It's just 15-20 minutes… it's not a big deal

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    • #116603

      I try and try and try but I am ALWAYS 15-20 minutes late in the mornings. I’m not late to meetings or scheduled things the rest of the day, just in the mornings. It makes me so frustrated because Ive tried all sorts of tactics to change it and I can do it for a few days but then resort back to natural late self. Its really a problem because the late thing overshadows all the good stuff I do at work. It becomes a “thing” and eventually I’m just sewen as a problem and no matter what else I do at work, even going above and beyond expectations sometimes, the “problem” fog still hovers around me wherever I go while at work. That makes me depressed and angry at myself which leads to lower self esteem and lower self confidence which causes me to second guess myself and be less sure of myself. The depression and low self esteem and the constant sting of continually letting myself and others down weighs on me and it’s hard to be in a “good” mood or have energy to do anything, let alone interact with my colleagues and friends, so then I find myself, alone, depressed, wallowing in self pity, beating myself up, disappointing my boss and co-workers,feeling awkward and becoming more and more socially awkward since I isolate myself and am alone most of the time… All of this downward spiral from just being 15-20 minutes late. It’s so dumb.

    • #116633

      You sound just like how my son is. But he doesn’t think he is ADHD. He has all the symptoms but I wish I could talk him into seeing a doctor. I could never understand why he is always always late for everything .His self esteem is very low too.

    • #116685

      I swear I could have been the one to write this post! I never figured out a solution. But I am now a home-based counselor, and start my day from home. It’s a lot easier to be on time when I don’t have to leave my house!

    • #116648

      I can so relate. In my case, it’s always 5-10 minutes late, but it does make me feel terrible too, I feel ashamed, and I always promise myself that I will be on time the next day, and I just can’t. My brain does not switch on motivation to get ready and leave till it realises it’s really late (and then I race on adrenaline), which is just a little too late. If it’s still early, I’ll always think, why not just do one more thing, I have plenty of time. I’m thinking to buy one of those clocks with a big red shrinking timer, as this may give enough of an alert to my brain to switch it on earlier. (Time timer here: Another strategy I’m trying now (with some success) is to tell myself that I need to be there not at 9am, but 8:45am – which would be great, to have time for coffee etc so I really do want to be there – and if I aim to be there at 8:45am, then I’m still late and will never make it, but not late for the actual work start at 9am:). And finally, it does help to remind myself that I’m not dumb or lazy, but my brain does switch motivation on differently from other, non-ADHD, people – either by last-minute deadline, or something inherently rewarding. Going to work is definitely not the latter, so working on the time pressure is what I think can work. Hope it helps :).

    • #124802

      In order to prevent myself from being late, I’ve used a strategy of setting both my cell phone alarm and an alarm clock for the morning. I also lay out my clothes the night before and have my lunch made for work the next day so that I can’t possibly be late.

    • #124806

      I relate to the whole being late in the morning but not for the rest of the day thing. It’s always the first thing, the leave-the-house thing, that I’m late to. Once I’m already “out in the world” it gets easier. I open at work a lot which is usually 7:30AM, which is the worst because then I don’t sleep enough because I can’t get to bed early. But even when I have something that’s later or I wake up earlier, or do the “okay pretend you have to be there 15 minutes earlier” thing, I’ll think, “oh, I have some extra time now! I can do X.” Hahaha no! Thankfully when I open the building (I work at a movie theater) it’s not a big deal because… I’m the first one there and it’s just me, so I’m really just shorting myself a bit of time to get everything ready. But I still beat myself up over it. And it’s almost always exactly seven minutes that I’m late, every time. I have no idea how that happens!!!

      Actually this website just posted an article about “time blindness” and all kinds of cool time strategies, and one thing from there that has actually helped me is the idea to put post-its in different rooms of the house that say what time you have to finish and leave that room. i.e. “Leave the bathroom by 7:32” or whatever time you need. The article is here: I hope one of those tips helps you! And remember that it’s not because you’re lazy or stupid. Your brain just literally conceptualizes time itself differently from other people. You sound like a very hard worker and a good teammate!

      • #124931

        So glad to know I am not alone!!

    • #124866

      Are you medicated? If you are consider setting your aalarm for 30min to 1 hr earlier than usual and getting up to take your meds. You are then free for the next 30min to either go back to sleep or just do something you enjoy. When it’s time to start getting ready the medication should make it easier to do so.

