Routine — ADD Tip o the Day 414

Those of us with ADD or ADHD need routine in our lives.  It is part of structure.

It helps me know where I am in the day  and  what I will need to do next.

It saves me from some decisions.

For example,  every day I have three meals. Every morning I have my quiet time, right after breakfast.  Every day I exercise right after quiet time.  Every day I try to spend some time just sitting, right after lunch.  I do my bills on the last day of each month.   And so on.

Do you use structure?   And if you do, how does it help?


The sun sets, every evening, so far.

The sun sets, every evening, so far.

from terry matlen  clik

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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13 Responses to Routine — ADD Tip o the Day 414

  1. Pingback: more on structure, routine, and schedule for ADD ADHD – it helps! | Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD

  2. Pingback: More on Structure, Routine, and Schedule for ADD ADHD -ADD Tip o the Day 458 | ADDadultstrategies

  3. Oh, my gosh! Isn’t that the truth!!! For the last four years I’ve had very little structure and routine and like most people with ADHD, I thrive on it! I’ve tried hard to get it but have only been moderately successful. It started when my son, his wife and their 6 month old daughter moved in with us. Life got very crazy! Then baby #2 was born. When he was six months they moved across the street. I have the grandkids over a lot and my son & his wife are “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of people. So rather than watching the kids for them at random times, I set up a regular schedule. That helped. But I still can’t manage to get any structure. For 20 years, while I was raising my two kids, I went to the grocery store every Thursday afternoon. Seriously, every Thursday. For the last four years I’ve tried every single day of the week. I keep having to move it because stuff comes up. That’s pretty typical of everything in my life. And now we’re selling our house. We had 7 weeks of showings (17 showings), then inspections & appraisals and spur of the moment times to look at houses. We didn’t find a house so we’re moving in with our son & daughter-in-law and the two grandkids. They have a four bedroom house with 1 bathroom. Fortunately we’ve lived together before so we know what to expect. But any thought of routine is hopeless for now.

    Lately I just kind of wander around the house not sure what to do next. I can’t get a rhythm or routine and we’re living in limbo. I am going crazy!!! On top of all that, I’m dealing with severe peri-menopause. A couple of months ago I talked to my doctor and ended up starting on an antidepressant. I was dealing with brain fog and fatigue and all that. I didn’t feel like myself. The antidepressant made a huge difference. I’m not sure I would be coping as well as I am if it weren’t for that. These are tough days for someone with ADHD.

    I hope one day to have a routine again. And the sooner the better. Everything you said in your post was right on!


    • patty –
      oh my!!! sounds like you are liviig in a whirlwind. would thinking small be of any help??
      “ok, we’ve got a lot going on here and need to be flexible but i’ve got to have some structure, so top priority for me is thursday mornings, and on thursdays i’m not going to be available til noon so dont even ask. ”
      it you tried this i expect you would be tested a few times til they found out you are serious. (this is just a for instance example of course)
      thank you for your great comments
      best wishes


      • What do you mean by thinking small? The Thursday morning example or something else?


        • patty – yes, i mean you cant fix the whole thing, at least not at once, so thursday morning, just for example , would be one small bit of structure.
          or maybe it is too big a step. maybe you could say -“Ive made a top priority for my heath to exercise for one hour every Saturday morning from 9 to 10 am. so that’s sacred, nothing else can happen with me during that time.” that would be even smaller.
          but i think even a small bit of structure would help some, and if you establish that, then maybe you come up with an additional small bit later, etc. ( but i think it’s likely your resolve will be tested)
          often we don’t address problems because they seem overwhelming because we’re trying to fix the whole thing all at once.

          1. does this make any sense?
          2. is there any way to apply the concept to your situation?
          best wishes


          • patty
            ps i just was thinking you’ll be tested so maybe it would be good to leave the house for that period?


            • That actually helps a lot. And I’ve definitely seen in the past that once you begin to have order in one area of your life, even a tiny area, it spills over into the others. So I’m going to think on that and figure out what small area I can start with. Thank you, Dough. You might just have kept me from losing my mind! 🙂


            • patty- i’m glad that helps. i like your point that order in one small area will spill over into others.
              a mind is too precious a thing to lose
              thank you for commenting, and for getting the book.


  4. busy-
    irregular shifts are not good for anyone, and especially with ADD. have you thought of nay ways to put structure in even with those shifts?
    thank you for commenting


  5. moleculefest says:

    I never used to like routine. I remember saying, back when I was in high school and college that routine was for suckers with no life and that I would never, EVER EVER live a life structured by routine… Fast forward 10 years and now I’m realizing that without routine or at least some form of structure in my life, I just get overwhelmed and get nothing done.

    My current new morning routine is to wake up generally at the same hour (ideally!), make a fresh press of coffee and toast, have breakfast in the living room, then take a shower, get to work. For the rest, it depends on what happens. I’m finding that I have huge issues with transitions. If I have an appointment or a meeting in the middle of the day, it’ll take me hours — not minutes, hours — to get back into working mode. So my current challenge is to instate a routine for my work days. To think I once thought routine was for suckers… Ha! Routines are for successful and happy people 🙂


    • molecule-
      there are people who “want to be free” and “spontaneus” and abhor structure. but for me, flopping around in all directions, getting nothing done, and being stressed out is not the “freedom” that i want.
      thank you for commenting


  6. busydarling says:

    I don’t, I work irregular shifts and that’s not helping me at all!!


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