Do you struggle terribly to keep track of time? Are you constantly setting a timer to remind yourself of upcoming events?
If so, you must be experiencing some form of Time Blindness.
Time blindness is a universal problem that typically affects an individual’s ability to judge the duration spent on a task. The condition is more common in ADHD patients, making it challenging to stay on task or stick with daily schedules.
Time blindness victims also suffer from anxiety and constant worry about meeting deadlines.
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Unfortunately, poor time management can seriously impact one’s life in several ways. When timing becomes a concern, an individual’s life can become very chaotic.
More specifically, time blindness can negatively affect:
- Household responsibilities
Although it’s hard to imagine the detrimental part of Time Blindness, this article seeks to provide solutions on how to cope better with the condition.
Time Blindness Explained
Time blindness, also known as time estimation impairment, is a neurological disorder that hampers a patient’s perception of timing or ability to estimate events’ duration accurately.
The term was introduced in the industry by a Pennsylvania-based scientist known as DR. Ari Tuckman.
Based on his analysis, time blindness patients are not disorganized as most people presume. Instead, they struggle to keep track of time and monitor how long specific tasks take.
As a result, they may over or underestimate the duration of an assignment. It is no surprise that you might find some individuals making extremely early appearances while others always come in late.
All the same, both scenarios point down to time blindness, even if the outcome differs.
It is worth mentioning that there is no definite answer on the causes of time blindness. However, some scientists believe that this condition results from impaired brain processing.
Other than that, poor time management skills may also contribute to an individual’s struggle in judging the duration spent on a particular activity.
Symptoms vary in different people, but the most common ones include:
- Difficulties in setting and sticking to schedules.
- Forgetfulness about routine or scheduled tasks such as visiting the dentist or attending appointments with friends and family.
- This is a typical symptom with people with ADHD who tend to experience time blindness more severely. It can also be a significant issue for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
- Feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed out due to concerns about time.
- Complexity in judging the speed of an event or how long it will last.
- Worrying constantly about meeting deadlines.
- Trouble completing tasks within the designated time frame.
In the long run, constant pressure to finish an assignment on time can trigger feelings of fear and overwhelm. If left unattended, the condition can escalate, leading to anxiety and other mental health concerns like ADHD.
Common Ways Humans Use to Perceive Time
Human brains measure the passage of time by keeping track of changes in their surroundings. For instance, every time something new occurs within your environment, you can estimate how long it took for that thing to happen.
Interestingly, time blindness does not affect all individuals in the same way. Some may find it difficult to estimate time, while others have a hard time recalling elapsed time.
For these reasons, experts categorized time duration estimation into three distinct groups:
1. Circadian Timing
This is the brain’s natural clock that regulates feelings, thoughts, and behaviors for 24-hour. The clock mainly runs after exposure to light and darkness.
Surprisingly, the body’s temperature, hormone production, and alertness can also get affected by circadian rhythm. Research has shown that about 1 in 25 people have a circadian rhythm disorder.
2. Milliseconds or Sub- Second Timing
This is the ability to estimate the 100th of a second. The level of time blindness here often impacts motor coordination during sports or other physical activities involving quick responses.
Some people are particularly good at this while others are not. Research shows that about
3. Seconds or Minutes Timing
This is the power to approximate time in larger intervals such as seconds or minutes.
Note that this is a common form of time blindness that impacts individuals’ ability to gauge how long a task will take. About 99 percent of people have some level of difficulty with this type of estimation.
Several computational methods and theories expound more on-time perception models in the human brain.
For instance, in 1993, Professor William J. Friedman formulated two theories around the topic. The first one, The strength model of memory, argues that distant memories may stick around longer than recent events.
Hence, by transference of ideas, time blindness victims remember events better that occurred, further back in time than the most recent ones.
The inference theory is the second model expounded by Friedman. Here, the model suggests that people assume the timing of an event based on dates and other facts. Also, people tend to estimate how long ago an event occurred by calculating the elapsed time between the present and that particular event.
This theory came about after a study that found participants performing better at estimating how long ago an event happened when given a list of related facts.
