44: the one about time blindness

SHARE

Close up on a conceptual clock with the text early late and on time. Concept of good timing and choosing the right moment. 3D illustration.
SHARE THIS EPISODE

Description:

Does time work for or against you? Is there never enough? Are you in a race against time? Does it drag so slowly that it impacts your actions and mood? What do others say about you and time? Today we are discussing why time is slippery with ADHD, living in now/not now, and how to start getting time on our side.
 
Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle Podcast, for those of us with ADHD, who have had enough of trying harder and want to live a more comfortable, healthy, and happy life with less frustration and overwhelm. It’s time to get rid of guilt and shame–around having ADHD, our needs, and challenges through stories, knowledge, and humor to speak up about the experience of women, moms, and being late diagnosed with ADHD. 
 
We can build acceptance and growing our self-compassion over time, to help us take care of ourselves, ask for help when we need it, and be comfortable with who we are. Join me, Moira Maybin, as I share knowledge about ADHD to make your life easier, and what choices you have to make your tomorrow a more ADHD Friendly day.
 
Thank you for being part of the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle, hosted by Moira Maybin. Subscribe to the show on the podcast player of your choice and leave a rating and review. Join the conversation today!
 
Have a question suggestion or want to reach out? Email Ask@adhdfriendlylifestyle.com

Show Notes:

Topics discussed in today's episode:

TS 01:22 Moira: Are you always late, on time, or close enough to be on time? 

  • everyday experiences of what it is like to have ADHD and being on time, late, or early.  

TS 05:17 Moira: an ADHD brain has distinct neurological differences perceiving time 

  •  where do our challenges with monitoring, evaluating, and estimating time come from 

TS 07:33 Moira: Living life in Now and Not Now

  • how to end the struggle with time by beginning to understand our see & feel time

TS 09:37 Moira: ADHD & Time Management can = Negative thoughts and stories

  • What can we do when we struggle with lateness or managing time and why is there hope for the future.  

TS 12: 33 Moira Recap 

  1. People with ADHD have a different orientation to time than neurotypicals due to differences in how our brains perceive time passing  
  2. Without ways to bridge these differences, it can be tough to manage time and ADHD successfully, leading to the incorrect assumption—there is one more thing wrong with us.   
  3. To adult, time management is a fundamental piece, and there are ways we can lessen our time blindness and struggle.  
  4. We can increase our time awareness by gently noticing our stories and thoughts about time. 

Resources:

Transcript:

Moira Maybin  00:00 I acknowledge that I live, work, and play on the shared, unceded territories of the Semiahmoo First Nation. The Semiahmoo People have been stewards of this land since time immemorial.  

Does time work for or against you? Are you in a race against time? Does it drag so slowly that it impacts your actions and moods? Is there never enough of it? What do others say about you and time? Today we’re discussing why time is slippery with ADHD. Living in the now and not now and how to start getting time on our side.  

Moira Maybin  00:42 Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle. I’m your host, Moira Maybin, a woman, Mom, and educator, and I have late diagnosed ADHD. The more I know about my ADHD; the easier life is to make different decisions, ones that are more ADHD friendly. This is the place to practice getting rid of guilt or shame and spend more time with our strengths and passions. I want to share all of this with you. For show notes including next steps, resources, and articles on this topic visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle.com. 

Moira Maybin  01:22 Recently I noticed this FB post, ‘“This isn’t a very sexy topic but has anyone else overcome chronic lateness? I’m always running 5-10 minutes late. My husband is always 20-30 minutes late, and now we have a 9-year-old following in our footsteps. I need to get it together because getting us all anywhere, along with our baby, is a gong show!”  

How many of us can relate? Many, but not all of us. There are some with ADHD who have honed abilities or lifestyles that include managing time well. But as much as we share, we don’t have all the same struggles, and our challenges can ebb and flow over our lives. If you’d like to hear more about this, check out episode 32. The one about ups and down.  

Moira Maybin  02:11 Most people with ADHD see themselves as chronically late super early, or those of us who slide in just on time in a full sweat. Often early birds get there for reasons other than excellent time management. Knowing that when Dr. Tamara Rosier was on Will Curb’s Hacking your ADHD podcast, she mentioned that she will consider anxiety a little more closely in her ADHD patients who arrive very early. This made sense, because I unknowingly used anxiety to manage so much of my undiagnosed ADHD. The concern, worry or unpleasant feelings about possibly being late is enough to make sure it doesn’t happen.  

