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LAtest Wellness News
March 4, 2024
Robert Simms

You Won’t Believe How ADHD Time Blindness Is Hijacking Your Day!

Hey folks,

As I’ve explained before, the journey to my own ADHD diagnosis began through the process of my daughter getting her own ADHD diagnosis. The similarities in our behaviours and personalities were striking, leading me to realize that I should probably get assessed as well. This experience brought to light not only my ADHD but also a particular aspect that subtly influenced my daily life: time blindness.

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is characterized by a range of symptoms, but today, we’re focusing on time blindness. This term refers to the difficulty in perceiving and managing time effectively, a common challenge for individuals with ADHD. Time blindness can make it hard to estimate how long tasks will take or to adhere to schedules, often leading to a sense of being constantly behind or out of sync.

In my practice at Embodied Resilience, and through personal experience, I’ve seen how time blindness can covertly disrupt routines, work, and personal life. My aim here is to shed light on this aspect of ADHD, offering insights and strategies that have proven effective for myself and my clients.

Understanding and managing time blindness is crucial for improving daily functioning and well-being. In the following sections, we will explore the impact of time blindness, identify its signs in daily life, and introduce practical strategies for overcoming its challenges.

Join me in exploring the nuances of time blindness within ADHD, and together, let’s discover approaches to navigate our days with greater clarity and control.

Understanding Time Blindness

Time blindness refers to the difficulty in accurately perceiving and managing time. This can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Underestimating or overestimating how much time has passed or how long a task will take.
  • Difficulty sticking to schedules or deadlines.
  • Feeling like time is slipping away or moving too fast.
  • Being frequently late or unprepared.

While not a formal diagnosis, time blindness is a common experience for individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Research suggests a strong link between the two, with studies demonstrating that individuals with ADHD exhibit significant differences in time perception compared to the general population [1].

Why is this so? Several potential explanations exist:

  • Executive Function Deficits: ADHD is associated with difficulties in executive functions, which are cognitive processes responsible for planning, organization, and time management. Individuals with ADHD may struggle to internalize the passage of time and break down tasks into manageable steps, leading to time management challenges [2].
  • Dopamine Imbalance: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in motivation, focus, and reward processing. Studies suggest that individuals with ADHD may have challenges regulating dopamine levels, potentially impacting their ability to estimate time accurately and stay motivated on tasks, leading to time blindness [3].
  • Internal vs. External Cues: Time perception relies on both internal cues (e.g., body rhythms) and external cues (e.g., clocks, schedules). Individuals with ADHD may struggle to interpret internal cues effectively, making them more reliant on external cues which can be easily overlooked when hyperfocused on a task [4].

Personal Experiences with Time Blindness:

I’ve seen, both personally and professionally, how time blindness can negatively impact your life. I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought “This will only take me 5 minutes” and it actually ends up taking 15 minutes or more. Especially when it feels like it’s something that “should” be quick and easy to do.

Alternatively, it can be so easy for me to get lost in something I’m doing, especially if it’s enjoyable, that I completely forget about any other appointments or meetings that I may have. I have to be very mindful of the time in my sessions and am constantly looking for solutions to help me be more conscious of the time so I don’t go over time in session and end up running late for my next client, or don’t have time to attend to my own needs like getting enough water or bathroom breaks.

This time blindness can also be a contributing factor to why some people with ADHD struggle to start doing anything if they have an appointment or meeting later in the day. The worry about getting absorbed into something and forgetting about it is very real and can be paralyzing.

Recognizing time blindness in your life is the first step toward reclaiming control. It’s about noticing those patterns and moments when time seems to slip through your fingers. Are there tasks or activities that consistently take longer than you expect? Do you often find yourself rushing at the last minute, despite having had ample time to prepare?

Addressing time blindness isn’t just about better planning or stricter schedules; it’s about understanding and working with your unique ADHD brain, not against it. In the next section, we’ll dive into practical strategies and tools that can help turn the tide, drawing on both professional insights and personal experiences. Stay tuned, and let’s tackle this time gremlin together!