For instance, if someone asks how long ago the American Revolution happened, individuals may estimate timing because they are familiar with other revolutions and their corresponding dates.
This second model may help to explain why time blindness victims have difficulty gauging time intervals in real-life situations. In short, patients would most likely give accurate estimations if they are more familiar with related facts.
While both theories hold some truth, neither has been proven scientifically yet. However, they play a significant role in guiding experts on the
What are Common Causes of Imprecise Time Perception?
Several factors trigger distorted time perception or time blindness in individuals.
According to verified sources, dopamine neurons may play the most vital role in this regard. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter that helps nerve cells communicate with one another.
The neurotransmitter has different effects depending on the area of the brain it targets.
For example, in Parkinson’s disease, rogue proteins kill dopamine receptors leaving the patients unable to estimate time correctly.
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Another main influencing factor may be age-related changes in people’s brains.
Like every other organ, brains appear to get less efficient as we grow older, making it more difficult for seniors to process certain information, including timing concepts.
Time blindness is not curable but treatable through therapy sessions where experts stimulate brain cells. Moreover, enhancing dopamine activity may help improve timing ability.
Time Blindness and ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder patients typically have trouble focusing and maintaining attention on one particular task for extended periods.
For them, time seems to pass by faster than it appears for others.
Neuroscientists believe that the brain’s prefrontal cortex might be responsible for this peculiarity since it enables people to focus more effectively on tasks of interest and accurately estimate time intervals.
Shortened time horizon is one common time blindness trait found in people with ADHD. Here, events in life start to feel unreal and not genuine. Thus, affected individuals fail to plan and work within a particular time limit realistically.
In contrast, a healthy adult can make plans up to 12 weeks in the future, while an ADHD-affected person fails to conceptualize events for more than a week.
In short, ADHD patients have trouble adapting to the future and setting goals in time.
Ultimately, there is a high possibility of the situation leading to further complications such as:
How to Improve Time Blindness Episodes with 27 Simple Tips
Without a doubt, the incapacity to approximate timings can substantially impact the lives of time blindness victims. Often, they wonder whether their watches run perfectly because of their false sense of time.
This condition may result in delinquency and clashing with others’ timetables on some occasions.
These drawbacks explain why sufferers need to learn critical ways to overcome imprecise timing difficulties.
1. Recognize the Root Cause
If a patient manages to pinpoint the main reason behind the inaccurate timing, it becomes easier to find a solution.
Common causes of time blindness include:
One disappointing aspect of the condition is that individuals may spend too much time on a task unknowingly.
Unfortunately, they may fail to work on urgent tasks and perform dismally ultimately. In most cases, medications can help with time blindness.
For instance, dopamine-boosting drugs improve the neurotransmitter’s receptor activity in the brain. This way, people become more efficient when judging a particular task’s duration and making work plans.
2. Evaluating Past Experiences
To estimate time intervals better, it helps to reflect on past experiences. Doing so can help individuals create a mental timeline of how long an event usually takes.
For example, a person may remember that it took approximately 15 minutes to get ready for work in the morning. This memory can be helpful when estimating how much time an activity requires.
3. Mull Over Factors That Cause Timing Challenges
By understanding the various factors that influence timing, victims can find ways to work around them.
For instance, a person with ADHD might have trouble estimating time intervals because of distractions. In this case, they should try working in a quieter environment to minimize disturbances.
If a person experiences time blindness while performing a particular task, they should note it. This information can help them be more mindful the next time around and improve their timing skills.
4. Make a Day Planner
A day planner is a journal for daily tasks that help a patient monitor upcoming activities.
By making notes and recording events, people better understand the time needed before the next job. Also, analyzing past records helps individuals plan ahead and monitor progress effectively based on previous experiences.
The best time to make a day planner is early in the morning. For individuals with busy mornings, work on your schedule before heading to bed.
First, note down all activities planned on a particular day. Then, prioritize the essential stuff. This helps patients avoid last-minute rush and give them enough time to plan ahead.
It also allows sufferers to ask about actual timings if needed. Moreover, by noting down daily activities, one can compare their expected output with the actual results over time.