      • #125131

        Yeah, that is a great idea in theory, however it’s not worked with me at all. I am medicated, yet I still have most all of the symptoms that folks have without medication. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t take take any meds at all all…

    • #124868

      I have “down time” built into my morning routine. It’s HARD, but I set my alarm 30 minutes before I HAVE toget up to get ready for the day, which gives me buffer time to dawdle if I’m draggin’ in the morning. I’m NOT a morning person. When the kids go back to school, I make sure I’m up, showered, and dressed before they have to get up so I can “drill sergeant” them in the morning to make sure they are out the door in time for the bus. If I don’t stay on them for every task they will not get out the door.

    • #124895

      I don’t know why this post came in my e-mail this morning when the original was written in May , but it was like talking directly to me. 1/2 hour late to work today AGAIN. I too have suffered from the “get-out-of-the-house” struggles. Taking my meds 2 hours before I need to get up has helped. My boss is pleading with me to get it together so she doesn’t have to write me up. She also shared that I have not been given certain tasks (that would progress my career and include traveling-which i love) because of my inability to be dependable enough. Interesting irony is that I never have trouble getting up when I am out of town, probably because it is new and requires a lot of my attention. Today the reason was that my first alarm didn’t go off, which meant I did not take my meds early and had to literally force myself to get out of bed and into the shower. Once I am in the shower, it’s better, but getting there is so-o-o-o hard and requires a lot of self-motivation and focus. This job is the best I’ve ever had for ADHD–involved and varied with few fast deadlines and new projects all the time. If they would just let me set my own hours, all would be well. I do put more than 40 hrs/week into my work, and it is mostly computer chart reviews. So why must our society demand this rigid requirement to the clock? I MUST adapt to this one limitation at work to enjoy the job I love.

    • #124949
      Ann M

      Hi, I think showing up on time IS a big deal.:) It’s professional. It shows respect and reliability.

      QUOTE: “If you arrive on time, you are late. If you arrive early, you are on time.”

      Hacks that work for me (w/ADD):

      – ALLOW AT 30 EXTRA MINUTES EVERY MORNING to overcome being 15-20 min late.
      – 2 ALARM CLOCKS, in case you turn one off without waking up. (OR, put one across the room, so you have to get up to turn it off) 🙂
      – CONSIDER EVERY STEP OF YOUR MORNING, and how to simplify. Includes: clothes ready, breakfast makings ready and easy to put together (detail example: coffee, coffee scoop, mugs, and filter baskets are stored together and ready to use). For me, that means kleenex, toothpaste, TP, skincare, makeup, feminine products, etc. ready and accessible so no time wasted searching. Shampoo, conditioner, razor, shave lotion ready in shower. Clothes ready – or two outfits ready, so decide at least minute on one. Plenty of underwear, socks/stockings, etc. .
      – NEVER LET YOUR UNDERWEAR, SOCKS, ETC…THINGS YOU WEAR EVERYDAY…RUN OUT bc they’re in the laundry. Buy extras, and wash when they’re getting low. Avoid panic situations.
      – BE ***EXTREMELY*** CAREFUL OF SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN YOUR GOAL IS TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE/APT. Either don’t look at your phone, or JUST look at urgent family/work email (if you must). You can check mid-morning or lunchtime.
      – GO TO BED 1/2 HOUR EARLIER. START WITH 15 MIN EARLIER, THEN BUILD UP. This may mean you need to eat dinner earlier at night, or work out children’s bedtime routines earlier. Sleep is so important. Ask family members (when old enough) how you can all work together to help this happen. Celebrate when you have a routine that is working.
      – IF YOU SOMETHING NEEDING TO BE DONE THAT EVENING (EG LAUNDRY…GETTING LOW): put a post-it on the refrigerator, your place at the dining table, or on the TV/computer to remind you.
      – IF YOU NEED TO REMEMBER SOMETHING SPECIAL TO TAKE TO WORK: put a post-it reminder on your door. You’ll see it as you’re leaving.
      – VISUALIZE AND EMOTIONALIZE (feel) How you will feel when people comment how you are always on time. 🙂

      CONCLUSION: OBSERVE what goes into your workday morning, see what slows you down, and solve for it. Get the family involved. It will help them! Allow extra time for emergencies (at home or during commute).

