Dyslexics have Difficulties with Time Management

Time management is very difficult, if not impossible for many Dyslexics.   This is not due to them being lazy, thoughtless or uncaring. Dyslexics are right-brain dominant thinkers and live in the present. The past and future belong to the left-brainers.

A Dyslexic tends not to look at their life in any kind of a systematic way. They are often called “free spirits”, “flighty” , “unfocused” or “easily distracted” .

Dyslexics however are solidly planted in the moment and if they are spending time with you, that is where they are mentally – 100% with you. They may seem distracted as their minds may drift or catapult to a stimulating tangent or many tangents as you chat due to the conversation sparking new and exciting thoughts for them, but they are with you. They can even have difficulty pulling themselves away to another obligation or are willing to cancel everything to spend time with you.

Dyslexics are also intuitive, very empathetic and enjoy counseling others.  They have a passionate desire to problem solve along with an often overwhelming need to help others feel balanced and happy.  They tend to “feel” another person’s emotions and they can and will drop everything to help if they think it is important.

As a Dyslexic in a large family of right-brainers I often find myself in wonderful conversations filled with a wide variety of ideas and laughter with the “righties” in my life and we hate to move on or go somewhere else. Our dinner conversations can easily turn into stimulating all nighters. Dyslexics love to ponder a subject and sometimes have to be metaphorically “dragged away, kicking and screaming”.

Dyslexics will become immersed in problem-solving an issue and have difficulty stopping. I always know I am talking to a right-brained person when they go way overboard helping me when I am at a store, organization, government office, etc. They will keep coming up with other ideas and want to be sure I know all aspects of the “big picture” – people to contact, companies to check out, phone numbers, information that they don’t necessarily need to tell me but can make a huge difference, other options – they can’t stop! – even if they need to get on with their own work .

Dyslexics tend to be perfectionists and will get stuck on some part of their work or project.  They can’t move on till their project is what they imagined and will usually continue to improve it as they go.  The time and schedule will get away from them and they are not finished for their deadline.  This Dyslexic individual is then viewed as a time waster,  not organized,  can’t prioritize or able to stay focused.  One of the problems with getting their work done is they are extremely focused. It is also very hard to stop when a Dyslexic’s imagination and creative juices are flowing. The result of their work however, will generally be well thought out, innovative and more than what was expected of them.

If they are working on a task or project they are totally engaged, being creative, problem solving, excited and having a terrible time pulling themselves away, let alone being aware of “the clock”.  Many of the Dyslexics I have come to know will despair over people not understanding they are getting their job done, they just need more time. Dyslexics live in the “now” and not aware of their schedule or anyone else which often makes them seem as if they are in their “own world”.  My sister gave me a t-shirt once that said “People say I live in my own little world but that’s okay because they all know me there!

I should finish by saying we do tell the people we work with who have a typical Dyslexic’s issue with time management that it is important to try to improve it.  There are a couple of techniques that I have found can work can work quite well:

Using a timer to stay on track with the amount of time spent on a task or a reminder to wrap it up and get ready to leave or move onto another task. This can really help – it’s made a big difference to my personal and work life. But I struggle with the part about stopping what I’m doing.

Dyslexics tend to think of the time for their next obligation or appointment only when that time comes so they will usually be late. My friends used to tell me to show up at 5:00pm for dinner knowing that I would show up at 6:00pm.  I wouldn’t start to think about leaving until the time I was supposed to be somewhere.  I finally figured this one out. If I have to be there at 5:00 I subtract the amount of time I need to get ready and drive or walk there. Then I set my timer and agree with myself that I will stop. I am usually able to stop with in 5 to 10 minutes of the timer going off.

Here are a couple of links for time management info for Dyslexics that you might find useful:



So be patient with the Dyslexics and right-brainers in your life, give them a hug and tell them it’s okay because you know they are trying really hard with their lists, schedules, deadlines and keeping track of their “stuff”.  Also noticing and remarking on all the wonderful things that can occur from how they spend their time would also be very supportive.

Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online

28 thoughts on “Dyslexics have Difficulties with Time Management

  1. Dyslexia, sequencing, memory. I can log into google, thats about it. If someone trys to show me more styff on the computer, i have to write all of it down or i cant remember any of it. Nothing. Nearly everything i write down has no real relevance at all. I would really say everything has no relevance as my brain wouldnt normally be trying to do certain things on the computer as i stay away from anything that requires memory. I try to stay away, i try to stay eell clear of anything im really bad at re, my dyslexia ..as its like pulling teeth, its just wasted time, in my case. Maybe not for all dyslexics, but thats it for me. I cant do many thing. Id be here forever if i tryed to talk about it. This coupled with bad cognitive skills, really bad cognitive skills. My brain wont compute. I do physical work / cleaning. Im working at the lowest level, for the lowest min -wage possible. Its not easy living on min wage, but this is me. Im a non skilled person because of my type of dyslexis ..& i cant up-skill like other people / normal people. Im stuck working at this level. Im stuck in this menial standard of living. Bed sit living. No pals also. I had one or two growing up, but they were just neighbour-hood pals. They had their own agenda, life goals, no SPLD issues, no dyslexic problems .& they moved on a long time ago / made their own lives, etc. Im stuck in a time -warp. I feel like this anyway. I cant achieve more like normal people who dont have SPLD. * i get continuously asked why im a cleaner at my age ? Have i no greater ambition ? I dont look like im dyslexic. I look normal so i must be normal. Its all in my head. Im just lazy. Their comments go on & on & on. Im inmy late 50’s. At least the cleaning jobs have paid my bills, kept me alive. Thats a positive. No one realises this with their smart comments. I woyldnt pasd such great judgements on these people if they were SPLD …& i was ‘ normal’. But these. are super great people. Your job is better than mine & you are better than me. Im normally competitive if i think i can do something. But in the work force i have to choose the lowest job as its the one my brain does with ease. Its the one job where my brain doesnt mess up. Sooner or later i have to be content. I have to try to stop taking offence re, other peoples comments about me.

    They dont know me & they dont really care.

    • Hello John;
      I am sorry it’s all been so hard for you. I know there is nothing I can say to make it better. I really wish I could however telling your story is important! Maybe more people will start to understand and be kinder.

      My husband damaged his feet years ago while on the job. He looked like he was ok from the outside so he couldn’t explain that just because his feet hurt he couldn’t work at his construction job anymore. He couldn’t stand on his feet for longer than 1 hour before he would be in blinding pain and he lost his job. He had a really hard time finding work where he could make good money because of his injury. It affected his self esteem and it made him feel isolated. He was proud of how hard he was able to work his whole life up to this point and couldn’t get past his physical limitations. We understand how you feel.

      But no one is better than you! You work, pay your bills and are a responsible person. You are valuable human being. People who look down on you are able to do that until something devastating happens in their life. Few of us escape some serious debilitating event in our lives that brings us low. And what I have learned over the years is people are hiding their own personal fears and often take it out on defenceless individuals.

      If you can come to a place of acceptance then you can maybe start to see what is good in your life. I know you probably won’t be interested in my suggestion but you might want to volunteer somewhere such as retirement homes or homeless shelters. Helping people and seeing their burdens can often help us feel grateful for what we have. Also helping those in need will help you see how valuable you can be! Wonderful way to make friends and be judged less.

      All my best!
      Karey Hope
      Dyslexia Victoria Online

    • Dear John,

      My boss is dyslexic and he is the greatest boss ever! He’s a perfect leader in every way. Sure he has trouble spelling but he uses a spell checker and I made sure to remind him every time. I am critical of his work emails when he misspells but I do it for his own good and I also had to ask him to not let the workplace know that he is dyslexic. He confided that he is dyslexic to me when I teased him about his misspellings.

      Now, the quality that he is known for in the workplace is his remarkable insight and views. He can look at processes and knows exactly how to streamline them. He can simplify the most burdensome process. Most importantly, he is the nicest person and well liked. He is very intelligent and a true leader. He does act impulsively sometimes but always with the best intentions. Because he is such a nice guy, his coworkers cover for him. We all have his back.

      John, I just want you to know that the fact that you are okay with working a job you considered ‘low’ is very admirable. However, you took a job that your ‘brain does with ease’ which meant you settled and that is fine because you lack the self-confidence to take a higher level job and run the risk of getting fired and losing income. Many of us do that whether we are dyslexic or not. Nobody wants to be broke and end up on the streets.

      John, there are people who are not dyslexic with much bigger problems and with detestable personalities. Please do not be like them. People in general do not discriminate against kindness. Be kind to yourself and others around you and you will find good friends and happiness.

      By the way, I am not dyslexic and I hate cleaning (and I hate cooking). My place is a mess and my bathroom and kitchen are really gross. I really envy the cleaning lady at my work who can keep our office, bathrooms and kitchens sparkling clean. For some reason, I cannot bring myself to clean up. I live in a pig sty and am getting depressed over it. I cleaned my garage one time when I found a rat nibbling at old food I had in the garage – that was the only time I had to do a thorough cleaning. I cannot have guests because I am so embarrassed of my messy place.

      Please be happy to be a cleaner!!!

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