How Long Does it Take?

It’s very common for people with Attention Deficit Disorder to not really know how long it takes to complete tasks or projects. More often then not we underestimate how long it will take to do things. This can lead to problems like not being able to finish something on time or being late for appointments.

Something that has been helpful for many of my ADD Coaching clients and myself is to actually keep track of how long it takes to do things. Something as simple as setting a timer at the beginning of an activity and writing down how it took to complete has an amazing impact. Knowing how long it really takes to do something really can help when it comes to actually planning time to complete projects and tasks.

Has keeping track of how long things take been helpful to you?

8 Comments

  • roly poly

    Reply Reply October 9, 2007

    It’s definately helpful to me to keep track of how long something takes, my problem is that with my job there are too many other things that end up taking priority and I can’t dedicate all my time to what I was originally dedicated to finishing in the amout of time that I had measured in the first place. I’m learning to allow for those other things that can come up and adding in enough time to allow for the extras.

  • Marshall Curson

    Reply Reply October 10, 2007

    You are so right! Since I’ve been diagnosed ADD so many personal traits that I’ve previously ascribed to a distorted psyche or ego are simply aspects of this disorder. Thank you for further setting my mind at ease and helping to relieve an already overburdened personal conscience. As to the practical aspects of this problem, coaching has been recommended, and after seeing your post, I intend to avail myself of the option.
    Thanks again!

    Marshall, New York City

  • Uliana

    Reply Reply October 10, 2007

    Keeping tabs on how long it takes to do a task is a good idea which I never thought to do. However as a graphotherapist, I use handwriting techniques that have had far more impact in keeping me focused and alert on my tasks especially projects at work. It has taken me nearly three years to achieve a level that makes me comfortable and confident in my daily routines and work. Handwriting is brainwriting. Every stroke has a psychological implication.

  • Kris

    Reply Reply October 10, 2007

    Instead of thinking that, say, cleaning the bathroom will take an hour, I’ve discovered that I can chunk it down, and say clean the sinks in 3 minutes, the toilet in 4, and the entire bathroom only takes 20 minutes! I also use distraction to advantage–can I get the dishes done before the commercial is over? Can I get X done before the timer for the other job goes off? The one thing I’ve had to do is research the SOUND the timers make, so I can tell what’s expired!

  • Alicia Leahan

    Reply Reply October 10, 2007

    I have noticed that sometimes I time my self. I never realized how scared of being behind or late I really was until after I was diagnosed. At times I do have that anxiety. I have found routine in my Day Care that I run and A calander have been wonderful. I am however, and ADHD adult raising an ADHD 8 year old. I swear he depends on my didstractions!

  • Claus

    Reply Reply October 12, 2007

    Aside from the fact that some things
    take longer to do, like paperwork, and
    writing anything at lenght, which makes
    me aware that ‘This is taking me a long
    time to do, and my mind is going ARE
    WE DONE YET, please. I find timing myself,
    or trying to work faster,does more harm
    than good. However if something does take
    so long that I feel -‘Hey this is ridiculous, I won’t finish this ever
    at the rate it is going, then I concede
    I need help from some one (wife), who
    usually does it in a tenth of the time
    I could. Cutting your losses with ADD,
    is a fact of life I accept. Being stubborn
    does not help, either. If I have to force it
    too long, then I know the quality is going
    to be bad. No matter how hard I try.
    claus

  • ADD Libber

    Reply Reply October 15, 2007

    Using a timer has been incredibly useful for me, and has helped me with procrastination. I usually think that tasks will take a long time to complete, either at home or at work. Thinking that makes me want to put off tasks. I like setting a timer and make myself work for just 15 minutes. That usually provides enough momentum to get me started on tasks, and often complete time within 15 minutes.

  • Lyndy-Lou

    Reply Reply October 31, 2007

    My time mgmt skills lack in a big way and even worse, I have an attitude about time mgmt that basically says “I don’t even care” – I have been embracing my inability to keep time – and instead simply enjoying being in the “zone” of productivity – I hate keeping time, vs. doing a task thoroughly and to the best of my ability. I don’t like to rush myself at the expense of doing a quality job. Unfortunately, in today’s work world, there is no room for someone like me. I had to resign today because I could not keep up with my workload even though it is self-evident the job is very busy and not truly do-able in 4 days per week. I cannot continue working the long hours I’ve been working and not getting paid for those hours. It is not SUSTAINABLE. I don’t know what the solution is. I sure wish I did. I’m intelligent however, I don’t have the ability to rally my troops together mentally speaking and FOCUS unless I double my meds to 2 30mg spansules of ADDERALL XR per day; then that leaves me with a dull headache in the evenings, and feeling really spent and worn out at the end of the day and worrying that I’m abusing my brain.

    It is a no win situation it seems.

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