Routines and me

Does anyone have any experience/ advice on routine- building?
I seem to be at a loss even grasping the whole “that’s a red light, stop” thing,not intellectually but practically. Have to re- think and make new decisions over a lot of little things that should be automated by now- hello,32 here…:frowning:


I have no helpful advice on this but I certainly do have empathy as I share that struggle with you.

@Lostgirl thank you for replying.
it’s actually good to know, I’m not the only one.
I will need to find some help with this though, it’s kind of “energy intensive” for me by now and I sure hope you’ll find a way that works for you, too.

Thanks Aaron, I'll muddle along some with some discovery on it sooner or later ha. Please share when you find what works for you.

Will do :slight_smile:

I don't but I feel you on this one . If I may suggest a book I bought its called survival tips for women for women with ad/hd I haven't read it yet I'm always I start reading it but I get to tired when reading in bed .you can buy it on Amazon

The routine that has stuck with me the longest is washing any remaining dishes before going to bed, and putting them away immediately after I wake up in the morning. It keeps the kitchen ready for cooking or eating or making coffee. I do it automatically.

I do have one thing that has been very helpful to me, my morning list. If (and when) I do it correctly it goes like this. I have a list of the very basic morning tasks. Set a timer for the max amount of time spent on each. DO NOT veer off in between or during an activity. If I find myself starting to clean the bathroom after my shower, I have to say "stop, keep on track" or if I'm even moving outside of the line between bedroom to bathroom, for instance, I just say "no" and get back in the straight path to where I need to be next. Sounds rigid, I know, but necessary for me. I can see a dust bunny & go to pick it up on the way and next thing I know, I see a crack on the baseboard & get out the wood filler or something like that.

My morning list looks like this & not in any particular order:

  • make bed
  • shower
  • teeth
  • face/make up
  • hair
  • dress
  • vitamins
  • eat
  • water 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (rarely accomplished)
  • yoga
  • meditate
  • check to do list

I try not to be too hard on myself if I don't complete everything on the list. But it really helps me to start my day with some structure. Each thing is scratched off or checked off(started using Evernote). It gives me a sense of accomplishment & order. Big deal for me.

Hope someone may find it helpful. :)

Aaron~I left a post about my morning list. Maybe it can help a bit. But I wanted to comment about "should be automated by now." One thing I have found is that it seems things never become automatic or, at least, not usually for me. I used to be hard on myself about that..."Why can't you just remember to just do this!" or something like that. But I'm finding that it seems to be just a part of being ADHD. We tend to want to fly by the seat of our pants, but live in a world of appointments, schedules, time clocks, deadlines, etc, so in order to function in this way, we have to continually remind our brains about routines...that never really become routine to us. I read somewhere, the first thing to do is to accept ourselves and ADHD as a normal part of who we are. Sometimes it's hard, but it's important, I think, to stop beating ourselves up for not being like the mainstream.

@adhdgrownup thanks a lot for both your posts.
As for the “not beating ourselves up” part, I do still find that very hard but I’ m working on it now that I know what it is I’m dealing with.
Imagine my surprise upon suddenly finding out that I’m not just the stupidest( please forgive my grammar&choice of words) person on the planet…:slight_smile:

Oh, I can imagine your surprise, aaron. I wanted to run around and tell the whole world, "See, I'm not just a stupid, irresponsible flake!" But, I soon realized that just because I was diagnosed, didn't mean anyone else believed it or wanted to hear about it. That's when I began to be silent and to wish I had someone else to talk to who had ADHD, too. No one else gets this point in time, anyway.

The "not beating ourselves up" part seems to be something that I constantly have to work on. I do it all the time.

