ADHD Teens: What the EF! Executive Functions Skill: Time Management

Executive functions (EF) skills are skills required to help perform or accomplish everyday life tasks. These skills are controlled by the frontal lobe of the brain just behind the forehead. The frontal lobes are the last areas of the brain to fully develop. Executive functions skills begin to develop in infancy and continue to mature into early adulthood.

Time Management, according to, is the analysis of how working hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency in the workplace.

For the student, time management is the examination and determination of how their waking / studying hours are spent, how they rank the tasks that they need to do to get then done in the most effective and productive way possible.

No one is born with a sense of time. It is something that can be learned over time (pardon the pun). For those of us with ADHD who do not "feel" time, time management can be a challenge.

Time really can not be managed. It just is. It is more about managing yourself and your tasks.

When posed with the question, "How would you define time?" Albert Einstein replied, "When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes.

Do a task analysis if you are not sure how long it may take to do a task. To do a task analysis you need to break the task down into smaller parts (chunking), decide what tools, skills or strategies needed to complete each part, and allow for time to do each part.

When a teen has difficulties with time management, it is hard for them to:

  • Get out the door in the morning
  • Estimate how long an activity or task will take – from start to finish
  • Break the task down into smaller parts
  • Tell time (analog and digital)
  • Make and follow a schedule
  • Guess how long it will take to complete an assignment

We can help our teens strengthen their executive functions skill of time management by using the following strategy, SCHEDULE :

  • Sort activities / tasks
  • Calculate how long each activity / task will take
  • Hunt down hidden factors
  • Establish routines
  • Delegate tasks
  • Use a planner
  • Listen to yourself
  • Eliminate tasks

Repeat process or go ahead to the next challenge that you need to address with the ADHD teen in your life.