Because of how the ADHD brain functions, people with this condition commonly experience several workplace challenges that can negatively impact their performance. These challenges include: Time/Task Management, Distractibility/Impulsivity; Working Memory; Organization; and Communication/Building Relationships. So the question is: How do these proven brain challenges effect real work accomplishments on the job?

In this article we’re going to talk about: TIME/TASK MANAGEMENT

Time and task management, as we all know, is something we learn to do in school and is necessary to succeed in most areas of our life. However, when you have ADHD, you do not possess the brain function ability that your class mates or coworkers do. What may be elementary to them can be extremely challenging for you. What they may pick up naturally as a way to stay on track with their tasks and projects, you won’t have access to. This does not mean you are any less intelligent. In fact you are just the opposite! But it does mean that you think and work differently and because of that, you will not always be able to meet the expectations of the organizations and people around you. You will need to develop other ways to perform successfully. In this article we are going to talk about some solutions to time and task management that will help you do that. These strategies and practices have been used with hundreds and thousands people successfully. Hopefully, one or two of them will work for you.

Typically, workers with ADHD have trouble beginning and completing projects and tasks on time. But first let’s remember that today time/task management is not just an ADHD issue. Because life in the 21st century is increasing frenetic and overly committed, many of us run into difficulty beginning and completing tasks on time. Of course, this makes it twice as hard for people with ADHD to address their challenges than it did in the past. But the challenges of time and task management will always be greater for people with ADHD due to the role of executive functions in the brain where the ability to manage time and tasks is severely compromised. Remember that the executive functions of the brain are where ADHD challenges reside and basically are the ability to decide, recall, memorize, understand and inhibit.

So what are people with ADHD to do due to address the lack of executive function ability in the time and task management arena? How can they share their above average ability to perform, create and solve problems – but do it in a task and time managed way? Luckily there is help through understanding.

Time/Task Management issues arise from:
* Procrastinating and delaying getting started
* Needing the adrenaline rush of a looming deadline to get creative
* Getting distracted by/taking action on things around us of lesser importance
* Failing to plan ahead for how we will manage tasks effectively
* Hyper-focusing on an activity for long periods and losing track of time
* Forgetting the unexpected will happen and plan for it
* Not getting help when we need it or not knowing we need help
* Attempting to keep our brain activated by constantly seeking stimulation

So what do we learn from these issues? We learn that any solution that will hold weight for us will need to include structuring the environment around us, planning ahead for our day and week, understanding, accepting and managing our behavior, and finding fun and rewards in what we are doing.

Here is what I’ve learned from my clients about what really resolves Time/Task Management issues in the workplace:

1) Learn to prioritize your values, tasks and projects. And, most importantly, once identified, stick with these priorities for 5 weeks, no matter what. By then, prioritizing will be a habit and you'll be keeping your most important commitments. How would that transform your life?
2) Break the tendency to hyper-focus during work. What structure do you need to put in place to alert you to the time? Things like a co-worker reminder, setting an alarm on your computer or watch, having your schedule book open right next to your computer, a sticky reminder on your monitor?
3) When a project is assigned, or instructions are given, immediately record the due date and time on your calendar. Then work backwards, day by day and week by week, until you have captured, in writing, all the steps and resources necessary to get the project completed on time.
4) When you need to be somewhere at a specific time, plan ahead. Start getting ready 30 minutes before you have to walk out the door and allow an extra 15 minutes for traffic congestion. Yes – that’s 45 minutes added to your usual time frame. But this tactic could very well transform your life. And if you're early, enjoy a cup of coffee, mediate for a few minutes and reconnect with the person you used to be before you started ignoring yourself. Or simply arrive early, showing that you care and are prepared for the day ahead.
5) Keep in mind that change takes time. You will make mistakes. The key is that you learn from them and move ahead. Remember: “You cannot fail; you can only learn and grow.”
6) Partner with an ADHD Coach to learn a task management system that puts you in control. Finding the best system for you may take some trial and error, so be patient and keep experimenting until you get it right. Be sure and write on a calendar or planner – no palm pilots or blackberries while you’re learning your new task/life management system. Remember: “If it isn’t written, it isn’t real”.

Talk to people with ADHD who have engaged a coach. You will find that those who enlist the support of a coach are happier and able to implement change faster and with longer lasting results.

Author's Bio: 

Carol Gignoux is well established as an expert within the ADHD coaching, consulting and training profession with over 35 years experience working with ADHD and over 16 years as a professional coach. She is a Licensed Certified Financial Coach and is trained as an Executive Coach. She has worked with executives and managers to create high functioning, successful businesses locally as well as nationwide. Carol was an active board member of the International Coaching Federation New England (ICF) for 3 years and is a founding board member of the Institute for the Advancement of ADHD Coaching which is the responsible certifying body for ADHD Coaches worldwide.