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  • Writer's pictureShannon Anderson

ADHD-Friendly: How to be on time (more often)

Here's what you're going to do to get to things on time (or be late less often)!

Video Link (if you don't like reading)

Step 1: Make a List

  • Write down everything that needs to happen between waking up and walking into "the thing"

  • Write down how long it takes to do each step

Example List:

Wake Up & Take Meds

Scroll - 10m

Dopamine Activities - 20m (breakfast, water, coffee/tea, fun)

Shower - 10m

Skin care - 5m

Makeup - 5m

Hair - 10m

Get Dressed - 10m

Buffer Time - 10m

Commute - 20m (commute INCLUDES walk to/from car, scraping windows, etc.)

Buffer Time - 5m


Step 2: Plan

Dopamine Activities to Wake Up

I take ADHD medication, some people drink coffee, to each their own. For me, it takes 30 minutes for my meds to kick in. For those ~30 minutes, do easy things that give you dopamine

I sit in bed and scroll for the first 10 minutes of the day. Is it healthy? No. Do I have the discipline to not do it before my meds kick in? Also no. We're not trying to be perfect. We're just trying to be on time.

Now, you have 20 minutes left for more dopamine activities. You can make breakfast, drink water, watch YouTube, scroll, meditate, go for a walk — whatever fun things you want to do until your meds or coffee kick in.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Next, it's time to buckle up: Shower, skin care, makeup, hair, etc. For this part, we need to be realistic. My showers are only 10 minutes. If yours are longer, it's okay! Adjust your times accordingly.

What we're not going to do is budget the amount of time we hope it will take. We need to be honest with ourselves.

Does it take 10 minutes to get dressed? No. But I added buffer time because once a week I end up hating my outfit and have a mental breakdown because I hate all my clothes and don't know what to wear.

Buffer Time

Next, I added an additional 10 minutes of buffer time for random things like getting distracted, looking for keys, cleaning a mess, etc.


Most people mess this up! Your commute is NOT just the drive time. It includes:

  • walking to your car

  • scraping windows/heating up the car in the winter

  • defogging windows

  • finding a parking spot

  • walking to the building

  • waiting for + taking the elevator

  • walking your desk or clock-in

  • ***For new places, add time for missing a turn, unexpected traffic, etc.

You need to account for all of those things AND add 5 more mins of buffer time on top of it.

Step 3: Schedule

Look at what time you need to be at "the thing" and work backwards to figure out what time you need to wake up.

6:15 am | Wake Up, Take Meds & Scroll - 10m

6:25 | Dopamine Activities - 20m (breakfast, water, coffee/tea, fun)

6:45 | Shower - 10m

6:55 | Skin care - 5m

7:00 | Makeup - 5m

7:05 | Hair - 10m

7:15 | Get Dressed - 10m

7:25 | Buffer Time - 10m

7:35 | Commute - 20m (commute INCLUDES walk to/from car, scraping windows, etc.)

7:55 | Buffer Time - 5m

8:00 | Arrive

Screenshot of all the alarms someone has set on their phone. There's one alarm for every step in the getting ready list.
Screenshot of Alarms on Phone

Once you have your schedule figured out, set an alarm for every step of your routine. This will help keep you on track.

Tags for being on time with ADHD (don't worry about these, they're just for SEO):

ADHD time management, ADHD time blindness, ADHD time tips, ADHD life hack, ADHD tips, ADHD management, adhd be on time

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