E3 - Dealing with Time Blindness as an Online Business Owner
In this episode we’re diving into a challenge that many neurodiverse business owners experience – and that thing is time blindness.
We’re looking at what is time blindness as well as which strategies we can apply to our life to make it easier for ourselves to run a business and achieve our goals – without getting stressed.
Links and Resources
Focusmate – An app for body doubling and getting things done with someone else. If you ever want to cowork here is my invite link: https://www.focusmate.com/i/mkBsGtcOVS
Sunsama – is the app I use to organise all of my stuff. This is an affiliate link: Sunsama
Time Timer – a visual countdown for time
How I can help you
The Notion Business Hub VIP Day My Notion Templates (ready soon) Tech VA for a Day (sales page ready soon) Day of Voxer Coaching Contact Me
⚠️ The transcript has been copied straight out of Descript. It is NOT edited and will be full of weird typos for your entertainment. One day I’ll be able to get someone to fix it, until then the laughs are free.
[00:00:00] Hey, and welcome back to the online business rebels podcast. I'm your host, Jess. And this is episode three. And today we're talking all about time. Blindness. What is. Who does it affect? How can it ruin your life and what can we do about. So time blindness usually affects those with add ADHD and simply means that the person isn't really aware of how much time is passing.
[00:00:32] So this is something. Most adults have actually developed as an ability so that you are working hammering away on your keyboard. And you kind of intuitively know if 20 minutes one hour or four hours have passed. So if you regularly find yourself working, working, working, working, working, and suddenly bam, it's 3:00 PM.
[00:00:57] Then time, blindness is something that is affecting you. So it means that you're regularly not taking bathroom breaks, not having a stretch, not going to get a drink or anything. You're just remaining in the spot getting completely sucked into the vortex. And then you kind of get spewed out six hours later, and your whole day has kind of gone.
[00:01:16] Now, the problem with this is that when you're not aware of the passing of time, how can you make sure that you actually use time effectively? So you may find yourself working way too long on one project going above and beyond for the client and over delivering frankly, without getting paid, or maybe you're working on a little side project for your business, but you've just spent three days on this new graphic for Instagram that literally 10 people.
[00:01:45] So your progress with your business and in life in general is going to end up being very, very, very slow, because you will feel like you're working a lot and you have actually no results to show for it. So it could be that you're lying on the sofa on the Saturday, and you're thinking lots of beautiful day.
[00:02:03] I should really take a walk and then you pick up your phone and then suddenly it's lunchtime. And you're like, Shit. How did that happen? Like I was just here checking Instagram really quickly. Boom, lunchtime, half a day gone. And you don't even remember what you spent your time on. So this is something that really, if you experienced this, you need to do something about that because you will legit waste your life away.
[00:02:26] If you don't take action here, but what actions can we actually take to make sure that this doesn't happen to us? So the key for you to get better at using your time is that you have to become more aware of it. And I struggled sometimes not just with time in the moment, but also with planning into the future.
[00:02:47] I would struggle to plan a holiday. Like even now for the summer. So as I'm recording this it's early March and really, if we want it to go to the beach in summer, I would need to book now because the beaches in Albania will sell out like weeks or months ahead. And then you cannot get a hotel room anywhere by the beach.
[00:03:06] And. I would really struggle right now with making a booking for a place for August, because I don't even know what life will be like around that time. Maybe one of my clients will be launching and, it will be like the worst time to be taking any time off and blah, blah, blah. This is something that I personally struggle with.
[00:03:22] So I'm really working on extending the time periods that I make fixed plans for ahead of time and being okay with canceling or having to reschedule if it was needed, which usually it isn't anywhere. I just have this very uncomfortable feeling point number two is that you need to become aware of the activities that kind of suck you into the vortex.
[00:03:43] make a deal with yourself, not to engage in those activities and use the help of technology. If you can't help it and the deal is that you're not allowed to do this thing. Until you have done the things that you do actually need to get done.
[00:04:00] So I could get into writing and recording and all that good stuff. And then suddenly I'd have forgotten a phone call that I would have had at 11, let's say instead of setting 10 alarm. I just try not to do those things. When I have other commitments that I need to attend to. So you could get help by installing apps on your phone that don't let you onto social media.
