You CAN Develop a Time Sense

If you're like most people with ADD, you probably have some kind of challenges around time. You may be late for appointments, or can't meet deadlines, or try to get too much done at once. Strategies to overcome these hurdles should be customized for you, addressing your own particular challenges with organization, procrastination or a tendency to say "yes" too often.

But what if you just have a poor time sense --- if you can't tell the difference between 20 minutes and an hour? Most difficulties in planning for ADD Adults stem from having a very poor time sense. If this is the case, simply taking a Time Management class isn't the answer. Before you can manage your time, you first need to have good JUDGMENT about time -- some sense of understanding how long it takes to do things.

Believe it or not, you can train your brain to exercise time judgment. It just takes some deliberate observation of your assumptions about time.


The "TIME SENSE EXERCISE" is a simple tool to help you easily observe the time you spend, to learn how to predict it accurately. It takes less than five minutes a day to do.

Start by learning the level of time prediction accuracy you truly have. For at least five days, two or three times a day, pick an activity to make observations about. It's best to choose a variety of activity types that you do often.

To record your observations, you can download a template at, or carry a notebook with you and create a similar chart with five columns:

1. ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION: Write a phrase to identify the activity. For example, "Home to Work Travel," "Phone Conversation with Mom," or "Internet Research for Air Conditioner."

2. PREDICTED TIME NEEDED to COMPLETE: Before you begin, guess how many minutes or hours you'll need.

3. START TIME: The exact time you begin the activity.

4. REALITY/END TIME: Check your watch and record how long it really took, based on the end time.

5. REALITY GAP for PREDICTING: The difference in minutes between Column 2 (your prediction) and Column 4 (the reality), indicating how accurate your sense of predicting time is.


Note any patterns within groups of similar activities. Perhaps you're not bad at timing project tasks, but much more inaccurate at judging travel time.

The very act of doing this little exercise on a regular basis will increase your accuracy level. As you become more aware of your "reality gaps" with time, YOU'LL AUTOMATICALLY BEGIN ESTIMATING MORE ACCURATELY!


Once you know how your time is spent, you can plan your day efficiently, based on real time (not "ADD time!") Since you know it takes three hours to write your monthly status report (rather than the 20 minutes you imagined), you can block the time in your schedule to do it. Now that you know a phone call from chatty Liz lasts on average 30 minutes, you won't take her call right before you have to pick up the kids.

Time sense is simply time knowledge. But it can have a powerful impact on your life.


Learn how to "DEVELOP a TIME SENSE" in the Thrive with ADD
AUDIO RECORDED CLASS. Download the class with easy-to-follow
SUMMARY NOTES and listen at your own pace. Details are at

Author's Bio: 

Bonnie Mincu, ADHD Coach, created the “Thrive with ADD” program of solutions for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults.

Bonnie has an MBA and MA in Organization Development. Her career includes 20+ years in corporate management, training and consulting, where she honed her executive coaching skills. Upon leaving the corporate world to start her own business – and to spend more time on oil painting -- she was surprised to discover that she had ADD. Since graduating ADD Coaching Academy in 2001, Bonnie has devoted her practice to coaching, training and creating learning resources to address the specific challenges facing adults with ADD - ADHD. She is the producer of the 5-minute online video "The Attention Movie" for Adult ADD at