Managing Time As an Adult Learner

Time – do you ever feel you don’t have enough time to fit everything into your day? Do you ever wonder how others manage to fit everything into their day – school, work, family, and friends? Maybe you’re not alone… Life is hard and becomes even harder as people develop into adults. This is why excellent time management skills are a must – especially for the adult learner!

The adult learner has many challenges they face every day from schooling, to work, to making sure they have enough time available in their day for friends and most importantly their family. Often times, the adult learner will give up and drop out of college because they cannot keep up with working long hours as well as the massive amount of school work from day to day – the average worker in America is working more hours than ever before. They often feel in order to support their family they have to let college go. A college degree is extremely important in this day and age; however, while attending college many adults realize that it does not pay the bills. This is unfortunate as many adults will fail to excel in their careers without the degree behind them. Life is hard – especially for the adult learner.

For those that push through and continue to work and attend school, they often find it is a daily struggle to keep their grades up so they can make the required satisfaction of progress. The adult learner in most cases does not have the advantage of staying at home as the younger learner may have so they can focus only on their education. This makes learning even more complicated for the adult learner.

It is especially hard when they have a family to care for and household responsibilities too. Many adult learners will feel they are neglecting their family and other obligations so they may choose to put their education on hold while their children are growing up. Their friends may not understand why they are unable to do the things they did before and their social life may struggle because of their schooling as well. All of these situations make it incredibly difficult for the adult learner. It becomes a balancing act to make sure they do not become overstressed, overworked, or overloaded – so how do they manage it all?

There are many things that contribute to the success of an adult learner. These ideas also help any person currently in any learning environment. Many adults find mastering these skills tremendously improve academic success. If the adult learner feels they have no time available as it is – time management skills are a must. It is critical that adults who are in a learning environment focus on every minute in their day and find ways to improve the free time they have available even if the time is limited.

Most people now would be thinking to themselves, “There is nothing in my life I can cut – I’m maxed out!” How many adults spend hours sitting in front of the television – people are surprised when they truly evaluate the time spent mindlessly watching movies, ESPN, etc. It is important to have time to unwind and relax; but when the adult learner is trying to fit an education in with an already busy lifestyle, they must evaluate which areas they can adjust. If they don’t find a lot of time is wasted watching television, perhaps they spend a lot of time playing video games or doing other activities – if their education is important they may want to cut these things for the time being.

The question is – is the adult learner willing to make these sacrifices? If so, they will need to sit back and decide what is important in their life and which activities they can let go – for now. It helps if they can make a list of how much time they spend doing these different activities and then figure out where they can manage their time more efficiently. No two adult learners are exactly alike. Only they will know the schedule they are currently keeping and which areas they are willing to adjust so they will be able to finish their degree. If an education is truly important to them – the adult learner will find a way.

While getting rid of events in their life that are hoarding precious time, there are other things the adult learner can do in order to get the most out of the time they have available. The adult learner must improve their study skills. By improving study skills they can spend more time with their family and friends. Most would prefer reading a book one time while increasing their comprehension of the content instead of reading it several times because they do not remember what it is they read. Most people would like to read it only once or maybe a few times -in order to do that you have to maximize your study skills. By doing this, they will improve the time they have available to enjoy other things in their lives.

One of the most important ways the adult learner can improve their skills is to make sure they always take exceptional notes of the material studied; it often helps to use different colors while highlighting to separate key points, make index cards with questions on the front and answers placed on the back. This way the adult learner can practice them while on the go. They can then study while at a baseball game, waiting in line to see the doctor, etc. This will take full advantage of the time they have available in a day. It is little things like this that will have a huge impact on time management.

It is also critical the adult learner always engages in their learning environment whether online or not. They may view the discussions pointless or forum posts as only taking away more time from their already busy schedule, but this will increase their comprehension on the topic they are studying. So it is important they take full advantage of them! They are there and available for a reason.

When the adult learner is feeling overloaded, stressed and wanting to just throw in the towel – it is imperative they stop and take a break. It is very important to take time to reenergize your mind and body while seeking an education. When taking a break it often helps to enhance memory because you can concentrate more effectively. This will also allow you to spend less time studying. If people study when they are exhausted their mind will not function appropriately in order to retain the information – having to read it again is not helping the adult learner manage their time more efficiently. So, they must make the most out of every study session scheduled. It is also essential to only study when alert and there are no distractions around so they can fully focus on the information in front of them.