Moira Maybin 02:55 I understand the benefits of early arrival, but you will never find me anywhere extremely early of my own accord. Waiting takes a toll on me and I try to avoid it. When I say I have a hard time waiting, it’s not simply passing the time or being neutral. Waiting can be painful. I now recognize a physical feeling a sense of unease, capacity burned at a higher rate, patience, flexibility and emotional management. Waiting reduces all of these, and my level of concern about what I am waiting for impacts me too. Previous experience with less than positive appointments contribute as well. While having something to do while waiting helps partially. There are ways to accommodate or work with this part of me, which we’ll get into in future episodes. Limiting waiting is a driving force in my time management to show up just in time, not late. If I am late, it’ll be about five to 10 minutes late, usually only when it’s okay to do that. When it’s not, or I’m cutting it close. I’m the hot, sweaty mess, trying to come in quietly and not be noticed.  

Moira Maybin  04:06 An ADHD brain shared that they are chronically late for things that don’t have significant consequences. They forget the required parts between what they’re currently doing and the next thing, like the drive, needing to prep the car, finding things they need, the list could go on and on. The other part is thinking that everything only takes about 10 minutes. Despite things that we know change, like the weather time of day. We can take best case scenarios that happen once and expect the timing to be the same every other time. Either we don’t think about it, or we just hope it could be that way. With ADHD and time sometimes it’s earlier actions or inactions that used up the time, and now being late is unavoidable. We come by these challenges honestly, because we live in a world that experiences, speaks about and uses time differently than we do. The time management manual for neurotypicals doesn’t make sense. We need translations to make our own owner’s manual work.  

Moira Maybin  05:17 There are neurological differences in an ADHD person’s brain, and how we perceive time passing. It impacts our ability to estimate time, assess how long something takes, determine how much time has already been spent, or gauge timing for future tasks. For example, when engaged with something of interest, we lose our sense of time. And yet it feels like time is moving very slowly, or not at all when doing something that doesn’t interest us.  

Research has identified multiple neurological areas with differences in ADHD brains. In the central nervous system this impacts our perception of time, and altered activity in our frontal lobe affects the ability to estimate time. We also know that differences in the prefrontal cortex and the pathways that control dopamine, a key neurotransmitter in ADHD, play a role. In plain English, it’s hard to know how long we need to do something because our sense of time is unclear. That’s why we make estimates on best case scenarios, which happened once in 2005. It made enough of an impression that we remember it.  

Moira Maybin  06:28 That feeling we get when it seems there’s heaps of time before something else? That’s another part of it. For a future event to feel close, it must also be in the here and now before a sense of imminence exists. That can cause problems including procrastination, as pending starts much later for us. Even when our brain our loved one tells us our timing is off, and we need to get going the feeling that we’ve got enough time is compelling. Once that realization hits that time is too short, boom, a whole host of negative thoughts, feelings or actions can descend on us.  

Essentially, our natural tendency is to experience time and doing as now or not now, now is right now, the foreseeable, not now is everything else. It could be an hour from now on some days, or tomorrow, or next week. I hear a lot of people with ADHD say, “I can’t even think of” about any timeframe in the future. The timeframe switches for me, depending on how I’m doing.  

Moira Maybin 07:33 We can understand and learn to live within a time world starting with understanding our own experience of time now and not now can show up and considering the future. The future falls into not now where everything feels of equal importance. When we add in our challenges with monitoring, evaluating and estimating time, this can all become extremely difficult. As I work on this episode in mind now, one part of me suggests that it’s time to move on with my day. Still another part of me, the one that always thinks it smarter, is saying I don’t want to stop for many good reasons. I’m finally in a groove. I’m behind schedule due to events that were beyond my control. I didn’t allow myself enough time to get started. I don’t know when I’ll get back to this. And I really have no clue how much longer I will want or need to write. It’s hard to figure out how much time any of this will take. All I know is what I want to do right now. And everything else I need to do is forgotten or tucked away in ambiguous variable, not now. There’ll be enough time right? Probably. Maybe. Oh. Do you have someone well known in your life for being late? Is it you? There’s no shame or judgment here. I ask only to share that the notoriety of chronic lateness can worsen the situation because when people expect someone to be late, it’s more likely that they will be and let’s be honest, repeated struggle with lateness doesn’t get much sympathy or support in our society. It’s considered by many to be a character flaw. Except we have a different orientation to time the neurotypicals. The incorrect assumption is that there’s one more thing wrong with us. There’s no point in trying to be on time. That’s how our stories and thoughts about ourselves can become self-fulfilling, and self-sabotaging. 

