Picture this: You just rolled out of bed. You have about half an hour to leave the house, but you’re no good without caffeine, so you run to the refrigerator, looking for the coffee that you moved to the pantry six months before. Then, once you’ve managed to get the coffee going, you go into your underwear drawer, and while you’re opening it, you see your brush, so you start brushing your hair. Then, you brush your teeth, and finally, you look back into the underwear drawer and realize that you still have things sitting in the laundry basket from the weekend, when you did the wash. So, you head to the laundry room, but you find the morning newspaper on the way and stop to read the headline story, that caught your eye, and after a few minutes, see that you’re holding underpants. You shake your head, and on the way back to the bedroom, you realize that you forgot the underwear on the kitchen counter. By the time you’re ready to leave the house, you’re totally stressed out because you’re late and it’s the third time this week.
Does this sound like you? If you have ADD, you’ve probably had several mornings like this one. It may seem simple for non-ADD people to correct. Why, you just stay on task, after all. But for people with ADD, it’s not that easy. No matter how hard we try not to be distracted, but that’s just part of having ADD. Still, when you’re trying to get the kids to school or yourself to work on time, it can become a real issue. You need a way to make mornings work.
One way to help with situations like these is to create ADD-friendly systems for ourselves. For example, if you have trouble getting it together in the morning… don’t! Do it at night. Pick a time when you don’t want to be watching TV or playing with the kids. Then each evening for a least two weeks, go into your bedroom and lay out everything you’ll need to be ready to leave the house the next day. Get your clothes and shoes, your purse and/or briefcase, your glasses and keys, and any medication you may have to take. Put them all together. If you don’t have an empty bed to lay stuff on, just put everything on and around one hanger. Just keep it all together. In the mornings, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’re ready to start the day.
These kinds of systems are great for helping us to stay on track. But you have to make them ritual. Set an alarm, until you can set a time in your ADD brain to lay things out at night. But make it the same time every single evening, and then, once the routine becomes part of you, you’ll own the day!
ADD distractions can certainly be frustrating. Mornings can be hard, if you don’t have a system for dealing them. If this system doesn’t work for you, find one that does. Nobody has to go to work upset every morning. Just try to set a routine in your brain–one that works for you.