stories27.01.23How to do the shit and show up when it counts.Vonsydney ellis
My day starts like any other: I get up, I brush my teeth, I get dressed. But whether or not I wake up when my first alarm goes off, each morning ends with a frantic rush to get out before I'm late for work. And when I'm there, I get lost in my to-do list. I'll be halfway through my first project when I realize it's time for lunch. I'd say I lose track of time a lot, but how can you lose something you never had? This daily struggle is called time blindness.
Although sometimes everyone is late (or accidentally misses an hour before bed with TikTok), time blindness is a symptom many people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) deal with every day, says licensed therapist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst.Laurie singer, LMFTwho has ADHD. "Time blindness can be extremely frustrating and wreak havoc in a person's life," Singer adds. That's partly because it can lead to problems like off-task behavior, lack of organizational skills, and difficulty concentrating.
Technically, time blindness is not recognized as an official symptom of ADHD. DSM-5-TR,the professional standard for classifying mental and neurodevelopmental disorders. but according toa 2019 clinical review of researchPeople with ADHD may perceive time differently than neurotypical people, and this has a lot to do with how ADHD affects the brain.executive functions, or the skills that support your working memory, self-control, focus, and time management.
So why are those of us with ADHD like this?investigators suspectthat the internal clock our bodies use to keep track of time while we do other things depends on our working memory. So if this doesn't work the way it's supposed to, you'll have a harder time keeping track of time. In fact, these brain differences can often make time appear to be passing faster than it actually is, causing one to underestimate how much time is passing, anotherrecent reviewsuggests.
For me, time doesn't seem to pass when I'm not aroundconstantchecking my phone. When I see that it's 10:32, it pretty much stays in my head as 10:32 until I look at the clock again. Since I really don't want to be late, I am very concerned about work appointments and social gathering places. I also tend to get overwhelmed because I have a hard time estimating how long a task or event will take, which leads to, you guessed it, more anxiety and stress.
If these issues sound familiar, here are some smart ways to deal with ADHD time blindness and the experts who treat it so you can get things done on a regular (or semi-regular) basis.
1. Hack your schedule.
Singer was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 50, but long before her diagnosis she realized that planning activities and tasks with a paper planner made time management much easier to wrap around her brain. She would "work backwards from the due date, as if she were training for a race." She encourages her clients with ADHD to use a planner to plan how they will spend the hours, or even the minutes, of her day. "Most people with ADHD, like me, are visual learners," Singer adds.
So if you have a big project, try breaking it down into smaller parts with their own due dates that you can tackle individually until your deadline. You can also use a planner to break your day into chunks of focused work that feel more manageable. "I would study for an hour, take a break, fold laundry, start cooking dinner, or go for a brisk walk. The results were amazing."
Finally, marking tasks on a paper planner provides a sense of accomplishment that can make the habit easier to stick with in the long run.
2. Try this ADHD-friendly timing method.
"Using the Pomodoro Technique works particularly well for people who work alone," he says.Crystal Britt Therapist, LCSW,who works with neurodiverse couples and has co-performingADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms. The part of this technique that is especially helpful for people who have trouble concentrating is to work on a task for 25 minutes until the timer goes off, and then take a five-minute break. When the break is over, return to the same task, repeat this pattern, enjoy a longer break every four rounds until done. By committing to short bouts of concentration, this method can keep you from getting distracted by things you'd rather be doing (like checking your phone, folding laundry, etc.). It can also help eliminate negative thoughts about how you manage your time or how long it might take to do something. "It helps keep [people with ADHD] engaged and takes the pressure off them," she says.
3. Schedule your most important tasks to get an idea of how long things will takeReallycarry.
Because people with ADHD often underestimate the time it takes them to do something, set a small time test for tasks you do often (or always underestimate), such as showering and getting ready for the day, repetitive work tasks, or even drop out of school. and collection - can help, says Britt. By keeping track of how long something takes you to do, you can make time-saving adjustments, such as: B. Take a shower at night to save time in the morning, or check your email toward the end of the day.
