Timers are an ADHDers Best Friend

Not Just for Pasta Anymore

Throughout my day I make judicious use of timers, even when I'm not cooking. They help to keep me on track, keep me focused, keep me from being late, and most of all, help me take care of myself. 


Each day, you'll find me setting upwards of two dozen timers to boost my productivity and keep track of my time. I'll set a timer to honor the amount of time I'd like to spend on completing a task, and to assess how I'm doing with estimating how much time tasks will take. Most of these timers are set using the Echo Show on my desk, but when I'm out and about I use the built-in app on my Apple Watch. 


I've found that my ability to estimate time has improved since accepting timers into my life. When I first started the practice, quite often I'd be off by 20-30 minutes either way. Now I'm usually off by 5-10 minutes at most, if not dead on. This helps me to better plan my day and be realistic about what I can, and cannot, accomplish during a day, and the week as a whole. 


I've found that when I have a timer going as I work on a task, I'm less likely to be distracted by random thoughts. Something about the imposed "deadline", snaps my brain into focus mode. I want to beat the timer, "you don't have time for this random stuff brain!" If a thought does float by, I very quickly capture it. 

Break Hyperfocus - Take a Break

Timers also help to remind me to get up from my desk and take a break. Any time I'm working on writing, the website, or something I really love doing, I have a tendency to hyperfocus. That is, to do that thing exclusively until someone, or something drags me away. 

While not inherently bad, hyperfocus can lead to unintended consequences. Many times in the past I have hyperfocused on something enjoyable, but not important. This has lead to missed deadlines, missed opportunities, negative self-judgement, and angry family members. 

Setting timers is a way I I employ to help break my hyperfocus so that I can reassess what I'm doing periodically. They also give me on opportunity to check in with my body and see whether I'm thirsty, need to eat, or have an appointment I'm about to miss. 

Getting Started with Timers

Next week I'll introduce you to the method I used to get started with timers. In the meantime, I'd encourage you to grab a kitchen timer, the app on your phone, or anything that will make a noise at the end of a set period of time. 

Trial Necessitates Imperfection

Try setting a timer for one or two things today or tomorrow. See how what your experience of this new potential tool tells you. Don't try to go from zero to sixty timers in one day, nor even one week. Start slow and take time to evaluate. 

Standard disclaimer: Just because you read something on the internet does not mean it's great advice for you. Remember to experiment with what "sounds good" to you, and discard the rest. 

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