[00:04:21] If social media scrolling is an option before a certain time in the day, all of these kinds of little helpers you can put in place. So for me, I'm only allowed to do creative things like writing and recording. When I have at least a five-hour slot clear for me to be able to do that without feeling guilty or feeling like I didn't deliver for my clients or anything.
[00:04:41] Point number three, if you need to set alarms set as many damn alarms as you need them, smartwatch, smartphone, Alexa, whatever it takes, set an alarm for first reminder. So, you know, something's coming up, set an alarm 10 minutes before two minutes before, like, I don't know how many times it happened to me that I'd have a call at one.
[00:05:00] I'm looking at the clock at 1235 and I'm thinking I have a call at one. That's fine. Still 25 minutes. Let me just clear out my inbox. Fuck. It's one 15. I missed the. Like, how can you. Get sucked into this annoying task of cleaning up your inbox and miss a call. I don't know how that happens, but it's happened to me so many times.
[00:05:20] So now my calendar literally pops up with 10 notifications for every single appointment so that I don't get really sucked into something and think, oh, I can quickly finish that before I have to get on the call. When realistically I cannot, I have to stop, walk around, make a coffee and wait the full 25 minutes.
[00:05:38] I don't see. Anything else that I can't finish before that. Another thing that can help is to use the Pomodoro method. So for those of you that don't know the idea is that you have a fixed time period that you work, and then you have a quick break period, and then you have the next fixed time period that you work.
[00:05:57] And then another break until you're done with your morning work for right. So lots of people do a 45 minute, five minute 45 minute, 15 minutes. Sometimes for me, 45 minute Pomodoros are not long enough to actually really get something finished. lots of my work, like building someone's sales page or preparing all of the tech for someone's launch.
[00:06:16] It will take me 2, 3, 4 hours. But that doesn't mean that I can't break those 2, 3, 4 hours into multiple Pomodora chunks and then make a point to go and take a bathroom, break, to go, make a coffee, to go take some water and just move around and then come back to refocus and carry on working. Right. And if you need help to actually be sticking to those times, because then you have five minute break, you sort of get distracted, you get your phone, you start scrolling, you can use something like focus, meet.
[00:06:44] so basically the idea of. You're going to get a body double. So another person who also needs to get something done and, you have an appointment with them. You get on focus, mate, you say hi, how's it going? Good, good. What are you going to work on? I'm going to build the sales page for a client.
[00:06:58] What are you working on? I am going to clean my kitchen because it really needs cleaning. Okay. Let's do it. And then you mute yourselves. Everyone goes and does the thing. And then, at the end of the session, a timer will ring and then you're going to meet again. And you're going to have to tell the other person, if you got it done or not.
[00:07:15] So you have this kind of accountability. If you start scrolling on your phone, you know, the other person could, even if you're both working at the desk, And I, I, I, you supposed to be there, um, but it depends on the people, but that's a great way for you to get accountability plus work in Pomodoro sessions because you could book three focus mate sessions, back to back, and then you have this commitment to another person that you are going to do this thing at that time.
[00:07:38] The next thing that's really important is to plan out your day, your week, your month, not too strictly, but you need a plan. What are your priorities for the month of March? What are your three top things that you need to get done this week to move your business and life? What are the things that you need to be doing on a daily basis?
[00:08:00] those are the things that if you don't know what you're even working on, you are not going to be working on that thing because you don't know what the thing is supposed to be. Right. So you have to know, to know you have to dedicate time to figure out what the thing is. So an app that I have been using for a few months now, and I absolutely love for that.
[00:08:19] and I tell you why. I do my monthly kind of planning and note taking and stuff in notion. So I'm like, okay, so this model, these are the things that we're working on. We really need to get this done and I want it to do that. So let me try and focus on that this month at the start of every week, Sunsama comes up with like a weekly planning thing and says, okay, what are your top priorities for this week?
[00:08:38] So I write down my three priorities for this week that are in line with my monthly goals. On the day-to-day basis in Sunsama, you basically add all of your tasks that you need to get done. It can pull tasks from asana. It can pull messages from slack. It can pull tasks from Trello. It can pull your emails, it pulls your Google calendar appointments that you have scheduled with other people, and it puts it all in one view.
