Executive Functioning Tip #5: Digital Clocks versus Analog Clocks

(Tip #5 of the series 15 Tips to Support Your Brain for Good Time Management)

Today it is hard to imagine that way back around 1982, when the digital clock was hot new technology, people were willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars for a digital watch. I tell this to my younger clients and they look at me in disbelief.

I keep a clock right in front of my computer screen so I don’t lose track of time.

Despite all the excitement back then over everything digital, there was at least one skeptical voice. I was listening to a National Public Radio interview with an academic (I wish I knew who!). He made the outrageous statement that the digital clock would be the downfall of civilization.

What??? He pointed out that the digital clock only gives us one view of time – the immediate present – NOW. Whereas the old-fashioned face clock or analog clock gives us three views of time. It shows us the past – How long have I been working? It shows us the present – What time is it? And it shows us the future – How much longer before this meeting is over?

For the folks with executive functioning time challenges, including those with ADHD, it is critical to have analog clocks constantly in sight in order to be able to see the passage of time since our brain doesn’t keep track of time.

You need analog clocks wherever you tend to lose track of time – next to the computer, the TV, where you do homework or paperwork, and even the shower.

The shower? Yes. On my Cool Tools page there are links to a shower clock as well as a small analog clock, which can be surprisingly hard to find in stores.

Getting analog clocks into sight is one of the biggest ways to get your time management issues under control. Get several today!

And what about the digital clock and the downfall of civilization? The speaker felt that by only viewing time in the present moment, we’d become a culture focused only on meeting our needs, right now. We’d forget to think about the past and learn from it. We’d ignore the future and forget to plan for it. Hummm…

About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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Leave a Comment:

Randy Hays says October 2, 2010

Attended your session the other night and enjoyed it. Although I’m ADD myself, and can define and answer questions about metacognition, I don’t feel like I have a good bank of strategies to overcome some EF deficits. Thanks for your work.
When is your book coming out? Can I call you sometime? I’m interested and inspired by your work.

    marydee says October 29, 2010

    Hi Randy,

    Sorry to be late in responding. I’m fairly new to the whole sophisticated website thing, and just this morning I actually found about your comment. Links from Comments weren’t being sent to me so I didn’t even know I had something to respond to! Life is a learning curve!

    I’m pleased that you enjoyed my presentation. I’d be happy to talk with you, but it will have to be a few weeks. Check back with me in late November. In the meantime, you might consider attending my workshop on Nov. 13th, in Portland. It is exactly for folks like you— people who want to help out struggling students. I’ll be going through the whole workbook just as I do with client families only you will be the participant. The Instructor’s Manual is very very close to going to the printer. It should be ready to ship by the end of November. You can learn more about the workshop on the home page of my website. I’d love to have you join me. There is a big need for people to offer this course.

    Keep in touch and it’d be great to see you on the 13th,

paula says October 29, 2010

Just had a conversation with my 20’s something kids, who grew up on digital and can’t relate to analog clocks. (My sister and I prefer analog, and couldn’t explain why. Your tip does.

I’ve sent them the link.

Laura Nolte says May 3, 2019

Wow—you spoke directly to me! I have always preferred analog clocks, but I didn’t know why. I also have been obsessed with time management since I was a little kid, and I’ve wondered if it was because I know I’m just not very good at it. I will be reading all of your old posts. You have provided a gold mine of information that is desperately needed! Thank you so much!

    Marydee Sklar says May 3, 2019

    Laura, So happy to hear that you have found value in reading my blogs. Thanks for letting me know. Happy reading!

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