When you follow the right routines and rituals you will be able to manage your ADHD with greater ease.
True, creating routines is really hard for a lot of people, especially adults with ADHD. You know that firsthand, I bet.
You also already know that getting enough sleep, eating the right foods and exercising regularly are keys to treating your ADHD. So, I won’t go over that territory in this article.
But the three routines below are one that you might not have given serious consideration to, yet, as a means of managing your ADHD.
But I hope you will consider adopting them. Because they might be game changers for you.
Time to Think Creatively
When you want to think at a high level in order to solve a problem or generate new ideas you need to focus your attention on the matter at hand.
Since focusing your attention does not come automatically or even easily for adults with ADHD, you may need to be more intentional about carving out the time and space.
As Dr. Hallowell notes in his book, Crazy Busy, when you are overwhelmed and constantly trying to get things done, your “attention is not available to fertilize the egg when the germ of a new idea takes shape.”
When I point out the benefits of slowing down to my clients, their reply is usually some variation of, “Sure that makes sense. I should do that. Slow down. Right.” But, at least in the beginning, they may have a hard time following through because they do not trust it is time well spent.
You may feel the same. It just does not seem very productive to
- play with a work or personal idea by drawing a mind-map.
- go for a walk in the woods to think.
- “noodle” the best ways to manage your ADHD. Not read or scour the internet. You’ve read enough. Just play with ideas.
- “engage imaginatively” in other ways.
After all you have work to do! I know.
But, as Dr. Hallowell wrote, “The greatest danger of being overwhelmed is not that you will fail to meet your goals, but that you will fail to think at your best and to give birth to your best ideas.”
How can you carve out time on a routine basis to allow for time to focus your attention so you can think at your best?
Separate Maintenance From Backlog
The overwhelm that comes with dealing with your backlog or just thinking about it can keep you from creating routines.
It can seem like a chicken and egg problem.
- “I know routines would help me stay on top of things, and not have such a backlog.”
- “But I need to work on my backlog. I can’t find time to do anything consistently.”
- “Yes, I know I have a huge backlog because I don’t have routines and am not being proactive.”
If you regularly default to working on your backlog at the expense of maintenance, building routines, there is a way out of this cyclical problem.
The key is
- making your backlog a project and scheduling time to work on it.
- and also committing to building a routine with your current tasks, such as today’s email, this month’s finances (bill paying), today’s snail mail, etc.
Otherwise, you will continue to always have a big backlog, right?
Where can you try this?
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
For most adults with ADHD imposing too much structure on yourself will inevitably lead to resentment and resistance. Even when the structure seems like a “good idea.”
On the other hand, if you don’t have enough structure, you may find yourself floundering, doing whatever catches your attention in the moment.
The trick is to find the right balance for you.
Do you find yourself saying things like,
- “I need to do laundry.”
- “I need to go through my email.”
- “I need to go grocery shopping.”
And these thoughts keep popping up…
Maybe you like to plan organically. That is, there are tasks you do when the mood strikes you. As long as this work for you, keep on keeping on! For an adult with ADHD, leveraging your moods is a great strategy.
But, if doing things whenever doesn’t work for you, you’ll need to schedule it. Otherwise, thoughts of the tasks will just take up your psychic energy and continue to overwhelm you because you don’t know when it is going to get done.
Which of your tasks do you want to schedule and which ones do you want to let happen when they happen?
Remember. Just enough structure.
What does that look like for you?
Challenge For You
Choose just one of the above strategies now.
No, don’t wait. You might forget.
Try it out for the next three weeks. And let me know how it goes.