Time Awareness with ADHD: How Productivity and Efficiency Are Affected

Oh, sorry, I lost track of time!

Sense of time, otherwise known as time awareness, can have an impact on so many aspects of one’s life, from completion of tasks, maintenance of your environment and even quality of life.

Identifying your weaknesses may be crucial to your success with time awareness.

Many executive functioning impairments can disrupt time awareness, making it difficult to shift tasks, create priorities and estimate availability. The ability to plan, sequence tasks, and estimate time (past, present and future) can also be disrupted. The passage of time in general can be a struggle for certain individuals.

Executive functioning impairments such as ADD and ADHD, physical and chemical imbalances, genetics and environment are a few factors that can affect time awareness. These factors can help or hinder the executive functions it takes to run your schedule well.

Let’s discuss ADHD. For an individual with ADHD, boring or stressful tasks may seem to take forever since their biochemical functions are barely giving enough energy to complete them. Whereas, interesting or exhilarating tasks seem to go by quickly, and chemical processes give you a boost to hyper-focus on the task at hand. However, hyper-focus equals loss of time awareness. In this state, concentration and focus are high with little to no attention given to the passage of time. Therefore, training yourself to use your hyper-focus rather than it using you is necessary.

Next, let’s dive into mood, and/or chemical and physical imbalances –each can affect your sense of time. The ability to shift between and choose priorities may be hampered by your emotional status. Happiness, sadness and irritability are just a few moods that can affect your perception of time. Time may seem to be passing extremely slowly or, contrarily, too quickly. Ask yourself this question: Do you need a last minute, anxiety induced chemical rush to start or finish a project? Is it hard to get yourself in the mood to do a task? If you answered yes to any or all, then what strategies can you use to help boost your mood? Calculate how far away from a deadline a task can be completed, yet still motivate you to act. Make sure to anticipate and prepare for the emotional reaction you will experience with each given task. Finally, schedule time for renewal, nutrition and fun to balance your mood.

There may be many implications of a poor sense of time.

Social consequences for being consistently late or early to meetings can make life tense and trust can be broken for both reasons. Your self-esteem can be damaged if you blame or reprimand yourself or others for time awareness and planning instabilities. So, it is important to choose kindness and use external help, such as calendars, timers and an accountability partner.

Sleep deprivation can cause many physical and mental issues. Poor planning, late night hyper-focus, anxiety and nutritional imbalances could be causes of sleep deprivation. The implications of sleep deprivation rarely only fall on the deprived. Those around you could be receiving the unwanted detriments of a sleep deprived individual.

Success comes from recognizing your shortcomings with time awareness and seeking help to improve them.

It is important to seek professional help to reorganize your daily life habits and institute new tools and behaviors to improve your time awareness and, eventually, your quality of life.

Reach out to us for for consultation, we would be happy to help!