Near Imminent

Hello friends,

I've been thinking about how the ADHD perception of time relates to motivation.

Dr. Edward Hallowell has said that people with ADHD only perceive two times: "now" and "not now". But I wonder if there's actually an important third time to consider. A time even more difficult to define.

I recently created this infographic on Time Blindness, one of the common afflictions of people with ADHD:

What's interesting about these 2 different results of time blindness—being either compulsively late to things or absurdly early to the point of getting nothing done—is that many people relate to both, depending on the context.

I think this relates to a third "type" of time to the ADHD brain: "near imminent."

The tricky thing about "near imminent" is that it has no actual time measurement and can stretch itself to adapt to any situation. It can be minutes, or seconds. It could be days. It's relative, but there is a clear line that is crossed when something moves from "maybe I'll get to it in the future, someday" and "oh crap I gotta do the thing NOW NOW NOW".

A big project that I avoided for weeks and is now due in 8 hours may feel "near imminent." But that appointment I'm supposed to leave the house for may not be "near imminent" until it's already too late to get there on time.

Or that chore you said you would do may exist in "infinite future time", you'll get to it eventually, someday, not now though, and not necessarily any time soon. Until you notice your partner's angry stare. Suddenly, near imminent has arrived!

Stay focused,

Jesse J. Anderson

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Quote of the week

Because they can focus well on tasks that interest them, yet often focus very poorly or inconsistently on almost anything else, people with ADHD are often accused of lacking willpower. ADHD clearly looks like a problem with willpower, but it is not.

— Thomas E. Brown