Time Management after Suffering a Brain Injury

Time Management

One of the cognitive deficits that someone with a traumatic brain injury is time management.  This can cause the survivor a lot of problems in the “real world”.  Problems with time management can trigger other deficits such as frustration and anxiety so it important for the survivor to find tools to help them with this issue.  To give you examples of issues with time management we turn to our TBI Voices Project. This is a collection of interviews we did with traumatic brain injured survivors.

Our first example will come from our interview with Quinn.  Quinn was referring a kids ice hockey game when he slipped and fell backwards.  The fall caused his helmet to fly off because it was not secured properly.  In return Quinn suffered a severe brain injury.  One of the biggest problems he has since the brain injury is time management. While interviewing his wife she states; ““Time management is a gigantic problem. Neither of us were great with it, before his accident, and he is very poor with it now. The main thing I think is he doesn’t prioritize. If he has many things to do, or even more than one thing to do, he takes a long time and he doesn’t do what’s necessarily the most important thing to do at the time. He just does whatever he feels like at the time, and doesn’t realize that an unimportant task is now taking two hours, and he hasn’t done any of the things that need to be done.”  To read Quinn’s entire story click here.

Although time management can create a big problem in life for those that are brain injured and for those that are not, some of our survivors have come up with efficient ways to handle this deficit. Sticking to a routine can be very helpful in coping with problems with time management.   Our next example comes for our interview with Kelly. Kelly suffered a traumatic brain injury while trying to bridle and untamed horse.  She is not exactly sure of the details of how she got hurt but she was round unconscious by another worker on the ranch that she was employed.  She suffered a subdural hematoma and had to be airlifted to a facility for brain surgery.  One of the lasting deficits she has had is her problems with time management. She has learned to cope with these issues by staying a a strict routine.  In her own words; ““I stick to routines. Well, if I know I’ve got to be at work at 9 in the morning, I’m up at 7. I prepare my client, my patient his breakfast and I always include my breakfast with his. I provide my own food substances at his home and I will just prepare my breakfast with his. So, I manage that time. Instead of having to get up at the crack of dawn to shower or whatever, I bathe the night before and then I get up at a reasonable time where I could get dressed, make it to his home, feed him, feed myself, do my chores.”   To hear Kelly’s entire story click here.

Routines are very important and there are other tricks and tools that can be utilized with the time management issues.  Things such as computerized calendars and digital reminders can save a lot of frustrations while dealing with time management and other deficits one might suffer.

Return to Brain Injury Symptoms


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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One Comment

  1. Sharon
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 06:49:57

    I hear about what I don’t do and should do all the time. Fair enough. But people fail to realize that as articulate or competent or resilient as I may appear to be, I am simply not ABLE to do. I can make lists all day long, but even when I can find them later, it is VERY hit or miss with what some would call follow through. It is not that I don’t know what needs to be done, I just can’t “get there”.

    So I have lost many of my benefits and more because of this. Yet people tell me to ask for help. Thing is, nobody can HEAR what I need. It seems too basic to them or… I don’t know. But I am homeless, my SSDI makes no sense, I have not filed taxes for the last two years I was able to work, dealicome and go and I can’t track I just can’t navigate alone.

    I am vulnerable to abuse and illness because I also can’t manage to get an appropriate place to live, land have no money for one even if I did, so I drift, sleep in my car, freeze, or stay with an emotionally abusive relative who does not want to be bothered. I am told there are resources, but they don’t materialize and/or I can’t “case manage” for myself. I have had to accept I am alone in this and it is eating me alive.


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