Adults with ADHD believe that they like to be spontaneous and creative. That is why habits are hard for them. However, I have found that when day-to-day tasks become habits, adults with ADHD thrive and there is more mental space and time to be creative.

I suggest to my clients that they create habits to take the brainwork out of simple tasks such as popping keys on a hook when they come home so they don’t lose them. Going to the gym on set days so there isn’t a lot of “to-ing and fro-ing” and mental bargaining about if and when they should go.

When there are a few tasks that are linked together toward the same goal, this becomes a routine.

Spontaneity and adults with adhdFor example, your morning routine might be:

  • Wake up at 7.00am
  • Bathroom, shower, shave/makeup
  • Breakfast
  • Vitamins
  • Leave for work at 8.00am with wallet, lunch, laptop, agenda, cell phone and keys.

Routines can also become habits. When you do these actions often enough, you go on auto pilot and your life becomes so much easier. Just like when you were learning to drive, you were really mindful of changing gears and using the clutch. You couldn’t think of anything except the task in hand. Driving. Fast forward a year later, you are able to multi-task, singing cheerfully along to the radio, chatting to the passengers or in your own private thoughts. Before you know it, you are home with no memory of the journey. The same is true for habits.

Create habits to include all your important tasks, like getting to work in the morning, going to bed at a reasonable hour at night, food shopping and cooking healthy meals, going to the gym, taking care of your finances and filling your car with gas. Once the foundations of your life are taken care of with habits, you can try new things and be spontaneous without feeling guilty. You can take a try at a new café at lunchtime, see a local band, try a new dish on the menu, check out the local museum, hang out with friends on a week night, etc. These types of experiences keep life fresh, fun and keep you from feeling bored. They also make you feel younger and have more energy. The old saying is “a change is as good as a rest” which is soooo true.

Here are some action steps to implement habits and spontaneity in your life:

  1. What day-to-day tasks would you like to create habits around?
  2. Concentrate on one at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  3. When you can do your new habit on autopilot, embrace a new one.
  4. Be open to new things, new experiences big and small.
  5. Enjoy the freedom to be spontaneous and creative in the happy knowledge that your basics are taken care of.

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  1. billy Flynn says:

    I think creating habits is a great idea, how do we draw the line though? Part of me wants to set my whole life to process and habit just to get through everything; at the same time it seems to dull my enthusiasm and excitement for the things that I’ve created these habits for. As usual, it seems to become an all or none proposition.

  2. Leanne Fournier says:

    This article’s bang on. I’m going to use the five steps you included at the end with my entire family. Even just at its simplicity without getting started has removed some stress. I love this! Thanks so much.

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Hi Leanne! What a great idea to use the tips with your whole family!! awesome idea. Love to hear an update on how it is going. warmly

  3. Priyadharshini says:

    Absolutely true! After I pushed myself for few days to get hold of a daily routine like Yoga and car driving, now I get it as a habit and at times, when I don’t have a mood to practice it, I let it go. Next day, I create the interest in my mind for the activity and start doing it with joy and happiness! I believe that any good thing should be done out of interest rather than as a commitment. Thanks for your articles and it gives me a fresh air every week to know who I am and how I can be positive and change myself for the better!

    • Jacqueline Sinfield says:

      Great examples Priyadharshini..it is wonderful when activities can be done with joy and happiness. Thanks for the lovely feedback on my articles too. warmly

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