We all know that time management is not our best quality. In fact, I’m sure many of you can relate to the sheer panic that occurs when you realize that you have to be to work in 15 minutes when it takes you 25 to get there. You gave yourself plenty of time to get ready, but somehow time managed to get away from you….again. And your lunch still isn’t made, but you certainly don’t have time for that anymore, and you’re in such a rush to get out that you forget your wallet, so now you’re just going to have to starve. ?I can’t be the only one this happens to, right? ?Well after years and years of rushing, and panicking, and starving, I knew there had to be some way I could manage to get out of the house on time, on a semi regular basis. I have learned that most bosses, and colleagues, and teachers, and friends, and spouses, (and well most everyone that is waiting on you) are not very sympathetic to chronic lateness, so I realized that if I wanted to maintain my relationships and/or my employment status, I was going to have to learn to be on time. ?I have put into effect several?different strategies to get me out of my house in a timely fashion on a regular basis. ?Here’s how I have significantly cut back on my tardiness, and trained myself to be on time, every time. (for the most part, anyways)
1. Wear a Watch.
Easy enough, right? Funny thing is, up until recently, I did not wear a watch. I did have an alarm clock that was never set to the correct time, so its really no wonder why I literally never knew what time it was. ?The latest craze of fitness trackers is a great excuse to always have the time on your wrist. I wear it to count my steps and track my sleep, so its usually always on. The added bonus is that I can now also know what time it is.
2. Set a timer. Or several of them.
Ok, so your watch will tell you what time it is. Which helps. But one of the problems that people with ADHD have with time management is that, for them, time stands still. So by having a watch, you will know what time it is, but only as often as you check your watch. ?It is really easy to get caught up in a task and not realize that any time has passed at all. By the time you look at your watch, you may be shocked to discover that it is 15 minutes later and now you’re running late. ?We need a reminder that actual time has passed since the last time we looked at our watch. So I have my whole morning routine broken up into 10 minute intervals. 10 minutes to make and eat breakfast. I set my oven timer. 10 minutes to brush my teeth, wash my face, and get dressed. For that I use my phone’s timer. 10 minutes to put my make up on. Again the phone timer. ?And I’m out the door.
3. Do as much as possible the night before.
It is so much easier for me to get things done while I am awake and have a little time on my hands, than when I am still half asleep and running around frantically trying to get out of the house. Things I do the night before are shower, make my lunch, and lay out my clothes. (not only a time saver, but makes much less of a mess when I’m not throwing things around my closet, looking for something to wear)
4. Have a home for your keys.
My keys live in a basket by the front door. I toss them in there when I get home and grab them as I walk out the door. This has saved me hours of time spent running around like mad screaming, “Where the hell did I put my keys? Who took my keys?”
5. But who are we kidding, we need a key finder.
Yes, my keys have a home. This is a habit I developed and am quite proud of. It has probably reduced my lost key time by about 80%, which is monumental….however, I am still human. And I still have ADHD, so my keys occasionally still get misplaced. ?So I have a wireless key finder with a key chain that will lead me to my missing keys. I have found them in pockets of clothes I was wearing the day before, at the bottom of the purse I spent 10 minutes digging through, in the microwave….I blame my kids for that one. But regardless, if my keys didn’t make it to their home last night, this device comes in pretty handy. I no longer waste precious time looking for my keys.
6. Allow yourself extra time to get to where you’re going.
I realized that many times my lateness was a result of underestimating the time it takes to get somewhere. ?Ok, so maybe my phone tells me that its 22 minutes to work and that traffic is light, it does not take into account the time it takes to park, walk to the locker room, change into my scrubs, and get to my department. So technically I guess I was arriving on time (sometimes) but I was 10 minutes late getting to where I needed to be. In addition to the time it takes to get there and get ready, always allow time for the unexpected. A traffic jam or a train can really throw a wrench in your plans to arrive on time so make sure you are prepared for these kinds of little nuances that can occur during your commute.
By nature, the ability to think ahead is difficult for those of us with ADHD, but hopefully by trying out a few of these tips, you will find that you CAN be on time. When you take the steps to get out of your house smoothly and on time, that can really set the tone for a much more positive and productive day. ?Good luck!