning between tasks is a challenge for you, as is true for many with ADHD, not giving yourself enough time to transition may still torpedo your plans.

Stop what you are doing at least 15 minutes early so you can give yourself time to clear your head and get ready to leave. Use a timer to cue you, if you need a reminder.

Actually Getting out the Door

One last hurdle is actually getting out the door on time.

You may, however, suffer from the common affliction of “one more thingitis.” Those who suffer from this ailment often suddenly remember things they “have to do” at the most inconvenient times, like when they are leaving to go to an important meeting.

Does the scenario below sound familiar?

As you are walking out the door, you decide you really need to take out the recycling. Then you drop it. As you drop the recycling, a glass falls. You need to clean it up so the kids do not cut themselves. Ten minutes later, you are still not out the door.

It is a slippery slope, to be sure.

The antidote is to resist the urge by using some type of self-talk, like, “If I don’t go now, I’ll be late and that will not look good. The recycling can wait. It would not be the worst thing if it went out next week.”

ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line

If you want to get to places on time, you can optimize your chances by adopting some or all of the steps above:

  • Prepare in advance
  • Estimate the time needed to get to your destination. Better yet try over estimating!
  • Have a plan to transition from your previous activity.
  • And resist the urge to do just one more thing.


By Marla Cummins. Please visit Marla’s website at www.marlacummins.com for additional articles and resources on Adult ADHD. Original article can be found at http://marlacummins.com/adhd-time-4-steps-places-time/


“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigiatalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com


This is How you Treat ADHD with Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

ADHD is the most treatable disorder in psychiatry... The biggest problem is, most people don't get treatment.This is How you Treat ADHD based on Science with Russell Barkley, Ph.D.

How to refuel your Fuel Tank and be less ADHD. Create external scaffolding to support Executive Functions. Behavior modification techniques work for children. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or coaching works for adults. Develop specific strategies for time and organization management that work for the individual.

13-minute video from Part 2 of the 2012 Burnett Lecture – Includes slides and lecture on same clip.

“The back and front parts of the brain involve two processes, knowledge and doing. ADHD splits them apart… I don’t care what you know, you won’t be able to do them… You’ve got a real problem on your hands.”

“ADHD is a performance disorder. A disorder of intention, not attention. It’s an executive function disorder (EF)…. It’s time blindness. You won’t be able to aim your behavior toward the future to care for yourself as effectively as other people can…”

“They know what to do. They just can’t do it. It ends up looking like a problem with motivation… The only way to deal with executive deficits is to re-engineer the environment around them to help them show what they know… All treatments must be out there, in their lives, where you have to build that scaffolding…”

“Build that “ramp.” You must reinforce external reminders and consequences. Put them “in the now…”

“EF deficits (Executive Function) are neuro-genetic in origin. Therefore, medications may be essential for most (but not all) cases. Meds are neuro-genetic therapies.”

“ADHD is the diabetes of psychology. It’s a chronic disorder that must be managed every day to prevent the secondary harms it’s going to cause… ADHD is the most treatable disorder in psychiatry… The biggest problem is, most people don’t get treatment.”


See links to the complete lecture below the embedded video.

Link back to article: https://addfreesources.net/this-is-how-you-treat-adhd-with-russell-barkley-ph-d/


Time for Reflection on Time

By Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC  

Now we have arrived at a place where we can look deeper into the choices we make regarding how we spend our time.  Has this ever happened to you?  It’s the end of the day and your spouse comes home and says, “How was your day?”  After the pleasantries are exchanged your spouse says, “So what did you do today?”  It is then you realize that yet another day has gone by you when you didn’t get to do “x, y, and z” that you had promised yourself you would.  You vow to do better next time.

Steven Covey, the author of several influential books on effective living, shows how we devote much of our time in ways that do not serve us best.  In a simple yet clear graph, he enables us to visually see how we devote much of our time.  I invite you to take a little time out of your day to do some self-reflection and explore the conundrum we call Time Management.



Take a look at the Chart.  If you are like most people, you usually spend time doing the things in Quadrant I (stuff that’s both Important and Urgent like tending to deadlines and crises), Quadrant III (Things that are Urgent but not Important, like email and texts), and Quadrant IV (Both Not Urgent and Not Important, like visiting Facebook). Many people almost never get to Quadrant III (Not Urgent, but Important, like planning for the future).


Covey suggests that where we should be spending our time is truly in Quadrant II, where things may not be Urgent, but they are Important.  These are the things that help us both move forward in our lives and enjoy and enrich our lives (things like planning for future events, enjoying the zoo with your family).  Most often, however, most people tend to focus on Quadrant III where things are Urgent but Not Important (perhaps the newest emails to your inbox or the upcoming meeting).