      I have more, but that’s a start. You can do this! ADD/ADHD folks are creative! 🙂 🙂

    • #124950

      Oh, I got you here. I can offer up a solution: Your morning routine begins the night before.

      I think most, if not all, of us are really NOT with it in the morning. We’re sleepy. We’re stupid. Our brains are glitching even when we’ve gotten down meds. This is absolutely just not the time of day you want to be trying to remember things (“Where did I put my keys?”) or make decisions (“What am I going to wear today?”). These things should all be taken care of in the evening before bed when your brain actually WORKS.

      Make yourself a simple routine and put it and a reminder in your phone to go off every night at the same time. It need only be 3 basic items:

      1. Check your schedule for the next day. Do you have a meeting? Do you have something you have to to bring to work? Is it Casual Friday and you desperately want to wear jeans?

      2. Gather up everything you need to bring to work and put it by the door: purse / backpack, phone, keys, etc. If you bring a lunch, make it the night before and have it sitting packed and ready to go in your fridge.

      3. Lay out tomorrow’s clothes. Pick what you’re going to wear (like a suit for that meeting or a nice pair of jeans for Casual Friday, etc.) down to underwear and accessories and put all of it in a designated spot, like a hook on your bedroom wall.

      The goal is to not have to THINK. At all. You have been kind to yourself and done all those things for yourself so you can just go through the motions and get out the door. (BONUS: Going through a ritual like this at the same time every night also signals your brain that you’re winding down and getting ready to end your day. Very good sleep hygiene.)

      This is the answer for the ADHD aspect of the problem. And it works. As for not sticking with things, if you will not stick with this, I think this is a much deeper issue than ADHD. You may need to speak with a therapist or your doctor about the problem.

      Good luck!

    • #124970

      The company I worked for gave the morning managers only about 5 minutes to let people in before they had to set the alarms. Even if they could see an employee walking toward the door, they had to set the alarm. So being just 30 seconds late turned into a circus. Meal breaks were just as bad, maybe worse, because if the person I worked with didn’t come back from lunch on time, I was late to go on mine. Thing is, co-worker liked to dawdle. She was a sweet lady and knew everybody, but she knew how to abuse the system. I loved my job but the clock management and favoritism drove me nuts.
      I was going through a training program that was an hour commute from my home. The traffic was horrible and there was road construction going on. So I left early to try to miss the worst traffic. I’d get to the training building 30 minutes early. I would’ve sat in my car but it was winter and I didn’t want to run my car for heat. (It was record cold that month.) So I sat in one of the lobby areas and read the paper. I got reprimanded for that.

      Years ago I worked at a place where everyone had to punch in and out on the same timeclock. Shift change was a zoo. And if you were near the end of the line (last-minute bathroom run) there was no way to punch in within the window of time allowed. We’d lose 15 minutes of pay.

    • #124994

      I realize this may not help but in case it does — you are not alone. And I am willing to bet you are absolutely, mind-blowingly wonderful in many, many ways.

    • #124997

      This, among other adhd-related issues that cause my work performance and mental health to suffer, is why I have begun the process of filing for ADA accommodations, which include flexible start time within 30 minute window, flexible schedule so I am not stuck doing hours on end of boring work I can’t focus on, etc.

      It’s not been easy, for sure, but having my employer understand that I literally can’t help it and it is a genuine neurological “disorder” has helped reframe the way they look at why I do certain things they view as “problematic” which has in turn helped them recognize my good performance.

      No surprise, having my accommodations in place has made me way more productive and efficient at work, plus has helped me feel more valued which improves my confidence.

    • #125011

      I’m 53 yo and had this problem all my life, and nothing really solved it. But I will say that the most useful life hack has been to lay EVERYTHING out the night before. THis didn’t really solve the problem of a glitchy brain that loses track of time. It just helped me get out the door super fast so as to minimize my tardiness.
      And then I bought a smart phone which has almost completely solved my problem! I enter my destination into Google Maps (every day, even though I obviously know where I’m going). Not only does it tell me how many minutes it will take to drive, but the exact hour and minute I will arrive. I keep my phone by me as I am getting ready to leave in the morning and constantly refer to this arrival time. This works so much better than just setting a random timer that doesn’t connect anything for me. Somehow, seeing my arrival time in black-and-white overrides my brain’s time-glitch. (My brain’s plan is to teleport myself so as not to be late!)

