Time Challenges and ADHD Tendencies


Ask anyone who struggles with ADHD tendencies, and they are sure to tell you that the concept of time can be challenging.

In fact, not just the concept of time but being on time, scheduling time, prioritizing things, knowing the length of time something will take, how long it will take to get somewhere, how long it will actually take to get out the door, how much can be done in a certain amount of time, how to spend time that is suddenly "extra", the list goes on.

A big part of the reason for that struggle is because of what's known as our Executive Function (EF). Executive Function is a group of mental processes that help us to get things done. They help us to organize, plan and connect the dots between our past and experiences and our present. Estimating time, awareness of the passing of time and prioritizing all fall under the management of our (EF).

If we look more closely at the awareness of time, for the "neuro-typical" aka "non-adhd" brain, time moves along a line, like a timeline. There are hours, minutes, days, weeks, months and years that are considered. For the "ADHD tendency" brain, time tends to move in a circle. There are really only two measurements of time, now and not now. Because of this, people with ADHD tendencies can have a difficult time grasping the concept of time and tend to have trouble judging how quickly it's passing. In the "not now" period, nothing is urgent. There is plenty of time. When suddenly something moves into the "now" period, everything becomes an emergency and panic mode can set in. Any of this sound familiar?

Many of my clients are super hard workers that are committed to getting things done. Where things can get messy is in determining how long it will take to get it done. A new project will come their way that they are very excited about. They often have the best of intentions and may think faster is better, many of them can be very detail oriented and are aware of their tendency to get trapped in the weeds. Because of this they may err against that tendency and commit to completing something sooner than is possible. They often commit without having any real sense of how long it should take. That "sense" of time can just be off. 

One simple strategy to help with this is to guesstimate how long something will take-either how long it will take to complete it, or how long it will take to get somewhere etc. Once you come up with a length of time, DOUBLE IT! That's right, times two. This simple step alone will start to shift you into the time-awareness zone and out of the twilight zone! Once you do that, pay attention on the back end of things and ask yourself: 

How was my timing?

Did I allow too much time? Not enough time?

Would I do it the same next time?

While we're talking about time, there's no time like the present! Why don't you take a quick second and book a 30 minute mini-session with me? If you could wake up tomorrow and feel differently or do something differently, what would it be?

There's no commitment, and I know that coaching can help. I'd love to hear what you're struggling with and offer some help. Things can get better starting right now.