Habits life

Time Tracking + Time Blindness

April 24, 2024

Time Tracking (and Sharing) Week!

Inspired by some recent conventions with Kae, our last BOBW guest, and Jenny’s DITL post, I am going to do a Week-In-the-Life this week.

(One day just doesn’t seem like enough! There is no typical week of course, but there is REALLY no typical day. And weekends often get ignored in these kinds of exercises so I think a full week will be more interesting.)

Time will tell if I can keep up with this level of granularity! I am using a stalogy notebook for this because they have the perfect timeline for this — super subtle 24 hours along the left hand side of every page.

Time Awareness

I am recently super interested in the concept of time awareness, as I’ve learned a bit more about the idea of time blindness. I actually think time blindness is fascinating in part because it can be incredibly valuable OR debilitating, depending on context.

I have perhaps the opposite of time blindness. I can usually guess how much time has passed and what time it is very accurately, and um . . . let’s just say I struggle with patience, and I think these things are connected.

I am acutely aware of passing time, what I need to do, and whether my current activities are aligned with my theoretical trajectory for the day. This is awesome from a productivity standpoint. However, it can mean anxiety or excessive testiness when things are not going according to plan. Usually things work out and it mayyyyy not be worth the angst I sometimes get when things are slowing me down (small talk, unexpected call from school, someone contacting me via an inappropriate channel – these are all things that I know I can overreact to as a very time-sensitive person).

However, I know multiple people very well who seem utterly time blind. They are SO PATIENT and from what I have seen, seem to be able to get into a flow state much more easily than I can (because they are lost in the NOW, I guess). But when you are time blind, it’s hard to operate in a society where so many things are time-bound, from appointment times to work hours and beyond. I was just recently sent this episode of We Can Do Hard Things that apparently includes a segment on this specific issue, as ADHD can come with time blindness (though that is not a given!). I’m exited to listen. Another listener noted that there are apps to address this directly, such as Brili (haven’t tried, but cool that something like that is out there).

I also wonder if time tracking can help with time blindness or whether it would just be an incredibly difficult and frustrating task!!

Are you time hyperaware or time blind? Or somewhere in the middle?


  • Reply Daria April 24, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    It depends on the season of life. Sometimes I feel like I am hyperaware, and usually in summers I am more relaxed with time. I do have a hard time just sitting still. I feel like I always should be organizing or cleaning or writing or playing with the kids because “only 14 summers left with R and 12 summers with L” nonsense.

  • Reply Lisa's Yarns April 24, 2024 at 12:46 pm

    I am definitely not time blind and I also really really value punctuality and would hate to ever miss a deadline. It gives me such anxiety to feel like I am running behind or might be late for something. I think others might be time blind or might be more comfortable with being late/tardy? And that is probably related to whether or not you are a rule follower. I always want to leave for things earlier than my husband does but he is more comfortable being a few minutes late for something, like a reservation for example, whereas I want to factor in time for parking so we are not late. So basically early is on time in my mind, and that makes me very aware of time.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 24, 2024 at 2:21 pm

      SAME. I do think I can overdo this and fret about like, 2 minutes. Laura and I are almost never late and if one of us is running like 30 seconds behind, she will text the other. I think we are both hyperaware . . .

      • Reply Lisa's Yarns April 24, 2024 at 4:43 pm

        I mean I have generalized anxiety disorder, to be clear, so it’s something I worry TOO much about. My husband probably has a healthier approach to things. Like are they going to turn us away if we arrive at our 5:30 reservation at 5:32? Probably not! So I could probably tone down the time awareness/time anxiety a whole lot and still be a very timely person!

      • Reply Grateful Kae April 24, 2024 at 5:33 pm

        Do not ever text me if I’m only 30 seconds late for something. That would annoy me so bad. HAHAHAHA!!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣 (Sarah, if you recall, I WAS LATE for our Starbucks meet up. And, Lisa, I was late to ours, too. OMG! I’m the worse.)

        • Reply Lisa’s Yarns April 24, 2024 at 6:23 pm

          I don’t even remember that, Kae! But I was alone in a coffee shop without my children so I was just enjoying the quiet! Plus it was an unfamiliar area for you. The further something is from me, the more of a cushion I allow, though!!

    • Reply Kat R April 24, 2024 at 2:42 pm

      YES completely agree Lisa! My husband has ADHD and is…never on time and TERRIBLE with time awareness/time management. So it makes me even more hyperaware and on time and obsessed with time management since I’m the only model for that behavior for our kids. Also a rule follower/upholder for sure! If you are an adult who is employed and has any sort of relationships (whether friends, marriage, kids), I simply don’t understand how you can be time blind? But my husband is a good example…

  • Reply Molly April 24, 2024 at 1:48 pm

    My biggest problem in life is that I truly believe everything takes 2 minutes! And honestly, very few things actually do. And I KNOW that. And I still think it! The pro to this thinking is that I say YES to almost everything, because I always think helping other people out will be quick. It makes me seem very generous! The con is that I have to work VERY hard to not run late or be late. I CAN be on time, but it takes a lot more work than other people seem to have to exert. My kids’ school year is almost up, and I was just thinking this morning my proudest achievement of the school year is that they haven’t been late once….and as someone who was almost not allowed to walk at my own high school graduation (and I was the speaker!) because of tardiness, this is huge! Also, I totally thought writing this comment would take less than 2 minutes and I think it took more like 5. Classic!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 24, 2024 at 2:23 pm

      hahahahah Molly YES!! That generosity is what I notice (and try hard not to take TOO much advantage of) with others who are less time aware!! Amazing that you have gotten the kids to school on time every day. That is awesome!!

