How I Manage to Be on Time Even With ADHD

How I Manage to Be on Time Even With ADHD

How I Manage to Be on Time Even With ADHDI’m rarely late but it’s not because I’m one of those people who are naturally on time.  It’s because I work really, really hard not to be late.  I have ADHD so being late comes naturally.  To avoid being late, I have some things I do and some things I don’t do.

1. I use a lot of timers. However, as was the case  today, timers don’t really help me if they’re in another room. I was almost late picking my grandson up from school because I was trying to do one more thing in the office and the timer was in the kitchen.

2.  I rarely allow myself to do anything in the few minutes before I leave for a timed event. Because of my ADHD, if I start something, I’ll likely get caught up in it and lose track of time. I hate wasting those five or 10 minutes before I have to leave, but it’s absolutely necessary if I want to be on time.
3. I prepare as much as possible before I need to leave. On the day I pick my grandson up from school, I gather everything I need and put it on the table by the door. I usually take him a cup of milk so I prepare that ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator. Then when it’s time to go, I grab the milk and my stuff and head out the door. I also do that for church, doctor appointments – everything.
4.  I watch the clock. I have clocks in most rooms of my house and I always wear a watch. I check the time frequently. It helps me stay on track.
5.  If I think it might be necessary, I allow extra time. I’d rather be early than late. Anytime I have to be somewhere at a specific time and I’m taking the grandkids with me, for example,  I allow extra time. It’s amazing how long it can take to get two little kids in the car.
6.  I try to avoid scheduling back to back to back appointments. Something always goes wrong and then I’m running late to the second and third appointments.
7.  I always put things I need to take with me in the same place. For example, my keys go in the outside pocket of my purse. My purse goes on the hook by the front door. My coat is on the hook by the front door. When I’m ready to go, I don’t have to search for any of those items.
8.  The more reminders the better. If one reminder is good, four reminders are better, at least if you have ADHD. I’ve been known to set timers for every five minutes for half an hour. That way, if I miss one or ignore one, the next one or two will get my attention.
9.  I make being on time a priority. A lot of people don’t care if they’re on time but it’s important to me. I feel like it’s rude to be late so I make it a priority
10.  I use a planner and I make sure I know exactly what’s going on for the day. Knowing what’s going on prevents any surprises. There’s nothing worse then looking at the clock at 10:15 and realizing you need to be somewhere at 10:30 and you forgot. So I make sure I know what’s going on for the day so I can be prepared.
I’ve been using these strategies for years and they’ve served me well.  I’m still late occasionally, but it’s rare.  What are your strategies for being on time?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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2 thoughts on “How I Manage to Be on Time Even With ADHD

  1. I think that people who do not have ADD have not an iota of an idea of how much effort we need to expend to achieve normal “adult” expectations. In addition to easily loosing track of time when I start doing something, I also have this compulsion to finish things before I leave. For example, I need to leave right this second if I want to get to work on time, and suddenly all manner of things become a priority; dishes in the sink, the cat litter box, writing a comment on a blog post, make the bed… anything. And even if I can force myself to ignore all these non-essential items, the effort of doing so delays me. Sometimes I get so stressed trying to get somewhere on time that I kind of go into some kind of paralysis where I can’t make myself move. When I was a kid it was called dawdling.

    People who are naturally organized seem to think that people who arrive late are rude. I suggest that they entertain the concept that they don’t really know what battles the other person is facing and that they should give them the benefit of the doubt.

    These are all excellent strategies. I know that I’ve saved myself tons of aggravation by training myself to put things like bag, keys, shoes, coat, gloves, in the correct places when I get home, so they are all easy to find when I need to leave. I don’t like things that “ding” at me so I tend to avoid timers and reminders, focusing on keeping an eye on the clock throughout the day. I am on-time most of the time, and try not to be too hard on myself when I drop the ball and get somewhere late. A big thing I do to try to be more courteous is to own my own tardiness; if I realize I might be late or will definitely be late, I try to reach the person I am meeting with to let them know. I also apologize (not excessively, just sincerely) when I do arrive late. And I am honest about why I am late, e.g. “I got myself involved in some chores and lost track of time; that happens to me sometimes.”

    1. Agreed. And you make a good point about letting people know you’re going to be late. A lot of people don’t do that and I think it makes a huge difference. I understand that people are late – sometimes by circumstances out of their control and sometimes because of their own actions – but we owe the person waiting a call or text to let them know what’s going on.

      Funny story. At 11:40 today I was getting ready to go get my grandson from school. I was about 5 minutes early. I couldn’t find my keys!!! I always put them in one of two places but they weren’t there or anywhere else. I rushed like a mad woman through the house trying to find them but came up empty. I called my husband in case he knew. He didn’t. I called my daughter-in-law and told her I couldn’t find them and she’d have to get Calvin. Then I thought of one place – the front door. I always come in the garage but yesterday I came in the front door. I had my grandson and I was in a hurry to get to the alarm so I left my keys in the door- ALL NIGHT. Because I had allowed a little extra time, I was still able to pick him up and do it on time! Whew!!!

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