Routine routine routine. That’s been drilled into my head since I was a kid. If I follow the routine, things generally go well. Tasks are completed with less energy required or mistakes made.
But like most humans, we don’t live in a vacuum where things never change. And for persons with ADHD, this can be further challenged because something delays the start of a routine. Something delays or prevents a step in a routine. Something causes us not to want to follow the routine.
When Routine Fails
A routine is helpful for ADHD because it makes necessary tasks more automatic. The problem is needing a backup plan, or a backup plan for your backup plan. What can we do if the things we use to build a routine don’t work?
According to Beth Main,
- Put something like daily medication on top of your cereal bowls, so that you have to deal with them in order to continue the routine
- Put some in your glove box or stash spot at work.
But what if your routine breaks or changes because it’s a weekend? Or the people you live with don’t follow your system and put the medications elsewhere? Maybe you overlook them because it’s easy to move them to get what you’re looking for and you’re not used to making them part of your routine.
Beth also suggests keeping them in a medication organizer. The challenge? It’s time to refill the slots, but you don’t feel like doing it at that moment and then taking them from the bottle becomes the routine (and you might forget you took them).
ADHD coach Dr. Saskia Karg points out that:
- We can get distracted from a habit
- A habit can vanish
- Building a habit requires a lot of effort
- Inconsistency is almost certain.
Things that can help:
- Set an alarm on a watch to remind yourself to take ADHD medication
- Keep ADHD medication in a work bag that is with you whether you’re at home or at work.
The point is that by having more than one reminder, and more than one plan, this will enhance success for taking the medication.
Get Help When You Need It
ADHD expert Dr. David Hallowell asks the question, “How exactly did you do/not do that?” What caused the system or routine to work or not work?
If you are ready for a routine but need some support, contact Sound Health Counseling Solutions today!