Time Expectations

Time blindness is a very common symptom in individuals with ADHD. I’ve talked about it before, and there’s a lot of factors that go into time blindness. One thing to ask yourself when it comes to time blindness is this: Where am I getting the information on how long it takes to do something from? 

This can apply to anything- how long it takes to get ready, drive somewhere, complete a task, finish a project, etc. How long are you telling yourself the thing takes? 

Where did you get that time duration number from? 

How reliable is it? Where are you getting your time data? 

Have you kept a time log, or timed yourself, to see how accurate your time estimations are? What has that log revealed? 

What were the conditions in place where you pulled that number from? Do the same conditions apply? What is or isn’t different now from when you pulled that number from? 

What are some possible condition changes that could contribute to time estimation expectation changes? 

Do you find yourself finishing the thing before or after this time? 

What is your current number telling you? What impact is it having on your expectations? 

Sometimes we get a number in our head that worked for us in the past, but those conditions can no longer be met given new life circumstances. Let me give an extreme example. You live in one place that’s a ten-minute walk from work. Work starts at 9:00am so you wake up at 8:00am in order to get ready and walk to work and get there on time. Then you move to a new house that’s a 30-minute drive away. Work still starts at 9:00am but waking up at 8:00am no longer works and you are showing up to work 20 minutes late. You now have to wake up at 7:40am to get to work on time, and this 20 minute earlier wake up time may have a ripple effect on other areas of your life. Waking up 20 minutes earlier may mean you are more tired in the morning and are moving slower in your getting ready for work process, so you may have to go to bed earlier to manage that sleep deficit. What I’m saying is, we can’t hold ourselves to the same expectations we once had for ourselves when life circumstances change. We need to accommodate for change. 

This may mean our expectations on how long things take need to be adjusted. This is not something to feel shame or defeated about. If those feelings are creeping in, what are you telling yourself that is letting those feelings in? What needs to happen to combat those feelings? 

Time is tricky. It is always changing and always present. We need to show ourselves grace as our time expectations need to change depending on our life circumstances. 

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