People with ADHD typically struggle with getting to where they need to be on time. They are consistently late to work, social engagements and appointments and seem oblivious to how annoying it is for the people whom they keep waiting. Your poor sense of time is due to your executive functioning deficits. Just as some people are color blind people with ADHD tend to be “time blind” and have a poor understanding of the passage of time. Adults with ADHD are routinely fired from their jobs because of tardiness. Being late for everything is a difficult habit to break but with the right tools and strategies it is possible to go from being late for everything to being perfectly punctual.
1. Wear a watch everyday. Wearing a watch will help you develop a sense of time. It’s right there on your wrist and easy to check. An analog watch is preferable to a digital watch because a digital watch only shows the present time and is not helpful for planning ahead. Using a cell phone to check the time is not the same as wearing a watch. Taking out your cell phone to check the time can lead to checking your e-mail, sending a text or a tweet or playing one of those distracting games. If you are consistently late for work try checking your watch as you head out the door in the morning. Does it really only take you twenty minutes to get to work or is it more like thirty minutes. Use the worst case scenario and add another fifteen minutes to arrive on time.
2. Position clocks around the House. Take a look around your house. Is there a clock in every room? Clocks need to be directly within sight to be helpful. Position clocks next to your bed, on your desk, in the bathroom, in the kitchen and next to your computer. Set all the clocks to the right time.
3. Double up on alarm clocks. If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning one alarm clock isn’t enough especially if it has a snooze button. It’s just too easy to roll over and go back to sleep. Place a second louder alarm clock across the room so you must get out of bed to shut it off.
by Kathy Sussell ADHD Coach
Kathy Sussell is a NYC based ADHD coach who works with teens, college and graduate students and adults. Kathy helps people with executive functioning deficits manage their time, organize paper and objects, plan and prioritize, and improve their social skills.