5. Apply Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique advocates working for approximately 25 minutes and easing off for about five minutes. The term originates from Italy, meaning Tomato.
The developer used a tomato-shaped timer that went off every 25 minutes. By implementing this strategy, individuals take regular breaks, thus making them more energized for work.
Likewise, the technique helps people avoid distractions and stay focused until their time is up.
Review work accomplished after every Pomodoro session then evaluate the objective and confirm if you managed to achieve it. Lastly, check upcoming tasks and plan the subsequent Pomodoro sessions.
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6. Set Monthly Goals and Assess Progress Weekly
Breaking a goal into actionable items makes it less daunting and easier to achieve. Consider using this strategy for work, chores, or time blindness therapy goals.
Start by drafting your monthly goal list and get more accurate at judging time. Then break the goal into smaller weekly tasks to help you achieve the main objective. Finally, prioritize your tasks, set deadlines, and adhere to them.
Checking progress weekly helps individuals stay on track and make adjustments where necessary.
Furthermore, after a review, conclude whether you require adding another activity, excluding, or re-prioritizing on the to-do list. When preparing your goals, add enticing titles and subheadings to motivate you on the tasks.
Do not forget to tick achieved goals and remove them from the list if need be. Above all, add reminders if you miss any tasks and reschedule them immediately.
7. Keep Visual Cues
Visual cues can be in:
They work well for time blindness patients as they help organize and estimate time-related tasks. An analog watch works magic because it has visible hour and minute pointers.
Alternatively, use a time-related picture as your phone or computer background.
This helps to jog your memory frequently and get an idea of the time. If you have a task that takes two hours, set a timer for 120 minutes and start working.
When a timer goes off, relax, take a break and continue afterward. Alternatively, use an online timer that beeps at preset intervals to track how long you have worked on a task.
8. Get Enough Sleep
When tiredness sets in, individuals tend to make inaccurate estimations. This often leads to poor performance and missed goals.
In addition, lack of enough sleep has a higher probability of leading to Time Blindness. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every day to counteract this.
Furthermore, create a sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Doing this helps regulate your body and improve concentration.
If possible, avoid working or studying in bed. The environment confuses the brain on whether it should be resting or working.
Additionally, steer away from caffeine because it makes you feel more alert and changes the quality of your sleep.
The best solution is winding down before hitting the bed by reading something light or taking a hot bath. If insomnia becomes a genuine concern, consult your doctor. Lastly, keep a journal to track how much time it takes you to fall asleep at night.
9. Seek Help from Loved Ones
When working on time blindness goals, it is necessary to have someone to hold you accountable. The help of loved ones reminds patients of set goals and progress in achieving them. By vocalizing your goals, it becomes more difficult to back out.
The good news is that reliable family and friends can give much-needed moral support.
If possible, try to find someone good with time management and ask for advice. Alternatively, look for online communities or blogs that focus on time blindness therapy and learn from their experiences.
The bottom line is to seek advice from those who have successfully managed projects and tasks on time.
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10. Look Out for Time Sucker Activities
Time suckers are activities that eat up a lot of time.
- Watching television
- Scrolling social media
- Surfing the internet
- Getting involved in lengthy discussions
Set a timer for 30 minutes to max per hour each day to prevent these habits from derailing your day-to-day schedule.
This helps to regulate how long you spend on such activities and avoid wasting valuable time during the working hours.
In addition, avoid multitasking and procrastination because they tend to reduce productivity. Furthermore, try using a digital blocker that limits access to specific websites and apps on your phone.
Even if social media is a critical part of modern life, note that it can easily divert you from your main tasks. Instead of checking Facebook updates now and then, block them for a limited time. Use the time to focus on other important tasks at hand.
11. Time-Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness is the practice of being intentionally aware of the present moment. Experts apply it in different areas of life, including time blindness.
Start by counting seconds out loud as you focus on your breath. This trains the human brain to focus on one task at a time.
Moreover, use a watch with a second hand and time how long it takes you to do specific tasks such as brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. When done, write down the results to track your progress.
