HomeADHDSurprise! All aboard the ADHD Time Machine!

Thursday was a long day for me, even with my second class cancelled. Tutoring is hectic, and at one point, I was helping multiple people at the same time. The class I did have was spent working on poetry, which I’ve always struggled with. By the time I got home, I wanted nothing more than to eat something, curl up, and space out. However, being a student means homework. Being a college student means lots of homework.

After taking a break, I drafted an essay, worked on a story for an upcoming midterm portfolio, selected two more for edits, and did a little work for another class. When I returned to my planner to see if I got everything done, I was convinced it was Friday.

I already knew I was behind on my semi-self-imposed timeline, but that psychological time travel made it worse. So, I took to my planner, and, well…

The day view of a scribbled up planner.

Only after going to town with a pen did I realize it was still Thursday. This is why I can’t have nice things.

Time has always been rather strange to me. Even as a kid, I couldn’t give anyone an estimate on how long something would take me, because clocks just represented a series of numbers that didn’t matter to me. As that night demonstrated, I still have trouble with it.

It’s not something I’ve ever talked about. Why would I? How much differently can people perceive time? It’s like thinking about thinking, or talking about talking. We just think, and we just talk. We don’t consider how we do it until something goes awry. Time perception is the same way.

As it happens, it’s not just some personal quirk, but an ADHD symptom. I found study after study connecting this poor time perception to people with ADHD. According to one study , it plays a role in dyslexia, as well. When both are present, I guess the issues compound upon each other.

I’d always known time management is my primary organizational weakness. I’ve learned how to keep my paperwork in order, though I don’t always follow my system, but time management has always escaped me.

Like most people with delayed ADHD diagnosis, I figured out some accommodations on my own. For instance, I currently have 11 active alarms on my phone, and alerts set for each part of my routine in my scheduling app. That may seem excessive, but having that external backup allows me to focus without watching the clock. I still have issues with long term planning, but it takes care of the day to day.

Of course, now that it’s Sunday, and I’m struggling to wrap my head around some terrible news, those to-do lists still haven’t been touched. Life is so much more complicated than a label, but the label can simplify it when used for smart accommodation. I guess I still need more work on that last bit.


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