More on Structure, Routine, and Schedule for ADD ADHD -ADD Tip o the Day 458

With ADD or ADHD, we need routine and schedule, in order to have structure in our lives.  Maybe this is less important for vanilla people, who are free to live in the moment and be spontaneous and just follow any opportunity, attraction or whim that comes up (I don’t really believe this), but for us, structure frees us to be effective and not disorganized and stressed out.

So, since I retired, I am needing to:

1. Write down goals, and then strategies for reaching them.

And seeing the list of all the goals helped me prioritize, which I am no good at.  What is important? What will pay off, will help me reach my longer term goals? When we have ADD ADHD, we have a lot of interests, lots of things we want to do; we want to do all of them and it’s hard to prioritize and hard to let go of any of them.

2. Make a schedule for a typical day (do we actually have any “typical” days? Is this a process designed to create more frequent typical days?) What’s the best time to do my various exercise routines? To do my Spanish?

3. Make a weekly schedule, using the typical day schedule plus whatever else is on for this week.

4. Make a to do list each day, and then a second one limited to five items.  And on some days, just one item (so I can actually focus).

5. Watch out for distractions – “Is this a distraction?  How is this helping me? What is the payoff?  Is this the best use of my time right now?”

(Just read a great book, Fooling Houdini, which was helpful for recreation and also  happened to have some useful information.  So I got interested in magic, and wanted to go to the library and get books on card and coin tricks.  But wait!  Nothing wrong with that, but clearly it is a DISTRACTION.  I have a lot of other things to do which I would also enjoy and that would be more productive.  Magic can be pretty low on my list of priorities.)

6. Simplify- cut down on my facebook and linked in and other connections.  Pick out one book to work on for now (either psychiatric emergency services or marriage); focus on two songs  and learning the fretboard. The Youtube will have to wait.

7. Remember (how could I forget?) that the schedule and to do lists are flexible, just guidelines, depending on what comes up (doesn’t it always?), but they provide that much needed structure.  Otherwise, I’m just flopping around and stressed out, and that isn’t how I envisioned my retirement.

How do you prioritize, set goals and create structure?


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the pieces all fit together

structure and meds clik

routine clik        and   clik 

from the French connection  clik

organizing   clik 

ten things that help with ADD ADH   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. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. 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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5 Responses to More on Structure, Routine, and Schedule for ADD ADHD -ADD Tip o the Day 458

  1. Hello, Dr. Puryear! You said you like to hear from people, so I’m writing to tell you that I’ve just discovered your books and web site, so I will just say that it helps me to know that you are dealing with this problem and can give me advice on what helps. In regard to the comment about routines and schedules, I must say that I hadn’t thought about having a choice! The thought of schedules is repellent, but I’ve struggled to have structure by having a schedule (say with Flylady) and now I hear that I could simply have a routine. For some reason, that appeals to me because I might actually be able to create a routine, whereas a schedule feels oppressive. In any case, I thank you for the time you’ve taken to share your ideas and ways of dealing with ADD/ADHD with the world. P.S. I live nearby in Rio Rancho.

    Liked by 1 person

    • meredith – thank you for your kind comments.
      the difference i think is routines are what we have made habits, so we don’t have to think about them, make a decision, or use much will power. schedules, however, we have to plan and then work to get ourselves to follow them. lots of ADHDers dislike schedules. I think some of the problem is not having strategies to make them work, so it boils down to will power, which we are sorely lacking. on some days which are overloaded and seem overwhelming making a schedule really helps me. one of the tricks is to make it realistic, which we also are not so good at.
      thank you for commenting- i do like hearing from people.
      ps1. think i will use this as a post if you dont object
      ps2. we are fortunate to be living here


  2. Pingback: ADD ADHD and Change of Schedule – – – ADD Tip o the Day 521 | ADDadultstrategies

  3. homemakersdaily says:

    I like to have routines instead of a schedule. I’ve tried a very structured schedule and felt claustrophobic. It works better for me to have routines instead of schedules. Like every morning, first thing, I tidy the house and sweep the floors. And right after lunch I work on my blog. That kind of thing.

    Right now I don’t have any routine or schedules or anything. Moved into a fixer upper a few months ago and I’m still working on getting my bearings. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, menopause is complicating everything.

    I had to laugh at your point about reading the Houdini book and then wanting to try your hand at magic. I don’t usually get distracted that easily but my daughter does. When I was homeschooling her and my son, you should have seen our library book list. The topics were ALL over the place. I bet your list would look like that, too!


    • homey- i read your other comment first. so routine is the tidy and sweep, lunch, blog. the rest is not. i like a schedule, really works for me, but you use it just when you’re having trouble starting. we are all different and have to find our own approach.


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