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

21 thoughts on “Dyslexics have Difficulties with Time Management

  1. I’ve gone through nearly 50 jobs in the last 3yrs , since nov 2013. It was 45 a few weeks back, but ive gone through several more. White noise & dyslexic related problems are making me quit or i get kicked out of a job against my will. I declare my dyslexia in some of my job applications as some employers want to know why a 55 year old man wants to clean kitchens, pots & pans, etc. Or sometimes i keep that info to myself as it sometimes backfires on me / they think i cant read & i wont be able to read / check in deliveries / supplies. I loose the job / interview before i even get started. Other times it relaxes the person interviewing me as it explains why i want to do this job, they know im not just out of jail & they know im not a messer / they know im serious about the job ..but it varies & i have to mix it up re, my job applications. Its like russian roulette as i dont know if i should tell them or not. If i tell them about white noise im completely doomed. Peo9le dont have the time, patience or the interest to listen to all of this at an interview. They need to interview fast & they have their own agenda. This just happened to me last week. I saw a job on the Net, it was private & didnt give the company name. I applied & i gave all my good job references & i declared my dyslexia stating im dyslexic & good at manual cleaning work. I was asked in for a two hour trial operating the washing machine & they told me to come in the following week, which i did. It was 9am when i arrived in & i was told to check each item on the docket, infront of the delivery guy. I can do this but i cant do it quickly as all the words become a jumble if im trying to read stuff which is alien to me & if im being told to do it fast as they have other stuff for me to do after that chore / dockets / deliveries. I can only go at my own pace or i get a head-ache & i make mistakes, i miss stuff, words which are right infront of me on the docket. Everything becomes a hazy blurr of words / letters if you rush me. Anyway i got it done, i checked everything but i took me 25 mins ..but they wanted it checked in two mins. The chef came out & took the docket out of my hand on the 5th day of my new job & said your taking too long & its delaying all the other stuff you have to do next / daily. He took the docket, pen & glanced at the boxes & ticked the last docket saying ..you see its all there & it just took me 30 seconds to check that. I didnt see him tick each individual item on the docket like i was told to do, but he was 2nd in command & i wasnt going to say you havent ticked everything like me. In my frustration i said ..well im dyslexic, im the wrong man for the delivery dockets if you want it done fast. I wish i hadnt said this as he told the head chef & i was gone two days later. They let me go with no reason. It annoys me as i know i could have become familiar with the deliveries, with the cooking produce & i would have become faster/ once i got into a routine. But i was gone. I startef & finishef all in the one week. And you know what ? Thete was no white noise in this kitchen, no radio, no loud extractor fan which normally drive me nuts & im out the door, literally running out the door. So i got lucky with the white noise & then dyslexia got me. It has taken me a long time to find a job & im still looking. I know my head is mesded up, im messed up / i cant bring any if this up at interviews. They dont want to know & understandably so. The crazy thing is i had none of these problems in my very first kutchen cleaning job. I just applied, i got the job & i was there for many years until i injured my knee & i had to go for an operstion which kept me on crutches for nearly 6 years after the operation. I just got lucky in the beginning & i wasnt even aware of my being dyslexic or suffering from white noise in my late 20’s / early 30’s. * I have always been somewhat self aware, knowing that my head is a mess, its delicate, i was pretty sure i was dyslexic but no one has the time to sit down & analyse all of this stuff in your head. It takes a profesdional psychologist & even then ..it takes them a while to adk lots of questions & find out if your dyslexic, if you have ADHD, etc. Im actually a very reliable person but i need certain work conditions for me to be able to work without going crazy, awol, etc. Im only realising all of this myself by sitting back for hours on end, trying to work out what was driving me over the edge just 2 mins after into a new job trial / white noise usually. And analysing all of these job disasters. The traffic in the street, people talking in the street drives me nuts ..if its a cold day, the cars are travelling fast & the traffic decibels is up loud & people are talking out loud. Its all noise in my head & i cant filter it out, i cant cancell it, i cant get it out of my head ……..unless i bring a spare pair of industrial ear-muffs with me daily. They are big, work men use them when they drill into the ground, operate loud machinery, etc. So its an extreme measure & i could probably work any kitchens, if i was allow to wear them ..but you cant. I have worn them in the street to kill the white noise & it works.

    Im off to look for another job. Im not going to declare my dyslexia to any potential job ever again. I dont trust any employer or any employee, they arent understanding & they can use this information against me & get me fired ..when i was desperate for the job.

    It mudt be great not to have a learning difficulty / disability & to be able to make these quick decisions, in the work place.

    Such great people !

    Your fired / no reason ..just dont come back.

    Great people we have in this world.

    You have no idea what i’d like to do to them.

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