For the ADHD Brain
If you are like me, creating routines and then actually sticking to them is a challenge you have rarely accomplished successfully. You’ve probably tried about a million and a half different ways to be successful in creating routines for yourself only to give up a few days or weeks later.
I have a house full of discarded or half used and abandoned notebooks, journals and calendars. Each one purchased with hope and determination, only to ultimately be added to the discard pile.
Why? Because they don’t work for my particular flavor of ADHD. You may have discovered that traditional advice for things like creating routines, managing time, and organizing just typically do not work for ADHD brains (or many other neurodivergent brains for that matter.)
We all know that routines are important for many of us, even with ADHD. We know that in some cases, routines are very good for us, but creating routines and sticking to them can be challenges. Here are some tips about how to create and stick to routines that work for your (or your child’s) ADHD brain.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
The first way to setting yourself up for success is to understand your ADHD and how it impacts you. Learn about what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, this will help you create routines you are more likely to successfully implement.
Keep Your Goals Realistic
One reason many of us are not successful at keeping routines is we tend to try too much, too hard, too fast. Try not to attempt to make several changes at once, or severe changes without attempting steps to get there.
Mind Your Core Four
You are more likely to have the mental ability to stick to your routines if you are minding your core four. Nourishment, Hydration, Rest, and Movement. Read more about core four HERE.
Tools That Work For You
There are about a gazillion people with a gazillion types of tools that are designed to help us create routines. Alarms, calendars, reminder systems, posters, automated systems, watches that are smart, and technology that I don’t even understand – all kinds of various tools that are available. What will work for you? I can’t tell you that. You have to experiment and find what works for you!
Learn from “Failures”
We have a tendency to discard things when we perceive them to be a failure. If you aren’t successful when you attempt to start a new routine, ask yourself what parts of it DID work, what didn’t, what were the pitfalls, and what did you learn before you try again.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Setting yourself up for success may look different to different people, or for different types of routines you are trying to establish. Whatever the routine is, create an environment that makes it as easy as possible to do the thing. Make sure that you have everything you need to succeed – equipment, clothing, environment, etc.
Be willing to be flexible with your setting routine process if you can. You may be unable (or unwilling) to get up at the same exact time every day, but you can still create a wake-up routine that is flexible enough to be able to be completed at various times, for example.
Reach Out For Help
Ask a friend or family member for help. Perhaps they can join a routine with you. Or check in with you for accountability, or offer tips that worked for them. You can also work with an ADHD Coach or therapist for more help creating routines.
As I mentioned, creating routines when you have ADHD is challenging, but can be rewarding and incredibly helpful. Remember that creating routines that work for you is a process. Be patient and willing to try different things as you work toward building routines that will stick.
If you are stuck and want to work together, I can help you figure out the routines that will work for you. Please consider booking a free, no obligation discovery call with me today!
Don’t Delay Joy
Kat Sweeney, MCLC