ADHD and running late: two things many of us deal with on a daily basis. If you have ADHD, you more than likely know exactly what I’m talking about. You understand all too well the daily struggle to stay on track and get to where you need to be on time.
Sure sometimes you may have traffic to blame or something truly unforeseen. Most of the time, though, for any number of reasons connected to your ADHD, you just always end up being late. You run late for work meetings, for dinner dates, and for medical appointments. If you have to absolutely be somewhere right on time, you for some reason will consistently arrive 15 minutes late.
If this describes you, you might feel helpless to do something about it. No matter what you have tried, nothing seems to help, and you still arrive late. We want to tell you that you can, though, change this pattern around. You can learn to manage ADHD and running late better and start getting to where you need to be on time.
Learning to manage your time and schedule effectively can open so many avenues for success in your life. In this article, we want to discuss some helpful ideas for getting to where you need to be on time. Use these tools to keep ADHD and running late from running your life.
Make a Plan and Time Out Getting To Where You Need to Be
How long does it take you to get to work with no traffic? How about in bumper to bumper traffic? Do you know? If you have just a general idea, we wonder if this not knowing might be contributing to your ADHD and running late all the time.
If you don’t know how long it takes to get somewhere, then how would you know when you should leave to be on time? People with ADHD generally are not the best of planners. The ADHD brain functions mostly in the present. People with ADHD think about what is happening right at this moment. Rarely, do they focus much effort on what to do next or what they did 30 minutes ago.
To beat ADHD and running late, though, you need to start planning just a little bit. You need to make observations and figure out how long it takes for you to get places. If you need 45 minutes to get from your front door at home to your desk at work, then you need to leave 45 minutes before work starts.
Start planning better today and you will start seeing your lateness disappear. Think of the things that you have the most difficulty arriving for on time. Next really look at why you end up arriving late. Think about the length of time you really need to leave to get to these events. When you know what amount of time you need to get someplace, you have the majority of what you need to know to actually get there on time.
Budget Extra Time for Your Distractions
Now that you know how much time you need to get to where you need to be, you now need to start giving yourself more time. Let’s face it, you have ADHD. Most of the time, you find yourself distracted, and no matter how much you try, you always deal with constant distractions. While you should always keep working to limit distractions, you also need to start planning for them to occur.
Distractions happen. Even without ADHD to deal with, you still would face distractions. If you want to limit ADHD and running late in your life, you need to start doing a better job of planning for distractions in your schedule.
This means that you need to budget an extra 15-30 minutes to arrive for any meeting or appointment you have upcoming. Ideally, with planning for the extra time, you might actually arrive with time to spare. Even if you don’t, though, and you do get distracted, the extra time means that you have room to spare and still get there when you need to.
If you fear the idea of arriving early anywhere, you might plan to bring something to work on if you have to wait. For instance, you can bring a book or a Sudoku or crossword puzzle. With having a plan for something to do if you arrive early, you have nothing to fear. You can plan to leave and even arrive early making sure ADHD and running late doesn’t ruin your plans.
Set an Alarm or Two or Three
We need reminders. Not just some of us either, we really all need reminders, and we shouldn’t feel any shame about it. For fighting ADHD and running late, you shouldn’t resist the use of reminders to keep you focused. In fact, to keep you on track, the best thing for you might to use not just one reminder, but two or three.
You use an alarm to wake up in the morning, why shouldn’t you use an alarm to alert you when you need to leave for a meeting or start a new task? If the reason that you find you run late to most things is because you never leave at the right time, a good fix might simply be the old fashioned alarm. With our smart phones constantly by our sides, you can simply set an alarm reminder on your phone.
When you know exactly how long you need to get somewhere, set an alarm on your phone to remind you 30 minutes before you need to leave. Then set a follow up alarm for 15 minutes before and another one if that could help. The more alarms you have the better off you will be. You can then turn off the alarms when you start driving to your destination.
The alarms might seem over the top, but using them can help train your mind to think proactively. After a while of using the alarms, you might not even need them anymore. In addition to using the standard alarm clock on your phone, you can also look into other similar phone time management apps such as the ones here or in this article.
Remind Yourself, Then Remind Yourself Again
Not only should you use alarms as reminders, you should also actively remind yourself of what you plan to do. Many of us with ADHD set off to do something, and we get distracted just as we get started. Then we forget completely what we wanted to do originally and start off on something totally different. When talking about trying to get to places you need to be, we can all see how these types of distractions can derail us quickly.
When you have something to get to, remind yourself of where you need to be and when. As you walk to your car, don’t think about what you watched on TV last night. Instead take the time to mentally remind yourself of what you need to do.
As you walk to the car, tell yourself, out loud if you need to, where you plan to go and when you need to get there. After you get in the car, remind yourself again. Additionally, to help remind yourself, you can use more than verbal or mental cues. You could use physical items, as well, such as a note. For instance, you can write where you need to be and when on a sticky note and put it on the dashboard in your car. This way, every time you look down you have something to remind you of your goal.
The more you remind yourself of what you’re doing as you are doing it, the better your chances will be of completely your tasks on time. The key goal you want to shoot for is limiting the space for distractions to creep in. Think of more ways that you can create reminders for yourself. With providing constant reminders for yourself you limit the space for distractions to grow.
Don’t Waste Time Looking for What You Know You Need
You might hate this, but we’re going to talk about planning ahead again. Many parts of all of our lives would go a lot more smoothly if only we all planned a little more. This maxim applies as much to ADHD and running late as it applies to most anything else.
Not only should you plan to leave early as we discussed previously, you also should plan ahead and set out what you need to take when you leave. Most of us have the same set things we take with us everywhere. For me, without fail, no matter where I go, I always take my phone, my keys, and my wallet. This means that I need to always know where I can find these three things. The times that I can’t find them only increase the chances that I will run late because I have to look for them.
For things that you always take with you, you should have a specific spot to store them, preferably by the front door. If you don’t have a specific place, get one immediately. With a set spot right by the door, you can instantly put down the items when you come in and pick them up as you go out.
For any additional items that you need for specific trips, you need to set these items aside well before you plan to leave. Put them also in a place by the door. If you have to leave in the morning, do this the night before. This way, you can be sure to get out the door right when you need to and not be delayed by looking for anything.
Taking Back Control from ADHD and Running Late
So many things in our life happen outside of our control. We may have a flat tire because of a nail we drive over. We may have to replace our roof because of a sudden hail storm. While we can’t control everything that happens to us, we still can control how we act and react to things in our lives. One thing that we can learn to control happens to be our schedule and when and where we go to things.
Having ADHD doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to address the effects of your symptoms. Sure your mind functions differently from most people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to manage your ADHD symptoms well. ADHD and running late doesn’t have to control you. Rather, through careful planning, you can flip the tables, and wrestle back control of when you arrive to where you need to go.
We hope the tips in this article give you some tools to help you start taking back that control. Using the strategies here doesn’t mean that you will never arrive late anywhere. Rather, they hopefully can better equip you so that on a daily basis, you mostly arrive on time. Soon, you never know, you might even start getting a reputation for always being early.