Join us in our discussion with Evie Hartman about what it’s like to be a freelancer with ADHD.
- How to overcome time blindness
- Helpful ADHD tools
- Struggles with time blocking
Paul: (00:00) Last we spoke, you were doing a bunch of graphics work for an online virtual community thing. Yeah. I can't describe it better than that.
Evie: (00:12) Yeah, I love virtual worlds and I've done a bunch of stuff. I've helped with social media management and community management, and I've also done a whole lot of graphic design, making basically level design for companies that want to have their offices and conventions and stuff in the metaverse. Not NFTs or anything like that. I don't deal in those, but virtual worlds, I do a lot of those.
Paul: (00:40) Okay. You mentioned that you have ADHD.
Evie: (00:43) Yes.
Paul: (00:43) It seems to be that Clockk is resonating with people who have ADHD. This call is about digging into that. What is your experience with ADHD? What is your experience with Clockk and how do those two fit together?
“I can focus on something and completely not know how much time has passed."
Evie: (01:03) Central to the experience of having ADHD for many people is having difficulty with the flow of time. It's hard to tell. It's like some minds are really good at storing the passing of time. You don't even have to look at your watch. My husband is like that. But for me, I can focus on something and completely not know how much time has passed. That's just how it works. To be a freelancer with that neurology is difficult sometimes because you look back and you realize that you've spent so much time doing this work and a few days pass or maybe not even a few days, and you are not sure how much time you have spent. And being able to look back and just see it on Clockk is like magic. It's like, inexplicably, some people's minds just do that. They can remember, Oh, I started this at such and such a clock. I took a break here. No, not for me. So having something that keeps track of that for me is incredible. On a good day, my memory has to live outside my brain.
“I don't write down when I switch applications. I don't write down when I start work on any given day as a freelancer and when I stop."
Evie: (02:15) They say in clinical research, for an employee without this condition, and for everybody, if you don't write it down, it didn't happen. I don't write down when I switch applications. I don't write down when I necessarily start work on any given day as a freelancer and when I stop. Having that memory, being able to live outside my brain is just incredible. I can tell a client how much time I've spent without having to stress about it myself and kick myself when I can't remember, which I can never remember. I cannot expect that from myself. I've learned because I have ADHD. So yeah, great tool. Perfect tool for that for me.
"Being able to look back and just see it on Clockk is like magic. I can tell a client how much time I've spent without having to stress about it and kick myself when I can't remember, which I can never remember."
Paul: (03:03) Okay. Your comment about not recognizing the passage of time, do you have a word for that?
Evie: (03:12) I think a lot of people use the word time blindness, and I think that's probably fitting. Time blindness feels like your brain has a lot of different eyes, and a lot of them are closed at one time or open, and there's one eye on the time, and it'll just close, and then you don't have it. Then you look back and it's not there. You didn't record any of that information. That's what it's like. You're probably familiar with the ADHD concept of hyper-focus. It's not exclusive to ADHD. But hyper-focus, you're just focused on that one thing and you have incredible patience and stick to that one thing that you're focused on and everything else falls away. It's a superpower sometimes, especially when you're trying to get a lot done in a very short time. I wouldn't trade it for the world myself, but it definitely comes with a lack of knowledge of how much time has passed. That's definitely a big part of it.
“Hyper-focus a superpower. I wouldn't trade it for the world myself, but it definitely comes with a lack of knowledge of how much time has passed.“
Paul: (04:14) Are there other tools do you use that help you manage your ADHD?
