A Clock in Every Room
How appropriate that my very first blog entry would be about time! One of my favorite (and simplest) solutions to my time management problem is to have a clock in every room. We have clocks in your more typical places like bedrooms, the office and the kitchen, but we also have clocks in bathrooms, the entryway and our living room. The living room always seemed like an obvious spot to keep a clock to me until I noticed that most people don’t seem to keep one there. I think I’ll ask why the next time I notice.
I start to panic a little now if I look up to check the time and cannot immediately find it. You can’t, after all, be somewhere at a specific time or keep to any sort of a schedule unless you know. The ADHD brain has even more need for it, however. Having clocks everywhere addresses two key difficulties that the ADHD brain encounters: 1.) accurately measuring how much time has passed and 2.) visibility determines whether something exists for us at the moment. In addition, seeing time also helps shock me into reality when I have started to daydream or gotten derailed by some task that seems important, but should probably wait. This shocking me into the moment is by far a clock in every room’s greatest success for me. Sometimes I’ll decide that the task that derailed me is more important than being on time, but at least that decision is made purposefully. Most of the time, however, I get right back to what I should.
Clocks aren’t just helpful if you have a distorted sense of time or issues with attention and basic object permanence, however. The entire family benefits. My children rely on our clocks to stay on task in the morning. They use it to see how much time they have left to finish getting ready, if they’re running late, and most importantly to them, when they can begin their 15 minutes of screen time before school (motivation is key when it comes to getting ready in the morning, after all).
Finally, having a clock visible under the television has also helped my husband and I get more sleep. Lying to yourself about the lateness of the hour is far more difficult when it is staring right at you. Once we got rid of the cable box with its trusty, glowing reminder of time and switched to several streaming services, my husband and I suddenly found ourselves lost in a universe where time is meaningless and the endless of supply of shows and movies seemed to be all that existed. Before we added the clock that is there now, I often found myself binge-watching shows of even questionable quality until 3 or 4 am on an almost daily basis! I knew I couldn’t sustain the practice without serious consequences, so now we have a cheap little alarm clock (my husband picked it up at the grocery store one evening, bless him) which works just fine.
I cannot swear that I will always make good time choices now, but at least I know exactly what I’m doing to my future self when deciding whether or not I should watch just one more episode, do a load of dishes before I leave, or think about that time I…