Do timers help people
with ADHD?

Staying on task for long stretches of time is difficult when you have ADHD.

"Helps me manage my ADHD. No more forgotten laundry inside the washer dryer."
"I’ve been using the app every day for the past few months. No bugs, no crashes, nothing. Works great. As someone with ADHD I have no sense of time. This app helps me get to work and finish work on time. Helps me keep track of how much i’ve done with a counter you can add and subtract from too. There’s a bunch of different kinds of timers like intervals, countdown, stopwatch, etc."
"Fyi - This is my first review for an app. I felt compelled to write my first ever review, especially for this app because this timer app exceeded my expectations and the developer of this app deserves all the praise. I’m the type of person that will take time to give credit where it’s rightfully due. I have ADHD and suffer from “time blindness”; meaning, I have no concept of time. For example, 1hr to me can feel the exact same as 1minute. The passage of time is nonexistent in my world. This timer helps me manage my time better and also keeps me on track with my tasks and breaks. I’m currently studying for the LSAT and before this app, I would literally hyperfocus / study for 2-3 hours straight, without taking any breaks, due to my time blindness. As a result, it led to major burnout and I had to find a solution to remedy the issue. Luckily, this app became that perfect solution. Long story short — I did NOT hesitate to do a one-time purchase ($9.99) for this app because I knew the useful features included in the paid package would be priceless or worth the ROI."
AppStore Reviews

If you have an ADHD diagnosis, you probably have a hard time getting yourself to do various tasks, both at work and at home. A timer can be a powerful tool to help you complete tasks not only as a child, but also as an adult.

People with ADHD can be blind to time. The typical person without ADHD works on homework with an internal clock that tells them how much time has passed and how quickly it passes while he works. However, people with ADHD do not feel the passage of time the way other people do, and they often find it difficult to plan their future even one hour in advance. In this case, a timer can be a useful way to increase the ability of a person with ADHD to complete daily tasks - especially those that they are less enthusiastic about.

You may be wondering exactly how a timer can help you. While there are many variations of strategies, there are a few proven methods that work well. However, how you use the timer must be appropriate to the task at hand. Sometimes we want us to stay focused, such as when we are learning something. Other times, we want tasks done in a reasonable amount of time, such as putting away laundry or loading the dishwasher. Vary your strategies depending on the task at hand.

If you are trying to force yourself to do chores, interacting with a timer can be a more effective strategy to help you finish your work quickly. I heard about this many times from colleagues before I tried it with myself - and it worked! The basic idea behind the timer interaction is simple. Set a timer for "N" minutes to complete a particular task. Let's say the task is to take the laundry apart and put it away. Explain to yourself that if you do it before the timer goes off, you will have 10 minutes of free time to do something you desire. This could be time for your phone, checking online game profile, or whatever motivates you at a particular moment in time. Users say that if they suffered from a lot of anxiety about time constraints, the interaction helped them learn to overcome them and be persistent.

Pomodoro timer | Single Timer View

Choosing the right timer

There is no one "magic" timer that will help you with an ADHD diagnosis complete tasks. There are several factors to consider when selecting a timer, such as the technical component of the timer, your degree of technological skill, and where and when you will be using the timer. Thus, when dealing with a timer application, the user should pay attention to the user-friendly interface of the application, it should not repel them or cause any difficulty in understanding the developers' intentions. The application should be intuitive, it should arouse interest and a sense of internal dialogue with the timer - the presence of special attributes in the timer - name, color, icon, notification sound, etc.

Timers can make a difference in the lives of users with ADHD

At first, when you start using a timer, you may feel like you're working more on getting results in a unit of time than keeping your concentration on a particular task for a set amount of time. However, the beauty of going from nagging to timer is the skill it builds in you. Over time, as you get used to the timer, you can learn to feel and manage time within yourself. Many users say that over time they have become better and more self-directed with time after implementing timers. They can take this skill with them into later life to help them cope with ADHD and time blindness when they have to face the more difficult challenges of life.

Pomodoro timer settings page

The ‘Pomodoro’ Technique

Every person with ADHD is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. There are strategies you can adapt for yourself. One of them is the ‘Pomodoro’ Technique.

The basic strategy is simple!

Set a timer for 25 minutes.

When the timer goes off, set it for a five-minute break.

After four 25-minute sessions, take a 15- to 20-minute break.

Some users shared with me that they needed to shorten the time because 25 minutes was too long for them to concentrate, especially in the afternoon when ADHD medication is no longer working. They played with the time until they found the amount that worked for them, but they stuck to alternating breaks. From a therapeutic perspective, this strategy works well when we want people with ADHD to stay focused rather than rushing to finish the intended task.

You can even set goals for each segment to divide up the activity and make the timing of the task efficient. For example, the first segment of Pomodoro is dedicated to learning new potion of information, followed by a five-minute break. The second segment of Pomodoro is to analyze the work previously done; this is followed by another five-minute break. During the third segment, the user works on an e-mail message and takes a short break after twenty-five minutes. Don't aim to complete the task in each segment, but focus solely on the task at hand.

Tip: The MultiTimer app includes a separate type of timer called the Pomodoro Timer. The timer settings contain all the options you need to set up an effective attention and task workout strategy.

Timers of any kind can be extremely useful for breaking longer tasks down into smaller chunks

Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels:
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels: