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Time Management... Friend or Foe?

Understanding how people interact and relate with time is a huge piece of understanding Executive Functioning. In March, Ari Tuckman did a webinar for CHADD where he delved into the complexities of time management.


We think of time as one of the few constants in the world. But, time management is actually an art - dealing with the fluidity of priorities that shift within time. And, everyone relates to time differently. Some people can "see" or "feel" time pass with a lot of clarity, others cannot - and it's a vast spectrum where each individual has their own place. Generally, as we get older, we tend to be able to have a clearer view into the future.


Time management involves the practice of setting priorities, sequencing activities, predicting (estimating) how long things will take, and monitoring the passage of time. A lapse in any of these particular items can result in what is perceived as poor time management. It's actually very difficult to keep all of these practices in line at the same time. Also, the environment is very important - managing distractions is very closely related to how we sequence activities - after all, a distraction is often another activity that comes up unanticipated.


The fluidity of time management is further exacerbated by other Executive Functioning deficits. For example, low working memory can often result in issues related to time management. Self-regulation is also needed in order to avoid distractions.


Sometimes apathy and procrastination can appear to be a self-regulation or disinterest, but it actually can be a time management issue as well. Our failure to feel time pass OR our failure to see deadlines approaching can lead us to not focus on priorities that are actually urgent. So, we need to be careful in diagnosing symptoms and really make sure we understand the underlying causes.


One of the biggest reasons we are so bad at seeing time is because we discount things in the future. The present is always most important. The future is always less important. This might lead us to believe we can play more video games now when we know we have to study in the future.


How can we get better at Time Management? Dr. Ari Tuckman provides some suggestions. First, externalize the time, meaning buy a lot of clocks! Second, devise a scheduling system that actually works. Third, move items from your working memory and from your to-do list on to your schedule. Fourth, try to think about the pressure of your deliverables. Fifth, try to make the reasons to be productive relevant and relatable. Sixth, try to visualize how you might feel in the future by remembering how you felt in the past when you failed to accomplish the items you wanted to.


At Star Tutoring, we help students constantly practice time management so that they can build their senses for estimating and monitoring time. Learn more about how we can help with time management today!


And, for more on this topic, check out this great CHADD webinar with expert, Dr. Ari Tuckman.

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