IT WILL ONLY TAKE A MINUTE!

by Tina

How many times have you said, “It will only take a minute,” finding yourself coming to the surface about thirty minutes to an hour later?  Maybe you are looking up something on Google and truly believe it will only take you a short time, which you term as “a minute.”  First of all, we know that even if you have your computer on and Google’s site up, it will take you longer than one minute to look up an item and read about it.  Sure, you may be able to complete this task in about ten minutes; however, there could be several things to get you off-track that could turn the ten minutes into thirty before you even realize it.  What if you lose your Internet connection and have to reboot?  What if you see something else in the search results that attracts your attention?  What if there are links you want to check that show up within the particular site you chose to read?  And this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being distracted while online!  (And yes, that is another blog post for another day.)

We with ADD/ADHD have the risk of not having the ability to realistically estimate the time it will take to do tasks as well as the risk of being distracted from the task at hand.  Both of these challenges can give us much frustration when trying to schedule our tasks for a day much less our trying to do them. 

Many times we forget that whatever task we have listed to do may have many steps to complete before we can actually say the task is done.  For example, I used to think of paying bills as one to-do item.  Then my mind was opened to the fact that paying bills is actually comprised of several steps: balancing my checking account; determining what has to be paid first; making online payments and printing confirmations of payment; writing checks for those payments requiring such; preparing the checks for mailing; and keeping up with my checking account balance as I go along.  As a result, I no longer see “paying bills” as ONE thing on my list that will “only take me a few minutes.”  I actually give myself ample time to get this accomplished so that there is not stress added to the process.  We often have enough stress when dealing with finances without needing anything to add to it!

There are other things that we put on to-do lists that can truly be broken down into smaller steps, which make the tasks less daunting.  Some of these larger tasks that come to mind include: grocery shopping; cleaning the house – or even a room in the house; preparing a tax return; getting ready for bed; getting ready for work; doing homework; studying for a test…this list could go on and on.  Hopefully you can see how these tasks can be broken down into smaller steps, which would help one better estimate the time it could take to do the tasks as well as making it easier to complete the tasks.

Another result from our not having realistic time allocated to specific tasks could be the expectation we’ve given others for our completing the task.  We could have someone waiting on us to finish something so that we can leave to go somewhere.  There could also be the expectation at work or school for us to complete a certain part of a project in order for others to be able to do their part.  We can end up appearing irresponsible or uncaring when we’ve merely incorrectly estimated time.

One way to begin dealing with the estimation of realistic time for projects is to keep a log of how long it takes you to accomplish tasks throughout the day or for a few days.  I have kept a “Things Done Log” in which I listed everything I did in a day so that I could actually see that I had accomplished something even though my list for the day might not be done.  This would also be useful for seeing how long it takes me to do various tasks on a regular basis.  We can also ask others who know us well how long it typically takes us to do certain tasks.  Then when we are planning our schedule, we can begin allocating more time to those tasks taking longer than we expect.  It’s also a good idea to allocate some extra time in our schedule for interruptions or surprises in the process of doing tasks.

In dealing with distractions, it often depends on the person performing the task as to what works best for him/her and can also depend on the task being done.  Some people work better in certain environments than others.  For example, some could write a paper in a coffee shop while others would need a completely silent room guaranteeing no interruptions.  Having music or TV on in the background can help some get certain tasks done faster than others.  It is important to notice your environment when you are performing at your best so that you can plan accordingly in the future.

With a better estimate of time for projects and limiting distractions to the extent possible, we will find it much easier to schedule time for projects as well as to complete them.  There are many other strategies that one could use, but I hope this post sheds some light on a place to begin.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah

Jennifer, thanks so very much for reading my post and for your very encouraging comment. I am very passionate about this, so it is very exciting and rewarding. And yes, my Mom is doing some marketing in spreading the word about what I’m doing now.
Let me know if you ever want/need to talk about anything or have any questions. If I don’t know your answers, I can usually find them through my colleagues.
Also, I plan to write more posts geared toward younger ones with ADD/ADHD. I have some clients in the 13-14 year range, and I can see that posts here may help some parents.

+1

Reply

SmellingCoffee

Tina~ My mom told me about what you are doing, and I think this is wonderful! My 15 year old has ADD and reading your post today was insightful. Blessings to you ~
Jennifer Crawford Walker

Reply

Tina

Jennifer, thanks so very much for reading my post and for your very encouraging comment. I am very passionate about this, so it is very exciting and rewarding. And yes, my Mom is doing some marketing in spreading the word about what I’m doing now.
Let me know if you ever want/need to talk about anything or have any questions. If I don’t know your answers, I can usually find them through my colleagues.
Also, I plan to write more posts geared toward younger ones with ADD/ADHD. I have some clients in the 13-14 year range, and I can see that posts here may help some parents.

Thanks again!
Take care of you.
Tina

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post: