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ADHD and Lateness - What is Time Blindness?

ADHD and Lateness – What is Time Blindness?

ADHD and Lateness - What is Time Blindness?

For people with ADHD, time can be a slippery concept because they often have difficulty estimating how much time has passed or how much time is remaining. This is known as time blindness.

Due to their chronic sense of being behind, people with ADHD can feel overwhelmed and frustrated by time. However, there is hope! With creative planning and self-awareness, people with ADHD can manage their time more effectively.

What time blindness looks like:

– Difficulty knowing how long it will take to complete a task

– Overestimating or underestimating the time available to complete a task

– Losing track of time easily

– Having trouble sticking to time limits

– Being late for everything

What is time blindness?

If you have ever felt like time is passing you by or that it’s hard to estimate how long something will take, you may be time blind. This term describes someone who struggles with the concept of time. For people with ADHD, this can often become a challenge as they may get so focused on the task at hand that they lose track of surrounding time.

Individuals who suffer from time blindness have difficulty planning and scheduling activities since they can’t predict how long anything will take.

If you’re always forgetting appointments or running late, you may have time blindness. Time blindness is not diagnosable, but it’s a symptom often associated with ADHD and other executive functioning disorders. If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor about it.

Some treatments and accommodations can help you manage time more effectively. Learning to manage your time can be a game-changer for people with ADHD. It can help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed by your to-do list.

What causes time blindness?

A hidden symptom that many with ADHD suffer from is poor time management.

Time blindness occurs when an individual cannot accurately gauge the time, and it may be due to neurological differences or issues with working memory.

There is no known cause of time blindness, but it is often associated with ADHD and other executive functioning disorders. Research suggests that genetic and environmental factors may cause time blindness.

When You Have ADHD, How Does Time Blindness Show Itself?

“Time blindness,” a term used to describe those with ADHD’s difficulties relating to time, is a typical problem. They may be slow in recognising when it’s time to move on or how much time they have left before something happens, leading to missed deadlines, inability to estimate time for homework, and so on.

They may also have trouble creating a realistic schedule or following one. It’s aggravating to have time blindness, making it difficult to complete tasks.

A person who is time blind often has a long history of missing essential appointments, being late for work, getting in trouble at school, and being penalised with hefty fines and penalties.

“ADHD tax” refers to the costs incurred by individuals with ADHD due to lateness, poor judgment or lack of attention.

Having time blindness can make it challenging to complete tasks on time, resulting in frustration and feeling overwhelmed. However, with creativity and self-awareness, people with ADHD can manage their time more effectively.

Time blindness is a term used to describe someone who struggles to estimate how much time has passed.

However, there are ways to manage it. Understanding and managing your time blindness can improve productivity and reduce stress levels.

How to manage ADHD and time blindness

Having ADHD and time blindness can be a frustrating experience for the person with ADHD and their friends, families, and co-workers. There are ways to manage time blindness, however. With creativity and self-awareness, people with ADHD can learn to live with their time blindness and still be productive.

Determine which areas will be most affected

The good news is that there are things you can do to manage the impact of time blindness on your life. Begin by identifying the areas where time blindness is most likely to cause problems, such as if you’re always running late for appointments.

Then, make a daily plan and stick to it as much as possible to better estimate how long it will take to complete tasks throughout the day.

A rough daily plan can help you stay on track and avoid getting overwhelmed. Be sure to schedule time for breaks, too!

Keep track of your time with applications, a timer, or a spreadsheet

Fortunately, there are a few techniques to deal with this ADHD symptom. A time-tracking software or spreadsheet is one option. You may get a better sense of where your time goes and where improvements are required by keeping track of how you spend it.

A timer to break down activities into more manageable parts is a good idea. Set a 20-minute timer, for example, and work on the project until it goes off. Take a quick rest after it sounds again before resetting the clock and beginning again.

To stay on top of time, try setting up visual reminders. Say you need to collect your child from school at 3:00 p.m; you could set the alarm on your phone and put it somewhere you’ll see it, so you don’t forget.

Give yourself a dose of dopamine.

It can feel overwhelming if you constantly battle against time blindness, especially when managing ADHD symptoms. The great news is that some easy lifestyle alterations can help improve the condition!

Neuroenhancements, such as coffee drinking and vitamin B6 intake, may help to enhance dopamine levels in the brain.

Vitamin D supplements can also boost dopamine levels and improve time blindness by exposing the body to sunlight and engaging in regular activity.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate focus, motivation, and concentration. Increasing dopamine levels makes it easier to manage time blindness and stay on track with your goals.

Understanding “The Time Horizon” will help improve your time management skills.

A method that can assist you is understanding “the time horizon”, the time you have available to plan and realistically do things.

Depending on the severity of someone’s ADHD, some people may only have a few minutes before moving on to another task, while others may be able to focus for an hour or more.

By learning about your personal “time horizon”, you can understand how to break tasks down into smaller parts and get a better estimate of how long each task will take.

For instance, if you’re aware that it requires 30 minutes to get ready for work each morning, you can give yourself 15 minutes before getting dressed instead of waiting until the last minute and feeling frazzled.

Although learning how to manage your time effectively takes time, strategies like this can help you slowly improve your sense of time and better stick to a schedule.

Music may help you get more focused.

You can’t alter time, but you may influence how you respond to it is the idea behind using music to cope with time blindness.

The first step is to locate a song with a consistent rhythm. Listening to music with a steady beat may help you keep track of time by establishing an auditory anchor.

Once you have found a suitable song, try focusing on the music rather than letting your mind wander. Listen for tempo, dynamics, and texture changes, and let the music transport you to another place. With time and effort, you will likely find that music can help keep you ‘in the moment’ and manage your “time blindness” better.

Apps like, Noisli and Focus@Will are designed to help you focus by providing background noise that won’t distract you. If time blindness is a struggle for you, consider giving one of these apps a try!

Music has many benefits, including reducing stress, improving sleep quality, and increasing focus. Try music if you’re looking for a natural way to enhance time blindness.

Include buffer time in your schedule

Adding buffer time to your schedule is another option. If you know it will take 30 minutes to complete a task, give yourself an hour to avoid feeling rushed or irritated.

Keep it interesting by changing things.

Having a rough schedule outline can be a massive help for time management, but it can also get boring quickly. To avoid this, try changing your routine from time to time.

If you always work on the same task at the same time each day, you may find it harder to focus. Mixing things up will help keep your brain engaged and improve your sense of time.

Regularly adjusting your schedule could mean setting yourself a daily or weekly plan and following it as closely as possible.

When you make changes to your routine, be sure to give yourself time to adjust. Sudden changes can be overwhelming, so gradually introduce new tasks or activities into your schedule.

Reduce overwhelm by breaking down challenging tasks

Large complex tasks can be overwhelming, especially if you’re already feeling behind. In these cases, it’s best to break the task into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Consider how you may complete a particular project or activity. Consider what subjects to write about first, and develop a list of relevant topics if you’re writing an essay or blog post. After you’ve decided on a topic, research using reliable sources. Then sit down and create the work.

Dividing a large project into more manageable chunks will allow you to devote your attention to each part and, as a result, work more productively overall.

Use a timer to stay on track.

A timer may help you stay on task if time blindness affects you. Using a timer to work for 30-minute intervals is a common technique.

Some people swear by a simple sixty-minute analogue timer you can pick up for around £15 from Amazon. Some people prefer digital timers that can be set for any time and include other features like alarms, like the Ticktime Pomodoro Timer. Simple kitchen timers and smart home assistants can also do the job!

According to some, analogue clocks let you see the minute hand ticking around the dial gradually, giving you a more accurate sense of how time is passing.

The purpose of any timer is to help you stay on track, whether passive or active. Set a timer for shorter periods if you find it difficult to concentrate for a long time. Take a five-minute break before beginning again if that’s the case.

Become aware of your time sucks.

One approach to deal with this inconvenient situation is to be conscious of your “time sucks.” For example, checking email or surfing the web takes longer than you think. Checking your email multiple times a day can be detrimental to productivity.

Try setting aside specific times throughout the day to check and answer emails and schedule some time for browsing the web. You don’t need to be glued to your inbox, or social media feeds all day long!

If you have difficulty managing your time, keeping a log of how you spend your days for a week or two could be beneficial. You will then understand where your time goes and which actions usually consume more time than others.

Once you’re conscious of what activities bog down most of your day, you can work on time management strategies for those specific activities.

You’ll be better equipped to manage your time and stay on track if you can identify when your time is sucking and figure out methods to limit it.

Get plenty of sleep

ADHD and late nights often go hand-in-hand. It can be tricky turning off your brain and getting to sleep when you’re used to working into the early morning hours.

While it’s not always possible to get a total of eight hours of sleep, aim for seven or six on weeknights.

Consider taking a nap during the day if you can’t seem to catch enough Zzzs at night. Just be sure not to nap for too long or too close to bedtime, as this could make it harder to fall asleep later.

People with ADHD often find it challenging to stick to a regular sleep schedule, and you’ll likely find that your sleep patterns ebb and flow throughout the week. However, it’s essential to do your best to get enough rest.

A lack of sleep can exacerbate ADHD symptoms and make time management more challenging.

A good night’s sleep is vital for anyone, especially those with ADHD. It allows them to focus better and concentrate throughout the day while simultaneously improving their mood, making it easier to handle difficulties as they arise.

Reset Your Focus Time

A good strategy is to reset your attention span. Every 20-30 minutes, pause to reset your internal clock.

When you give yourself time to step away from your work, you can come back feeling refreshed and can refocus your attention on the task at hand.

There are a few different ways to reset your focus time:

  • Get up and walk around for a couple of minutes.
  • Stretch or do some light exercises.
  • Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Step outside for some fresh air.

You can also use this time to check social media, answer emails, or take care of any other quick tasks that need to be done. Just be sure not to get too sidetracked, as this will defeat the purpose of resetting your focus time!

Whenever you feel yourself losing focus, take a break!

Get up and move around for a few minutes or do something completely unrelated to your work. This will help refresh your mind and body so you can return to your task feeling rejuvenated and ready to go.

Know your limits

Giving yourself some wiggle room in your schedule is key. Taking on too much or aiming to do too much in a day can lead to frustration.

Part of time management is knowing your limits. If you know you can’t focus for more than an hour at a time, don’t plan to work straight through the day without taking any breaks. Build in some time for yourself, so you can recharge and come back feeling refreshed.

Be realistic about how much time you need to complete a task and build in some extra time just in case. This will help reduce your stress levels and make it more likely that you’ll be able to finish what you set out to do.

Give yourself some breathing room in your schedule to account for life’s little surprises. You never know when something might come up, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Any slight change can ruin your plans if you’re too inflexible with your time.

Set reminders, alarms and timers

When time management isn’t your strong suit, you can make things easier on yourself by setting reminders, alarms and timers to help you stay on track throughout the day and ensure that you’re using your time wisely.

Giving yourself reminders and alarms can help you stay on top of your to-do list and make sure you’re making time for the things that are important to you. If you know you need to leave for an appointment at a specific time, set an alarm so you don’t forget and end up being late.

You can also use timers to help keep yourself focused while working on a task.

If you need to complete a project in an hour, set a timer for 50 minutes and work until it goes off. This will help you stay on track and make the most of your time.

ADHD coaching for time management strategies

If you find that you’re struggling to manage your time effectively, it may be helpful to seek out the assistance of a professional ADHD coach. They can help you develop personalised time management strategies that work for you and your unique needs.

Many people with ADHD have trouble keeping track of time, planning their days, and meeting deadlines. Consequently, life may frequently seem like a rushing blur, in which you can easily fall behind or miss crucial appointments. There are several strategies to deal with this issue.

One option for managing your ADHD is to get a specialist coach. An ADHD coach can help you with better time management, organisation skills, and meeting goals. People with ADHD can learn how to cope and lead successful lives with the proper support system.

If one-to-one coaching isn’t right for you, there are several online courses and support groups that may offer helpful hints and suggestions.

The ADHD Success Club, created by ADHD coach Dana Rayburn, offers time management strategies, organisation tips and other resources to help people with ADHD achieve their goals.

Similar subscription and membership-based services are becoming increasingly popular and offer an affordable way to get the support you need.

Many books, articles, blog posts, and other resources are available online that can provide helpful information about time management for people with ADHD.

A quick Google search will yield a wealth of results, so you’re sure to find something that works for you.

ADHD and being late for work

If you have ADHD and struggle to get to work on time, it’s important to develop a system that works for you. This may involve setting multiple alarms, packing your bag the night before, or getting a ride to work with someone else.

It’s also crucial to be honest with your employer about your ADHD and how it affects your ability to get to work on time

In the UK, employers have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities, so it’s essential to communicate your needs.

You could ask for a flexible start time or permission to work from home on days when you know you’ll struggle to get into the office on time.

If your employer is unwilling to make reasonable adjustments, you can seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.


Given the daily challenges those with ADHD face, it is crucial to extend compassion and understanding. While there are many ways to manage time blindness, they will require effort and practice.

Being late, missing appointments, and not turning up for work on time – are all things that can harm our lives. But for those with ADHD, time management can be a real challenge.

The concept of time blindness is not often spoken about but can have a profound impact on those who live with ADHD. It is important to be patient with yourself as you learn new time management skills and strategies. With time, you will develop a system that works for you and helps you to lead a successful life.

If you or someone you know struggles with managing their time, is constantly late or seems to be always playing catch-up, you can offer support and understanding. If time management is a chronic issue, it may be helpful to seek out the assistance of a medical professional or a professional ADHD coach who can help develop personalised time management strategies.

Do you have any time management tips or tricks that have helped you cope with ADHD? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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