Living within the boundaries of TIME

Why TIME can be so hard to track
MOST of us battle it – but some of us lose more often

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Challenges Series

If you want to know the truth about TIME, ask a kid

Kids know that, even on December 24th, the time between now and Christmas morning is MUCH longer than the time between the now of the last day of summer vacation and the first day of school.

How long those “golden rule days” last is open to debate in kid-courts everywhere.

Kids who enjoy learning and have great teachers
are positive that the school-day is short,
as the kids who don’t will swear it is interminable.

On this they can agree

Most kids beg for “just one more minute” to watch TV or play computer games – as if a measly 60 seconds is going to give them what they really want: to continue doing something that engages their attention and avoid doing something they find difficult or don’t want to do.

Science tells us that the perception of time is a function of interest and effort.
I say: only partly.

  • NO extra time eases the transitions, for kids or adults – which is a huge part of the problem for anybody who isn’t strictly neurotypical and linear beyond belief.
  • And it takes a lot of work to learn to work with and around hyperfocus – that “trapped in the NOW” state that brains challenged with attentional struggles use to compensate for kludgy focus.

What’s a poor time traveler to do?

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Make like Sherlock!

Everybody dances to the too-much-to-do and too-little-today tune. I don’t think I know anyone in our crazy/busy world who does NOT struggle to fit everything into the time aloted them each and every day.

However, some of us have a greater than average struggle with T-I-M-E, ADD/EFDers and their cognitive kissing cousins in particular.

We run out of it, we are continually surprised by it,
and we sometimes seem to be completely unaware of it.

ONLY when we take the time to Sherlock the details of how and why we get stuck are we able to figure out what might work to help us get UNstuck!

And I promise you that it is RARELY as simple or straightforward as the self-help books might lead you to believe. Everything depends on how any particular task intersects with your particular Challenges Profile™.

EVERYBODY relates to time uniquely

What each of us need to DO to get into action and end our apparent problems with planning, prioritizing, scheduling and follow-through to keep the days of our lives from slipping into the oblivion of the undone will depend on what’s causing our problems in the first place.  Duh!

Making things tougher still is the reality that different tasks are likely to have their own unique sources of struggle.

  • What keeps me from taking storage totes downstairs to unclutter my entry hall is not the same mix of stoppers that gets in the way of dragging a mountain of laundry someplace with huge washers and dryers, or finishing one of my books and shipping it off to be published
    — or even dedicating the time it would take to replace my sticky keyboard, which would save oodles of time in back-end editing.
  • The rationale behind the stoppers is not nearly as simple as insufficient motivation: blaming it on the degree to which I enjoy each of the tasks themselves or my degree of interest in seeing them done — or even how much cognitive bandwidth each might require.

And the “others” don’t get it

I’m fairly certain that FEW of our stoppers will be the same as most of those in the so-called neurotypical population – so good luck incorporating the results of their studies!  In ANY case . . .

As I complained in an article several years ago, Processing Efficiency is all about Juggling, if history is any predictor of the future, our grandchildren might be alive to see the results of those studies make it into mainstream consciousness.

Their grandchildren might be around to see society set itself up in a human-friendly manner consistent with what the studies will have  proven scientifically.

Few of US have the time to wait for studies to be designed and published — or to figure out everything through personal trial and error as we careen from conundrum to crisis to criticism day-by-day, month-by-month, decade-by-decade.

Solving a complex puzzle

One of the models that those who sign up for Group Coaching will be encouraged to use is referred to by many coaches – “vanilla” and brain-based alike – as Symptom-Source-Solution.

Below is a quick run-through of the thinking behind troubles with TIME.