Here is an exercise he recommends to help you understand and manage the choices you make in how you spend your time.

  1. Get 20 or 30 notecards. On each card, write down one thing on your mind that you should do, want to do, have to do, wish you did, hope you get to do… you get the idea. Include everything, no matter how large or small. Keep writing cards until you can no longer think of anything.  (Don’t worry; you can add more cards later).
  2. Once you have written out as many cards as you can, separate the cards into two piles: Urgent – things that have to be done now, and Not Urgent – things that can wait (even if you don’t want them to).  You can refer to the chart to help you with this process.
  3. Now go through each of these piles a second time, this time separating the cards into piles of Important and Not Important. Sometimes, this can take some thought and your decision is purely subjective. Is the trip to the zoo important?  The four resulting stacks correlate with the Covey Quadrants: Important/Urgent, Important/Not Urgent, Unimportant/Urgent, Unimportant/Not Urgent.
  4. For now, put a rubber band around the stacks that are Unimportant/Urgent and Unimportant/Not Urgent and put them aside for review at a later date. (Side note: It will be interesting to take these out in a month or two and review which ones you want to rip up and which you will want to incorporate into your present life.)
  5. Now the fun begins.  Make a commitment to yourself to really examine the cards in Quadrant II – the items that are Important and Not Urgent.  My experience shows that these items contain the gems of your life.  The things that, when done, help you to live a calmer, more fulfilling life.

Many people find that once they have completed this exercise they have a clearer vision of their priorities in life.  However, that is often not the end of the process. It is truly just the beginning.  The true magic is in making the things happen that we find important but are not pressed or required to do.  Examples might be developing new hobbies, enhancing your professional education, building on friendships, spending time with loved ones, writing a book, and getting your retirement finances in order.

Now that you have taken the time to reflect on how you can spend your time, you have some choices to make.  You have opened the door to your true desires, now it’s up to you do decide to make these things happen.  Sometimes, and for some goals (perhaps spending more time with family or reorganizing your closets), knowing what you want to accomplish is enough to get you started.  Other goals, like creating a calmer home or expanding your business might need more thought, planning, or support to get you to the finish line.  Enlist a friend, a family member, or perhaps the services of a professional Coach to keep you moving forward.  Then you can know that wonderful, calm, satisfied feeling at the end of each day that you spent your time well.

Bonus Tips:

  1. Schedule a meeting with yourself once a month to look at the bigger picture of your to do lists.  Choose a long-range item, one that never gets off the list, and plan to do it.  Feels great to get it done!
  2. Find a coaching partner.  Saying your goals out loud and being accountable to someone else greatly increases your chances of success!!


Cindy Goldrich


Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC © 2013 PTS Coaching. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained.   Original post: Time Management – It’s a Family Affair! 


“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” – Modified on Canva.com

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Time… Where did it Go??

By Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC  

A Sense of Time is a developmental skill.  Children, especially those with ADHD, do not have the same mastery of time that adults do.  They may have difficulty judging and anticipating the true amount of time it takes to accomplish tasks – big or small.  Also, many children, again especially those with ADHD, have difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next.  They may become so attached to their current activity that they feel unable to pull themselves away.

Here are some basic tips that might be helpful:

  1. Do some time estimation exercises.
  2. For one week, see how accurate you and your children are at predicting how long a given activity actually takes. Use a clock or timer to see time move as you complete a task.  Try playing beat the clock just to raise their interest in looking at time as a factor in what they do.  You can use the Task Time Estimation – Estimated Vs. Actual handout.  Estimate the time REALLY needed for getting ready in the morning, eating a meal, doing laundry, reading 15 pages, completing a math sheet, etc.  For younger children ask them to predict how long getting dressed or cleaning their room might take and then see how long it actually takes.
  3. Another way to look at Time is to see how much of it is already committed vs. having time for unplanned or unscheduled events.  Simply write down how much time is needed for all the things you MUST do each day (eat, sleep, get dressed, homework, etc.) and add it up.  Then subtract that time from 24 hours and you will see what time is available for everything else.
  4. Plan to allow for extra time so there is no need to rush.

It is less stressful, especially for some children, to arrive a few minutes early and allow time for adjustment to the new setting (even if a familiar one) then to arrive barely on time or a few minutes late.

5.   Give advance notice about what you will be doing next and when it will be happening.

“We’ll be eating dinner in 15 minutes, so begin cleaning up.”

“We’ll be leaving for school in 5 minutes, check to make sure you have done your morning tasks.”

Remember to use a timer so You are not the nag!!

