For some of us, creating routines is natural and comfortable. We love repetition and the sameness of routine. However, some of us like spontaneity and the excitement of new and fresh! Can there be a balance or a way to merge these two ideas? With the challenges of ADHD, often there is a big void of routines. It is unnatural and uncomfortable. However, a few important small routines can make a difference.
- Start with an awareness of how routines can make a difference for you. If you have ADD or ADHD, think about how whether having one day established for a certain task might be helpful? The time does not have to be rigid, but it should be compelling. I suggest having one hour of administrative time once a week to catch up with tedious, required tasks. Having a routine set for admin time, such as Sunday afternoon between nap and dinner, make certain that paper is acted on. A routine might be something that happens daily or weekly. Laundry days can be every day in the morning or every Monday and Thursday.
- Add on one simple, small step to an existing routine. If you are already successful at a task, add on a related task as the next step in your routine. It can be simply empty the trash in your car each time you get gas. Toss the junk mail right after you put the kids to bed.
- Add a partner to get a task finished. You and your kids, spouse, or friend can fold and put away clothes, clean up the kitchen, or file and chat.
- Give yourself permission and time to do a routine well. If bill paying is the priority, that is all you need to accomplish in one day. It is okay to accomplish one big job in a day.
- Use a checklist to successfully begin a new routine. Your checklist will prompt you visually with the steps in your routine and you won’t have to rely on working memory. Your checklist will ensure completion too! A checklist can be used at the beginning or end of the day and placed in a spot where you will see it regularly.
- Don’t give up a routine easily. It takes at least 3 weeks and up to 6 weeks to get a routine established. Have tenacity and a compelling reason to keep your routine going.
What are routines that work well for you? What is your “secret?”