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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Managing college readings as a student with ADHD

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 by Andrew Conkling

Organizing oneself in college can be difficult, especially when one has ADHD. This week's tip, shared by elisabethericson, discusses some specifics in setting up an entire semester of readings for the most effective day-to-day management.

Bob manages his college readings

This isn't revolutionary by any means, but as a college student with ADHD I've struggled in the past with staying on top of my class reading. I mean, it's an involved process: look up each syllabus, determine if anything's due the next day, figure out which books I need, determine how long the reading will likely take, set aside the requisite time in my schedule, and ensure I actually have the right books with me at that time. Sounds elementary, but with an executive function disorder, remembering and following through with all those steps every day is exhausting!

Instead, I've recently found it helpful to take an hour at the beginning of the term to go through each syllabus and program each individual chapter or article into Remember The Milk as a separate task. I set the due date a day before each reading is assigned and the estimated time to half an hour (I'm a fast reader when I actually get around to doing it, so usually it takes less). The priority, obviously, is 1.

So on Sunday evenings I can look at the weekly view and easily estimate how much time I'll need to set aside for reading each day (Tuesday's two chapters and two articles times half an hour, so that's two hours…), and each morning before I leave my room I can check the daily view and pack whatever books it says I need. I don't have to check all different syllabi because it's all on my phone (I use Remember The Milk for Android), and I don't need to remember when anything's due because Remember The Milk tells me.

As I'm getting older learning to manage my disorder more successfully, I'm finding that by simplifying and automating as many tasks as possible, I can conserve mental bandwidth and ultimately be far more productive than I ever thought possible. Remember The Milk has already proven life-changing in that respect, and I'm so thankful that I found it.

Thanks for sharing this tip, elisabethericson! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

Do you have a suggestion for our weekly Tips & Tricks post? Got an interesting set-up or idea? Head over to the Tips & Tricks forum, add a new topic, and let us know how you use Remember The Milk. Each week we'll give away a 1 year Pro account to the user whose idea inspires the Tips & Tricks Tuesday blog post for that week.

Posted in: Tips & Tricks