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Time Blindness

What is Time Blindness?

Time blindness is a term used to describe the difficulty that individuals with ADHD have in accurately perceiving time. People with ADHD tend to have difficulty with executive function, which is the set of cognitive processes that allow us to plan, organise, prioritise, and manage time effectively. As a result, they may struggle with tasks that involve time management, such as getting to appointments on time, completing tasks within deadlines, and estimating how long tasks will take.

I can relate. I’ve seen me leaving things to the last minute, when I am hit with a deadline. I now make a concious effort to be somewhere on time, although it my son is with me we end up being late. He hasn't quite grasped the getting there on time thing yet, unless it’s his work. They penalise him if he is late but offer incentives if he clocks on and out on time.

I know plenty of people who are always late or their time management isn’t great but for people with ADHD, time blindness is different from simply being forgetful or disorganised. It is a specific cognitive deficit that affects an individual's ability to accurately perceive and process time.

For example, a person with ADHD may feel like time is moving too quickly or too slowly, or they may lose track of time altogether. This can lead to a range of problems in various areas of their lives, including academic performance, social relationships, and employment.

This happened to me this week. I had to take my dad to an appointment. I had told him I would be there for 10.20am but was on my computer in work and left 15 minutes later than expected. The last time I had looked at the clock I still had half an hour to spare. It literally felt like 5 minutes He wasn't best pleased.

Time blindness can have a significant impact on individuals with ADHD in many areas of their lives. Here are some examples:

Academic Performance: Students with ADHD may struggle to complete assignments on time, show up for class on time, and manage their study time effectively. This can lead to lower grades and increased stress and anxiety.

Employment: Individuals with ADHD may struggle to manage their time at work, leading to missed deadlines, incomplete tasks, and poor job performance. This can result in disciplinary action, job loss, and financial difficulties

Social Relationships: People with ADHD may have difficulty with punctuality, which can lead to social difficulties. They may be perceived as unreliable, and their friends and family may become frustrated with their constant tardiness or forgetfulness.

Fortunately, there are many strategies that individuals with ADHD can use to manage time blindness and improve their ability to manage time effectively. Here are some examples:

  1. Use visual aids: Individuals with ADHD may benefit from using visual aids, such as calendars, to help them keep track of their schedule and deadlines. They can also use timers and alarms to help them stay on track and avoid losing track of time. There are apps out there as well for those who prefer to use their phones.

  2. Create routines: Establishing a routine can help individuals with ADHD develop good habits and stay on track. This can include setting aside specific times for work, exercise, and social activities.

  3. Break tasks into smaller chunks: Individuals with ADHD may become overwhelmed by large tasks, making it difficult for them to estimate how long a task will take. Breaking tasks into smaller chunks can make them feel more manageable and help them better estimate how much time they will need.

  4. Seek professional help: Individuals with ADHD can benefit from working with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or coach, to develop strategies to manage their symptoms. Medication may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms of ADHD.

Time blindness is a common symptom of ADHD that can lead to a range of difficulties in various areas of an individual's life. However, there are many strategies that individuals with ADHD can use to manage time blindness and improve their ability to manage time effectively. By using visual aids, creating routines, breaking tasks into smaller chunks, and seeking professional help, individuals with ADHD can improve their ability to manage time and succeed in school, work, and relationships.


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