Recognizing the Six Signs of Time Blindness

5 min read
Tungsten Rising / Unsplash

Tungsten Rising / Unsplash

Time is a concept that is ingrained within most living organisms, both mentally and biologically. Thanks to this, humans are able to accurately perceive and sequence the passage of time. However, some people may have difficulties regulating this internal clock—this is what psychologists refer to as time blindness.

According to research, a person with time blindness will likely have difficulties with activities and responsibilities that involve managing time—such as planning, scheduling, assignments, and even goal setting. Although time blindness is usually a common indicator of ADHD, studies show that our perception of time is closely related to our well-being and emotional states, and changes in these can influence how we perceive how time passes.

For instance, in the moments when time seems to drag on forever, it’s usually a sign that we’re distressed in some kind of way. Conversely, when time feels like it’s flying by, it is usually an indication of hyper-focus or heightened arousal. However, for someone with time blindness, the under- or overestimation of the passage of time is more severe, which can lead to difficulties with impulsiveness, staying focused, and more.

Common Symptoms of Time Blindness

If you’re concerned that your internal clock may be running fast or slow, here are some indicators from research that show you might be struggling with time blindness:

  1. You have difficulty managing your time. You might find yourself thinking that a certain task will take considerably more or less time than it actually does, which can mess with your time management. Or, you might have moments where it feels like time is slipping through your fingers, which makes you stressed or anxious.
  2. You’re chronically late to everything. You often end up running late for meetings, appointments, or get-togethers. You never mean to be late, but you can’t seem to help it, and it often becomes frustrating for you and the people waiting for you.
  3. You struggle with switching between tasks. Switching from one thing to another can be a pain for you as if your brain struggles to shift gears from one task to the next. It might be tough to wrap one task up and jump into the next without feeling frustrated or losing focus.
  4. You often procrastinate. You might find yourself putting things off—not necessarily because you don’t want to do them or because you’re lazy, but because trying to figure out how much time you need to do them can be tricky. You might often play the guessing game of “Do I have enough time to do this right now, or should I just wait?”
  5. You struggle with impulsivity. You sometimes find yourself acting on your impulses and making choices without thinking of their long-term consequences. You tend to dive into your ideas head first without planning what happens before, during, or after.
  6. You find it hard to meet deadlines. You find it hard to keep tabs on all your important schedules and dates. Your calendar often feels like a maze, and you end up missing appointments, forgetting your assignments, or just not showing up to events that you’re supposed to.

How to Manage Time Blindness

Time blindness can be taxing in many spheres of life. Unintentionally missing events with friends and family can strain your relationships or even cause a loss of trust. Losing track of time while hyper-focusing on one task can make you forget about the rest of the things you had planned for the day, throwing a wrench in your whole schedule.

If you struggle with time blindness but aren’t sure how to effectively manage your time, keep track of your appointments or deadlines or avoid committing to things you can’t finish, here are some tips to help you manage:

  • Set up digital calendars and to-do lists. Consider using a digital calendar to keep tabs on all your different appointments, deadlines, and events. After adding your responsibilities to your calendar, you can set reminders for yourself in advance—as many or little as you deem necessary to remind yourself when to get things done or to leave for your appointments. Check your schedule every day to ensure that you’re on top of all your upcoming deadlines and events.
  • Set timers and alarms for your different tasks. If you struggle with losing track of time while doing different tasks, consider setting alarms and timers that remind you to take breaks. A great technique for working and studying effectively is the Pomodoro method; this involves 25 minutes of focused work or study followed by a five-minute break. Using these intervals, you have time to take a breather while also ensuring that you’re not losing hours of your schedule to one single task.
  • Break your tasks into smaller steps. If you often procrastinate on big tasks due to uncertainty about how long they will take you to get done, consider breaking them into smaller, more manageable tasks and set a timer for when they need to get done. Do these little tasks one by one. If you finish the entire smaller task within time, that’s great. If not, you at least know you’ve made progress on the task you’ve been putting off.


Time blindness can turn your daily routines into chaos without effective management techniques. It can mess with your planning, wreak havoc on your schedule, and even affect your emotional well-being. However, by tuning into the signs and symptoms of time blindness and taking small steps to manage your time more effectively, you can regain that much-needed sense of control over your life.

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