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Time Blindness & ADHD
How your unique perception of time could be impacting you
Hi friend. I wanna chat about time blindness for a minute.
Before being diagnosed with ADHD in my 30s, I had no idea how time blind I truly was. It’s so obvious now. It shows up in every aspect of my day - included (but not limited to) the writing of this very newsletter. I thought I had more time. I always think that I have more time. Time blindness is a relatively new term for me - but one of those things that “just makes sense” - like most of the symptoms of ADHD.
So, what is Time Blindness?
Knowing the time, how much is left, and the passage of time are crucial for good executive function - and also something you might struggle with if you have ADHD. US-based ADHD expert, Dr Russell Barkley explains: “ADHD creates a blindness to time, or more accurately, a nearsightedness to the future. The further out the event lies, the less capable they are of dealing with it.”
As reported in Psych Central, there are two factors that affect time perception:
1. The brain, which uses memory, attention, and dopamine to accurately predict time, and
2. The body’s circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, which is based on the earth’s rotation.
Research suggests that there are differences in the ADHD brain that could impact our relationship with time, including:
• blocked brain connection throughout the central nervous system, which controls how time is perceived
• altered frontal lobe activity, which affects the ability to estimate time
• differences in the prefrontal cortex and the pathways that control dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps signal pleasure and sustain motivation.
That’s a bit of the science… but how does it show up in real life?
Time blindness can look like: putting waayyy too many tasks on your to-do list because you can’t quite estimate how long those tasks will take… or, birthdays and holidays sneaking up on you… or, THIS:
What can we do about it?
Here are a few quick tips to help with time blindness:
Use visual aids: Visual reminders like clocks, timers, or calendars can help you stay on track and better manage your time. (I’m a big fan of Time Timer)
Create a routine: Establishing a daily routine can help you better gauge the passage of time and stay on task.
Break tasks into smaller chunks: Breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks can help make them feel less overwhelming and more doable.
Use alarms: Setting reminders or alarms can help keep you on track and ensure you don't lose track of time.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness exercises can help you stay present and in the moment, which can help you better understand the passage of time.
What's working for you??
I’m ecstatic to share this episode featuring my incredible friend and ADHD Coach, Meredith Carder. I really loved this episode about imposter syndrome & people pleasing - and I know you’re going to relate to it so much.
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As always, your support means the world to me and I’m so grateful for this community. Have a beautiful day