Each time you struggle to manage your time, review the situation and think of ways to do it better next time. More importantly, live in the present as much as possible and savor the small moments that make up your day.
12. Experiment With Time Management Apps
Currently, the market floods with time management apps, ideal for tracking schedules and goals. The diversification makes it easy to find one that suits your needs.
Popular options include:
- Toggl Track
- My Minutes
- Pomodoro Timer
These apps can help you set time limits for certain tasks and keep track of your progress. They also provide helpful insights on where patients spend most of their time each day.
That way, you can identify time suckers and cut out activities that harm your productivity. Before investing in a timer app, confirm if it works well with your phone or computer.
Moreover, consider time management apps that offer unlimited tasks or projects and reminders. This widens your opportunities in achieving short-term and long-term goals.
13. Run from Hyperfocus
Hyperfocus is intense concentration on one task for an extended period. Most ADHD patients experience hyperfocus when working on something they enjoy or are motivated to achieve a goal.
Although hyperfocus leads to enhanced productivity, it can also be detrimental if individuals become unfocused on other tasks.
This happens when the brain concentrates on an initial task and fails to switch gears or neglect vital tasks such as eating.
If you intend to avoid getting trapped in this state, use a timer and limit yourself to 90 minutes before taking a break.
Then, pay attention to warning signs that depict you entering this state, such as muscle tension and eye fatigue.
Then, find a way to relax, such as deep breathing or stretching. All in all, the easiest way to fix hyperfocus is by introducing changes to your daily schedule. For example, alternate between focused and relaxed tasks, take breaks after a set time and work in short bursts.
14. Perform Tasks in a Routine
People with ADHD often struggle with time blindness because they find it challenging to transition from one task to another. Often, when everything keeps changing, it becomes hard to plan and stay organized.
Try establishing a daily routine and following it as closely as possible to combat this. This helps the brain to prepare better for tasks ahead.
Additionally, create a list of things done each day and cross them off as you go along. Having a tangible representation of your progress will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to keep going.
15. Implement the 80-20 Rule
The 80-20 law, also known as the Pareto principle, suggests that 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. In other words, focus on the essential tasks that will bring you closer to your goal.
For most people with time management issues, this means doing fewer but more important things. You can achieve this by creating a to-do list and focusing only on the three most essential items at a time.
If you still have time after completing them, move on to the following three items.
This approach will help you to eliminate distractions and increase productivity. In an office setup, try to use 20% of your time productively by working on tasks that bring you closer to your goals. Then, spend the remaining 80% of your time on small tasks that contribute little to your bigger picture.
16. Approximate Worst-Case Circumstances
When planning your day, it’s crucial to think about the worst-case scenarios and handle them as well. For instance, what if you cannot finish a task within the set timeframe? What about unavoidable emergencies coming up?
Given that emergencies are common occurrences in life, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. Thinking through these possibilities will help you develop a plan B. In addition, think about what to do if your best-laid plans fail.
There will always be unexpected events, such as an accidental meeting with a client or a sudden illness. However, you may still benefit from taking some time to prepare for the worst-case scenarios and take action before they happen.
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17. Planning and Organization
Start by creating a list of backup tasks you can do when facing unexpected challenges. That approach can keep you calm and in control even during difficult times. Next, estimate how much time you need for each task and build some wiggle room into your schedule. A timer comes in handy in this situation because it will help you stay on track even if something unexpected comes up.
Finally, avoid being too hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned. We all have good and bad days, so don’t let one bad day ruin the entire week or month. Instead, pick yourself up and try again tomorrow. With a bit of planning and organization, you can overcome any obstacle in your way.
18. Master your Efficiency Patterns
One vital thing to learn about your condition is specific patterns of inefficiency and work with it rather than against it. Take into account that everyone has a diverse output pattern throughout the day. Hence, please find out your peak hours and use them to your advantage.
In other terms, figure out when you feel most productive and energetic. It could be in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
Once you pick your most productive hours, try to accomplish complex tasks then.
