Listen now (18 mins) | Part 2: Timeblindness vs Social Psychology
I am just coming off of a stretch of trying to do calendar blocking as the most recently recommended tool to manage ADHD. I am laughably very terrible at it, and it is comforting to know that probably everyone is. I tend to believe that those types of skills are not inherently useful as tools, but mostly only incidentally useful to people who gain particular enjoyment from creating and managing systems (like a special interest). This is my very amateur and unsupported theory, but it has stuck with me through most of the “correct” ways of doing things that do not work for me (sorry Marie Kondo, I am literally never going to fold my clothes).
I also really appreciate the supposition you made about ADHDers perhaps just being a bit more optimistic than others, but that we all struggle with clock time. So much of ADHD distress is cast as catastrophic thinking or emotional dysregulation that it is nice to just vibe with it. Nah, I am just inherently optimistic that I can do stuff, and that’s okay ✌️ 😌 ✌️
I used to work in the railway industry in the UK, and large infrastructure projects would always end up overrunning the schedule and exceeding the budget. There was a knowing acceptance of this amongst many workers; a recognition that time and cost estimates were a function of the process of getting a project funded, and not wholly reflective of the reality of constructing a new station, new high speed line, or whatever else.
Publically though, managerial staff would persist in claiming that works would be done in time. It sometimes felt like they were attempting to manifest this reality; “if I say it and believe it enough, it will happen”. Or, they were unable to admit that targets wouldn’t be met because they were part of the process that constructed the unachievable unrealistic timescales in the first place and it would reflect poorly on them personally. Loyalty to clock time is enforced by the system that requires the use of clock time (along with monetary cost) to measure the value of any public project in the first place!
The other function seemed to be as a method of motivating workers; “this is the target, work at the rate required to meet this rather than the rate that matches your body’s capacity to work”. Whilst many people resisted this push to work beyond capacity, the constant measurement of individual productivity against an impossible target rate derived from an impossible schedule was genuinely very stressful and damaging for many people as well.