Today we have a blog post written by Clinical Rehabilitation Counselor, Daniel J. Gilbride MRC/LPC. Daniel shares how those who struggle with anxiety can have an especially difficult time with time management. Time management can be a trigger for many with anxiety. Daniel explains how the Time Timer can help in many aspects for those with anxiety because it is a visual measurement that all ages and abilities can understand.
For nearly twenty years, I have served people who live with both perceptual differences and high anxiety. I speak of those, both children and adults, who live with Autism Spectrum diagnoses and those with shadows of the same, ADD, ADHD, and shadow symptoms. Approximately four years ago, I encountered the Time Timer. It taught me the value and importance of not just time, but time concept as well.
Imagine yourself in a place where the concept of time was changed. Instead of fifteen minutes, you were to stay on a certain task for ‘x.’ Imagine also that the keepers of the time seemed to. Know what ‘x’ stood for, the value of ‘x’, but you had no idea. Was ‘x’ long, short, a day or a week? How would you know? You could “tell time” by stating that you would be on task for ‘x,’ but internally you would be on a free-fall. As you continued to stay on task, think of what might happen to your anxiety as the keepers of the ‘x’ time told you “not yet.” This is how many people live every minute of every day.
With the advent of the Time Timer came a nearly instant value base for time. Whether we call something fifteen minutes or ‘x,’ with the Time Timer there is a beginning and an end. There is a visual measurement for the passage of time. A value that seems to be true and puts you on an equal plane with all others who refer to ‘x.’ This time value, intrinsic in the Time Timer, levels the field, provides structure, deters the sense of free-fall and as a result, reduces anxiety and increases the ability to tolerate time on task.
By using the Time Timer, I am assisted in keeping my word about how long a person must persevere on task. I do not have to remember when twenty minutes have passed – I can see that it has passed. This provides me the freedom to work on other areas that will assist the individual without having to have a part of my consciousness attached to the monitoring of time passage. With a relatively lower shelf of anxiety, there is greater access to assisting someone with learning or creating as they too are freed from the manifestations of increased anxiety: lower productivity, more difficulty in accessing and using memory, and more difficulty in processing information.
For the purposes of qualification, I am not an endorser by nature. Rather, I am an advocate for people with neurobiological differences. The Time Timer is not the answer, but is an effective tool. It assists in every aspect of the process of therapy, teaching, and in the basic value and importance of people being accommodated so they are more comfortable. It is portable, durable, easy to teach and use, and promotes independence. A simple tool with tremendous power and potential in its use and the levels of a being that it impacts.
This passage about the Time Timer is simply a way in which to say “thanks” to those who could take a simple idea and make it work. “Thanks” of behalf of all of the children and adults whose lives have been made more comfortable and independent because of this tool and a huge “thanks” to the hundreds of people who have taught me just how powerful the concept of time value truly is. How much we take for granted.
Daniel J. Gilbride, MRC/LPC
Clinical Rehabilitation Counselor
Member, International Order for Excellence in Counseling and Counseling Education