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Anxiety Trumps Tardiness in My ADHD World

Got my coat and my keys and I'm right on time!

My ADHD, that symptom spectrum disorder we’re discussing here, is unique to me.

Because it is a symptom spectrum disorder, my symptoms don’t match those that belong to anyone else, nor do the symptoms I have in common with other people manifest in the same way. We all have our quirks, one of mine is the relationship between anxiety and timeliness.

That’s right, I worry about being on time to the point where I am never late – or so many people think.

If they only knew

In reality, I worry about being late when meeting others. I worry that I may be inconveniencing a friend or acquaintance. Actually, I worry that my being late will make them realize that waiting for me isn’t worth the effort, but that’s a story for the day we discuss self esteem.

So … appointments, coffee dates, movies with friends … I’m there, waiting. And I’m glad that I made it on time. If the person I’m meeting is late, I don’t care (I’m sure they have their reasons … ).

People make the difference

On the other hand, bills, manuscript submissions, applications … these things where no acquaintances could be given cause to reassess my value, these things I’m often late taking care of.

I try not to be, I try to put these things on my calendar, but my calendar is so full of appointments, coffee dates, the movies … well, you get the idea. And, in truth, when one of these obligations pops up on my screen (my calendar is part of my E-mail client) I find it much too easy to dismiss it. I tell myself “I’ll do that now …” as I cancel the notice – then I get distracted.

New plan!

Something has got to change. Being on my own now, being my own Executive Function, means I have to take responsibility and keep on accepting responsibility ’til I do it without hesitation. And I have a new plan for dealing with this stuff, these things that have no social impact and so are easily ignored.

Firstly, I no longer click dismiss when my digital calendar produces these obligations on-screen. If I’m sure I’m going to do something right away, I click “snooze for …” and give myself five minutes to prove myself right or wrong.

Never dismiss until it's done ... click the snooze button

Secondly, I’m trying to make myself accountable. I’m telling people what my responsibilities are. It may be only my imagination, but I presume to invest them with concern for my obligations, I imagine that they will be let down if I don’t accomplish what I tell them I have to do.

If you’re one of the friends I’m holding myself accountable to, you don’t have to care, but please don’t let on you don’t. The ruse works if I believe that you care, and I can maintain that belief without you actually having to worry about me.

I’m not suggesting that this will work for everyone, or even anyone, but I think it has potential for me. If you’ve got any other helpful hints I’d love to hear them.

Anxiety Trumps Tardiness in My ADHD World

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2011). Anxiety Trumps Tardiness in My ADHD World. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Oct 2011
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