Especially for younger children or those who have an especially difficult time with transitions, try this: Join in their activity for the final few minutes so you can help them transition.  Rather than insisting on an abrupt departure, spend even one or two minutes down at your child’s level and help them make the transition.

“Dani, I see you really like playing with Paige, how about we make plans for next week to do this again.”

“Jordan, I see you are getting even higher on that game. Tomorrow will you show me how you got to that part?”

Transitioning won’t always be smooth, but you are teaching a skill and helping stay calm.

6. Take an extra moment and breathe. Sometimes, when children have trouble disengaging from an activity, we have a tendency to get frustrated and perhaps panic about the pending struggle and about being late to the next appointment.  Panic and Pressure won’t budge your child.  It might even prolong the process.

Cindy Goldrich


Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC © 2013 PTS Coaching. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained.   Original post: Time Management – It’s a Family Affair! 


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Time Management – It’s a Family Affair!

Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC

Effective time management skills are essential to all adults and children. From scheduling and managing after school activities, to homework, to chores… oh, and your life, too!!  Day-to-day demands can become overwhelming and create an atmosphere of constant stress.  Who doesn’t want a calmer more efficient morning, a less hectic afternoon, and a more peaceful bedtime?  By managing your own time wisely and modeling that for your children, you and your family can experience a more orderly, less stressful day.  By becoming proactive in how you approach time you can make a noticeable and systemic difference in the in your life and the lives of your family members.

Many of you already know the “How To’s” of Time Management, yet you still struggle today.  The heart of the issue for many goes beyond practical advice.  Once we run through some of the valuable systems for keeping track of our lives we can focus on the deeper issue of how we choose to spend our time.

Part 1 – Valuable Systems are the Keys to Good Time Management

In each aspect of Time Management discussed here, I encourage you to have a dual focus.  One is on the content – the brass tacks of what needs to be done.  The second is on the process.  This has to do with HOW you choose to implement what needs to be done.  The small picture vs. the big picture.  Keep in mind that your goal in parenting is to develop children who are independent, confident and resilient.  I encourage you to involve your child in the process of what you are doing as much as possible so that they may also begin to emulate the process you go through to decide how to manage time.

  1. Your Calendar
  • Experiment! There are new types of calendars created all the time.  Check out iCal on the Mac. Google also makes a calendar that you can share (google.com/calendar)
  • Use different colors for different people.
  • Be sure there is ample room to write appointments
  • Block out realistic time frames directly on your calendar. Consider how long to get the children ready, driving time, waiting time, etc.
  • Perhaps circle total time needed for an event.
  • Consider writing yourself a note on a date sometime before any event that you need prep time for.  This will to give you a heads up that the date is approaching.  If you use a PDA or computer calendar you might set an alarm for some time in advance.
  1. Their Calendar

Here is where we begin our modeling for our children.

For Young Children

The purpose here is to help children understand the structure of a week and a month.  Let them see how time flows and certain events repeat.  Empower them to look forward to plans independently.  You can have one calendar for each child, or one for the family to share.

  • You can make a calendar together with stickers, colors, etc. Dry erase boards with permanent marker for the days of the week work great.
  • Use different color markers for each child.
  • Stickers and/or different color markers give a visual view of their activities and family events.

For Older Children and Teens

Once a child is actively using an agenda book in school it’s a great tool to help them see school as part of their lives.  Help them develop the skill of having a central area for their planning.  This will give them a greater sense of control and independence as they grow.

  • Help them incorporate their weekly activities, doctors’ appointments, social plans, etc. right in their agenda book.
  • Remind them that they must consult with you before putting any plans in their agenda book to make sure there are no conflicts with you and so you can put the plans in your calendar as well.
  • Teens might enjoy using their computer or phone for their calendar. Encourage them to experiment in developing their own style of organizing and managing their time.
  1. Get organized the night before
  • Review calendar for the next day to anticipate needs, activities
  • Look at the weather report and pick out clothes
  • Pack up backpack
  • Have cell phone by charger
  • Write any notes of last minute things for the morning (lunch from the fridge, etc.)
  • Straighten up room

4. Timers

We can all get lost in our work or play.  Having an external reminder that it is time to transition can make it easier to relax and be fully engaged in the current task at hand.  Timers are also a great device to help children concretize the passage of time.

  • Set the alarm on your computer to remind you of appointments.
  • Kitchen timers are great for helping children transition.  Set the timer for the time remaining before dinner or homework time.  Let the timer be the reminder – not you.  Let them learn to set it as their own reminder when they take breaks for homework.
  • Purchase a watch with a built-in alarm.
  • Use your cell phone alarm.  It can be set to any ringtone.

