- WHY IS TIME BLINDNESS MORE PREVALENT AMONG ADHD INDIVIDUALS?
- Explaining ADHD Time Blindness To Others
- WAYS TO HANDLE ADHD TIME BLINDNESS
- Here are some final tips to overcome time blindness;
Time blindness is one of the most common symptoms of ADHD.
If you consider yourself to be a victim of underestimating or overestimating how long things take, you’ll be happy to know that it is a symptom of ADHD that you can overcome.
Yes, the condition is real, and it can be managed.
Here is how it can impact others
People with ADHD have trouble keeping track of time.
This is what psychologists call “time blindness” or “time disorientation.”
They are unable to estimate time intervals, and they forget appointments and deadlines easily.
They can’t tell what time of day it is. ADHD Time Blindness may be due to a number of factors, including the following:
- Executive function deficits: People with ADHD often have difficulties with executive functioning, which includes skills like planning, organizing, and managing time. This makes it challenging for them to accurately judge the passage of time or allocate time effectively for tasks.
- Impulsivity: ADHD is often associated with impulsivity, which can lead to poor time management. Individuals may jump from one task to another without completing them, or they may become easily distracted, causing them to lose track of time.
- Difficulty with prioritization: People with ADHD may struggle to prioritize tasks and allocate time appropriately. This can result in spending too much time on less important tasks, while neglecting more pressing matters.
- Inattention: Due to their inattentive nature, individuals with ADHD may not be fully aware of the passage of time. They may become engrossed in an activity or lost in thought, causing them to lose track of time.
- Working memory challenges: Working memory is essential for keeping track of time and deadlines. However, people with ADHD often have difficulties with working memory, which can make it hard for them to remember appointments or deadlines.
- Emotional regulation difficulties: Emotional regulation is another challenge for individuals with ADHD. They may become overwhelmed by emotions, which can interfere with their ability to gauge time accurately and manage it effectively.
- Co-occurring conditions: ADHD often co-occurs with other conditions, such as anxiety or depression, which can exacerbate time management difficulties. Anxiety, for example, may cause individuals to become excessively worried about time, while depression may lead to a lack of motivation to engage in tasks or manage time effectively.
These factors can make it challenging for individuals with ADHD to accurately estimate time intervals, remember appointments, and meet deadlines.
WHY IS TIME BLINDNESS MORE PREVALENT AMONG ADHD INDIVIDUALS?
The problems with time arise from the differences in how our ADHD brain perceives time and performs the actions necessary to accomplish a task.
It is a problem that is usually related to a difficulty with planning, organizational skills, and memory which you guessed it are part of executive function deficit.
People with ADHD think and perceive time in a way that does not match with the way neurotypicals perceive time.
This is a difference in the way people with ADHD and people without ADHD perceive time.
Our perception is out of sync with other people and it can cause us to be late for school, work, or appointments.
Explaining ADHD Time Blindness To Others
Forget the label.
Now this may sound counterintuitive.
Because it makes sense to share why you do what you do to others in a neat package.
But we know nothing about ADHD is straightforward.
And the labels we use have often got many people’s preconceived ideas and unconscious biases.
So instead of hearing your challenge with time, they are hearing an “excuse”.
So instead of feeling that you can’t share your struggles,
Some people just won’t get it and after a while you start to recognize that your job is never to convince
So, how do you explain time blindness without taking on other people’s biases
Here are a couple of ways to approach the conversation about time blindness and get support at the same time
You: Hey there! I wanted to talk to you about something that I’ve been learning more about recently. It’s called time blindness, and I think it could help you understand me better.
Them: Oh, sure! I’m all ears. What is ADHD time blindness?
You: Well, ADHD time blindness is a term used to describe a common challenge that people with ADHD face when it comes to managing time. It’s not about being lazy or not caring; it’s about struggling with a different perception of time. Sometimes it feels like time slips away or that it’s difficult to accurately estimate how long things will take.
Them: That sounds frustrating. How does it affect you?
You: It can be quite frustrating at times, but understanding it has made me more aware of how I experience time. For example, I might underestimate how long a task will take, leading to being late or feeling rushed. It can also be challenging to prioritize tasks because it’s hard to gauge the passage of time accurately.
Them: I can imagine that could cause some difficulties. Is there anything I can do to help?
You: Absolutely! Your understanding and support mean a lot to me. Here’s what can really make a difference: patience and gentle reminders. Sometimes I might need a little extra time to complete a task or adjust my schedule. Offering reminders without judgment or pressure can be incredibly helpful.
Them: I’m glad you shared this with me. I want to support you. Are there any strategies that you find useful in managing time?
You: Definitely! I’ve been working on a few strategies that have been quite empowering. Breaking tasks down into smaller, manageable steps helps me stay on track, and gives me a better sense of time. Setting reminders, using alams. using my calendar, and creating routines also help me stay organised and focused. Celebrating small victories along the way keeps me motivated too!
