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In 15 Minutes …

Am I late yet?

I hate being late. So I usually try to be early.

I also hate to waste time. And these two “hatreds” often clash.

If I have to be somewhere at, let’s say two o’clock, and if I think it takes me twenty minutes to get there, then I try to be ready to head out the door 35 minutes before my appointment time.

That’s a cushion of 15 minutes.


I’ll have had a hundred things to do and I’ll have gotten three or so done. Okay, an exaggeration, I’ll have had ten things to do, and I’ll have come across another ten things that I will do while I get maybe four or five of the original ten things done.

I’ll also have found four or five more things that I’ll have put on my list. It’s all very overwhelming.

And remember, I hate to be late.

Those things …

… that I find to do and actually do along the way are done because I hate to waste time. They’ll be things that are easy to do because I’m in one room or another and have no intention of returning to that room any time soon.

So I’ll do the things as they come up because I can, and because I’m fairly certain that if I don’t, I’ll forget about them.

So that slows me up on my list of things to do.

And I hate slow …

Slow is almost the same as late. I mentioned that I hate being late, right?

Slow is like being late and it causes lateness if I’m not careful.

Now, I’m not moving slower, and I’m getting lots done, just not what I thought I’d get done.


Then the time to leave rolls around. Or actually, the time to get ready to leave rolls around. I’ll be starting to organize ten minutes before I want to leave.

And while I’m getting ready to leave, my mind is going over what I didn’t get done. No, I don’t have a list, things just pop into my head.

And yes, some of them are on my actual list and some of them are things that I’ve just sort of thought of along the way.

So now …

I’m ready to go, way behind on my list of things to do, and I have 15 minutes to spare.

I stand at the door with the key in the lock, ready to pull the thing shut and throw the bolt and hit the road.

Do I?

I do not.

I start going through my remaining list and think, “If I don’t let myself get distracted, which of these things could I do in just two or three minutes and still be early?”

…. now

I’m not going to pretend that I am never late. And maybe this is actually one of the ways that ADHD keeps us running behind.

If the first thing I start isn’t done in fifteen minutes, I hate that I wasted that time and that I’m going to be late.

Yeah, you guessed it, I’ll finish the thing and still arrive late at my appointment, but I won’t have wasted the time I spent starting the task.

And if …

If the thing I start really can be done in just two or three minutes, I’ll do another. And another, and another after that …

Being early, or just being on time, takes planning and self control.

But late? Late is something you have to work at.

And even though I hate it, I’m good at it. I can make myself late in just 15 minutes.

In 15 Minutes …

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. (2018). In 15 Minutes …. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 18 Apr 2018
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