Understanding Time Blindness in ADHD (Time Agnosia)


time blindness

Time Agnosia is described as an inability to perceive the passage of time, usually due to a disorder involving the temporal area of the brain.**

Research suggests that those with ADHD struggle with time blindness. It creates some of the most severe disruptions in their lives.


What is the impact of Time Blindness on Organization and Time Management?

Adhd creates nearsightedness or blindness to time. Sometimes, this is referred to as “now, not now.” This means paying attention only to what’s now or right in front of you but having trouble planning for the future.

Time Blindness is a devasting deficit for those with ADHD.

 It creates problems at work, in relationships, and for the person with ADHD in organizing and managing their life.

It prevents you from planning your day and organizing your life in a way that can help you reach goals. It may seem like you are living from one crisis to the next because events don’t seem urgent until they are right upon you.

If you suffer from time blindness, it’s essential to understand it’s not your fault.

It can be an asset in some ways, as you can be deeply present and hyperfocus. These qualities may help you get things done in a crunch and develop your passion and creativity. It’s essential, when possible to harness and capitalize on this skill.

However, you likely also need to develop skills to compensate for your time blindness. Never fear; many women with ADHD become good at time management because they work hard to create external systems to help themselves.

If you’d like some tips to help with time blindness, you can find them here.


Use Real clocks everywhere.

It is essential to get a sense of time during your day. Using analog clocks rather than digital ones can help you see the passage of time better. This can also help your children learn time better if you have children with ADHD!


Work hard to use your mind to remind you about your past experiences.

Keep a journal where you write down your experiences to remember them. Ari Tuckman, therapist and ADHD coach suggests that remembering and bringing past experiences into the future can help you get that feeling into the present.

This can help you imagine the future in as much detail as possible, along with the feeling you will have if you don’t get something done. The more vivid, the more motivating it might be for you.

Russ Barkley says it’s hard for people with ADHD to “work back to look ahead to get ready for what’s coming up” and “By the time you feel it, it’s too late.”

This is a skill to work at.



Time Blocking

Many people have to-do lists and calendars and struggle endlessly with inefficient systems that don’t work for them.

The most effective way to plan for a person with adhd is to put tasks in their calendars in blocks. You start blocking out time for your tasks in your calendar and can start learning how long lessons take and learning about time. This way, you can ALSO see the totality of your day and what it looks like.

You may need to practice timing tasks to see how long they take because you don’t know how long things take because of your time blindness. That’s okay!

Making mistakes is a part of learning. Things often take longer than you anticipate. You may need a few weeks to get the hang of how long things take with your calendar. Start logging the actual time using your clocks. This will really start to teach you about time. Begin to look at your schedule regularly to get a sense of what your day looks like. Some people prefer to look at it in the morning, while others like to do things at night.

If you have ADHD, time blindness is likely a significant issue. There are techniques that can help, though. Analog clocks can be beneficial because they show the passage of time more concretely. Time blocking also helps to manage time by chunking it into smaller intervals. And finally, learn how long things take to understand better what you’re working with. These techniques should help get you started on managing your time better.

Using a neurodivergent-friendly approach for time blindness. 

I also teach self-advocacy, self-accommodation, self-care, self-compassion, and other pivotal strategies from the flourish model in my office. 

Practice self-advocacy by communicating with others that you have difficulty with time and why. 

Finding people who can be supportive rather than critical and who are flexible and understanding.

Learning to practice self-compassion for your brain-based differences and using your environment as much as possible to support you. For example, building in lots of buffer time to help you so you aren’t late for appointments. 

Practice self-care by getting enough sleep and managing your stress. Stimulants have also been shown to improve time blindness in adhd people. 

Have you tried any of these methods? What has worked best for you?

 

Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.