Schooling can be incredibly taxing for the adult learner – but is the end result worth it? The adult learner must always keep their mind set on the goal. They must stay positive and believe that anything is possible if they set their mind to it. Adults graduate all the time – so it is conceivable and if they believe they can finish, they will. Many attending college these days are older adults; it helps to remember that you’re not alone.

A support chain is particularly important. The adult learner should seek the help and support of their husband/wife, family members, and even their employer. They need to ask for help when necessary. Perhaps their husband/wife can help with chores around the house, run errands, or help with the kids so the college student can spend a set amount of time each week studying. Maybe a family member could even pick up their kids from practice/school a few times a week.

The adult learners who are employed while attending school could communicate with their superior the desire to work out a more appealing schedule that works for the business as well as for the student. This way they could focus their schooling more appropriately around the new schedule – this may help them manage their time more efficiently as well. Many employers will even help pay for an employee’s academic studies, so they need to make sure to utilize all the help available. Employers want educated employees and in most cases will work with the student so all involved are happy.

The truth is every day people adjust their time in order to do things they love. When somebody really wants something – they make it work. If they don’t – they will probably give up. When the adult learner wants it bad enough, they will find ways to make the most out of every situation. It is obvious the adult learner struggles to balance everything in their life; this is why time management for the adult learner is a critical skill to have. It is extremely important the adult learner utilizes ways to enhance their learning strategies – so they can maximize the time they spend on their education, and also have a strong support chain that will encourage them continuously. In doing this, they will have more time available for the things they love to do the most and be a lot happier in the process while achieving academic success.

Adult ADD & ADHD – Top 10 Myths

Adult ADD/ADHD is gaining recognition amongst professionals and society at large. It is perceived by many to be a new disorder, discovered or made up by psychiatrists in the last decade. Like most things we perceive of as being new, adult ADD and ADHD are subject to skepticism and myths. There is suspicion on many fronts that adult ADD/ADHD and even childhood ADD/ADHD is a made up disorder created by psychiatrists in association with pharmaceutical companies to sell a new type of drug. While skepticism and awareness are healthy ideals, in the case of adult ADD/ADHD this skepticism does not seem warranted. The symptoms are very real and wreak havoc in the lives of those with the disorder.

Adult ADD/ADHD has been present with us for much longer than many people aware. It is not a new disorder, but one that has only recently gained recognition amongst and been labeled by professionals. Most adults who have been diagnosed with the disorder are those who should have been diagnosed in childhood but were not. And while the symptoms and signs of adult ADD/ADHD are real to its sufferers and treatment has been proven to alleviate these symptoms the myths continue. So what are some of the most common myths surrounding the diagnosis do adult ADD and ADHD?

1. ADD/ADHD is a disorder of children. Adults can not have ADD/ADHD.

While it is more likely to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child, adults can and do suffer from the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD. Most people who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as adults already had the disorder as children, but were either not diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

2. Adults with ADD/ADHD simply need to lead more disciplined organized lives.

Adults with ADD/ADHD have tried to lead more disciplined and organized lives, but have failed. The medical disorder makes it difficult to impossible for adult sufferers to maintain the focus required to stay organized and on track.

3. ADHD symptoms can be overcome without intervention.

Some adults with ADD/ADHD find enough self help treatments to live an organized disciplined life. They create to do lists, take advantage of calendars and timers,and find other ways to organize their live. For many adults with ADD/ADHD these methods do not help and they need to seek help from physicians, personal organizers and counsellors.

4. ADHD is a made up disorder.

With the large number of children currently diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, parents and others are beginning to question whether ADD is even a real disorder. The symptoms that those diagnosed with the disorder endure and the effect these symptoms have on the lives of those with the disorder are very real.

