From Frenzied to Grounded: Analog Clocks are #1 Time Management Treasure!
Analog vs. Digital Clocks: What’s the difference and why does it matter?
I love analog clocks. It wasn’t until I took MaryDee Sklar’s facilitator training for her “Seeing My Time” course that I really understood why they worked so well for me. (Check out MaryDee’s course here: https://executivefunctioningsuccess.com/courses-for-individuals-and-families/
Digital clocks show ONE aspect of time- what time it is right now.
Analog clocks show THREE aspects of time:
- What time it is right now
- How much time has passed
- How much time is left
Three aspects of time- in one glance. In my book, that makes analog clocks at least 3x better than digital clocks.
How to use Analog Clocks to Better Support Your Brain
Time is a completely invisible and abstract concept. The key to managing it with more ease is to make it as concrete as possible. Instead of just making it concrete- I go for the big 3: Concrete, External and Visible. An external (not my phone/computer, etc.) clock that is easy to see from wherever I am is essential. When I look at my clock I can see how much more time I have before I need to leave. They literally require less effort.
Time Management is an Executive Function (EF) skill that is often negatively impacted by ADHD. ADHD can impact several aspects of your sense of time, such as:
- Your awareness of the passage of time
- Your capacity to estimate how much time you have available
- Your ability to sense that time is important
If I look at a digital clock and it shows the time is 1:13 and I need to leave at 1:50, I need to do the math in my head to figure out how much time I have left. That requires using my working memory (another EF skill often impacted by ADHD). When I look at an analog clock, I can immediately “see” how much time I have left. As I learned from MaryDee, analog clocks are essential to my being able to “See My Time.”
Analog clocks, by design, create more ease for my brain to process time and use the time I have available. The energy I save with analog clocks is available for more important tasks throughout the day.
Digital clocks are everywhere (and that isn’t likely to change). They are the default time tool on everything from phones to computers to cars and microwave ovens. If you are using your phone or computer for the current time, that often ends up being a portal to distractions. How many times have you checked the time only to discover 5 or 10 (or 50) minutes later you are dee into texting or checking social media? Analog clocks don’t require effort to resist other distractions.
When I realized how important analog clocks were to my ability to pay attention to time with more ease, I started putting them everywhere they could help. Last year I had a painter give me a quote to paint several rooms in my house. When we were talking before he left he asked me, “So, what’s with all the clocks?” I had to laugh, because I realized that while I have clocks wherever I need them, to an “outsider” it probably looks like I collect analog clocks!
My 3 favorite spots to add analog clocks are:
- Closets (so if I am struggling to find something to wear, I can see how much time I am taking, have left, etc.)
- Bathrooms (Sometimes 2 or 3 are needed so you can see the clock from the shower/tub, sink, toilet, etc.)
- By my computer (I have 2 clocks here: One right in front of the monitor and one to the left of it so I can easily see it no matter what I am doing).
Where would an analog clock better support you?
One last tip: If, like me, you find the ticking noise of analog clocks annoying, look for “no ticking” or “silent sweep” analog clocks. These are silent! Two of my favorite analog clocks are made by “Peakeep” and are available in my ADHD-Friendly Amazon Shop: https://www.adhdfriendly.com/adhd-friendly-shop/ (**As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)
ADHD Friendly Podcast
For more information, check out my ADHD Friendly Podcast episode #42: The One About Analog vs. Digital Clocks https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEjCfaR4M3gGWjuQZQUn2Yg/videos