Change is hard on children. For children with ADHD, change is extra challenging. As a mom of an ADHD child, you’ve spent the last nine months helping your child succeed with her school routine. Summer vacation means the familiarity of her school routine goes out the window, and now you begin anew with a summer routine. You may be anxious about your munchkin’s tolerance for a new summer vacation routine. Just like during the school year,
Those who have adult ADHD rely on routines to get through what they need to do, to free up time for what they want to do. Mornings can be especially tough. Even an ingrained morning routine is hard to follow when you may not feel fully awake. The following are strategies that will help speed up your morning:
Get two alarm clocks. If one alarm clock fails to fully rouse you, consider placing a second alarm out of arms reach – such as on your dresser- so that you are forced to get out of bed to turn off the alarm.
Simplify your wardrobe to one color palette – neutrals for example – and eliminate all but your favorite pieces. Separate work clothes from home clothes. Store home clothes away from work clothes to help narrow down your outfit choices. Remove and store off-season clothing under your bed or on a high shelf. This will reduce indecision when getting dressed. Most importantly – chose your outfit the night before and save a ton of time in the morning!
Don’t turn on the TV
Laundry is one of those never-ending, boring, mundane chores. Many busy families just can’t keep up with the sheer volume of laundry. Others struggle with laundry piles because they don’t have a good laundry routine. To help you get through your laundry quickly and efficiently, we’ve compiled a list of laundry tips and tricks from various experts.
Many adults who have ADHD are curious, intelligent, resourceful, imaginative, genuine, hyper-focusing, out of the box thinkers. This is especially true when they are working on something they find novel and exciting, interesting and fun! But when it comes to tasks they find horribly mundane and boring – ADHDers often can’t get going, they struggle, they get distracted and derailed. Even getting through daily responsibilities can be tough. They may set huge goals (or too many goals) for themselves but just can’t execute on them. They may have great intentions but come up short. Sometimes, they get discouraged and frustrated, and give up on setting goals altogether. This is not caused by a lack of effort; it’s caused by brain chemistry!
If this sounds at all familiar, help lies in customizing time management strategies to work specifically for you and making those strategies part your daily routine.
There are some things in our lives that energize us and some things that sap our energy. Only you know what types of activities recharge your batteries – thus making you more mentally available to get work done.
Think about your best days, your most energy filled, most productive days. What helped you feel so good? Were you well rested? Did you get to exercise? Did you have a great conversation with a friend? The answer is different for every person. When we are aware of what energizes us, we can seek to optimize that energy and harness it toward more productivity.
Consider what derails you while you are trying to work. You may get started on something productive, but soon get distracted, derailed, lost. Are there specific triggers? Is it social media? Is it online shopping? Is it email notifications? Is it anxiety? Is it your children constantly interrupting you? Is it your cluttered desk? Is it depression? Is it your pet vying for attention? Again, only you know. Awareness, is a great starting point to try and minimize the triggers that derail you. Think about how you can eradicate the triggers that curtail your productivity. Can you turn off all notifications? Can you work in a coffee shop or library? Are you able to hire a babysitter? Would it help to report to a friend who is your accountability partner? Do you need to talk to a therapist or life coach?
When you have identified your sources of energy and have become aware of what derails you, it is time to set a goal. One very clear, very specific small goal. You are less likely to procrastinate if you know you have only one small thing to do.
Specific attainable goal: After dropping the boys at 8:30am I will jog three miles around my neighborhood.
A vague daunting goal: I want to train for a marathon.
It has been proven that our brains don’t actually multi-task they quickly switch from one activity to another, making us less effective in the end.
Try the Pomodoro Technique to extend your productivity. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Work only for that time frame. When the bell goes off, take a break for five minutes. Energize during your break. Then set the timer for the next 25 minutes.
If a strategy doesn’t work, tweak it a little. Use a different timer to give you visual cues and help you stay on task. Write out a checklist with specific steps you need to take to complete a task. Print it out and post it where you work.
Get outside help. Use an accountability partner. You are more likely to get something done if someone else is counting on you. A family member, a friend, or a life coach can help you stick to deadlines.
Delegate tasks. If household chores or errands are sapping your energy, consider hiring a housecleaner or having your groceries delivered. Blue Apron delivers wholesome ingredients for recipes chosen by you.
You may have setbacks. You may fail to achieve some goals. Keep trying, routines are built by repetition. CELEBRATE your successes, even the small ones. Duplicate small successes until they become routine.
Don’t give up. You can be in control of your ADHD. It doesn’t control you, you control you.
My son (who has ADHD) didn’t want to go to the end of school beach party with all his friends. The last day of school assembly and all the end-of-year excitement just wore him out. HE JUST WANTED TO GO HOME. I was torn. He would not see many of his friends next year because they were attending different middle schools. I wanted to enjoy the festivities with the other 5th grade moms. He’ll have fun once we get there, I thought to myself. But to the contrary, my son had been more irritable and anxious lately. He’d had trouble falling asleep. He was argumentative and he picked fights more than usual.
We did not attend the beach party that day. Transitions are tough for kids with ADHD. The end of the school year, moving up to middle school are both huge transitions. My son knew he’d had enough and I am proud of his self-awareness. We went home. A couple of hours later that day, he was bored (of course!) and asked for a playdate (with someone who had gone to the party and was still there). Sigh.
Parenting ADHD kids is tricky terrain in the best of times.
After working in the high tech industry for seven years followed by a decade at home full time with my children I felt a longing for something that would be interesting for me to do outside of the home. I considered professional organizing, interior design and nutrition as areas in which I would enjoy working.
To be an ADHD specialist requires many hours of study. As a life-long learner, I am glad that Simplify Experts values learning and education. To support my learning I am a member (called a subscriber) of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD.)
ICD is very focused on its mission: to provide education, research and strategies to benefit people challenged by chronic disorganization. Members include professional organizers as well as mental health professionals and academics.