5. People who seek medication for ADHD are really just drug seekers.

Ritalin has been and continues to be abused by adults who use the drug for a quick high. Some have compared its effect as almost cocaine like in adults who do not need the stimulant medication. Ritalin, though, is not usually prescribed to adults with ADD/ADHD. Longer lasting medications with a slower build up such as Concerta and Adderall are prescribed to adults. The effect of these medications are less intense than those of Ritalin so are not attractive to abusers.

6. Medication can cure ADHD.

Medications can help with the symptoms of adult ADD/ADHD but are not a cure for the disorder.

7. You’re not hyperactive so you don’t have ADD.

Only adults diagnosed with ADHD deal with the hyperactivity component of the disorder. This symptom shows itself in signs such as restlessness and risk taking. Adults without hyperactivity are diagnosed with ADD rather than ADHD. These adults share almost all the same symptoms as those with ADHD, but are not as likely to be hyperactive and restless.

8. Children with ADD/ADHD always outgrow the disorder.

While many children do outgrow their ADD/ADHD symptoms a large number carry the disorder with them into adulthood. SOme who seem to have outgrown the disorder may simply have found useful coping methods that help them live their lives without professional intervention.

9. You can not lead a normal life with ADD

Most adults with ADD/ADHD function very well. Medical and other professional interventions have helped some, while many work with their ADD/ADHD personalities to create lives that are very compatible with the disorder.

10. Medications help all cases of adult ADHD

Medication is helpful in approximately 58% of cases. Some adults find a combination of medication along with ongoing support from a counsellor or other professional to be more helpful. Others find the side effects of medications to be intolerable and function better with the with the help of professional cognitive treatment, or self help methods.

The Role of Denial in an Adult Child’s Life

Denial is a defense mechanism used to combat or minimize the danger to which a person is exposed and exists as a dynamic in both the alcoholic and the adult child who is created after an upbringing with him.

If you teeter on the outside ledge of a 100-story building, for example, you may improve your chances of climbing back into it if you deny the danger and avoid the terror associated with it.

Denial is the cloud that surrounds an alcoholic or dysfunctional family. A storm rages on the inside, but this is mostly hidden or distorted when viewed from the outside.

The Alcoholic:

Alcoholism is the only malady that fools a person into believing that it is not a disease and, even if he thinks it is, his denial of it only further nullifies it.

Why, it may be wondered, can a family suffer intolerable mental and emotional pain and abuse because of a father’s drinking, yet he himself seems to assume no responsibility for their anguish?

Perhaps the single most frustrating characteristic of an alcoholic is his refusal or inability to admit that he has such a problem, even when his family is falling apart, his job is on the line, his drunk driving convictions are accumulating, and his wife is suing him for divorce.

“Much has been written about denial,” according to Kathleen W. Fitzgerald in her book, Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance (Whales’ Tail Press, 2002, p. 191). “The alcoholic simply cannot see and understand what is happening to him. The family also suffers this denial.”

“Slowly, painfully, the fabric of family life has been picked away,” she also wrote (p. 177). “There are big holes, even craters and gorges in that family. The family members are truly the walking wounded.”

Although the trail of destruction left by an alcoholic may be blatantly obvious to others, he himself cannot connect his actions with it.

“It is the very nature of this disease that self-awareness is dim, blunted, absent,” according to Fitzgerald (p. 55). “Even in recovery, all that is left is a memory of bizarre occasions and of painful, confused feelings. Recovering people, sober many years, suddenly remember a forgotten incident, a buried conversation, something that was seen or said or felt while drinking.”

An alcoholic is not consciously, by the definition of the term, lying. He truly does not believe that he has a drinking problem, much less that he belongs in the “alcoholic” category.

He cannot make a direct brain connection with his excessive imbibing and the negative consequences it causes others, yet this only amplifies the anger and rage of those he hurts-in other words, those who can make that connection.

So true is this aspect of the disease, that one adult child recently recounted that, after his father was flagged by police because of his erratic driving, given a breathalyzer test, demonstrated a high blood alcohol level, and issued one of many DWI’s, the adult child himself was blamed for the incident because he had purchased more economical tires for the car and they had caused the erratic driving. “Alcohol!” he emphatically stated. “I never touch the stuff,” despite the heavy smell of it still escaping his mouth. There had obviously been no connection between his actions and their consequences.

