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3 Things That Take Longer When You Have ADHD

People with ADHD often seem to be in a rush – you know, that whole hyperactivity business. Unfortunately, just because we’re impatient doesn’t mean we actually get things done faster.

TimeIn fact, some activities end up taking far longer for people with ADHD. It’s not hard to see why this is the case: the harder it is for you to focus, the less efficient you’re going to be.

Here are three examples of things that can take longer for ADHDers:

  • Reading: Inattention can make reading an especially frustrating activity for people with ADHD. Trying to read when you can’t concentrate means you repeatedly find yourself reading through words without having any of what they actually mean sink it. So you end up going back to re-read the same paragraphs over. And over. Or you just give up and lose the thread of whatever it is you’re trying to read.
  • Following step-by-step instructions: From doing projects assigned to you at work to cooking with a recipe, there’s no shortage of tasks in life where you have to follow step-by-step instructions. And if you have ADHD, that means there’s no shortage of tasks in life where find yourself skipping steps, having to go back to re-read earlier steps, losing track of which step you’re on, or otherwise wasting time with inattentive mistakes.
  • Falling asleep: According to one review of scientific studies, adults with ADHD take longer to fall asleep, and they go to sleep later. Anecdotally, it seems like a lot of people with ADHD also take longer to wake up, which is why some will set an alarm early to take their meds, then go back to sleep until the meds kick in.

Of course, these are far from the only areas where people with ADHD tend to be experts at taking more time than everyone else. We can waste time in almost any situation if we set our minds to it. Please add to this list by leaving a comment sharing some examples of things that take longer for you!

Image: Flickr/Sean MacEntee

3 Things That Take Longer When You Have ADHD

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.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). 3 Things That Take Longer When You Have ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Jun 2017
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