You might recall the viral video on TikTok in which someone said in a tearful video that she was reprimanded for requesting an accommodation for “time blindness,” which makes it difficult for her to arrive on time for work.

A lot of ridicule has appeared in the video’s comments section, which has garnered close to 8 million views. Mental health experts, however, say that time blindness is a legitimate experience — especially for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Time blindness: what is it?

“Time blindness” occurs when we are unable to accurately estimate how long something will take or judge when it has passed.

Pediatric behavioral health specialist Michael Manos, Ph.D., says time blindness isn’t a diagnostic term or a specific symptom but rather a term for losing track of time in general. It may be more extreme depending on the individual.

“Everybody has time blindness at times,” Dr. Manos says. “We all can get caught up in something and get ‘in the zone.’ Some people with ADHD, though, are more prone to having difficulty being able to judge how long something will take to do or to lose track of time.”

It is widely known that people with ADHD have attention deficits. As the name suggests, it is right there. However, that’s not the whole story.

The flip side of this is that people with ADHD may also be more likely to hyperfocus on specific activities and not notice that time is passing.

What causes time blindess?

While time blindness’ exact causes are unknown, several factors may contribute to its development:

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders. Typically, people with ADHD and ASD have difficulties with executive functioning, a set of cognitive skills that assist us in planning, organizing, and managing our time. As a result, they may underestimate or overestimate the length of tasks, be frequently late, and have trouble keeping to their schedules, leading to time blindness.
  • Brain structure and function. Differences in prefrontal cortex structure and function are also likely to play a role in time blindness. The prefrontal cortex controls many executive functions, such as time management.
  • Dopamine dysregulation. A neurotransmitter called dopamine facilitates motivation and attention. Dopamine levels are often low in people with ADHD, or they are unable to function efficiently with dopamine. Time blindness may result from this.
  • Cognitive processing differences. Depending on how people process information, they may be unable to measure time accurately.

Time blindness may also be caused by:

  • Stress. During times of stress, our brains are more focused on the present than the past. As a result, we may underestimate the time it takes to complete a task.
  • Fatigue. In addition to impaired cognitive abilities, tiredness makes us less accurate with our perception of time.
  • Medications. The perception of time can be affected by some medicines, such as antidepressants and sedatives.
  • Distractions. Maintaining a sense of time can be difficult when distracted. Being constantly interrupted or switching from one task to another makes it easy to lose track of time.

The symptoms of time blindness.

Several research indicators suggest that you are experiencing time blindness:

  • Difficulty estimating how long something will take. As an example, you might start a task expecting it to take 30 minutes, then realize it’s taken two hours.
  • Underestimating or overestimating how much time has passed. It might seem like it has only been 15 minutes since you started working on something when it has actually been an hour.
  • Feeling like time is flying by. It might seem like you don’t have enough time to do all you need to do or that the day is going by too fast.
  • Difficulty staying on schedule. Sticking to a schedule or starting and finishing tasks on time can be challenging.
  • It is difficult to meet deadlines. You often miss appointments, forget assignments, or fail to show up to events due to a cluttered calendar.
  • You’re always late for everything. Often, you are late for meetings, appointments, or gatherings. Despite your best intentions, you never seem to be on time, and it can often be frustrating for you and those waiting.
  • Procrastination. You might postpone things because it’s hard to determine how much time you need to devote to them, and not necessarily because you don’t want to do them.
  • It is difficult for you to switch between tasks. Your brain may struggle to switch gears from one task to another when switching between one thing and another.It might be difficult to finish one task and jump into another without getting frustrated.
  • You have a problem with impulsivity. Often, you make choices based on impulses without considering the long-term effects.

The Impact of time blindness.

A person’s life can be adversely affected by time blindness. It can make it difficult to maintain relationships, succeed in school or at work, and handle everyday tasks.

Specific symptoms of time blindness include:

  • Academic failure
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Financial problems
  • Job loss
  • Low self-esteem
  • Social isolation

Managing time blindness.

It can be challenging to manage time blindness, but some strategies can help. The following tips can help:

Be aware of your time blindness.

To manage time blindness, you must first recognize it. Pay attention to how you spend your time to identify areas where you tend to lose track of time. Once you are aware of your time blindness, you can develop strategies for overcoming it.

Track time with external cues.