Later, use less effective hours for smaller tasks that require minimal focus. Remember that tiredness may affect your ability to perform tasks efficiently, so make sure you take short breaks often.
To recharge yourself, try meditating or engaging in some form of physical activity. This will help you to increase your focus and continue with your work.
Try to be as productive as possible during the day to finish all of your tasks on time.
Furthermore, cut down on distractions such as mobile phone notifications and limit social media interactions during productive hours. This approach is beneficial for those who have trouble getting started on tasks.
If you find it hard to focus on the task at hand, start by doing a small amount of work and increasing the time to get more comfortable with the activity.
When working on larger projects, break them down into smaller tasks for easier management. Thankfully, this keeps victims focused and away from distractions. Lastly, don’t compare yourself with other people as everyone has different working habits and talents.
Time-boxing is a technique used to increase productivity. It involves setting a specific amount of time for a task and working on it until the timer goes off. This approach is constructive for those who struggle with procrastination. It’s also beneficial to those who have trouble focusing on one task for an extended period.
Time-boxing is ideal when studying, working, or performing housework.
First, settle on a task you wish to accomplish. Subsequently, set a timer for the desired time and start working on the task.
After, the timer goes off, take a short break before starting again. Continue doing this until the task gets finished. Although this approach may seem a bit challenging at first, it’s well worth the effort.
With a bit of practice, you will complete tasks more efficiently and on time. In addition, time-boxing can help you to become more productive by teaching you how to focus on one activity for a certain duration. Finally, it will also help you to become more organized and efficient.
20. Analyze Data Collected
Time Blindness impacts the estimation of future events and revolves around poor tracking of past activities. The first step to becoming more aware of how time blindness affects you is to keep track of all activities. Thus, make a written or digital log of everything you do throughout the day.
By tracking your actions, you can tell what time is best for certain tasks. This method will help you understand how much time you spend doing specific things throughout the week. You can now plan out better strategies in less time with this information.
If you aspire to succeed on this tip, work with someone who has time blindness, like a spouse, friend, or colleague.
In the process, use digital time apps that record activities automatically or paper calendars that allow you to keep track of all tasks in one place. It is important to be patient with this process and gradually make changes to your schedule to be more productive.
21. Time Blocking
There are plenty of similarities between time boxing and time blocking. However, time blocking focuses more on allocating specific periods of the day for particular tasks.
Like time boxing, time blocking also increases productivity and manages activities more efficiently by making it easier to work as a team. Also, time blocking helps a person become more aware of how much time is spent on specific tasks and make better time management choices in the future.
Despite its advantages, this method may not be suitable for those who struggle with distractions or have difficulty focusing.
Combine the strategy with other practices like time boxing in such a situation. You will become more aware of how much time is spent on specific activities and make better choices for future projects through time blocking and time boxing.
You can work harder and effectively by analyzing collected data and making incremental changes. Admittedly, the process may seem difficult at first, but it is well worth the effort.
Thankfully, with a bit of practice, you will be able to work on multiple tasks simultaneously and improve your productivity. If you want to understand how this strategy works, create a task list for activities you want to accomplish during the day.
For example, if your primary responsibility is working from home Monday through Thursday, make a specific task list for each day.
Next, allocate time slots according to the tasks you wish to accomplish during the day, starting with your most important activity first.
Leave enough time for breaks and switching activities between each job. The idea is to allocate a specific period for a particular activity and avoid distractions to maximize productivity. Also, include time for unforeseen emergencies.
Lastly, make sure that you save some time at the end of each day for any remaining tasks you wish to accomplish and some personal relaxation. At the end of the week, review your task list and performance.
If necessary, make adjustments based on the end results and expectations. Repeat the process the following week if necessary.
22. Take a Break
Accomplishing tasks, meeting deadlines, and achieving objectives sound like colossal success. Nonetheless, you need to take things slowly sometimes and break off from your busy schedule. When dealing with time blindness, taking a break after completing a task helps you become more aware of how much time has passed. In addition, it decreases stress levels and improves concentration.
More impressive, you reduce the chances of burnouts leading to more efficiency in the future.