    • Reply Grateful Kae April 24, 2024 at 5:37 pm

      YES Molly, I’m the same. I actually can be on time and AM on time for many things, especially when high stakes. But I have to work very hard and be extra careful about it. It does not come naturally!!

    • Reply Amy April 24, 2024 at 5:39 pm

      YES. Do you also think it takes only 15 minutes to drive anywhere? No matter where I’m going I’m sure it’s 15 minutes away!

      I learned about time blindness last year sometime and it 100% applies to me. I have almost zero concept of time.

  • Reply Shion Moti Gosrani April 24, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    I am completely time blind. I think that when I check the time, that’s the time until I check it again. I know it isn’t intellectually but hurrying myself along is something I find incredibly hard. After your recent episode where a listener mentioned Brili, I gave it a go and it was really helpful. I managed to be on time and not harried or harangued (very rare for me) for some important things that week. It’s an expensive app though so I haven’t paid past the free week but I am considering it.
    Other things that really help me are explaining what I want to get done and how much time I have to someone else – usually partner – and he helps me work out what I can actually do. Before I tried Brili I created a separate calendar in my google calendar just for time blocking which also helps. I am almost always late – better for work and never late for deadlines, just actually turning up somewhere. This has upset friends in the past and is something I’m really focusing on this year. Your planning techniques have really helped me with this.

  • Reply JCL21 April 24, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    Fellow time-hyperaware-er. I felt so seen reading hearing you describe the frustration you (can) feel with “small talk, unexpected calls from school, someone contacting me via an inappropriate channel.” I can think of specific instances where all three of these interruptions led me to totally lose my cool. Don’t you know I have allotted this time to a specific task?!?!!

  • Reply Grateful Kae April 24, 2024 at 5:31 pm

    I feel sort of embarrassed to write this because I feel like it’s not the “good” way to be, but I am definitely more on the “time blind” side!!! This may surprise some people. It’s not even that I am unaware of the time exactly, it’s more that I just have a tendency to sort of procrastinate and/or want to do more things before I have to leave. I also don’t like just wasting time sitting somewhere, so I usually log on to virtual meetings RIGHT at the start time (I despise sitting there early, awkwardly), for example.

    I am also just pretty bad at leaving on time for things- I think here I do underestimate how much time I really need sometimes. Say I need to be to my son’s game at 5:00. If I know it’s a 10 minute drive away, in my mind, I need to leave at 4:50. At 4:46, I might think, Ooh, I think I can quick unload the dishwasher before I go. But that may take 5 minutes, not 3, and anyway, I’m clearly not leaving time for traffic or parking etc. Obviously the actual time I “should” leave should be 4:45, at minimum, not 4:50.

    ALSO, I am kind of bad about having my stuff prepared and ready to go, so…. it would not be uncommon for me to get in the car at 4:50 (in example above), about to back out of the driveway, and then be like, oh shoot, I wanted to make some tea to bring along. So I go back inside, make my tea x2-3 minutes, and…. now I’m late. See how this goes? LOL. (Or I forgot my sweatshirt, or I didn’t grab the folding chair, or I’m first looking up the field address when I get in the car, or… fill in the blank. 😆) I am, unfortunately, kind of just chronically late everywhere. 😬😬 Not by a ton, but I am probably the patient rushing in to the dentist at 8:02 for an 8:00 appt going, “ahhh I’m so sorry I’m late!!!!…..” I KNOW. I’m one of those people. 😩

    This drives my husband crazy, because he is typically more on time than I am, yet Mexicans are stereotypically always “late”. (They’ll admit it- if they say a party starts at 6, people will start showing up at like, 7. Maybe later. haha.) But in our case, I’M the late one and he’s the on time one, and he’s the Mexican. 😉 It’s kind of comical, but mostly just actually annoys him. ha.

    • Reply Sophie April 24, 2024 at 7:25 pm

      I’m exactly the same Kae! I used to be basically 2-3 mins late for everything, now I make an effort to add extra time in to be on time more often, but it’s an EFFORT. My default is to be a) optimistic about how long things take, and b) hate wasted time so try to get extra things done before I leave the house. So I’m not COMPLETELY time blind but I underestimate time and am often a few minutes late (or to family events, like half an hour late). I’ve almost missed a couple of flights before- that is stressful and so avoidable- sigh. So hard to change personality though on this one.

