Time warps for many ADDers. Our perception of time is different than others — and often not accurate. Whether your warp is a space-time continuum or a reality distortion field, it’s not what others live by. That can cause problems for you if you don’t learn to manage it.
There are several ways to describe this perception difference. Your clock runs fast. Time isn’t linear for you — in perception or processing. Time and space warp. Or, as was described for Steve Jobs, you have your own reality distortion field.
This time warp reminds me of a cross-globe flight. You get onto the plane in one time and place, time and space pass, and you get off the plane in a totally different time and place. The flight effectively compressed time and stretched space. Your life can be like that at times too.
The kinds of problems you face with this ADD time perception includes time management, like being challenged with arriving to events on time, doing something you committed to, or grasping how long things will actually take; procrastination with a time depth perception (it’s either closer than you think or further than you think, but either way you don’t approach the project in a timely manner); overcommitting yourself; getting lost in time — or is that space — with your hyperfocus.
The benefit of this ADD time perception gives you a keep-on-keepin’-on attitude so you can accomplish whatever you strike out to accomplish. ADDers will write that symphony or book, even if it takes longer than they anticipated. They might also take less time than a “mere mortal” can would. ADDers will start that business or program — and reach their goal — regardless of how long it takes.
Some projects are harder than you anticipate they will be. Harder in the sense they are more involved and take more effort than initially anticipated, the project can grow in scope, too. The beauty of having ADD/ADHD is that if the project is one you are committed to, you stick with it despite the extra effort, time, and energy. Score!
By having this time warp you are more able to think outside the box. Your wiring unleashes your creative process when you are in your own time warp. Your neurological type [see last week’s article] blossoms in your time warp. Huh. Your time warp is like Superman’s phone booth — amazing things happen in there.
Yet, your time warp needs to be managed so it can be your friend, part of your strength. Learning to manage your time is vital. Self-care is vital, especially if you want to avoid burnout. Staying balanced with all the elements of your life is vital. The big question is how do you learn to manage your time warp?
Use calendars, especially those with alarms, to record your commitments. Aim to be early to appointments because you build respect for yourself, with your clients, as well as friends and family. Set the alarms with more time than you think you need, and hope that’s enough time. Experiment and adjust the timer length so you are on time at the latest. Learn how long it really takes you to do things and take that into account as you schedule your calendar and make commitments.
Self-care involves frequent breaks, exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep, which should also be put in your calendar. It also includes being gentle with yourself, and keeping a sense of humor. That’s good for everyone, and especially for ADDers, and especially for ADDers when they decide to go into hyperfocus. You actually get more done, and do it better, when you take care of yourself. This is how you avoid burnout!
Use all the tools you have to stay balanced. Balanced means honoring all your commitments, self-care, tending to your chores, socializing and keeping your connections fresh, working on your projects, and make time for creativity.
Learning to manage your time warp helps you transform your wiring and gives you satisfaction and self-pride.