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.
For example, your morning routine might be:
- Wake up at 7.00am
- Bathroom, shower, shave/makeup
- 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:
- What day-to-day tasks would you like to create habits around?
- Concentrate on one at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- When you can do your new habit on autopilot, embrace a new one.
- Be open to new things, new experiences big and small.
- Enjoy the freedom to be spontaneous and creative in the happy knowledge that your basics are taken care of.