Identifying Time Blindness in Your Life: A Guide to Self-Discovery

Ever feel like you’re living in a different time zone from the rest of the world, one where minutes either drag on for days or slip away like sand through your fingers? If that sounds familiar, you might be experiencing the elusive trickster of the ADHD world: time blindness. But how do you catch something you can’t see? Let’s embark on a little detective work together.

Start with Reflection: Think about a typical day. Do you find yourself constantly checking the clock, surprised at how much (or how little) time has passed? Maybe you’ve intended to spend only 10 minutes on a task, only to realize an hour has flown by. These moments of surprise are your first clue.

Patterns and Pitfalls: Notice the tasks or activities that consistently trip you up. Is it long, open-ended projects, or perhaps those quick, “I’ll just do this for a minute” tasks that spiral out of control? For me its the last one. It’s amazing how quickly those little buggers can eat up the time you thought you had. Identifying these patterns can shine a light on where time blindness has its grip on you.

The Procrastination Connection: Often, we put off tasks, thinking we have plenty of time, only to find ourselves in a panic as deadlines loom. If you’re frequently underestimating how long tasks will take, leading to last-minute rushes, time blindness might be at play.

Emotional Check-In: How do you feel about time? Anxious, frustrated, indifferent? Your emotional response to time management can provide insights. If the thought of scheduling or planning fills you with dread, it might be time to explore why. I often struggle with scheduling tasks that need to be done, outside of confirmed appointments, because I struggle with knowing how long something will “actually” take me.

Feedback from Others: Sometimes, the mirror we need is held by those around us. Have friends, family, or colleagues commented on your sense of time? Maybe they’ve noticed your chronic lateness or how you seem rushed all the time. This external perspective can be invaluable.

The Aha Moments: Pay attention to those “aha” moments when you realize time has slipped away. What were you doing? How did you lose track? Understanding these scenarios can help you pinpoint triggers.

Recognizing time blindness in your life isn’t about self-criticism; it’s about self-awareness. By identifying these patterns and signs, you’re taking a crucial step toward managing your time more effectively. Remember, it’s not about fixing yourself; it’s about adapting strategies to work better with your unique brain wiring. Up next, we’ll explore some of these strategies, turning insights into action. Let’s dive in!

Strategies for Managing Time Blindness: Turning Insight into Action

So, you’ve spotted the elusive time gremlin lurking in your day-to-day life. Now what? It’s time to arm yourself with some practical strategies to tame that gremlin and make peace with time. Here are some tried-and-true tactics from both my professional practice and personal playbook:

1. Embrace Visual Time Aids: Keep time visible with clocks, timers, and calendars strategically placed in your daily environment. A visual reminder of time passing can be a powerful motivator to stay on task and avoid getting lost in activities.

  • Implement Time Blocking: Organize your day into specific time blocks dedicated to particular tasks or types of work. This approach not only aids in structuring your day but also helps in making time a more tangible concept to manage.
  • Set Alarms and Reminders: Use technology to your advantage by setting alarms and reminders for starting and ending tasks, as well as for breaks. These auditory cues serve as external prompts to keep you aligned with your schedule.
  • Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Large projects can be overwhelming. Break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. This method not only makes the work seem less daunting but also allows for more frequent moments of accomplishment and progress tracking.
  • Cultivate Self-Compassion: Recognize that managing time blindness is an ongoing process, and be kind to yourself along the way. Celebrate your successes, learn from setbacks, and understand that each day presents a new opportunity for improvement.

By integrating these strategies into your life, you’re not just managing time blindness; you’re reclaiming your day and reshaping your relationship with time. There are many different methods and these are only a few. Experiment, find what works for you and remember, every step forward is a victory.

