I talk about routines a lot with clients. Very often, they can work well. Other times, I hear reluctance and doubt…
- I want to keep things fresh.
- Routines are boring.
- I’m too creative for a routine to be helpful.
- I can’t maintain a routine, I have ADHD!
I contend that the benefits of having some routines in your life will outweigh the doubts and challenges noted above.
Why do I need routines?
Working memory challenges often accompany ADHD. This means that it can be hard to remember what you want to do next when doing something like getting to bed at a good time. A routine can help you remember the order in which you want to complete all of the steps involved. Using a routine can help you develop good habits, remember those steps and get them done more efficiently over time.
Everyday tasks are BORING. I get it and won’t argue. Unfortunately, the reason we call them everyday tasks is that they must be done… every day. Or at least most days. Put boring with the tendency to become distracted, and you can see why it is difficult to get those everyday tasks done in a reasonable amount of time. When you get distracted and sidetracked on doing different things, you spend more time than you want. By giving your mind a routine or checklist to focus its attention, you can help reduce that natural tendency to be distracted.
What types of routines?
Routines and checklists can have an impact on your daily life from getting ready in the morning to paying your bills. Examples of routines include:
- Getting ready for your day from shower to out the door
- Getting started for your workday
- Checking your email at any time of day
- Making meals
- Paying bills
- Planning a party
How can you establish a routine?
- Join me for a free teleseminar over at Attention Deficit Disorder Resources (www.ADDresources.org) to learn how to Use Routines and Checklists to Manage Your Day. I’ll be teaching you more about routines, checklists and ADHD.
- Establishing a routine is a process. You probably can’t do it overnight. Start with something you do every day and track how you currently do it for a week. THEN decide the order you want to do it moving forward and how much time you plan to spend on each step.
- Write it down. Document your new routine and post it somewhere that you will see it AND refer to it every day.
- Make it interesting. In order to keep your routine from invoking boredom, do something to keep it interesting. Racing the clock can be helpful.
- Simplify where possible – no need in completing extra steps!
So, in answer to my question above, NO, routines are not too boring for someone with ADHD!