Time management tools for ADHD That Work for Your Whole Family


If you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or children with ADHD, procrastination is often a daily struggle. ADHD may lead to putting off boring or tedious tasks until the last minute.

Pinpointing the issue can be challenging, too, since time management is broad. ADHD time management problems can mean anything from having difficulty initiating tasks, staying focused, remembering tasks, planning schedules, or allocating time effectively.

Since individuals with ADHD may struggle with different aspects of time management, the key is understanding where you struggle and finding the right strategies and tools that might help. This can be particularly challenging for families, as homes are more likely to have multiple individuals with ADHD, with children of parents with ADHD having a 57% chance of having the condition, and having a sibling with ADHD increases a child’s risk by 32% [1].

This article explores how you can identify your unique time management needs and preferences and lists down ADHD time management tools for both kids and adults with ADHD.

Key Take-Away Messages

What are available time management tools for ADHD that work for your whole family ?

Parents can use various ADHD time management tools to enhance daily routines for both children and the entire family:To-do lists, whether physical or app-form, like TodoistPlannersVisual reminders like visual schedules and digital chore chartsVisual timers like the Time Timer 60 Minute 

 Discover how the Time Timer 60 Minute can transform your ADHD time management by helping you or your child stay on track and focused.

How can I understand my family’s unique needs?

It’s important to understand that no two individuals with ADHD are the same. Your child’s time management struggles may vary based on the type of ADHD they have. For instance, inattentive people may find it hard to focus on a task due to distractibility or difficulty organizing tasks. Meanwhile, the impulsive/hyperactive type may get easily bored and switch from one task to another frequently.

If you aren’t sure about your child’s ADHD type, you can check the shortened form of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria for ADHD [2]. You can also use ADDitutemag’s ADHD test for kids.

ADHD is also considered a “dysfunction of executive functioning” because the brain regions important for these skills are smaller in individuals with ADHD [3]. Executive functions are skills that enable a person to get things done and achieve goals. These include planning and adjusting one’s behavior and staying focused on relevant tasks [4].

Understanding which executive function skills your child struggles with can help you identify the best tools and strategies for improving their ADHD time management. For instance, if your child has difficulties with working memory, to-do lists and reminders can be very effective. Here’s a comprehensive executive function checklist from Bilinguistics that you can use.

Parents should also learn what motivates their child and adapt tasks to encourage completion. One 2023 study found that three factors increase procrastination in individuals with ADHD: low expectations of completing a task, high boredom, and long waits for rewards [5]. Another recent study found that individuals with ADHD who undervalue a task’s future rewards tend to procrastinate more [6]. It suggested that for rewards to be effective, they need to be given more frequently or that the value of long-term rewards be clarified in advance.

What time management tools are available for kids with ADHD?

A common scenario in many homes involves parents saying “time’s up when the big hand reaches 6” or set a timer on their phones, saying “time’s up!” when it goes off.  However, this doesn’t teach kids time management. 

There are plenty of time management tools out there for kids with ADHD, but it’s essential to find one that’s both easy to use and flexible enough to meet their needs. Depending on the child’s age and abilities, you may try teaching kids with ADHD how to read time or use other time management tools that show the passage of time. 

Visual timers

Children start understanding time around three months old, but they may not learn to tell time or use digital timers until later [7]. That being said, visual timers are great tools to help children grasp the passage of time, manage transitions, and complete tasks within a set timeframe even without knowing how to read time.

Using visual timers like the Time Timer PLUS 60 Minute is especially beneficial for young children who should avoid screen exposure and for parents who prefer to limit their kids’ screen time. 

Aside from limited screen exposure, manual visual timers are more ideal than app-based ones because apps can be too interactive and distracting. Additionally, devices can distract children with other notifications or tempt them to use the device for other purposes.

Time management apps

The downside of visual timers that most app-based time management tools use is the lack of additional features such as scheduling, collaboration, accountability, note-taking, and to-do list creation.

Some apps even allow you to set up reward systems. As studies have shown, adding rewards into the mix can make a big difference. The tool should give your child something to look forward to or help them feel a sense of accomplishment.

Here are some of the best time management apps for kids with ADHD:

  1. Chore Pad

Chore Pad is a great interactive app for small and big families alike. The app encourages your child to take an active role in their own lives, from doing schoolwork to helping with chores. As a parent, you can assign different chores to every family member and see their progress and total stats for the week. 

This app works great for kids with ADHD because you can assign rewards they can redeem using the stars they gain from completing chores. If your kids are young, you can use Parent Mode to keep setup features away and protect settings with a passcode.