Denial, the brain’s self-protecting mechanism, consists of three processes:

Turning off, the first one, occurs when the person’s mind seeks to protect itself against anxiety by dimming or blunting what causes it. Like the static on the radio, it can be reduced or eliminated by flipping its off switch.

The creation of a blind spot, the second, can be considered an area of blocked attention and self-deception, and one which the alcoholic is no longer able to reach and review.

“The blind spot is the cornerstone of the alcoholic’s system of defense,” according to Fitzgerald (p. 57). “This is what is meant by ‘alcoholic denial.'”

“For many reasons,” she later writes (p. 57), “they are unable to keep track of their own behavior and begin to lose contact with their emotions. Their defense systems continue to grow, so that they can survive in the face of their problems. The greater the pain, the higher and more rigid the defenses become; and this whole process is unconscious… Finally, they actually become victims of their own defense systems.”

Multiple levels, the third tenet of denial, occur when the alcoholic employs his blind spots in all levels of his life, and in each case is unable to process the consequences of his actions.

Blackouts, periods or episodes of induced amnesia, cement the condition.

“The alcoholic does not have conscious access to knowledge of the amount he drank, how he drank, what he was like, the effect he had on others, how he looked, (or) how he sounded,” Fitzgerald wrote (p. 59).

All this produces the classical denial syndrome: he becomes blind to his disease and then becomes blind to the fact that he is blind. His actions bypass the subconscious and go directly into the unconscious part of his mind, causing him to fully believe that they are not there. He cannot connect with what he does and he therefore has no regret, remorse, empathy, or even conscience about the harm he inflicts on himself or others.

“When a person is left without the marvelous defense of denial, guilt and shame wash over him, drowning him in self-loathing,” according to Fitzgerald (p. 175). “This cannot be avoided and serves to knock down the last vestiges of his denial; the degree to which he is still able to disown his alcoholism is the degree to which he will not recover. All the denial must go. He does not need it anymore.”

In the end, it is the alcoholic’s blindness to his excessive and dangerous drinking levels, and his seeming unwillingness to take ownership for them, that causes more rage in the families affected by them than the act of drinking itself. How do the adult children who ultimately emerge from such upbringings deal with all of this? Ironically, with denial of their own.

The Adult Child:

Ignorance is an early form and foreshadow of denial. The former implies “do not know.” The latter can be considered “refuse to know.” Those raised in alcoholic, dysfunctional, and/or abusive families quickly and ironically learn that the only thing that holds them together is to not see the truth that otherwise causes others to fall apart-that is, the dysfunctional family’s truth is a lie–that everyone must deny what they see and experience in order to continue living within it.

Alcoholism or dysfunction hardly occur in isolation or only to the imbiber or abuser, and those affected use the same brain mechanism as those who affect.

What, then, is denial to an adult child?

“Denial for an adult child has a variety of definitions that include blaming others and minimizing memoires,” according to the Adult Children of Alcoholics textbook (World Service Organization, 2006, p. 454). “There is also an outright rejection of facts. Some aspects of adult child denial involve recalling abusive or neglectful behavior as normal.”

Alcoholism is a disease, not a liquid.

Despite what may be apparent, based upon behavioral transgressions, the presence of alcohol itself, and various forms of abuse, that alcoholism exists to others, some two decades of exposure to it ironically fail to provide the necessary clues to those who are exposed to it during their upbringings.

“… An estimated 50 percent of adult children of alcoholics deny or cannot recognize alcoholism among their families,” according to the Adult Children of Alcoholics textbook (p. 124). “By growing up in a dysfunctional home, we become desensitized to the effects of alcoholism, abusive behavior, and lack of trust.”

“We used denial to forget… the fact that we had internalized our parents,” it further states. (p. 22). “Denial is the glue that holds together a dysfunctional home. Family secrets or ignored feelings, and predictable chaos are part of a dysfunctional family system. The system allows abuse or other unhealthy behaviors to be tolerated at harmful levels. Through repetition, the abuse is considered normal by those in the family. Because dysfunction seemed normal or tolerable, the adult child can deny that anything unpleasant happened in childhood.”

But there is hope.

