The 2 Reasons ADHDers Struggle with Deadlines

The Next Level Daily Planner was designed to be as flexible enough to use regardless of how a person organizes their thoughts. That makes it the ideal daily planner for ADHDers. As you may already know, people with ADHD struggle with deadlines. Our planner is designed to make it easier to manage them.


With that in mind, a detailed article published by ADDitude Magazine offers some insight into why ADHDers struggle to meet their deadlines. It explains why they have difficult planning for the long term. We encourage you to read the article if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ADHD. Meanwhile, we will offer an overview here. What you are about to read may sound very familiar to you.


A Shorter Time Horizon


Author Ari Tuckman, Psy.D explains that there are two fundamental challenges that make it difficult for people with ADHD to successfully deal with deadlines. The first is something known as the 'time horizon'. The time horizon is easily understood by comparing it to a literal, physical horizon.


Tuckman uses the illustration of a ship coming into port. Before it appears on the horizon, you cannot see it. As soon as it does appear, you can slowly watch it come in. Time and distance make it easier to see more detail as the ship gets closer. And if you have extremely good vision, you will see the ship and its details sooner than someone with poor vision.


The time horizon principle dictates that people see deadlines in much the same way. They are ships on the horizon. A person who is particularly good at meeting deadlines can see them from afar and plan accordingly. But for most ADHDers, deadlines are not seen until they are very close. Their comparatively short time horizon prevents them from engaging in long term planning.


Temporal Discounting


The second challenge Tuckman addressed is something known as 'temporal discounting'. Think of this phenomenon in terms of a reward for labor. Tuckman's example was earning money for shoveling snow. The work might be worth it if payment will be immediate. But if you know you won't be paid for several months down the road, how likely are you to put in the work right now?


ADHDers tend to engage in more temporal discounting for the simple fact that they don't view the future the same way others do. Their tendency is to focus on the immediate reward of the moment. They will often choose immediate reward over avoiding future consequences, even though they know those future consequences will be negative.


Different Strategies for Coping


It goes without saying that ADHDers utilize different strategies for coping with a shorter time horizon and the tendency to practice temporal discounting. We would never be so forward as to suggest there is a best way to do it. Tuckman does offer a few suggestions in his post.


For our part, we understand the difficulty our ADHD friends have with deadlines and long-term planning. We believe the Next Level Daily Planner can be a useful tool in this regard because it does not impose artificial time frames or limits on users.


Whether you suffer with ADHD or not, you might find it quite refreshing to work with a daily planner that has no dates. You will have the freedom to organize your schedule in whatever way makes sense to your brain. That is what Next Level is all about. It's a planner that gives you the tools to organize your life the way you want, rather than the way someone else thinks you should.