Take into account that how you take your break matters a lot. More on this, experts believe that people who took a break by walking around or getting fresh air performed better on cognitive tests than those who took a break by watching television or reading a book.
With time blindness patients, it is crucial to take a break after completing a task to improve your focus and become more productive. Use the break to relax and rejuvenate so that you can start your next job with fresh energy.
Remember that relaxed minds:
- Boost performance
- Ehance moods
- Improve concentration
As a result, time blindness becomes a thing of the past with increased focus and energy to accomplish tasks on time.
The silver lining is that taking breaks minimizes chronic stress levels and improves the quality of life.
As we all know, it is nearly impossible to accomplish anything by working day and night without a break. Make sure that you schedule regular break intervals, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep in the process. Additionally, do something that makes you happy every day and spend time with loved ones.
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23. Create a Balance
With the desire to accomplish tasks, meet deadlines, and achieve objectives, it is easy to forget that you need your rest as well. After all, you are not a working machine but a human being with feelings, needs, and desires.
Creating a balance between work and other essential aspects of your life is critical for success. It enables you to recharge, prevents burnouts, and keeps you motivated to achieve more in the future. Eventually, your health affects how you perform your job, complete daily tasks, and interact with others. Poor physical and mental well-being often makes it difficult to accomplish tasks before deadlines. This is because a healthy mind is the result of a healthy body.
The takeaway is that you should strive to create a balance in your life. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, it is worth the effort because you become productive and accomplish more in the long run.
24. Concentrate on Things That Matter the Most
When trying to create a balance, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do. Hence, it is best to focus on the most important things and forget about the rest. For example, if you have trouble balancing work with your personal life, focus on work and let go of your personal life for a while.
In this way, you do not have to worry about giving attention to both areas simultaneously. Instead, focus on spending at least 65% of your time on meaningful activities. In any case, ask yourself if the tasks at hand are essential or just urgent. Usually, an urgent matter requires more attention because it can impact current job performance.
Still, if you encounter tasks that need immediate attention, prioritize and stick with them as long as they make sense or impact the entire performance. Otherwise, let go of unnecessary tasks and focus on what adds value to your life.
25. Plan for Unexpected Things
The best-laid plans often go awry. You never know when something will happen that will require your attention. For example, you may have to stay late at work or take care of a loved one who is not feeling well some time in your schedule. It is indispensable to be flexible and have a plan B in place when this happens. This means that you should have a few tasks that you can do at home or outside of the office.
That way, you do not lose any productivity because something unexpected came up. The bottom line, you should always plan for the unforeseen and spend approximately 20% of your timings on these activities.
26. Stick to Activities That Bring You Closer to the Goals
Nothing beats the fulfillment of achieving set objectives on time. As you strive to maintain a healthy balance in your life, it is vital to concentrate on activities that progress your performance to achieve set goals.
For instance, if your aim is to learn a new skill, take classes, or read books related to the skill. This way, you dedicate time to something that helps you improve your prospects.
On the other hand, it is pointless to waste time on activities that do not help you progress in life. In the long run, unproductive activities lead to frustration and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. You do not have to spend more than 10% of your time on such activities for these reasons.
27. Relax to Rewind
When you are trying to achieve a balance in your life, it is crucial to take some time off to relax. This helps clear your mind and energize it to develop new ideas.
Do something that you enjoy and require minimal effort during your de-stressing moments. For example, listen to music, watch a movie, or walk outdoors.
Withdrawing from stressful activities also allows you to reflect on your progress and find ways to improve it. Thus, take breaks when necessary but spend a minimal of 5% of your time in this section.
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Even if time blindness is not a chronic ailment, take time to understand the root cause of your condition first. Experts strongly recommend taking help from a mental health professional who can help determine the depth of your time blindness issue and help you manage it.
All in all, there is no quick shortcut to curing time blindness.
Fortunately, a combination of medications and psychotherapy sessions proves to be an effective solution against time blindness.
In conjunction, find a professional you can trust. Remember that it is possible to manage and eventually overcome your time blindness with a proper combination of treatment plans, tools, and resources.