  • Reply jennystancampiano April 24, 2024 at 7:18 pm

    Omg WEEK IN THE LIFE! Yes! You definitely need more than one day, because you’ve got your M-W-F schedule and your T-TH schedule. I can’t wait to hear all about it.
    I tend towards the time hyper-aware side. My husband tends towards the time blindess (sigh.) But I have a coworker who is COMPLETELY TIME BLIND. She saunters in late, having no idea that she’s inconvenienced a group of people. It’s really annoying- but for her, she seems very relaxed and she would point out that at the end of the day, she has taken care of all her business, so why should it matter? Part of me wishes I could be like that! But I could never do it.

  • Reply Day in the Life #2- The Golden Day – Runners Fly April 24, 2024 at 9:31 pm

    […] Barnes and Noble.  I spend a long time browsing, reading magazines, and sipping tea in the cafe.  Sarah had a post today about being time hyper-aware or time blind- this is a rare instance where I […]

  • Reply Coco April 24, 2024 at 10:39 pm

    this is an interesting topic. I used to be not time blind and very aware of time because I was all about efficiency, productivity, at the expense of connection and friendship. I’ve since shifted from that way of living to a more balanced approach. I prefer to be punctual than late to meetings, I will let the person know if I’m running few minutes late out of respect, but i have also shut down my inner clock when I am with someone that I care and find interesting. I turned down my phone to not look at the clock, so I can focus on the conversation and the person. Often time, my 30 min meeting at work turned into 90 min, 60 min on personal stuffs than work, which really connects me to the person. I don’t find it wasteful anymore because it enriches our “working” relationships, it enriches me to know other people’s life (super interesting 99% of the time), and it makes my working hours at the office so much more fun. Same when I need to work in projects. This week for two weeks, I turned off all notifications and inbox for 4 hrs per day, 2 hrs each block, to work on something. The time passed by so much faster when I am not disrupted, when I am in the flow of research. I like this feeling more than being constantly disrupted by emails/text. I don’t have to do this kind of focused projects in a daily basis, most of the time it’s traffic control role, so when I do get focused, I feel good about it. I want to be time blink in those instances, when I am connecting with someone, when I am working in something. I don’t know if it makes sense though.

  • Reply Coree April 25, 2024 at 4:09 am

    I have a very strong internal clock. I think if you deprived me of a clock all day, I could still make a guess within 15 minutes based on the light, how I felt, etc. My husband is the opposite – I could tell him it was 1 or 3 and he’d be equally surprised by either. This means I’m the bedtime task manager, which drives me bananas. I do think I’m quite impatient, similar to you, and remember counting the minutes in boring classes and meetings.

    Weirdly though, I can run ever so slightly late. I think like @Kae I try to shove a few more things in. I’ll often go make a cup of tea at 9:58 for a 10:00 meeting but the kettle takes 3 minutes to boil and steep. Because I’m hyperaware of how long it takes me to get places (Strava helps with this – 14 minutes to cycle to school, 8 minutes cycle to the bus stop, 11 minutes from my office to the classroom), I’ll cut things slightly fine. Sometimes I’ll plan to walk, and then end up having to cycle because I’m going to be late.

    I’ve not missed a flight, and for a while there, I was flying 2x a week, but I have had to run through the airport without my shoes on and would often still be at the coffee bar when my flight was boarding.

  • Reply Gillian April 25, 2024 at 9:56 am

    I am very time aware. I feel like I can wake from a dead sleep and know exactly what time it is. I think this makes me very efficient. People often ask how I fit in all the things I fit in. But in certain circumstances I think it keeps me from being present. For example, my 13 yo daughter has started staying to chat with me after she and I watch a show with my husband and one of my boys. I LOVE that she wants to talk to me, but my bedtime is looming and I need to get up at 4:45, etc, etc. I can shut it off if I am having fun and don’t have anything else looming. Like on a recent weekend when my family was away and I had the whole weekend to hang out with friends, but realistically those times are rare in my crazy life.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 25, 2024 at 11:15 am

      SAME GILLIAN!!!! Know exactly what you mean here.

  • Reply Lisa’s Yarns April 25, 2024 at 10:57 am

    Gillian, we sound so very similar. I am admittedly kind of inflexible and I really like to stick to my schedule. My kids are younger so they are in bed before I go up to bed. But I spend 30 min watching a show with my husband and then go up to bed at 8:30 to read before going to sleep so that means it can take us a long time to get through a show or series. I have had to work on this inflexibility when we are around my parents for example. So on our recent vacation, I had to throw that schedule out the window and instead spent that time playing cards with my husband and parents and pushed the boundaries a bit on my ideal time to go to sleep. I have to kind of remind myself that it’s more important to spend time with my aging parents v adhering to my schedule. But in 5 years or so, my day to day life is going to really change since my kids won’t be in bed by 8 anymore… so I guess I need to enjoy it while I can and prepare to make some changes when their bedtimes adjust.

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