Creating a Supportive Environment: Essentials for Nurturing Growth

Managing ADHD and time blindness can be a team effort. Here’s how to forge an environment that champions your growth and understanding, distilled into five key points:

1. Communicate Openly: Kickstart the process with honest conversations with those around you about your experiences with time blindness. Sharing insights and challenges fosters empathy and sets the stage for mutual support.

2. Utilize Visual Aids and Reminders: Integrate visual cues in your surroundings to keep time on your radar. This could be the strategic placement of clocks, the use of colour-coded calendars, or setting up notifications on your devices. These aids act as gentle nudges, keeping you aligned with your schedule.

3. Forge Clear Boundaries: Establishing and communicating boundaries is crucial for managing expectations and safeguarding your time and energy. It’s about knowing when to say no and making peace with prioritizing your needs.

4. Seek and Cultivate Support Networks: Connect with communities, whether online or in person, that resonate with your journey. These networks provide a rich tapestry of experiences, strategies, and encouragement, reminding you that you’re not navigating this path alone.

5. Embrace Tools and Technology: Arm yourself with tools and apps designed to ease time management and organization. From digital planners to smart alarms, find the tech that clicks with your lifestyle and makes time management less of a chore and more of a seamless part of your day.

Creating a supportive environment is about laying down a foundation where understanding, adaptability, and mutual respect thrive. It’s about making your space—both physically and emotionally—a haven that supports your journey towards managing time blindness with grace and confidence.

Embracing the Journey: A Conclusion on Navigating Time Blindness

As we wrap up our exploration of time blindness within the ADHD landscape, it’s clear that this journey is as much about self-discovery as it is about strategy. Recognizing and managing time blindness isn’t just a series of steps; it’s an ongoing process of adapting, learning, and growing.

We’ve delved into the impact of time blindness, not just on schedules and deadlines, but on our emotional well-being and relationships. Identifying its presence in our lives is the first step towards empowerment. From there, we’ve uncovered practical strategies to tame this elusive beast, turning insights into tangible actions that weave seamlessly into our daily lives.

Creating a supportive environment has shown us the power of community, communication, and the right tools in fostering a space where we can thrive, not despite our ADHD and time blindness, but alongside it. This journey is personal and unique, yet universally shared among those of us navigating these waters.

In closing, remember that managing time blindness is a dynamic, ever-evolving process. Celebrate your victories, learn from the challenges, and remain open to adapting your strategies as your needs and circumstances evolve. Most importantly, extend compassion to yourself and others on this journey. We’re all doing our best with the time we have.

Let’s continue to share our stories, strategies, and successes. Together, we can turn the tide on time blindness, embracing each day with confidence, clarity, and a sense of control. Here’s to moving forward, one mindful moment at a time.


Sah, P., et al. (2016). Clinical Implications of the Perception of Time in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Review. Journal of Attention Disorders, 20(5), 437-450.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6556068/)

[Barkley, R. A. (2010). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for diagnosis and treatment (4th ed.). Guilford Press.]

Castellanos, F. X., et al. (2007). Imaging time perception abnormalities in ADHD: Deficits in the cerebellum. Biological Psychiatry, 62(7), 776-784.:

Malmo, H. P. (2007). On the timing of behaviour. Psychological Bulletin, 84(2), 220-244.: https://psycnet.apa.org/search

About Us

Our practice focuses on 4 distinct areas: navigating the journey of adult-diagnosed ADHD, fostering healthier communication between couples, unraveling the complexities of people-pleasing to establish firm boundaries, and addressing Indigenous issues alongside the intricate challenges of complex PTSD. What sets our clinic apart from others is that all of our practitioner’s have lived experience in the area of service that they are providing.

We understand what you are experiencing BECAUSE we have experienced it ourselves, and are still living/dealing with it. This practice was started and has grown on the idea of authenticity, transparency and connection. These values are the bedrock of our practice and the guiding principles in our interactions with you. We invite you to join us on this journey of growth and self-discovery, as we collectively strive towards realizing the fullest potential of our lives. Let's all work together towards building our best life.

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