No one has adhd but me .no one gets who I am because of what I have. They say we know what you're going through but they don't . They don't get how our minds are .or how we think or what makes sense to you in your logic they don't want to hear it and think it's a stupid idea . I live with my family which I hate living here . They don't listen and interrupt while I'm talking to my mom .telling me to shut up when I'm talking loud or yelling. I'm 34 . They don't get or want to deal with it . When I'm having trouble with talking about problems with my mom. People who are normal will never get what we think or act because of being one will get us . Only people with ADHD will get each other

pretty little liars freak~
It's heartbreaking sometimes, isn't it. That's why support groups are so important. We do understand what you're going through. It's difficult enough to have to try and function in a non-ADD world, but to have to listen to criticism and deal with skepticism and the, sometimes, cruelty of others makes it worse. I wish I had an answer for you that would be more helpful, but the fact is that adults with ADHD tend to become more & more isolative because of situations like yours. When we say ADHD, it conjurs up a picture of a restless little boy who can't sit still in school. Is your mom willing to listen? As for me, I am older and find that even if I explain to someone in my family who appears to listen, as soon as I display some ADHD behavior, it's obvious it really isn't understood. Recently I didn't return my mother-in-law's phone call for a week and when I finally did and tried to explain that I really didn't realize she had left a message and that I had been overwhelmed lately, she continued to let me know how angry she was at me throughout the conversation. When I said I didn't even realize I had a vm message she replied, "Didn't know you had a message? What are you, insane?!" I have since just backed off. I don't need the added stress of people's attacks. You are living in the same house, though, which makes it harder. Take care of yourself right now. Have you tried talking with a therapist? Having someone to talk to on a regular basis could be very helpful to you.
pretty little liars freak said:

No one has adhd but me .no one gets who I am because of what I have. They say we know what you're going through but they don't . They don't get how our minds are .or how we think or what makes sense to you in your logic they don't want to hear it and think it's a stupid idea . I live with my family which I hate living here . They don't listen and interrupt while I'm talking to my mom .telling me to shut up when I'm talking loud or yelling. I'm 34 . They don't get or want to deal with it . When I'm having trouble with talking about problems with my mom. People who are normal will never get what we think or act because of being one will get us . Only people with ADHD will get each other

I just learned what ADHD was in last 2-3 years after living with it for the first 44 years of my life just thinking, in medical terms, "I'm nuts!"

So I have a different experience of being so happy to know there was a condition causing my behavior and mental blocks, inability to keep my mouth shut at times, not just laziness which I heard daily growing up. I joined this site just over the weekend and it has already given me a lot of comfort talking to fellow ADHDers. My wife does have empathy as best she can for me. It's hard to explain to people the daily stress I am in. I am in a field for 20 years now that I despise, but I fake and BS my way through every day, scratching and clawing to get to the weekend. I tell her you know that queasy feeling you have when you start a new job and they are explaining it to you, but it looks overwhelming and you hope it will become easy for you at some point?....I live that day, every day. I am just about worn out. It is a shame because I have switched jobs 11 times, meaning I have had 12 jobs in 20 years in the IT field, some I moved for better opportunities, but mainly I feel like the "faking it" is about to catch up to me so I better move on and start over is draining to say the least. If it is a fast moving, troubleshooting, under fire all the time job, I am GREAT at it, but when things slow down again, my mind is busy tip-toeing through the tulips and cannot focus at all. I am going to repost something that another poster, Jessica posted in a different thread. it cracked me up because it was so well written and accurate!. Read this and realize you are not alone and you are also not condemned to be a failure.

