If you often get to the end of your day and wonder “Where did the day go?” … like it was a big surprise, yet again ….You are not alone. To sense time is innate for some people. I have clients who just know it’s about time to wrap up! For others of us, me included, it’s hard to sense time passing. We need scaffolding or strategies to create the sense of time passing. If you have ADHD, you may think you have no sense of time. You’ve heard of “now” and “not now.” Somewhat true, but if you listen to Ari Tuckman’s interviews, he talks about how we feel and see time differently.
Here are two small habit changes to try out. It’s the small changes which become habits, and make such a big difference. The “big” changes are highly overrated …. like there has never been a true “overnight” success !
#1 Sense time by starting your day with what matters to you
It’s your choice how to start your day, not someone else’s because they show up first at your office door or in your email in-box. Your choice. Be intentional.
- Start off your day strong, with something that matters to you. Because then, when people do interrupt or drop in and need something from you, you’ll already have taken care of your important work. Even if the rest of the day goes by quickly, your “one thing” will be done or well on its way with the progress you made, first ting.
- So what would make you feel great to have started or finished? Do that first. Once done, notice what time it is. Choose what is next. Consider how long that will take.
Personally, I have a morning routine of taking about an hour’s quiet time. Some days, I stare out the window thinking. I might journal. Read my two meditation books. Wake up Malik, my dog, get him fed and then we play ball, both of us to wake up a bit. So, me first.
Exercise and then up next? I work on something I’m excited about, or want to finish. Sometimes (because I work out of my home office), that’s even before I’ve dressed or ventured into my regular office. Or not. But as a first thing, I’m already feeling good about my self care and have had a success in my work, not a “to do,” but a “want to do.” Am I perfect on this? Absolutely not, but it is often enough that I remember how great it feels, which motivates me to do it again!
#2 Sense time by Improving your awareness
If the day is getting away from you, one reason may be your [lack of] attention to time passing.
- Use your alarm on your phone [or any timer ]. For one day, set the timer for every 30 minutes. [If that gets annoying, set it for every 60 minutes.] The purpose is to slow down and recognize how much time has passed before returning to work. It will also help you to consciously choose what’s next, rather than being pulled into a task as if you’ve been rolled over by a wave out of your control.
- When the timer sounds, stop for 30 seconds to review and think about what you just got done. If you move fast or are a big picture or conceptual thinker, this strategy helps you acknowledge progress and figure out what’s next …. or realize it’s time to move onto something else. If you don’t stop, then you don’t make a choice. At the end of days like that, you’re wondering where the time went, right?
- For me, my best time anchor is certainly looking at my calendar frequently ….
- and also Malik, my dog. His schedule for breaks and play is very predictable, and happens to be on about a 2 hour interval. So his energy helps me to organize my day in a real sense.
- Another anchor for me is the grandfather clock which chimes. The noise helps me to stop myself and wonder what time it is, which helps with where I am in the day, i.e., my sense of time passing. My time timer, pictured here, is another tool I use when I know my sense of time simply isn’t strong on a particular day.
- Timers and anchors will help you sense time by being more aware of time passing.
For some of us, we have an internal clock which is very good at sensing how much time has passed [not me]. For many of us, especially with ADHD or similar symptoms, we need other strategies to feel time and practice paying attention to it. Good luck with your experiments!
If you’d like to work on these ideas and/or understanding your experiment’s results, please get in touch. Sue@CoachSueWest.com or 603.554.1948 or visit any of my social media sites for more!
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