Reply To: Desperately struggling with chronic lateness

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This worked for me who has been late all my life!! Everyone knew I was the one to hold up the group. I felt terrible, but could NOT get myself to change. But, feeling bad did not get me to change until……

I have a dear friend who is never late. One day she got really, really upset at me and said that being late was very rude. She said that apparently I did not value her time and by extension, our friendship. She told me that it upset her so much she just didn’t want to invite me to do things with her! I felt terrible that she felt that I had been rude. RUDE! Wow. She’d stop inviting me to do neat things with her anymore! I was hurt and felt she didn’t understand that being punctual was just hard for me. Then I realized I was being defensive and really whining. I began thinking about my lateness from her point of view and have worked very hard not to do one more thing and one more before I leave. Because I began feeling selfish and because I wanted to be included in social activities, I have taught myself NOT to do those “one more things” and have been on time more times than being late. It wasn’t easy for me to do it, believe me! In the end, realizing how this habit had effected others made the difference. Fortunately, my dear friend noticed and thanked me for being punctual. And I told her that being upset with me and letting me know how she felt really had helped me.
I don’t know if you can transfer this feeling of being rude to your family business would help or not, but it’s worth trying. Ask someone at work to notice when you are on time. Ask that person to give you some affirmation when you’re on time. Even if that person does not understand how hard it is for you to be on time, but just ask for this help. I needed this help from someone else. Thank that person with flowers or brownies or something.
And don’t keep this issue your secret. I was the chairperson of a volunteer group where I was responsible for getting the group to do some problem solving. I could easily get off on a tangent and could see eyes rolling when I did this. Finally, I told them that I had ADD had a problem with this tendency and gave the group permission to interrupt me and just say, “Let’s get back on topic.” A couple of times, I caught myself on such a tangent several times and laughed at myself. I asked, “Why didn’t someone tell me to get back on topic!!??” We would all begin to laugh. Then, they’d do that. I’d thank them. Sometimes letting others about your ADD problems is the best way to help train yourself into new behaviors. It worked for me.
In the end, I had to simply own my problems and share it and ask for help.