“By working the twelve steps with a sponsor or knowledgeable counselor,” again according to the Adult Children of Alcoholics textbook (p. 96), “the adult child realizes the denial and secrecy that were necessary to survive such an upbringing. Denial, which fosters a lack of clarity, is the glue that allows the disease of family dysfunction to thrive. Cloaked in denial, the disease is passed on to the next generation with amazing consistency. The basic language of denial is ‘don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel.'”

Exacerbating this dilemma is the fact that some are so dissociated from their feelings, that, even if incidents are recallable, there is no connection to the pain or negative emotion that existed at the time of their occurrences, leading a person to delusionally recount a childhood that was less traumatizing and impacting than it actually was.

With or without these feelings, the behavioral characteristics exhibited by adult children are recordings, if not out-and-out downloadings, of their parents’ actions.

“Much of that behavior mirrors the actions and thoughts of the dysfunctional parents, grandparents, or caregivers,” continues the Adult Children of Alcoholics textbook (p. 23). “Once we come out of denial, we realize we have internalized our parents’ behavior. We have internalized their perfectionism, control, dishonesty, self-righteousness, rage, pessimism, and judgmentalness.”

Another form of denial is selective recall, or the remembering of those events that were either less threatening or that sanitized upbringings so that they can be recounted as more respectable and presentable to others later in life who do not seem to share their adverse childhood experiences.

“… This kind of selective recall is a form of denial,” according to the Adult Children of Alcoholics textbook (p. 32). “To think that our parents could shame us or belittle us for being a vulnerable child is too much for us to accept. Like most children, we wanted to believe that our parents cared about us no matter what they said to us. As adults, we search for any kindness that our parents might have shown and ignore clear examples of damaging behavior. Societal pressure helps us select the memories that are more presentable.”

Although this convenient “forgive-and-forget” form of denial may convince others, an adult child’s own behavior, which is not always and fully under his control, is like a language that does not forget, if its messages can be accurately translated, and they often are, bespeaking of repressed incidents, feelings, fears, and damage by means of addictions, compulsions, codependence, anxiety disorders, hypervigilance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the very survival traits which embody and define the adult child syndrome. The person may deliberately or inadvertently lie, but the body usually tells the truth.

There may be an even more subtle form of this force. Continually subjected to energy and brain waves the alcoholic or abusive parent generates, spouse and children alike may subconsciously lock on to this pattern and adopt it themselves. After all, any system, whether it be that of a family or a company, can only function as a cohesive whole if all of its members adhere to the same rules.

“When alcoholism or dysfunction are present in the family,” according to the Adult Children of Alcoholics textbook (p. 165), “every member… is affected… in body, mind, and spirit. Through the first 18 years of our lives, our families had 6,570 days to shame, belittle, ignore, criticize, or manipulate us during the most formative years of our being… To survive this long exposure to family dysfunction, our minds developed deeply entrenched roles and traits that changed the meaning of words and experience.”

Finally, denial is generated and compounded by the person’s once-necessary creation, most likely at a very young, pre-school age, of his inner child.

“The classic response for someone caught in a situation he cannot handle is fight or flight,” according to Fitzgerald in Alcoholism: The Genetic Inheritance (p. 141). “However, the child in such families is too small to fight and too young to flee; he must stay. But he improvises a way to both stay and leave: the child splits-his body stays, but his spirit leaves.”

“The child is not free to remain a child and stay with the natural rhythms of growing from girlhood to womanhood,” she continues. “… Forever she remains the adult child, caught in that twilight zone of inexperienced life, of bearing burdens too heavy, of never really knowing what childhood was and what adulthood truly is.”

“The separation/connection task is never successfully accomplished,” she concludes (p. 144), “so we do not truly develop into a rich, abundant maturity, but become hostage in that never-never land between adulthood and childhood. We become adult children. We are little kids, playing dress-up.”

The more a person deposits his adverse experiences into the sub- or even unconscious parts of his mind and seeks protection from them in his inner child, the less there is to be in denial about. After all, none of these things really exist to him, since he cannot reach or recollect them, and he cannot change what he cannot access, resulting in the perpetuation of the disease of alcoholism or dysfunction and the future generation of adult children.