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Strategies for People with ADHD to Achieve Important Goals on Time

adhd adhd entrepreneurs adhd goals adhd strategies time management time management strategies Dec 11, 2021

"I know I can do it, but the problem is I never seem to get around to it." This is a common issue for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders [DSM-5], ADHD is classified as a neurological disorder If you have a diagnosis of ADHD, you might find you can complete tasks that you find enjoyable or interesting, but struggle completing tasks when faced with mundane tasks that are not exciting. This can be particularly challenging when trying to complete a big project, within an important deadline.

Time management is the ability to use the resource of time most efficiently. People with ADHD suffer difficulty managing time due to several factors.

ADHD Symptoms and Time Management

Inability to complete important tasks is often part of common ADHD challenges such as procrastination and hyperfocus. Procrastination and hyperfocus stem from core symptoms of inattention.

Difficulty with attention span

When someone has a short attention span, it can be difficult to remain focused on one task. It is common for people with ADHD to get distracted and lose track of time. This can make it difficult to complete important tasks on time. Sometimes, when someone has ADHD they will get sidetracked, or part of the way through a task they will not be able to stay focused. The inability to maintain focus can create problems for adults with ADHD and children with ADHD in different settings. As a result, the child or adult may fall behind in these environments, which can cause greater stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Procrastination difficulties

For people with ADHD, procrastination can be a huge obstacle in terms of staying on task and completing important goals. When someone is feeling overwhelmed by a project, it's common to put it off until later. However, for people with ADHD, "later" often never comes. Procrastination can be a result of poor impulse control or jumping into too many projects at once. As a result, tasks that were meant to be completed within a certain timeframe often drag on for much longer than they should. This can lead to a lot of stress and pressure, as well as missed deadlines.

The challenge with hyperfocus

Hyperfocus is another obstacle that people with ADHD often experience. When someone is hyperfocused on a certain task, it can be difficult to switch over to another task, especially if the new task is not as engaging. For people with ADHD, hyperfocus can be an issue when they are trying to complete tasks that are not only boring but also doable. For instance, if you're trying to complete a project (that's important), but you're really into what you're doing at the moment - like playing games - then this will likely cause you to procrastinate and lose track of time.

Time management is tough for most adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD expert who specailises in treatment Kay Grossman, M.A. says that adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often lack two crucial time management skills. These include the ability to estimate time realistically, and the ability to break tasks into small, manageable steps. "People with ADHD have a really hard time estimating how long things will take," Grossman says. "They might think 'Oh, this won't take very long,' and then it turns out that it does." This often leads people with ADHD to not allow enough time to complete tasks and then run behind schedule.

Peer-reviewed studies looking at the specific challenges for people with ADHD revealed that difficulties in managing time are related to deficits in time perception (Toplak, et. al., 2003).

What causes Time Management Difficulties for people with ADHD

There are a number of factors that can lead to difficulty in managing time for people with ADHD. Some of the factors are related to common ADHD tendencies and others are more related to anxiety caused by looming deadlines.

Difficulties with Distractions

One of the most common difficulties that people with ADHD face when trying to meet deadlines is becoming distracted. This might be a result of hyperactivity, where the person can't sit still and is constantly jumping between tasks. This can also be a problem for people who become easily bored and are constantly seeking new stimulation. This type of distraction can lead people to procrastinate on tasks, as they are not interested in completing the work at hand.

How can people with ADHD stay on track?

There are many strategies that people with ADHD can use to stay on track and complete tasks, within deadlines. Some of these include time management strategies such as making sure you start your task early enough so you don't feel rushed (giving yourself adequate time), setting clear achievable goals, structuring your time based on your own needs (i.e. planning out your day or week ahead)

This is why people with ADHD need to have a range of time management strategies in place, so they can be productive and achieve their goals, within deadlines. If you have ADHD and find yourself struggling with time management or feeling overwhelmed by tasks, there are strategies for staying on track and achieving

This article will help you to better manage time, through strategies that will allow you to stay on track and meet important deadlines, without feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand. This work will also identify the common challenges that people with ADHD experience when working towards goal deadlines and provide time management strategies to overcome these challenges.

Strategies and interventions to stay on track

There are a range of behavioral strategies and different interventions which help people with ADHD to stay on track. 

Setting meaningful goals

One of the most effective ways to stay on track with tasks is to set meaningful goals. This means setting goals that are meaningful and important to you, instead of focusing on things that don't mean anything. By setting meaningful goals it will be easier for you to push through obstacles when they come up, knowing that you're working towards something important to you.

Structure your time

Another way that people with ADHD can stay on track is by structuring their time. Getting into a routine can help people with ADHD stay more organised, so they know what they need to do each day or week. It's also possible for people with ADHD to structure time around their own needs, so they can get the rest and replenishment they need to work productively during busier times.

For example, you might find you get more distracted from completing important tasks if you have not had enough rest, or if you have not taken the time to plan what you need to do. So it is important to structure your time for planning, productivity and rest.