Depending on how long they can wait for the gratification, you can reduce or increase your rewards per chore and how many points each reward can garner. You can also make checking their chore charts and “redemption” a part of your family routine. 

  1. TickTick

TickTick is a straightforward to-do list app that lets you create and organize tasks with tags, color-coding, smart lists, and filters. You can add due dates, times, and locations to tasks, set recurring tasks, and use Annoying Alerts to ensure reminders are not missed. TickTick also has a Pomo Timer, which your child can use along with their preferred white noise to help them focus. 

Families can utilize TickTick’s collaboration features: assign tasks to your child, share lists, and track their activities to ensure they complete them. The app also provides Achievement scores when your child completes tasks on time, which you can use as a basis to reward them. 

It also comes with Statistics and Summary features to analyze your child’s workflow and efficiency. This data can help you adjust their approach to tasks, such as allocating more time for specific activities or breaking down large tasks into smaller ones, to boost their achievement.


  1. Focus Keeper

Focus Keeper is a tool that uses the Pomodoro Technique, which encourages your child to commit to focused work for 25 minutes before having a 5-minute break. After four consecutive sessions, you have a long break interval, which lasts 30 minutes. 

To customize this to your child’s abilities, you can change the time allotted for each Focus, Short Break, and Long Break. You can also set the Long Break Interval to less than four sessions—if four sessions are too long for your child. 


  1. Joon

If your kid loves games, Joon is a great app to motivate them to do their daily tasks. The app lets you create tasks, aka Quests, for your child to accomplish. When they do, they get rewarded with points they can use to take care of and level up their pets.

How can visual timers benefit my family?

People with ADHD often have trouble with time perception, meaning they struggle with how they experience and manage the passage of time, a term called time blindness [8]. At the same time, they struggle with time monitoring: while others might repeatedly look at the watch when time is almost up for a task, those with ADHD don’t. 

By turning the passage of time into a visual image, visual timers make time more “tangible,” therefore making its concept easier to grasp. They help people with ADHD manage their time better. Watching the time tick down can also be a great motivator to stay focused.

These tools come in all shapes and sizes; they can be digital or physical and appear as apps, sand timers, egg timers, or clock-like tools like the Time Timer PLUS 60 Minute, a physical timer that displays an entire 60 minutes in a countdown pie format. Need help choosing the best timer for your child? Check this article out: Comparative Guide: 7 Best Visual Timers for Your Child

Here are some ways you can use visual timers in your home: 

  • Accomplish short, focused tasks, similar to the Pomodoro Technique
  • Prepare the child for transitions between tasks
  • Restrict time for screens or gadget use
  • Challenge your child to finish a task before the time runs out

When assigning tasks and chores to your child, consider factors like their skill level and age. Set the timer based on how long your child usually spends on a task or their typical attention span. Additionally, practice time estimation with them to identify the shortest time in which they can complete a task.

What tools work best for adults?

While ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood, the condition persists into adulthood, affecting 3.1 million adults around the globe [9]. You might have managed well during childhood using coping strategies, only to struggle with the pressures of college or adult life. As people with ADHD grow older, hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms often decrease, but inattentiveness usually persists [10]. 

If you’re struggling with getting organized, keeping appointments, and staying on top of daily tasks, here are some tools that can help with time management with ADHD:

Google Calendar

Planners are helpful for individuals with ADHD but are easy to forget and neglect—unlike phones. If you rely on your phone or tablet and have a Gmail account, you can use Google Calendar for time management and scheduling. Simply log in your appointments, meetings, reminders, due dates, and activities, and let the app remind you at different intervals so you never miss anything.  

Google Calendar also helps with organization by letting you color-code your schedule and create multiple calendars for different aspects of your life, like personal, work, and leisure. It’s great for accountability, too—just share your calendar with family, friends, or peers so they can check in on you.


As the name implies, Todoist is a to-do list app. It has a straightforward interface that lets you type anything on the task field and sort them into Today, Upcoming, or a different custom filter so you can tackle them based on their priority level. Aside from setting a priority level, the app lets you give your tasks a due date and set reminders for them. Unlike planners like Google Calendar, Todoist includes a reward component: the satisfaction of ticking off tasks.

One way to hack your reward system is to create projects and break them down into subtasks, ticking off each one as you go. This approach makes projects more manageable and allows you to feel your progress and get a dopamine rush with every completed task.