Them: That’s fantastic! It sounds like you’ve found some great ways to navigate time challenges. Is there anything else you’d like me to know or do?
You: Just knowing that you’re there to listen and understand means a lot to me. If I ever need support or if you notice I might be struggling with time management, gently reminding me or offering assistance can make a big difference. Together, we can find solutions that work for both of us and make the most of our time together.
By having an open and positive conversation about ADHD time blindness, you can help others understand your experiences better. It’s important to emphasise that ADHD time blindness doesn’t diminish your abilities or potential—it’s simply a difference that you’re learning to navigate. With their understanding and support, you can feel empowered to manage time more effectively and thrive in your daily life.
WAYS TO HANDLE ADHD TIME BLINDNESS
Step 1: RescueTime
Here is a link to RescueTime (I get an affiliate commission when you use my link but it doesn’t cost you a thing)
Let’s face it, most of us could stand to be a little more productive. Whether we’re trying to get ahead at work, complete a project on time, or free up some leisure time, increasing our productivity can be a real challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to identify and eliminate time sinks so we can focus on what’s important and get more done in less time.
One of the first steps is to take an honest look at our working habits.
Do we procrastinate?
What distractions do we allow ourselves?
Once we have a better understanding of how we work, we can start setting smart goals and tracking our progress. By taking these small steps, we can achieve big results in terms of productivity.
In order to truly manage time blindness you need to raise awareness of what is actually taking up your time
Understand the apps and sites that keep you from getting work done.
When you know what drains your day it’s much easier to create strategies to support you
My own co-occurring neurodivergence and competitive profile means if I am not measuring it, I tend not to do it
It’s that black-and-white thinking, all-or-nothing battle I tend to fall into
Here is what RescueTime shows you.
What get’s measured get’s improved which brings me onto…
Step 2: Mind Map
Create a mind map
I like mindview
But you can choose the tool of your choice
Then decide what needs to be …
“Axe” involves identifying and eliminating or reducing time-related distractions and barriers that contribute to time blindness. This step helps individuals with ADHD create a focused and structured environment, enabling them to manage time effectively.
🪓 Identify distractions: Recognise specific distractions that interfere with your time perception, such as social media notifications or external interruptions.
🪓 Eliminate or reduce distractions: Take proactive steps to minimize distractions. For example, use app blockers to limit access to social media platforms or create a dedicated workspace with minimal disruptions.
🪓 Create a structured routine: Establish a consistent daily routine that incorporates designated time for tasks, breaks, and self-care to help manage time effectively.
“Amplify” focuses on enhancing time management skills and utilizing tools to aid individuals with ADHD in tracking and managing time effectively. This step helps improve time perception and promotes better organization.
🔊 Use time management tools: Employ digital calendars, task management apps, or project management software to schedule and prioritize tasks.
🔊 Set reminders and alarms: Set up reminders and alarms on devices to prompt you for important deadlines, task transitions, or social media posting schedules.
🔊 Break tasks into manageable steps: Divide larger tasks into smaller, more achievable subtasks, allowing for better time estimation and progress tracking.
“Accept” involves acknowledging and accepting the unique challenges individuals with ADHD face with time perception. It emphasizes embracing strategies that work for them and developing self-compassion around time management difficulties.
✔️ Practice self-awareness: Understand and accept that ADHD can impact time perception, making it important to be patient and understanding with yourself.
✔️ Tailor strategies to your needs: Adapt time management techniques to suit your individual strengths and weaknesses, whether it’s using visual aids, employing external cues, or seeking support from a coach or therapist.
✔️ Manage expectations: Set realistic expectations for yourself, recognizing that time estimation and meeting deadlines might require extra effort and planning.
Example Table: Minimizing Time Blindness in ADHD
An example of this is below
|Social Media Posting||🪓 Disable social media notifications||🔊 Utilize scheduling tools to plan and automate posts||✔️ Accept that it may take longer to complete posting tasks due to potential distractions|
|Project Deadline||🪓 Create a dedicated workspace with minimal distractions||🔊 Break the project into smaller, manageable milestones and set clear deadlines||✔️ Embrace the need for external reminders or alarms to keep track of time and maintain focus|
|🪓 Set clear boundaries and communicate your availability to minimize interruptions||🔊 Use project management software to track progress, set reminders, and allocate time for specific project tasks||✔️ Practice self-compassion and adjust expectations, allowing flexibility in case unexpected challenges or delays arise|
This then follows with taking action on the most important things that move the needle forward…
Step 3: Pomofocus
Pomofocus is like having your own personal chef who helps you create the perfect recipe for success.
It’s a customizable timer to help you achieve your goals by keeping track of time so that you can get the most out of it!
This is how to get the most out of Pomofocus
Decide on what goal you want to achieve using Mindmapping first
This will help you see your big picture first and see how subtasks contribute to the meaning of this task.
Pomofocus works on desktop & mobile browser.
The aim of this app is to help you focus on any task you are working on, such as studying, writing, or coding. This app supports the Pomodoro Technique.
