I’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?