A great tip from a Reddit thread of people with ADHD using Todoist is to add a “Review Todoist” task to your list. After all, your to-do list is only helpful if you regularly check it.


Forest tackles the focusing challenges most people with ADHD have. It gamifies focus and encourages you to stay on task by adding a consequence to getting distracted. Whenever you need to focus, the app lets you grow a tree. The tree withers whenever you leave the app or use your phone for anything else. This visualization pushes you not to use your device and finish your task. 

Aside from the reward of keeping your tree alive, you unlock more tree species and white noise—you can even plant a real tree with your points. The app also lets you compete with friends and users all over the globe. Need accountability and added responsibility to stay on task? You can plant trees with your friends! Anytime someone leaves the app, everyone’s tree dies. 

How can I integrate everything smoothly?

When using a tool as a family, the first step is to get everyone on board and committed to making it work. It’s crucial for each member to understand the expectations and responsibilities associated with chores and tasks. Adults should ensure that kids grasp the concept and see the potential benefits that come with it.

Depending on a child’s age and maturity, parents can let them create and manage their own profiles or calendars or create one for them. Additionally, everyone should agree upon the reward system you plan to establish. Most importantly, consistency is key—not only in completing tasks but also in regularly checking progress and fulfilling the rewards of task completion.

Overcoming Roadblocks

Using time management apps can be challenging, especially when ADHD symptoms like forgetfulness and inattention hinder your progress. ADHD symptoms can interfere even if you’ve been on track for a while. Don’t get discouraged; just open the app again and start planning. If you often forget to use the app, set up reminders and follow them when they go off. Accountability to family members and peers can also help.

It can feel overwhelming when tasks pile up. Taking a break can help, but set a deadline to start again. Begin with the most achievable tasks to gain momentum, then proceed one task at a time. 

To avoid getting overwhelmed, don’t create too many tasks at once. A long list can also increase stress, so keep tasks manageable and easily achievable. The same applies to kids. Keep their tasks manageable with a mix of easy and challenging items. Lastly, reward yourself, especially as an adult. Small rewards provide positive reinforcement and make the process more enjoyable.

Summary: How do I get started customizing tools for my family?

When it comes to finding the best ADHD time management tool for your family, trial and error and customization are essential. Experiment with different strategies to see what works best for each member and your family’s unique needs.

Personalizing these tools helps everyone manage their time and tasks more effectively, boosting overall family productivity and satisfaction. Be patient and flexible, adjusting as needed to meet each person’s requirements.


How do I improve my time management with ADHD?

Using tools to stay on track with your tasks and schedules can be highly beneficial. Understanding which ADHD symptoms impact your time management and identifying factors hindering task completion—such as feeling incapable, finding the task boring, or struggling with delayed rewards—can also make a significant difference.

What is the time tool for ADHD?

There are many time management tools suitable for people with ADHD. Visual timers, to-do lists, reminders, and planners can all be effective, depending on the specific time management challenges they face.

Is the Pomodoro technique effective for ADHD?

Since many individuals with ADHD struggle with doing tasks for long periods, the Pomodoro technique can be very effective [2]. This method involves short bursts of focused work followed by brief breaks, which helps keep tasks manageable. The short, frequent breaks also provide immediate rewards, making it particularly beneficial for those with ADHD.


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  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2024). Diagnosing ADHD. https://www.cdc.gov/adhd/diagnosis/index.html
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  5. Turgeman, R. N., & Pollak, Y. (2023). Using the temporal motivation theory to explain the relation between ADHD and procrastination. Australian Psychologist, 58(6), 448–456. https://doi.org/10.1080/00050067.2023.2218540
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  8. Weissenberger, S., Schonova, K., Büttiker, P., Fazio, R., Vnukova, M., Stefano, G. B., & Ptacek, R. (2021). Time Perception is a Focal Symptom of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 27, e933766. https://doi.org/10.12659/MSM.933766
  9. Ayano, G., Tsegay, L., Gizachew, Y., Necho, M., Yohannes, K., Abraha, M., Demelash, S., Anbesaw, T., & Alati, R. (2023). Prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults: Umbrella review of evidence generated across the globe. Psychiatry Research, 328, 115449. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2023.115449
  10. Leahy, L. G. (2018). Diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in children vs adults: What nurses should know. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 32(6), 890–895. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2018.06.013

Rachel Ann Melegrito

I’m a licensed occupational therapist turned content writer with over a decade of clinical experience as a pediatric OT. I also used to teach basic sciences and OT courses in a university before I shifted to content writing.