Why ADHDers are late, pt. 2: Overcompensating instead of skill building

When confronted with this situation and a lack of compensation skills, most people I work with will then over do it and create an entirely different set of problems. So, a person who is chronically late and realizes that it may be because they set their alarm for too late a time everyday tends go super far in the other direction, intending to build in a huge cushion believing that then they couldn’t possibly be late.

This doesn’t work for two reasons. First, there is no incentive to get up super early. This person has no evidence that it is the appropriate time to get up and should be already. But, they know in their heart that they don’t possibly need two-and-a-half hours to get ready in the morning. So, they hit the snooze button and end up getting up when they would have anyway with more anxiety and less rested. Or they semi-consciously turn off the alarm and way over sleep.

(Preface to this next paragraph: I found the easiest way to write this was in the second person. But having written it, it seems kind of accusatory. Please don’t feel like I’m trying to shame anyone for their behavior. And, if this resonates with you, please don’t feel like speaking to you directly or chastising you in any way. Just trying to point out a pattern.)  

The other way this method malfunctions if you can actually get up at 5:00 am instead of 7:00am. What are you going to do with those extra two hours? Are you going to take your meds early and clean the house? Are you going to go to the gym and get your dopamine on for the day? Are you going to meditate? Are you going to make a big batch of something healthy to take for lunch the next few days? Are you going to get to work early and get in a few extra hours so you can take a long lunch, get fresh air, catch up on person stuff, have some down time? I’d love to say the answer is yes… but it probably isn’t. You’re probably going to drag out your coffee and checking your phone and maybe even avoid the shower until it’s too late to be on time anyway. Or you might get a rush of inspiration and do one of those productive things. But if you still don’t know what time you need to leave, you can still be late. It almost doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping, playing candy crush, or curing cancer. Late is late.

Part 3 coming soon!

Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.

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