Using a daily planner

Using a day planner can be really helpful with staying on track with tasks because it allows you to list the things you need to achieve and tick them off as you go. Daily planners are helpful because Daily planners are especially helpful for people with ADHD because they can help to structure the day and plan out time for different tasks.

This can be really helpful in preventing people from becoming overwhelmed and allows them to stay on track with their goals. Having a visual representation of what needs to be done can also help to reduce feelings of anxiety or stress, as it provides a sense of control over the day.

Organising space and taking notes to stay on track

To manage distractions and stay on track in your daily life, it is important to develop structure and neat habits—and maintain them. To arrange a space, room, or workplace, start by classifying your belongings and deciding which are essential and which can be kept or discarded. To organize yourself, get in the habit of taking notes and writing lists. Maintain your newly organized structure with regular, daily routines. Consider what you require daily and store things in storage containers or closets for items that aren't required. Make specific locations for things like phone, wallet and, keys so you avoid the distraction of losing them.

Daily physical activity and other health interventions for well being

Though ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, regular physical activity is beneficial for people with ADHD. According to medically reviewed work, physical activity can help improve focus, task completion, and reduce impulsiveness in people with ADHD. By helping release and move the restless energy that often accompanies ADHD, exercise makes it easier to focus on tasks and complete them (Watson, 2021).

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behabehavioralrapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that helps to change the way a person thinks about and reacts to situations. CBT helps reduce symptoms such as impulsiveness, hyperactivity and, distraction. This can be particularly helpful to help create a new pattern of responding to tasks, by reprogramming some of the ways that people with ADHD can meet task deadlines. Through changing limiting thought patterns and behavioral responses, CBT can help people with ADHD to achieve their goals.

Use of stimulant medication

Some people with ADHD find that taking a stimulant medication can help them to focus and complete tasks within a deadline. This is because the medication helps to regulate the levels of dopamine in the brain, which can help to improve focus and decrease impulsiveness. Stimulant medications are often effective in managing symptoms of ADHD, however they should only be taken under the guidance of a medical professional.

ADHD medication should only be used as a treatment if you have a diagnosis. It can help with managing ADHD symptoms and therefore staying on track towards completing tasks.

Seeking professional medical advice

Medical treatment is recommended as a treatment if you have been diagnosed with ADHD - it helps manage symptoms such as impulsiveness, distraction and, hyperactivity. Medications such as methylphenidate can help with staying on track by improving focus. Specifically, medications can help alleviate ADHD compensation strategies. Compensation strategies are the energy-demanding efforts required to keep ADHD tendencies in check when trying to achieve goals or reach outcomes.

ADHD Courses

There are many ways that you can achieve your goals on time by staying focused and completing tasks promptlY. One way is through taking an ADHD course which teaches coping mechanisms for managing symptoms such as impulsiveness or distraction so you can stay on track towards meeting your goal.

ADHD Ambition

ADHD Ambition is a new online course that teaches ADHD sufferers skills to stay on track and complete tasks. The course focuses on developing the skills necessary for ADHD sufferers to be more productive in their everyday life. These include time management strategies and implementing new habits to build towards dream goals. The ADHD Ambition Course has been designed by leading mental health experts who have lived experience of ADHD and in diagnosing and treating people with ADHD. The course will help you master the habits to achieve goals within deadlines to maximise your success.


The main challenges that people with ADHD face when it comes to time management are distractions, procrastination, or getting stuck in hyperfocus. Distractions cause people to lose track of time and not complete tasks within the deadlines they set themselves.

There are a range of time management strategies which can help people with ADHD to stay on track and achieve important goals within deadlines. These include physical activity, cognitive behavioural therapy, the use of stimulant medication, seeking professional medical advice, and taking an ADHD course. ADHD Ambition is a new online course that teaches ADHD sufferers skills to stay on track and complete tasks. The course focuses on developing the skills necessary for ADHD sufferers to be more productive in their everyday life. These include time management strategies and implementing new habits.


Shannon Bowman is the director of SJB Clinical Consulting Pty Ltd
And Director of Create Balance Psychotherapy & Counselling VIEW HERE.
Shannon has a clinical interest in treating trauma, PTSD and ADHD.
He has a lived experience of ADHD and is a passionate advocate for those affected by it.
He is accredited as a Mental Health Social Worker AMHSW,
psychotherapist and registered EMDR practitioner. Associations below. 
Australian Association of Social Workers
EMDR Association of Australia.
Psychology Today Profile

Daniel Van der Pluym is a Psychotherapist Coach
Founder of Deeper Potential and Part Founder of ADHD Ambition Daniel specialises in Mindfulness as a way of helping improve executive functioning to help people stay on track with their goals.
He has a lived experience of challenges with focusing, inattention and task management and is passionate about helping those who experience similar challenges.
He is an Associate Member of the Australian Psychological Society and Member of Meditation Australia


Toplak, M. E., Rucklidge, J. J., Hetherington, R., John, S. C. F., & Tannock, R. (2003). Time perception deficits in attention‚Äźdeficit/hyperactivity disorder and comorbid reading difficulties in child and adolescent samples. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry44(6), 888-903.

Watson, S. (2021). Adult ADHD and Exercise. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

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