Time blindness can also be managed by using external cues. The use of an alarm, a timer, or a watch could help you accomplish this. For instance, if you tend to get lost in social media, you might want to set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes and take a break when the timer goes off.

Use a planner or calendar system.

Time blindness can be combated by using a planner or calendar. You can use it to:

  • Keep track of appointments and deadlines. It is especially important if you are juggling multiple tasks at once.
  • Estimate how long tasks will take. As a result, you will have a more realistic schedule and you will avoid overcommitting yourself. FYI, you can leverage calendar analytics to do this for you.
  • Plan your day ahead of time. You will be able to stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked if you do this.
  • Identify and prioritize your tasks. By doing this, you can maximize your time and focus on what is important.

The following tips will help you to reduce time blindness when using a planner or calendar:

  • Choose a planner or calendar system that works for you. You can choose from a variety of planners and calendar systems, so take some time to find one you like and can use easily.
  • Write down everything. All appointments, deadlines, tasks, and anything else that must be remembered should be included here.
  • Use color coding to highlight important appointments and deadlines. Using this method, you can quickly scan your planner or calendar to see what is coming up.
  • Review your planner or calendar regularly. Staying organized will ensure you don’t forget anything and keep you on track.

Break down large tasks into smaller ones.

The inability to estimate how long it takes to complete tasks, especially large or complex ones, can be caused by time blindness. Using smaller, more manageable tasks can help overcome this challenge. As a result, it will be easier to estimate the duration of each task and stay on track.

Set realistic expectations.

Managing time blindness also involves setting realistic expectations. Ensure you don’t try to do too much at once or expect to complete everything perfectly. Having plenty of time to complete tasks, as well as the flexibility to adjust your schedule as necessary, is crucial.

Minimize distractions.

Keep distractions to a minimum when working on a task. During focus time, you should turn off your mobile phone, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and work in a quiet place.

Ask for help.

It is okay to ask for help if you are having difficulty managing your time blindness all on your own. You can discuss your challenges with a friend, family member, therapist, or other trusted person. It may be possible to get advice and support from them.

You may also find these tips helpful:

  • Take breaks. Even if you only take a few minutes, it’s important to take breaks throughout the day. You will be able to stay focused and productive if you do this.
  • Delegate tasks. Delegate tasks when you can. By focusing on the most important tasks, you can free up your time.
  • Reward yourself. After completing a task or goal, reward yourself with something you enjoy. It will keep you motivated and on track.
  • Be flexible. Flexibility is important since things don’t always go as planned. When you find yourself behind schedule, don’t panic. Stay calm and adjust your schedule as needed.


As a result of time blindness, it is difficult for a person to estimate and track the passage of time. A variety of factors can contribute to it, including ADHD, executive function disorder, anxiety and depression, and learning disabilities.

Fortunately, there are things people with time blindness can do to manage their condition, including using a planner or calendar, setting realistic goals, breaking large tasks into smaller ones, and taking breaks.

If you have time blindness, the best thing you can do is treat yourself kindly and patiently. To manage time blindness, one must put in the time and effort. Practice makes perfect, and eventually, you’ll find a strategy that works for you.


What is time blindness?

Time blindness is the inability to perceive and estimate time accurately. There is no official diagnosis for this condition, but it is a common symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It may be difficult for people with time blindness to:

  • Calculate the time it will take to complete a task.
  • Keep track of time.
  • Maintain a schedule.
  • Meet deadlines.
  • Arrive on-time.
  • Know when to start or finish a task.

How does time blindness affect people’s lives?

A person with time blindness may experience significant difficulties in their daily lives. As a result, you may experience difficulties at work, school, in relationships, and other facets of your daily life. For instance, people with time blindness may be frequently late for social engagements, appointments, and deadlines. As a result, they may experience stress, anxiety, and frustration due to difficulty managing their time effectively.

How can I support someone with time blindness?

Here are a few ways you can support someone with time blindness:

  • Be understanding and patient.
  • Assist them in setting realistic goals and deadlines.
  • Give them advice on how to break down large tasks into smaller ones.
  • Keep them informed of upcoming appointments and deadlines.
  • If they are late, be understanding and flexible.

Is there a cure for time blindness?

In spite of the fact that time blindness has no cure, there are treatments that may help to alleviate some of its symptoms. Treatment may consist of medication, therapy, or a combination of both.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have time blindness, it is important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can assess your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Image credit: Tom Swinnen; Pexels