The time picture of workshop participant Tim Hanley* fits the typical AD/HD pattern—jumbled shapes organized in a way only he could understand. Tim's time scheme came out very different from the neat, linear-brain calendar his wife, Tammy*, described. "When I visualize the passage of time," says Tim, "I see before and after and during and everywhere in between all at once, and everything is forever changing."
Tim and Tammy's approaches to planning reflect different wiring in their brains. "My wife can organize a to-do list and prioritize it and carry out each activity one at a time to completion," says Tim. "I approach a to-do list full on, with the chores or activities all needing to be done at once. I call it ‘living the matrix.' I feel I can do everything while time stands still for me."
People with AD/HD describe several problem behaviors that trace their origin to the elusive nature of time and the way they perceive it:
* Missing deadlines
* "Hyperfocusing" on one task for hours at the expense of other tasks
* Underestimating the time needed for tasks or trips
* Doing things in the wrong order
Their sense of proportionality is often skewed—a week from now and a month from now may seem closer together, or further apart, than they do for someone with a linear time scheme.