SYMPTOMS — Common manifestation of Time-Troubles

  • Always running late
  • Late fees because you forget that bills are due . . . again?!
  • Missing deadlines at work
  • Forgetting birthdays and anniversaries
  • A Daily To-Do List that is HUGE (or containing items impossible to complete in a single day)
  • Waiting until the last minute to begin tasks
  • Troubles getting away from work to get home in time for dinner.
  • Thinking bedtime is whenever s/he can no longer function at all
  • Struggles coming up with time estimates for multi-stepped tasks

— common brain-based underpinnings of Time-Troubles in the neurodiverse population

  1. Underestimating the amount of time necessary
  2. Overestimating the amount of time available between NOW and some future not-now
  3. Focus trouble: inability to adequately utilize your time supply effectively due to distractions
  4. Hyperfocus trouble: stuck in an activity with no awareness of time’s passage
  5. Transition trouble: struggles changing horses in the middle of the stream
  6. Activation struggles: deciding how and where to begin, which chunk to tackle first (prioritization – OMG), where to go next (sequencing) — even getting up off the couch (inertia?)
  7. Lack of adequate Time-tracking systems, or a failure to remember to USE them because you’ve never taken the TIME to develop the habit.

SOLUTIONS — OMG, how much reading t-i-m-e do you have?

Don’t keep trying to do it the hard way. Please do yourselves a favor and sign-up for Group Coaching, where we can concentrate on your particular symptoms and sources, and come up with solutions that can – really no kidding – change your life.

If you can afford private coaching, we can concentrate solely on your life and you will see changes more quickly, but Group Coaching is a low-cost alternative that sure beats the frustrations of struggling along from day to day, trying a bazillion things (again) that never worked very well in the past.  WITH A STICK!



How come?

Because the SOURCE of the struggle determines what you have to DO to turn can’t into can!

Attempting to “fix” a problem using the wrong tool will rarely work and will often backfire. As frustrating as it can be for their coaches, it’s demoralizing for clients.

As I said in an earlier article:
until they believe they can, they can’t!!

How many times can a person keep “trying” until they decide it’s impossible?

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

18 Responses to Living within the boundaries of TIME

  1. Pingback: 5 Tips for better Executive Functioning – Part 1 | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: 12 Tips to help you Take Back your TIME | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  3. Ironic that I had a meeting with a Neuro OT today and we discussed ‘Time’……..we shall see.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Procrastination’s link to kludgy Executive Functioning | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  5. Time is all what it is, nice post with very apt pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debbie says:

    another really interesting and unique article, Madelyn.
    reminds me of my last nights dilemna. Im freezing cold sitting in the living room, dont want to give in and turn the aircon ( with heating) just yet ( and that would require getting up anyhow). Simple solution – go to my room and come back with a blanket and a coat. Instead, I sit there freezing for ages because I am so cold I simply cant get up! Eventually – when the bladder directed action – I get up and get a blanket and a coat. Problem solved. Time managment? You could call it BCCR – Bladder Controlled Conflict Resolution. :).. just kidding.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m a big fan of BCCR myself & am waiting for it to kick in. I just “liked” your post, btw, when I jumped back to see about a comment notification – yours, it turned out.

      I’m sitting in front of the computer in layers – cotton leggings under stretch leather ones, a thick wool sweater over a cashmere turtleneck, the worlds warmest slippers into which I’ve inserted lambswool liners, and a lap robe – waiting for nature to call me to action.

      I have a small space heater in my basement storage room that I place under my desk when things get cold – too early, but since my building manager hasn’t bled the radiators yet this year, they wouldn’t even melt an ice cube. The floors are freezing, trapping the cold to creep up to freeze my fingers as I type. I prefer cold to heat, but this is NUTS!

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      I’m thinking that perhaps I’ll finish reading your post and put myself to bed – in flannel jammies, snuggling with my dog to share body heat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Debbie says:

        lol i tried to hit the backspace to take away the heat related comments as i thought in instant retroflex maybe a case of TMD ( too much detail) that might DFYP ( distract from your post).
        Which was really very good and as usual so unique and timely. ( ignore the poor puns.)

        but then i get a lovely long delicious reply so its all worth it. as you can tell from having read my Santa in a Boat post, i find these cold pre-christmases totally ridiculous, in fact i believe that cold winters are a crime against nature itself and oughta be banned, by someone, somewhere, somehow….

        in short, i have a severe case of DLCHCI… dont like the cold and hate the cold intensely – Syndrome. so snuggling up with doggie in your warm jammies makes complete sense to me. Hope you’re asleep already! now where’s that blankie? lol…..

        Liked by 1 person

  7. michnavs says:

    wow… this is just what i needed right now… beautiful reminder…

    Liked by 1 person

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