How Time Blindness Impacts Money Management and 4 Tips to Help

How Time Blindness Impacts Money Management and 4 Tips to Help

Time blindness is an inability to sense the passing of time and is a common ADHD symptom. Most people can sense the passing of time with reasonable accuracy but if you have ADHD this can be a real challenge. If you regularly turn up to appointments late, that's your time blindness.

Those with ADHD often struggle with the following:

  • Time perception: awareness of time passing and remaining
  • Time sequencing: remembering the order of events
  • Time reproduction: Repeating a task in the same amount of time as before

What is surprising is how this symptom can have wider implications, particularly on money management.

Blind to the Present

If you are not attuned to the current passing of time, then days and weeks can melt into one and leave us just focussing on whatever is happening in the present moment. How does this impact money management? Well have you:

  • Missed a bill payment frequently?
  • Got frequent parking fines for losing track of time?
  • Been late in paying said parking fines?
  • Forget to pay people back?
  • Made plans to do life admin, only to focus on another task and lose the time?
  • Struggle to stick to a budget that relies on a monthly calendar?

Then you can begin to see how time blindness can have big implications, and goes some way to explaining the additional £1,600 per year that neurodiverse lose per year vs the general population (ADHD tax).

Blind to the Future

If you suffer from time blindness then you tend to suffer from an inability to see what the future you needs or wants. This can be very difficult when it comes to managing impulse spending in the moment. If I can't see how my buying something will impact future me, then why wouldn't I go ahead and get that dopamine hit from buying something I want.

Let's take an example. You have a credit card. You're in a shop and you see something you simply must have right now but don't have the money. You're debating whether to put it on the credit card. Picturing a future version of you needing to pay the money back is super important in this moment to curb getting into debt. If you can't do that, then the draw of that shiny thing is too much. The card gets tapped and you feel good...for now.

How to combat time blindness for money management

There is no cure, you can't turn on the ability to sense the passage of time, but there are strategies out there to help curb the worst of the impulses. Here are some tips to help:

Wear a watch
It is important to put the passage of time in front of you at all times, so wearing a watch can really help stay on top of it and keep bringing you back to the accurate moment. Take it a step further and use an analogue watch. Being able to visualise the passing of time via the hands is actually really useful.

Use a timer
You know that you have decided to plan your budget at 2pm. At 1.45 you decide to sit down for a quick 15 minute Tiktok scroll. You check your watch and it's 2.45. Now it is time to collect the kids from school. Oops. In this scenario, set a timer on your phone to give yourself an alarm when the 15 minutes are up and keep bringing you back. I use it for tracking how long I have been parked and it stops those pesky fines.

Set reminders
The calendar is your friend. Use reminders to reduce the frequency of forgetting important dates. Got a bill to pay on a specific date? As soon as you find out about it set a reminder on your phone or put it in your calendar. These triggers are going to go a long way to curbing forgetfulness.  

Track your subscriptions
It can be great using free trials but if we don't use the service, then forget to cancel, it can really add up. Set reminders to cancel as soon as you take out the subscription, this way you can reflect on whether you need it or not when the time is up.