suck it, time blindness! a method for managing your to-do list : ADHD


This morning I had a bunch of house cleaning and show prep I wanted to get done. Since my usual MO on days like this is to mentally make a massive to-do list, get distracted for five hours, and complete exactly none of it, I decided to make this checklist in my notes app.

I started by writing each to-do and putting the estimated time to complete (“ETC”) below it. Then I used my phone’s stopwatch app and timed myself doing each task. Once I finished I checked it off the list and recorded the actual time to complete below. Couple observations from this exercise:

  • The tasks I usually dread and put off because “they’re gonna take forever” mostly either matched my ETC or took way less time than expected. Turns out unloading the dishwasher isn’t a total pain in the ass, who knew!

  • The tasks I didn’t mind or was excited to do took so much more time than I estimated, at least 3 or 4X longer than the ETC in most cases. Honestly I don’t know why I’m so surprised; that’s pretty par for the course for me when I like what I’m doing. “What do you mean I’ve been recording for three hours??”

  • I kept breaking tasks into smaller and smaller sub-tasks as the day went on, but it felt much easier and less daunting to spend 29 seconds putting a blanket in the washer than to block off two hours for “doing laundry.”

  • fuck houseplants honestly just fuck ‘em (The estimated 3 minutes to water the plants turned into 12 minutes after I got startled by a spider and dropped the watering can on my laptop.)

  • I got a lot more accomplished than I expected to. Timing the tasks made it feel like a race or challenge, and the sense of competition made it easier to stay focused.

  • Having said that, I’m definitely still adhd as hell and had to keep reminding myself not to task switch or I’d mess up the timer lol

I hope this method helps some of y’all! Obviously you probably can’t use it every single day, but try it out on your next free day. Normally by this time of day I’d be halfway into a shame spiral over how I did nothing all day; it feels pretty nice to be able to scroll through my list and see how much I got done.

Edit to add: If you’re going to try this please put “drink water” on your list at least once. Or several times. Probably like every third task just to be safe, I forgot and now I’m parched.

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