5. Staging Area

Here is a helpful tip I learned long ago.  Never leave a room to put something elsewhere until you are sure that’s the only thing that needs to leave the room.

  • Have a spot in each bedroom and one or more in your kitchen for transitions.  This is where you will place anything that needs to leave the room next time you exit.
  • Have your children pick a spot in their room to place their backpacks, school projects, items they need for afterschool activities, etc.  Help them develop the habit of placing these items here at night before they go to bed.  Having everything in one spot when it’s time to leave will make the morning less hectic for all.

6. To Do lists and reminder notes

For some, the To Do list can be an out of control random scattering of papers.  For others it takes on a life of its own as reorganizing and rewriting it becomes a To Do item as well.  Still others just avoid To Do lists altogether.  Here are some ideas that might help you better manage the process of keeping things in order.

  • If you are someone who uses a computer regularly, consider using it to manage your To Do list.  iCal on the Mac has spot for To Do’s with the ability to set alarms or emails as reminders for specific times.  It also allows you to sort based on date or priority.
  • If not… Try to keep one main pad where you are the most – for many that is the kitchen.  Have that pad look different than other pads in the house and save it only for YOUR To Do list.
  • Consider having a date or date range attached to any item that is not immediate.  This will prevent it from blending in to an endless list of things to do.
  • If your list becomes overwhelming, consider a breakaway list of things to focus on JUST THIS WEEK.  Then each week you can pull from your master list and not have all those other items starring you in the face.
  • Choose a regular time to review your list if it becomes lengthy.  For many, nighttime is when the activity has settled and the mind is clear.  This is often the perfect time to evaluate and perhaps rewrite your To Do list.
  • Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down things you need or hope to get done.  This is NOT the To Do list – transfer these to your main list the next day.  Give your children a special pad for their nightstand and teach them to jot down plans they hope to make or things the need to remember for school.
  • Place reminder notes in the SAME spot you have designated as your transition area for when you leave a room.

Remember, if you can develop the habit of having a few consistent spots you always look at you are less likely to forget important things.  A little later in this article I will focus more on the deeper meaning of To Do lists…

  1. Pattern Planning

The more activities you do that are predictable, the easier it is to remember and make sure they are done.  Like traditions and rituals, routines have a way of calming and comforting, as they are a regular part of our lives.

  • Choose the same day each week for errands: groceries on Monday, dry cleaners on Wednesday, etc.
  • Request the same appointment day and time when setting up routine visits such as dental, medication check-ins, counseling, coaching.
  • For annual and bi-annual events such as physicals, changing Air Conditioner filters, changing smoke detector batteries, choose a month that generally works for you and write a To Do a few weeks prior in your Calendar for scheduling.
  • Set up a pattern for household chores for everyone.   Alternate children’s chores based on the month they are born or something similar.  Ex. The child born on odd number month takes out the trash and gets the front seat on odd months; the other child sets the table and feeds the dog.
  • Keep your grocery-shopping list in the same place all the time and encourage family members to write their requests on the list themselves.

8.  Email

For some people, especially those who spend a great deal of time on the computer, tending to emails can be both time consuming and distracting.

  • Turn off that “ping”.  I learned this one from the late Randy Pausch.  That “Ding” every time you receive a new email has the power to pull you away from other work you might be engaged in.  By turning off the sound, you regain your control over when you choose to check your emails.
  • Remove yourself from emails as often as possible.  At the bottom of marketing emails, there is usually an “unsubscribe” link.  The moments it will take you to do this are nothing compared to the time you will spend deleting their emails each and every time – not to mention the one’s for the companies they sell your email address to.


  1. Implementation

New ideas are great, but too many of them at once can create chaos and take up much of your time.  Try to implement new ideas one at a time. Be sure that the change is a good choice for you and your family.  Just because a time management idea works for a friend or neighbor does not mean it will work for you.  You may be wasting more time trying to fit yourself into a system that is not right for you!

Remember that each family member has a different learning style and different level of comprehension.  What is right for you may not be right for everyone in your family.  I love iCal and use it with my daughter.  I “invite” her to her doctor appointments, etc. and she “invites” me to let me know about her work schedule.  My son, however, hates to have to look at the calendar on the computer.  He recognizes that being connected to it too often distracts him.

Learning to manage your time is a process.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  When starting a new plan, praise and encourage your children on all levels of success as they get used to the process.  Try to involve your children in the in the decision-making process as much as possible.  Solicit their assistance and input as you plan your new strategies.

Cindy Goldrich


Written by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC © 2013 PTS Coaching. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to PTS Coaching is maintained.   Original post: Time Management – It’s a Family Affair! 


“Image courtesy of Vlado/FreeDigitalPhoto.net” Modified on Canva.com

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