Rules Can Make Your Life Better with ADD ADHD — ADD Tip O the Day 649

Using Rules:

A major principle for coping with ADD ADHD is:  identify a problem, design a strategy, make it a rule, make it a habit.  But with ADD ADHD there are other uses for rules .

Some of us do better with people around us. Some don’t. Some study better with music. Some find it a distraction. Some study better with someone else in the room. Some don’t. I do better with someone around and with music.

When my wife is gone, I do great. For three days. Then everything starts to unravel. I do better with her around.  And without her, a lot of my structure is gone.  I stop functioning.

But this time, I’m trying new strategies, based on rules.

  1. No alcohol.
  2. Only one free cell game a day.
  3. No TV.

Goals: I can get a lot of work done. Maybe lose weight. Do more guitar practice.

I know that if I break a rule once, the dam is likely to break and I can just forget it.

We’ll see.


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When I’m unraveled with ADD ADHD

Bonus Links:

15 good habits to make to make your life better


Follow Up On Call to Verizon:  In case you’re wondering, I did call Verizon.  Wasn’t on hold too long.  The lady was nice. She took a long time researching options. While I waited. Turns out that once our contracts are up, we could save a few bucks by reducing the minutes available to us. Don’t want to do that.  But I did make the call.  Can cross that off.

@addstrategies  #adhd  #add  @dougmkpdp

you can check the good comments by clicking comments in the long list at the bottom of the post

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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13 Responses to Rules Can Make Your Life Better with ADD ADHD — ADD Tip O the Day 649

  1. Pingback: Problems in ADHD — ADHD Tip O the Day 806 | ADDadultstrategies

  2. D K Powell says:

    I have exactly the same problems when my wife is away. Except maybe that it takes less than three days for me to unravel…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so true: “I know that if I break a rule once, the dam is likely to break and I can just forget it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rammkatze says:

    Sounds like good rules, Doug. When I looked up on adult ADHD after my diagnosis, I was baffled to find out that most people with ADD/ADHD prefer studying in coffee-shops. When I went to college, I only liked studying in coffeeshops! My best guess is, because of so much background noise, the brain will more easily drown it all out instead of focusing on separate sounds. Whenever I tried a library, every rustling of pages in the room was enough to distract me because it was so obvious in the silence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. doug says:

    scott- welcome back! thanks for the great note and your good points..

    yes, AA teaches, you might fall off the wagon, when you do, get back on. I agree.

    I knew that if i had one candy bar, I’d have three. and it would be hard to get back on that wagon.
    and that’s a good point – to see what went wrong. Maybe the rule was too harsh, too challenging, or maybe there was too many rules. Maybe there’s a better way to approach the issue.

    There is a great book, something like “the spirituality of failure” – but of course, i cant find it right now. anyway, yes, to fail is human and we need to be kind to ourselves.
    I like your strategies – that is good self talk when we’re stuck – I know this is important to me. I know I will feel better when I do it.

    sometimes we’re not doing something because we feel like we “should” do it. That stimulates resistance. And your point about the vicious cycle is exactly on – the worse we feel about ourselves, the harder it is to do anything.

    So how do we get past the negative self-image of having broken a rule? Could we make a rule and then a habit of saying to ourselves something like – “okay, once again I’ve proven I’m human. so let’s see what I can learn from this time.” This is a good way to think, and it also gets us off of the negative thinking. We will need to make a habit of it.

    can you clarify what you mean by check-in’s, and what is preventing you from getting them? I think I understand, but would like to be clear. and what are your ideas about how to do it?

    I’m doing pretty well on these rules for the moment, thank you. Will put a follow-up in another post.

    As always, thank you for commenting.


    • Scott Marckx says:

      Thanks Doug for the nice reply!

      I’m curious about the failure book and am doing a search for titles about that.

      Check-ins for me right now would be talking to someone once or twice a month and reviewing goals and discussing what worked, what didn’t and how to go from here. Someone that might hold my feet to the fire sometimes might be helpful, but mostly someone I can feel accountable to who can remind me of what I said I wanted to be doing and maybe bounce ideas off of.

      Thanks for your great blog!
      All the best,

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug says:

        scott- hope you find the book, I couldn’t. Let us know.
        You are looking for a ADD coach, I don’t know what they charge, or for a support group. There seems to be a lot of them, but I don’t know where they are.
        Could you use this site for that purpose? Your process would be valuable to everyone.
        Best wishes


        • Scott Marckx says:

          Thank you Doug for the offer of using your site for check-ins. I’m not sure if that would work for me or how it would work, but I might try to post a follow up every once in a while or something I’m trying or tried and how that goes. Right now I am seeing a counselor, but it is through our hospital and is expensive. I have a high deductible insurance plan, so the cost part is not working. So I made myself a list of people I know who I might be able to do check-ins with and maybe work out some sort of arrangement, so it would work for them too. Maybe they want to check in too or maybe I could buy them a beer or something? Then I picked my top person on the list and just called and asked and he said yes and would like to do a check-in with me too. So the next thing to do is try this out and see how it works for each of us… I wonder if there might be a typical structure for this type of thing that we could follow, or maybe some sort of book or workbook that has questions or some sort of structure to help?

          On the spirituality of failure topic I found a book called “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr. Is that maybe the book you were thinking about? It looks like it might be good.

          Again thank you so much for writing your book on ADD, for doing this blog, and for responding when people comment. All the best to you!

          Liked by 1 person

          • doug says:

            scott – good work to find a partner. it illustrates the principle, for every problem, there is a solution.
            that’s not the book, its the spirituality of imperfection by kurtz – that just came to me. anything by rohr is probably good
            i dont know of a guide for your work, but i’m guessing the two of you will work out what works best for the two of you – everybody is unique. part of the process is knowing you’ll be accountable for what you said you’d do, part is encouragement and support, part is getting a different viewpoint. and more
            let us know how it goes
            and you’re welcome, its my pleasure
            best wishes


  6. Scott Marckx says:

    Hi Doug,
    I made myself some rules just the other day to try to get some work done and then proceeded to procrastinate and break them. Watch out for that: ” I know that if I break a rule once, the dam is likely to break and I can just forget it.” Instead try the “if at first you don’t succeed, try again” coupled with a little look at what went wrong and maybe a tweak or two to adjust the rule or the situation. I did eventually realize I was breaking my own rules and remembered that this work is really important to me and finally broke through to getting out to the shop and getting the work done. That felt way better than what I was doing procrastinating, but I didn’t realize it until i got out there.
    I guess failing at keeping our rules could be part of the process too as long as we can find a way to learn from what happened. Maybe embracing failure and adjusting the rule could become part of the process of developing the habit?
    For me, I usually know what I “should” be doing, but I don’t understand why I’m not doing it, or sometimes I’m just not paying attention. (the attention thing is sometimes based on not wanting to see how badly I’m failing). The worse I feel about myself the less attention I focus on how to make my life better. It becomes a vicious cycle.
    Is there a way to get past the negative self image of having broken a rule and jump to how to figure out how to keep it or how to tweak it so it works better?

    I wish you the best in keeping your rules and getting back to them when you break them.
    P.S. Any ideas on how to find someone to do check-ins with on a semi-regular basis that is affordable?

    Liked by 1 person

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