What is Pomodoro?
The Pomodoro Technique is part of a productivity method based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. Every task and/or project should be broken down into sections that are 25 minutes long with short breaks in between where you do something you enjoy as it helps create a sense of excitement and prevents burnout by never letting your mind get too tired. The method was developed by Francesco Cirillo, an Italian university student who first used it to stay awake while studying.
- Add tasks to work on today
- Set estimate pomodoros (1 = 25min of work) for each tasks
- Select a task to work on
- Start timer and focus on the task for 25 minutes
- Take a break for 5 minutes when the alarm ring – don’t skip this step as this real break is imperative so that you don’t fall into hyperfocus mode. These breaks should involve some form of play
- Iterate 3-5 until you finish the tasks
Pause doesn’t stop when you come across an obstacle
If you have taken the Productive AF with ADHD course, you would have implemented obstacle mapping.
To amplify this have a physical analogue clock like this.
Analog clocks possess a continuously moving mechanism that grants individuals a genuine understanding of the passage of time. This leads to a heightened awareness of the duration of minutes, hours, and days.
Here are some final tips to overcome time blindness;
Use your intuition by using Tarot
By using tools like the Tarot spread “Overcoming Time Blindness” below you can connect with your highest self/intuition. This combination allows for a holistic approach that addresses time management challenges while also nurturing inner wisdom and intuition. Here’s an explanation of how each element contributes to this process:
Here’s an explanation of how each element contributes to this process:
Axe (Eliminate): In the context of connecting with one’s highest self/intuition, the Axe aspect of the Tarot spread focuses on identifying and eliminating distractions or barriers that hinder this connection. It encourages individuals to examine their environment, habits, and thought patterns that may be causing time-related distractions or preventing them from accessing their intuition fully. By removing these obstacles, they can create a space that is conducive to connecting with their inner wisdom.
Amplify: The Amplify aspect of the Tarot spread amplifies the individual’s ability to tap into their highest self/intuition. It encourages them to enhance their intuition and inner guidance through various practices. This may involve incorporating daily rituals, meditation, journaling, or energy-clearing techniques that support a deeper connection with their intuition. By amplifying their intuitive abilities, individuals can strengthen their relationship with their highest self and improve their decision-making.
Accept: The Accept aspect of the Tarot spread emphasizes the importance of accepting and trusting the intuitive messages received. It encourages individuals to let go of self-doubt or skepticism and embrace their intuition as a valid and valuable source of guidance. Acceptance involves cultivating self-trust and allowing intuitive insights to guide their choices and actions. By accepting their intuitive abilities and learning to rely on them, individuals can align with their highest self and make decisions that are in alignment with their authentic path.
Combining the Tarot spread with the “Axe, Amplify, and Accept” framework helps individuals overcome time blindness while also fostering a deeper connection with their highest self/intuition. The Tarot spread provides guidance and insights specific to the individual’s journey, while the framework offers a structured approach to managing time-related challenges. Together, they create a synergistic process that supports personal growth, self-awareness, and intuitive development.
Acknowledge progress (a destination is reached by taking one step at a time):
Recognizing and acknowledging your progress is crucial in overcoming time blindness. Break down your tasks into smaller, achievable steps, and celebrate each milestone you reach along the way. By focusing on the progress you’ve made, you build momentum and motivate yourself to keep moving forward. Remember that reaching your destination is a result of consistently taking one step at a time.
Celebrate the small wins (what gets celebrated gets replicated):
Celebrating your achievements, no matter how small, is a powerful way to reinforce positive behaviors and replicate them in the future. When you complete a task on time or manage your time effectively, take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishment. This positive reinforcement creates a sense of satisfaction and encourages you to continue practising good time management habits.
Reflect on your time management practices [regularly]
Consider what strategies have been working well for you and what areas still need improvement. Reflecting on your successes and challenges allows you to gain valuable insights and make adjustments to your approach. Additionally, reflecting on your progress helps you stay motivated and committed to your time management goals.
During your reflection, you can ask yourself questions like:
- What strategies or techniques have helped me manage my time more effectively
- Are there any recurring patterns or distractions that hinder my time perception?
- How can I better align my actions with my priorities and goals?
- What adjustments can I make to my routines or systems to improve my time management?
By regularly reflecting on your time management journey, you can fine-tune your approach, learn from past experiences, and continue to grow in your ability to manage time effectively.
Remember, overcoming time blindness is a gradual process, and it requires consistent effort and self-awareness. By acknowledging progress, celebrating small wins, and reflecting on your experiences, you can cultivate a more balanced and empowered relationship with time.
Time blindness is a common problem for many people, and it can cause you to feel like your life is passing you by. But there are ways to stay on top of the activities you have planned, and be more aware of what’s happening.
If you found these three simple steps to overcoming ADHD time blindness helpful, why not share it, so you can come back to it later or join Power Up! The Executive Function Playbook to go from information to implementation