Keeps You on Task
Staying focused on one task, particularly if it requires deep thinking, can be very challenging when you have ADHD. You might find that you keep jumping up to do other tasks because you are worried you will forget them if you don’t do it straight away.
Or you might feel mentally restless and focusing on one thing feels very hard.
This is where your timer comes in. Set it for 15 minutes and work on your project.
If you remember another task that needs to be done, simply write it down (so you won’t forget it) on a pad of paper next to you and carry on with your project. If you feel mentally restless, look at the timer and see how many minutes you have left. Knowing that you have a mini break soon, allows you to focus for the remaining time. As your body and mind get used to working with the timer, you will be able increase the time to 30 or 40 minutes.
When the timer rings, get up, stretch your legs, have a glass of water, then go and set your timer again.
Children can use the timer in a similar way when they are working on their homework. How long you set the timer for will depend on your child’s age and what task they are doing. Experiment with different times until you find their optimum focus time.
Procrastination is something that many people with ADHD experience. Sometimes procrastination can happen when a task feels large, and you don’t know where to start. Other times the task causes you anxiety every time you think about it so you delay starting it. It could be filing your taxes, paying a speeding ticket, organizing important papers, etc.
Whatever the task is that you are delaying try this: Set your timer for five minutes, and use that time to write a list of steps you will need to do to finish the task. If it is a really big task, you might not know them all, so just write the ones you do know. If it is a simple task, it might seem silly to write steps that seem obvious. However, write the list anyway. Next, set your timer for 10 minutes and start to work on the first item on the list. When the timer rings, you might feel a little annoyed that you have to stop because you were starting to build momentum. Next, set the timer for 15 minutes. Breaking the task down into small steps and then working on them in small time chunks is a very effective way to overcome procrastination.
Helps With Boredom
There are some tasks in life that are boring to do but necessary—for example, taking the trash out, washing clothes, or picking up clothes from the bedroom floor. Using a timer to help you do these types of tasks turns them from boring and dull into a fun game. You could see how many dishes you can wash in five minutes. Then in the next five minutes see if you can beat that number. You are not compromising your standards or safety but are just adding a sense of urgency and excitement to an otherwise dull activity.