Home » ADHD » Blogs » ADHD Millennial » ADHD and Wasted Time

ADHD and Wasted Time

If ADHD sometimes keeps me up at night, it’s not because of the hyperactivity. Nor is it because I’m wondering what careless mistakes I’ll make in the coming day and what the consequences of those mistakes will be. It’s not even because I’m pondering the statistical differences in education, work and health outcomes between people with and without the disorder.

TimeNope. It’s because I’m thinking about all the time my ADHD symptoms have wasted.

ADHD symptoms can cause all kinds of emotions, but no aspect of ADHD causes more regret than the what-ifs and how-did-that-happens and where-did-I-go-wrongs that ADHD-related time management problems can lead to.

There are a lot of ways people with ADHD end up wasting time:

  • Failing to plan ahead
  • Procrastinating
  • Losing interest in things half way through
  • Getting distracted
  • Impulsively getting drawn into activities that burn up time
  • Generally having poor self-control

The consequences can range from transient stress to broken commitments to a frustrating inability to follow through on long-term goals (or any goals, really!).

That in itself is no fun. But here’s the thing that really freaks me out: every day, I waste more time. I can feel the wasted time accumulating! It’s like people with ADHD have less than 24 hours in every day, so the difference adds up as every day goes by.

OK, admittedly that’s not the healthiest way of thinking about it. And I’ve gotten better about coming to terms with this side of ADHD than I used to be.

This is a task that falls unambiguously in the “learning to accept life with ADHD” category. Sometimes you won’t plan well and you’ll waste valuable minutes and hours. Sometimes things will just take you longer than other people. Sometimes your concentration problems will blow your plans off course.

Still, trying to develop an it-is-what-it-is attitude hasn’t stopped me from sometimes waking up in the early dawn and wondering how the mountains of time I’ve wasted with the help of my ADHD symptoms got to be so high. And then I realize that wondering how I wasted so much time is probably itself a waste of time. Yikes! Just thinking about it makes me anxious!

Image: Flickr/Kim Love

ADHD and Wasted Time

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

6 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2016). ADHD and Wasted Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 3 Nov 2016
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.