[00:09:05] So I would write down. So today I need to build the sales page for the client. I need to make the Zapier integration work. I need to blah, blah, blah. And then I have to say, how long do I expect. This to take. So I will say, okay, well, sales page for a client would normally take like two hours, but it could be a bit longer because this is always a bit difficult with that tool.
[00:09:30] So let me guess that it takes three hours. I always assume like a worst case. So I will say sales page is going to take three hours. Zapier integration is going to take 30 minutes. I've done it a hundred times. Know how long it takes. So this is going to take 30 minutes to build out. And then I have this appointment here and this there, and then you take all of those tasks.
[00:09:51] You kind of drag them onto a calendar around your existing. when you do that every single day in the mornings, very quickly, multiple things will happen. Number one, when someone messages me on slack and says, Hey, could you please also prepare X today? I can look at sunsama. I can go. Um, no I can't because I have other things on, I am working on ABC for you today.
[00:10:17] Is this more or less? And then you can go and adjust your workload for the day. It move another task to tomorrow. And it also lets me see it straight away when I have eight hours available to work and I have enough tasks on my task list for today that will make up and total of 12 hours. I am four hours short in my Workday to deliver all of those things that.
[00:10:41] I can now decide what to bump to the following day and I can straight away message that person and say, Hey, you know, this Canada integration, you need it from me for today. Yeah, I have other things going on that actually have more priority. And I think that they are going to take up pretty much every hour of my day.
[00:10:58] So I'm not going to get to that until tomorrow or Wednesday or whenever. So you can actually be way better communicating with people ahead of time as you're adjusting your workload. Another thing that's also really important when you do this apart from assuming the worst case scenario is to leave buffer times.
[00:11:15] So leave an hour. Extra in between tasks because sometimes something just shifts for 10 minutes here. 10 minutes here, 10 minutes here. And suddenly you're a bit short. So it helps. If you have some buff up blocks in between your other tasks, another thing that can help you with. Is to actually prepare your next day, the previous evening.
[00:11:34] So if you're using something like Sunsama, I like to make sure that all my tasks for the day that I did complete are ticked off. I like to make sure that the other ones are moved to the following days, that I already have an idea of what's going on, the detailed planning I kind of do in the morning, but I'd like to make sure that if I wrote notes on a paper that , I know that the client said in a meeting to set this up, otherwise I'll forget.
[00:11:56] I type it all up and make sure that it's on my task list for the following day. , so that. Start the next day completely in the dark. That's how you completely set yourself up for failure because chaos in the mornings is always the worst. And then the last point that I have is that you also want to set aside time regularly, like once a week, once a month, once every three months, once a year, for general admin and life stuff.
[00:12:23] If you don't do that. So I'll take an example actually from my life at this moment in time, I mean, this may be the last year, but up until now, every single year at the end of January or in the middle of January, I had to renew my residence permit. It means that I need one afternoon, four hours to just run around, gather documents, go to a copy shop, get them printed, photocopied, have my photos taken.
[00:12:49] Then I need one whole. Free whenever they give me an appointment. So I have no choice over the appointment that just staying you'll come into immigration this day. This time could be the worst time in the week, worst day of the week. So in those weeks, every week I need to have half a day or even a full day empty a buffer that I can move wherever it suits.
[00:13:11] So then I have to go there for the day. So that's now eight hours. That's a full day by now that I couldn't work potentially in the same week or in a two week period. Now, after that, they might demand additional documents two weeks later. So they're going to call me and they're going to ask me for something else.
[00:13:25] They're going to tell me I'm going to have to get another paper somewhere. So I have another half day on another half day. In those weeks and I make sure that there's no client launches. There's nothing else happening in that time period. Because if I don't, I now have one day or one and a half full days of work to catch up.
[00:13:43] So it means I have to work one entire weekend because I did not set aside any time for these life admin things that just wasted. Right. So those things that can really throw you off, they make you leave with projects. They make you feel very stressed, which leads to burn out. Listen to the last episode, if you didn't.
[00:14:01] And I want to avoid that, like the fricking past. So those are all things that you can help. I hope that this was a little bit useful to you. If you suffer from time blindness, like I do. thank you so much for listening to the online business rebels podcast. As always, you can find all of the show notes at Jessica Donington talk com.
[00:14:20] And if you enjoyed this episode, I would like you to please tell one of your friends about it, because I can't help people if they're not listening. So as always, I hope you have an amazing day and I will see you for the next one.