    • #125092


    • #125129

      Thanks so much to the OP and all of the participants here – I suffer from the same problem. I appreciated reading the post that said getting ready begins the night before. Thank you!! I look forward to trying those three points. I also like the idea of Google Maps telling me what time I will arrive at my destination. Another great idea!

      My work has accommodated me to a degree as they changed my work hours to a half-hour later, so instead of 9:00-5:00, I work 9:30-5:30. This has been so much better, but I still have a foggy and glitchy brain in the morning. I lay there in bed after my alarm goes off and just can’t get motivated to move. But honestly, the one thing I hate is what gets me to work mostly on time – having to punch in. We just started having to log onto our computers to sign in and I’ve cut my lateness from 15 to 20 minutes to one minute early up to two minutes late. Yes, I’m usually rushing in at the last minute, but I’ve been on time more than not this past year. I still need some tweaking on this, though; I am trying a new approach of setting the time I have to leave the house instead of concentrating on what time I need to be at work.

      I have come to accept the following facts: I am not a morning person, I don’t enjoy getting up in the morning, I have brain fog in the morning, and I struggle to get myself to bed at a decent time. I just need to find a way to work with these parameters. So I read other people’s advice and I try life hacks to help me get done what I need to when I need to. I also count on the “feeling good” when I get it right and feeling shame when I don’t, knowing that the good feelings should motivate me to do what is right.

    • #125161

      Replace all your digital clocks with analog and put them all over the place. It will help with visualization and out of sight out of mind issues. I think I also have some weird self-sabotaging characteristics when it comes to being late, which makes me wonder if being late is a way I cope with social anxiety or maybe I am just always procrastinating, even with starting my day. The analog clocks have helped a bit, though.

    • #125165

      I have over time developed almost a fear of being late. I think it stems from making it to adulthood before being diagnosed. I have had near panic attacks while driving places because I think I won’t make it on time.

      To solve this I add about 15 minutes on top of however long Google maps tells me it will take. I check the night before how long it will take then add the 15 minutes, so say if its a 15 minute drive I convince myself that I need half an hour to get there. This often ends with me sitting in my car around the corner for sometimes up to half an hour but at least I’m not having a breakdown and shouting at the car in front of me for not speeding.

      I am not a morning person and sleep is my top priority, if I don’t have a meeting that day I won’t wear make-up just so I can sleep for 10 more minutes.

      Medication has helped me in so many ways but getting up early isn’t one of them.

    • #128655

      You know what helps me ? I write down the time slots something needs to be done prior and also give myself time in case cant get on time anyway. For example: My kids school starts at 7:30am. Instead of thinking that’s the time they have to be there I pretend the time they must be there is 7:00am.(its OK to be places earlier then suppose to 🙂 ) I write down on paper I have to get up at 5:00am to get myself ready, I like to use that snooze button so next I write I must be up by 5:45am, by 6:00am must wake the kids up and by 6:30am we must leave the house as it takes us about 25 min to school. Even if we dont make leaving house by that time we are still on time. 🙂 Make sure you keep the times handy so you can take a peak now and then. Many times I used to forget it and was late because I thought I need less time for certain task. When you fall into that you are close to the time you suppose to be there reboot yourself like a computer and turn on the default 😉
      So far it works well.

    • #128917

      I totally relate to this- and it’s amazing how crap you can feel even when you are doing well the rest of the day. Being able to do it sometimes convinces people you aren’t really trying and/or don’t care.

      All the practical suggestions are worth trying. And exaggerating everything is essential too. (If you think you need an extra ten minutes for something give your self an extra twenty) Also, we tend to be wrong about how long things take so instead of planning for how long things should take plan for how long they really do. Try timing yourself to find out how long you take to do things. Be realistic.

      Honestly, I haven’t really solved the issue but I am A LOT better than I used to be so don’t give up.

      Two more things:
      1. I am just learning that people without ADHD find these things really easy. They can just get up and do stuff- no debate inside, no having to make themselves get up etc and they just automatically get their stuff and remember what they need to take- at least compared to the effort it takes us anyway. You tend to judge yourself based on the non ADHD people around but it isn’t fair to you.

      2. If there is any possible way to change your environment to suit you better then do it.

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