Moira Maybin 09:37 Thoughts and stories that lead to procrastination, perfectionism, paralysis, apathy, uncertainty, confusion, shame, fear, anxiety, and avoidance are typical responses. Nice. I’m inviting you to consider that our differences and how we perceive and experience time, combined with struggles, or adverse consequences could have led to those responses for good reasons. To protect ourselves, to try and help ourselves, and do the best we could with what we knew or had. Now, the more aware of them we are, the easier it is to make conscious choices. We don’t have to conquer fear or heal wounds. Awareness of them allows a better understanding of what’s in the way.  

Moira Maybin 10:37 So what can help? One of the most exciting recent developments in psychology is knowing that personal qualities aren’t set in stone, but can be malleable. Noticing our thoughts and stories is a way to ease ourselves into this area gently. In addition, time management is fundamental in adulting. So I invite you to consider the stories thoughts and experiences you have with time. 

Moira Maybin  11:06 This approach may raise an eyebrow, especially as we often are looking for the answer or solution to our challenges. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve thought “if I could just get it figured out and then lock it in,” like we’re some sort of automaton while the appeal of giving up an angst or uncertainty is strong. I also know that once I have something figured out or routine in place, it’s easy to become less interested or look for the next best thing. We love novelty, even when we are exhausted by change. In the next few episodes, there will be tangible things you can try. But as I usually offer experiments and practice, there’s no one way. Take what you need and leave what you don’t.  

Moira Maybin 11:51 One more thing before we get to the recap. A few days after that Facebook post, another ADHD brain shared with me that after his ADHD diagnosis in his early 60s, he began to learn about ADHD, his time perceptions, and ways to manage a lot of stuff around that. Two years later, he credits that for his most significant change, showing up on time, even being early. And that changed many other things, mainly, as he put it, not showing up with your hat in hand and apologizing because you’re late. 

Moira Maybin  12:33 Okay, you’ve done the hard work by staying to the end, your reward. Here are the main takeaways from today’s episode.  

  1. People with ADHD have a different orientation to time than neurotypicals due to differences in how our brains perceive time passing 
  2. Without ways to bridge these differences, it can be tough to manage time and ADHD successfully, leading to the incorrect assumption—there’s one more thing wrong with us.  
  3. To adult, time management is a fundamental piece, and there are ways we can lessen our time blindness and struggle. 
  4. We can increase our time awareness by gently noticing our stories and thoughts about time.  So stay tuned for the next episode The one about time awareness.  

Moira Maybin Thank you for joining us for today’s episode. If you liked this episode, follow us, tune in again, and if you know someone who will be inspired or encouraged by listening to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle, please share this podcast. You can find the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle on your favorite podcast player. So go ahead and take a moment to subscribe right now to make sure you’ll never miss an episode. 

Do you have a question for the podcast? Email Ask@adhdfriendly.com. There are increasing resources, supports and podcasts for those with ADHD. Two to have on your playlist are ADHD Essentials, hosted by Brendan Mahan, and Hacking your ADHD with Will Curb. Brendan covers many topics related to parenting and family life with ADHD. Will focuses on tools, tips, and insights that always inspire.  

Living with ADHD on friendlier terms starts with knowledge, community, hope and laughter. For more golden nuggets, follow adhd friendly lifestyle on Facebook and Instagram, where we share light-hearted expressions of life with ADHD alongside ideas and resources. Happy listening! We’ll be back again with you on the next one!  

 

Popular Posts

THANKS FOR LISTENING!

Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. This is the place for the late-diagnosed, women, moms, professionals, those who want to understand ADHD, be heard, and know they are not alone. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)
Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. This is the place for the late-diagnosed, women, moms, professionals, those who want to understand ADHD, be heard, and know they are not alone. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. This is the place for the late-diagnosed, women, moms, professionals, those who want to understand ADHD, be heard, and know they are not alone. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

Moira maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)