Evie: (04:19) I use Obsidian a lot. It's like one of those second brain softwares. You’ve probably heard of it. I just have notes connected to notes. It's got this amazing graph system where you can just see the more notes you have and connect over time with interlinks between them. It's like it forms a brain in the node view with all the docs connected to each other. And it really is that. There's that. I was just looking this up, actually. There's a system called the Johnny decimal system. It's really interesting because it's like the Dewey decimal system, but for your own files, for your own topics of life. It was amazing to start using it because I wrote down here, I'm not exaggerating when I say it has fundamentally changed the entire way I organize my life and my pursuits because I can separate the different, not only the things that I want to do, but the files that I have on my computer. The time I spent in Clockk, I can assign that to... I can see that in my Johnny decimal system where my files and my bookmarks on Chrome and everything is organized. I can see how much time am I putting into these things.
Evie: (05:40) How many bookmarks am I putting into these things? Is that what I want? Are there other things that I haven't thought about in a while that I actually do love to spend time on and want to spend more time on? I can just analyze it as a big picture. The Johnny decimal system and Obsidian and Clockk are, I guess, at least right now, my holy trinity of things that keep me organized mentally.
“The Johnny decimal system and Obsidian and Clockk are my holy trinity of things that keep me organized mentally.”
Paul: (06:06) Okay. Now, Obsidian is marketed as a for everyone tool. I'm familiar with it. I haven't used it. I've got it on my list of these are the tools that I want to try out if I one day have time to try out tools. Johnny Decimal, is that a system designed for ADHD or is it just something that somebody came up with that you've adapted?
Evie: (06:28) It is just an all-purpose, something somebody came up with to organize the different areas of your life. Basically, you put numbers before you thought... You arrange your life into 10 categories, very broad categories, 10 or less. Then within that, you organize it one level deeper, and then that's it. It's not exactly it when it comes to digital files, but when you organize it like that, you know two levels deep, you know exactly where you're going to be able to find something that you saved. With me, I have... I constantly have new projects. Adhd, 100%. I constantly have new projects. I am constantly writing things down. I need there to be some sanity. And so to be able to have that sanity, and it's just numbers. You just add numbers to the folders. It's not something you have to buy. It's not something that you have to... And it's very modulative to your own routine.
Paul: (07:25) What has your experience of time blocking been? What were the wins? What were the misses of trying out time blocking?
Evie: (07:35) With ADHD, sometimes you're probably familiar right now with the term of executive function. Like, even if you put something where you want it, even if you put something on your calendar where you want it at a certain time of day, whether or not you're going to be able to muster up the dopamine to do it then, sometimes is anyone's guess. And so it was both useful at times and also frustrating at times to see things roll over day after day after day after day after day.
“Time blocking was both useful at times and also frustrating at times to see things roll over day after day after day after day after day.”
Paul: (08:13) Whenever I speak to somebody with ADHD, I recognize a lot of what you're saying. I created Clockk not because I have time blindness, I'm actually quite aware of the passage of time because I'm always running out of it. But switching between projects, I just can't be bothered to start and stop a Timer. It's too tedious. It's too difficult to remember to do that. But when we talk about time blocking, muster up the dopamine. I think you nailed my feeling precisely. I could schedule things for 11:00 AM tomorrow, but has no bearing on whether or not I'm going to want to do it. I've stayed on schedule with I'm supposed to do X and then I do nothing because I'm supposed to do X, but what I really want to do is Y and then I do nothing at all.
Evie: (09:08) Yeah, because you feel guilty.
Paul: (09:10) Yeah. I've just adjusted my life to I'm going to do the thing that I feel like doing and eventually I'm going to feel like doing X. Eventually it's urgent enough. And I need Clockk to help me track those switches.
Evie: (09:24) That is absolutely right on. That's absolutely right on.
Thanks for joining our discussion with Evie and taking a glimpse into her daily challenges of being a freelancer with ADHD. We built Clockk - AI time tracking, to help you overcome time blindness and thrive as a freelancer with ADHD.
Clockk automatically tracks the time you spend in different apps, websites, your email, and calendar. Clockk has unique technology that can determine different projects within the same app. Clockk has hundreds of supported apps. These are Evie's most commonly used apps.
Embrace your moments of hyperfocus without the burden of time tracking.