This is in response to someone who does not have ADHD but thinks they understand because they too have a hard time focusing every now and then..

~~~ Really?!?!? ~~~ [Here's how I want to explain it to them, but usually sound too intense/frustrated/insulted/or they think I'm exaggerating ...HA!!] ~~Let me give you 10 things to do, each task is highly complex and (hypothetically) decides the life or death of a person you love, (for the sense of urgency) so get them done correctly! Oh, and you have to do them all at the same time, AFTER not sleeping for 72 hours (just for the discombobulated feeling), AND with deafening loud speakers playing 10 different radio stations, lectures, static, etc. BUT part of your tasks are trying to differentiate the stations, and pull the info required from them, so listen closely! While trying to close-out the stations you don't need, but wait... you don't know if you don't need them because you don't know what channel/time the instructions will play, or even what they'll sound like! Don't think I'm done! The items you need to complete your tasks are scattered all over a 10 story building, and get moved randomly, so while trying to listen to the instructions, you also have to search this building...BUT you can only carry 1 thing at a time back to your task space, so try to remember where things are. You'll also be timed on every part of the tasks, if you take too long, some of your found items will vanish from your space. Did I mention you'll be in either complete darkness or blinding light? Yes, with no warning and at random times the lights will be turned retina-burning bright to ink-black (for the sensitivity issues). The temperature is going to fluctuate from 30 degrees to 120 degrees too (also for the sensitivity thing). DON'T FORGET! The life of your 10 loved-ones depends on you getting everything done the right way, in the right amount of time... Ready? Set. Go! ..... OK! TIME'S UP!

Harry~That is beautiful! Isn't it funny how true this can be, though. Why is it that tasks do seem to take on a sense of urgency, like the part about "decides the life or death of the one you love." I have that feeling whenever I look at my to do list.

In response to your post about yourself: I felt happy to find out it was ADHD and that I wasn't this way just because I didn't care enough or never learned to be responsible, etc. I was happier when I started on meds & felt like my world was so much clearer. I went about 54 years before diagnosis and my mess of a life reflected it.

I know exactly what you mean about faking it. I worked as an RN for 30 years and I absolutely had to be on my toes which meant a lot of checking & rechecking so as to not make a major mistake. Definitely not the profession for ADHD! Over the years more documentation was constantly added to the point of spending much more time at the computer and/or charts than with patients. Papers, papers everywhere! Forms & more forms! This was my downfall...papers make me crazy. I really was a good nurse, but my documentation at the end of the day(2 hours after)was, I felt, not a good representation of my skills. Recollecting the day in a haze....not good.

"Scratching and clawing to get to the weekend" Every day of work I felt those same anxious feelings you talk about. And at the end of the day I was absolutely good for nothing! Exhausted from the stress of making it through another day. I remember when for a while I worked as a case manager for an insurance co. and one of my co-workers said, "Yay, it's Friday!" And I replied, "Yeah, but it's just so close to Monday!"

I am worn out!! I finally lost my job after 30 years for being late several times during a family crisis. I think it was a blessing in disguise. I really felt it was going to kill me. I inadvertently found out that I was able to collect survivor benefits at age 60, which was a few months after losing the job. Started working part time in retail for extra $ and I'm about to lose that job now due to tardiness. I really did try.

I know what you mean about the slower times at work. It's like your brain just goes to sleep...."Wake me up when something interesting's going on."

Great post. The paper work and documentation is my down fall, and I am a Project manager, that is all the job is about!! Even when I was a kid, I could do all the math equations in my head, but couldn't write them out. When we had to "show our work" I would just scribble some numbers down when I was done so I would get credit and not be accused of cheating.

It's funny though I am never late for anything. maybe because it is something that I have 100% control over, unlike the rest of my day. I could do a ton of work, if I had someone there to make sure the T's got crossed and I's got dotted and things didn't fall through the cracks. I am awful at the details. Again all things that are trademarks of my job. I a just smart enough and personable enough to get by for a while just on that and simple reporting, but it always gets to a point where they need fancy reporting than it is a brick wall for me. I tell my wife, when it gets disinteresting for me it is like trying to shove a brick through a key hole it just is not gonna happen. Unfortunately my current job is at that point now, so I am looking again to start over. the stress gets worse each time.

@Harry perfect description of how I experience life too much of the time.
Oops, my train of thought just derailed…
Sorry,forgot what else I was going to write, except this:
As far as others and understanding go, how’s this: When I told my mum, she looked at me and just said "but, you never even liked candy that much when you were little( apparently, too much sugar causes adhd- not that it couldn’t be counterproductive as far as hyperactivity goes but…) and then proceeded to check off several symptoms and go like "well, I tap my foot, too, you know, when I’m nervous.“
And, my personal favourite " So, now that you know that it’s about you not liking routines, you’ll be able to kick your own butt and get a better grip, right?”

Wow foot tapping! She totally get's it now! LOL. I think Aderol helped me some, but I just did not like being on it for so long. If you can find something you like to do, you won't need it. I think for us that is imperative.

Never late, Harry? That's not right? Now I feel bad, like maybe I'm the only ADDer here that has a problem with being late. I thought that was very common...almost across the board. Hope I'm not the only one. Help!! Anyone else?

No I think I am the exception on that one. I have seen it more than once on here. I think I was late back in school. I hate being late so much I way over compensate. If I have an interview at 12, I will parked a block away by 10:30 drinking coffee in my car.