Skip to main content Accessibility Feedback
  • Episode 13

The temporal dead zone

In today’s episode, I talk about the phenomenon known as the temporal dead zone.


Hello, hello, hello. This is the ADHD for the win podcast. I’m Chris Ferdinandi. Thanks so much for joining me today.

I’m talking about a phenomenon called the temporal dead zone. Let’s dig in.

So in the last episode, I talked about why stand-ups suck if you have ADHD. One of the problems with all meetings, not just stand-ups is that they create something called a temporal dead zone.

What’s that you ask?

It’s that period of time after you finish a task, but before you have a meeting coming up sometime shortly thereafter, and so you can’t do any more work or start anything. If you start working again, one of two things will happen. Just as you start to get back into hyper-focus, you’ll have to interrupt yourself for the meeting, or as used to happen to me all the time, you get so hyper-focused on what you’re doing that you forget the meeting altogether and don’t show up or show up late.

So instead you just waste time on social media and you lose valuable working time. For me, the temporal dead zone is usually when a meeting is 30 minutes or less from now, but it could be upwards of an hour.

It really varies a bit from person to person, but this is why meetings are such a scourge for folks with ADHD because it takes us a bit of time to get started with work, they create these huge gaps of unproductivity throughout the day.

And I’ve heard people kind of push back on this a little bit and say, well, that’s all people who work as developers or all people who do knowledge work, you know, having that time to deeply focus. And that’s true, but for ADHD folks specifically, one of our biggest challenges is usually starting new tasks.

And so even if you have a bunch of like menial things that would only take a couple of minutes to knock out, there’s a good chance you probably won’t. And so it just really creates a big problem for us. So if you have several meetings with like 30 minute gaps between them throughout a day, you’re probably getting nothing done at all.

In the next episode, we will talk about some tips and tricks on how to avoid excessive meetings so that this doesn’t happen to you as frequently. Anyways, that’s it for today.

If you feel like ADHD is holding you back, or you just want to learn more about how to unlock your neurodivergent superpowers, head over to That’s ADHD for the win, where you can sign up for my daily newsletter, where I send out tips and tricks on how to make the most of your ADHD. That’s it for today and I’ll see you next time. Cheers.