Ask the Experts

Q: What’s the Secret to Getting to Work On Time?

We misplace things. We underestimate how long tasks actually take. We go off on tangents. All of these ADHD idiosyncrasies make it tough to leave the house on time. That’s where these tips come in.  

Q: “How do I start improving my time management, especially in the morning, so I’m not late to work?” — GoldenMom

Hi GoldenMom:

First, let me applaud you for reaching out. It’s never easy to recognize when you can’t do it all on your own.

Your question in regard to time management in the morning is a common one — and commonly frustrating. Here are a few of my favorite tips for how to get to work on time:

Set Up A Launching Pad

This is a designated place in your home to keep the belongings that go in and out of the house everyday. A launching pad removes from the equation the stress of “I can’t find my gym bag” or “Where is my iPad.” Remember to pick a heavily-trafficked location so you see it every time you come in and out of your home. It could be the front door, the mudroom, even the garage. And, even your children’s backpacks, completed homework, library books, instruments, and gym sneakers should all be stored here. Extra bonus? Find a location that also has an outlet so you can set up a small charging station for your electronic items.

Hang Analog Clocks

Hang a clock in each room of the house used regularly by you or your children – especially the bathroom. The hands of an analog clock allow you to “see” time move, which helps you understand how long it takes to complete each task and how much time you have before you need to move on to the next activity.

[Free Download: The Daily Schedule That Works for Adults with ADHD]

Reminder Checklists Help

Mornings are hectic in most households. So hang a giant wipe board or Post-it notes with a list of items such as cell phone, keys, gym bag, etc., that you know you will need. Make sure your list is right by the launching pad for you to see.

Use A Timer

This is the one of the simplest, yet most powerful tools for keeping you on track so you can get to work on time. Having a timer that shows time actually moving (I love the Time Timer) will provide a visual cue to help manage it.

It also sounds like you have so many things going on that an ADHD coach could provide you with a guiding hand. They can help you set goals, create systems and structures for everyday tasks, help you stay motivated, and keep you on track. He or she can also provide that necessary accountability that keeps us motivated and moving forward.

Good Luck!

[Free Resource: Never Be Late Again — Adult ADHD Time Management Tips]

Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, answers questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions to Dear Organizing Coach here!