While the exact pace of each task may change, you'll have a better idea of the total time it takes to complete them. Practicing this has shown me that one of my weekly writing projects that I thought only took an hour actually took more than three. Now I write on my phone how long things usually take, like "I need an hour in the morning to get my kids ready for school and two hours before I go to bed." how much time is there really in my schedule to not overwork.
It can also help to fill out your schedule a bit to account for "working at different speeds for different tasks on different days," he says.Jennifer Alubaugh,who suffers from time blindness and is autistic with ADHD.
4. Get a real or virtual body double.
No, we are not suggesting that you clone yourself.body duplicationit basically means working on a task while another person, who is physically or virtually present, works alongside you or keeps you company while you work, says Britt. "Having a supportive presence available while you're working on something that feels boring is especially helpful when you're struggling with ADHD and time blindness."AsThis can help people with ADHD, it may force you to stick to a certain task for a certain period of time and force you to work on it, as this article shows.the organization for children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).
Britt personally uses the TikTok firstname.lastname@example.org, which is a "Virtual Focus Body Double Space" provided by a team of hostsein Live-Co-Working-Spaceand a sense of community for those who work from home. "Having a community of people collaborating with me at the same time helps make administrative work feel a little less awkward," she explains. Body mirroring can also help curb loneliness, whichsome research suggestsit is more common in people with ADHD. "Plus, the playlists are great." You can't argue with that!
5. Strategically plan your activities in the time warp.
Some tasks can cause hyperfocus in people with ADHD, which are "episodes of prolonged, highly focused attention" that adults with ADHD often report experiencing.suggests a small 2019 study. While that may sound ideal for avoiding distractions, hyperfocus can cause people with ADHD to experience even more temporary blindness, says a licensed professional counselorBriana L. Severine, LPC. For this reason, activities that some people with ADHD say lead to hyperfocus (such as playing video games, painting, or watching TV) are sometimes called "time warp activities."
Sometimes there is no way around them, e.g. B. when you hyperfocus while cleaning or answering work emails. However, if you know what tasks trigger your hyperfocus, you can engage in them when you don't have pressing plans or deadlines, adds Severine.
6. Set alarms and use visual timers.
If you forget to eat or lose hours due to hyperfocus, try using timers to break up your day.julianna coughlin,who has ADHD and time blindness, says she plans every hour of her day and sets alarms to stop one task, get ready for the next, and do other important things (like, you know, eat).
To me, this is akin to writing an itinerary, like: Sending emails from 10-11 AM. m., take a coffee break from 11 to 11:15 a.m. at 1:30 p.m. m. Then I set alarms to help me remember to switch tasks. This helps me make sure I don't accidentally spend three hours answering emails or skipping lunch.
With this hack, you can also plan after work how much time you have left to put your clothes away or snuggle up on the couch before bed.
If alarm clocks aren't your thing, try a visual timer.Jess Anderson, alias@adhdjesseShe says it's hard for him to "quantifiably feel the time of the future", which causes all his to-dos to get mixed up in "one giant messy box on the calendar". But using a digital color-changing timer or even a physical hourglass helps. "He may not feel the passage of time, but often I can tell the reduction of a visual indicator," she says.
7. If you can't think of something right now, set aside some time to plan.
Sometimes it's easy to fall into the "I'll do it later" trap and completely forget what you have to do. Because of this, Alumbaugh makes plans after plans. “For example, I make an appointment on my calendar in two weeks to schedule a task or event for two weeks after that,” he says. It's actually a clever way to remember something, even if you don't have the time or energy to do it right now.
For example, let's say you have to do your taxes but you're in the middle of a big work project or you're just plain exhausted. Setting a date on your calendar to list all the documents you need to collect can make the big project less daunting. After you've made your list, schedule another appointment to collect those papers and another to fill out the tax forms. Instead of putting it off because it's too overwhelming, you take responsibility.
8. Talk to a professional.
For more personal guidance on dealing with time blindness, consider speaking with a therapist who specializes in ADHD and executive functioning to help you achieve important goals and feel less stressed, says Severine. "This person can get to know you and help you try different strategies to get better."
Wondermind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a qualified health professional or mental health professional if you have any questions or concerns about your mental health.
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