I don’t know about you but if any of you are like me, and typical of ADD-ers (those who have ADHD), mornings are my biggest challenge. I am groggy and half-comatose for at least the first hour after I get up. To be ready and out of the door in a reasonable time, let alone on time, is a big ask. Poor time management is one of our defining ADD features. We tend to lose track of time and find it hard to estimate how long a task will take.
Part of the problem is that we get distracted easily, so completing a simple task (like taking a shower) can become quite drawn out if other things distract us along the way. With kids in the mix, things can get really chaotic in the mornings.
Here are some simple ways to help manage the morning madness and increase the chances of getting you (and the kids) get out of the house on time:
- Plan your morning the night before – I know that we ADD-ers are creative and spontaneous types but the time for this is not in the morning (not during the work-week anyway). Make a simple to-do list for the day ahead and set aside what you need to take to work (e.g. paperwork to meet a client). If you have children, confirm their schedules/after school activities and then get everything ready, e.g. sports clothes and equipment, homework and projects. If possible, pack the lunches and set out tomorrow’s clothes as well.
- Set up a departure station near the back door – Place everything that needs to leave the house in the morning at this area (for us it is a table next to the back door). For families, you can provide spacious cubby holes, one for each child, for their school bags and sports equipment that they can easily grab as they go out of the door.
- Create routines – Although we don’t always like routines because they are boring, routines are wonderful tools that we can use to our advantage. Turn your ‘planning for the morning’ into a regular evening routine that you add to your existing routines like checking homework, cooking supper, loading the dishwasher etc.
- Finish your routine before you relax – Once you crash on the living room couch, the chances of getting up again to prepare for tomorrow are slim to non-existent. Try not to think too much about it, and just get it done. Just keep in mind how much calmer the morning will be.
- Change your bed-time habits - ADD-ers are often night-owls and so it is easy to stay awake late. We also find it difficult to switch off our busy minds when we get to bed, especially if we have been on the computer. Try to shift to more relaxing activities, at least an hour or two before you go to sleep, so that you have a better chance of getting to sleep easily. In turn you will wake up less groggy and more refreshed in the morning. Getting to bed earlier will also help your morning wakefulness.
- Minimise morning distractions – In the morning try to minimise distractions as much as you can by keeping the TV off, and only turning your phone on and reading the newspaper once you are ready (or at least sitting down to breakfast). I know this is hard, but it will make a huge difference. Will it really matter if you read the news half an hour later?
Here’s to a calmer start to your days! Let me know if any of these suggestions work for you.