I've struggled with time and being late my entire life.
Before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I had no idea why. I just thought something was broken in me. My internal clock was faulty.
That's actually kinda true, because I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (common with ADHD). So I don't really get tired until 2-3am. And I don't feel like waking up until 11am.
My circadian rythm doesn't line up with society's normal working hours.
As a child, I was late to school pretty much every day. And honestly, it hasn't been a lot better as an adult.
But that's only one complication.
People with ADHD don't have a firm grasp on the perception of time. Some call it time blindness or time distortion.
I wrote more about it in this Twitter thread:
So what can we do about it?
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer. But knowing is half the battle. We can use strategies to help us better navigate our lack of time awareness.
One strategy that sounds too simple to be effective is timers. I use timers all the time.
"Hey Alexa/Google/Siri, set a 20 minute timer."
You'll hear this all day long in my office. If I'm not using a smart timer, then I probably have a trusty Time Timer at my side.
Using these timing devices and reminders can help you track the passing of time, even when you can't feel it.
You can also try to improve your time sense by practicing estimating time. Write down how long you think a task will take. Set a timer. See how close (or far off) you were.
If anything, it will be informative. You'll most likely be way off in one direction or the other.
If you have a repetitive task, you can use this repeatedly to really learn your time biases. See if you're regularly over or under estimating. Hone it in. Take note of the patterns that emerge.
Jesse J. Anderson
P.S. I have a new "what I'm doing now" page: https://jessejanderson.com/now
Links of the week
🎙🔥 Lobow's SPARK: Something for Someone with Jesse J. Anderson Last week I had a fun chat on Lobow's podcast about everything from ADHD diagnosis, avoiding the dentist, community college, and marriage with ADHD. Check it out!
📝🔁 Why is routine so important to someone with ADHD? [Flex Your ADHD] While we often resist rigid structures (i.e. "don't try to contain me!"), routines are key to build those healthy habits we need.