6 Reasons Why ADHD Adults Hate Mornings

ADHD adults


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This year my son started kindergarten in our local district. Because I work in the morning he goes to child care in the a.m. and then rides the bus to school. In order for him to be there in time for breakfast and for me to get to work, we must leave by 7:30 a.m..

Every morning something trips us up on the way out the door. Sometimes we are missing a shoe. Other times I find myself running back into the house for items I forgot on the way out. Most of the time I feel frustrated and struggle to maintain my composure. My son responds to my tension with his own anger and opposition.

We are a total mess three days out of five, so I feel safe in saying that we hate mornings around here. Apparently my friends in the facebook group feel the same way.

But what about the days that run smoothly? What makes the good days different from the bad days?

Believe it or not, you do have some control over how smoothly your morning routines play out.

A successful morning routine doesn’t just happen by itself, it is intentionally created.


6 reasons why adhd adults hate mornings


Underestimating time needed to get out the door

A while back I wrote a post about success at work. Link to work productivity post. In that post I included a picture of my list of morning activities. Here is the photo.

This is what has to happen for me to get out of the house in the morning.

Staggering list of morning activities. With estimated times for each.

What I found was that even on a good day I needed over two hours to get myself and my child out of the house. This sounds crazy, but because we both have ADHD even little things take longer than we wish them to.

My Solution: Sit down and make a list of everything that has to happen for you to get out the door. Start with the moment you wake up, end with walking into work. Estimate how much time you need to do each and every item on that list.

How much time do you need to get out of the house? (On a good day.) Below is a little something to help you figure out the answer.

Frustration when things go awry

In my house there are a few items that seem to slow us down in the morning. Chances are you have never taken the time to think about where things are starting to get out of control. At what points are you getting delayed or feeling frustrated?

For me the first challenge is getting my son out of bed. E rarely gets up immediately with the alarm, so I have started setting it fifteen minutes earlier. This way he still feels like he has some control over getting out of bed, and I can leave him alone when I hear that alarm go off.

We also have a hard time brushing our teeth when asked. My solution to this was to change the order of events. Now my son brushes his teeth right after he is dressed instead of waiting until later. If we forget to brush and he has to go back into the bathroom there will be drama.

My Solution: Take note of when things start to go off the rails in the morning. Does it happen when you turn on the television? Does it happen while trying to feed everyone breakfast? If you observe your own habits for a few days you will start to see a pattern.

Lack of night time routines

Again, this is not a new piece of advice. I mentioned this in my work ebook.

I believe in doing as much as I can to make my life easier in the morning. I am not a morning person. In fact I want to do as little thinking as possible before 10 a.m. Here is a link to my recent post about nighttime routines.

For that reason I do as much as I can each evening. For example, I always prepare the coffee pot, lay out my clothing and pack my snack for work. During the week my son and I both shower in the evening because doing it in the morning would delay us even further.

My Solution: Come up with a nightly task list for yourself to make the mornings easier. If you have lunches to prepare do those the night before. If you need to pull something out of the freezer for dinner, do that too.

The more you can do the night before to make your morning easier the better.

Nothing to motivate you

In order to stick to a new morning routine you will need an incentive. Your incentive could be something simple and external, like a delicious breakfast. This would technically be an external reward. There is nothing wrong with external rewards, but I find that they don’t last as long.

For real staying power, you need to find an internal or “intrinsic” reward that is more satisfying long-term. In my post about Finding Your Motivational Fuel  I talk about big picture thinking. Find something that makes you WANT to get out of bed in the morning.

My solution: I use the first twenty minutes of quiet time each morning to check emails and enjoy a cup of coffee. That twenty-minute block of time allows me to clean out my inbox and do a little light research for my writing. This brief period of time inspires me to keep working toward my personal goals.

This quiet alone time is also the ONLY alone time I get most days. So I look forward to it. When the Hubs starts stirring I know that it is time to roll out of bed and start my day.

6 reasons why adhd adults hate mornings

Not having a visual schedule

We will go deep with creating visual schedules in the next week or so, but in the meantime just think about how you could make a morning routine visual for your children. Even if you don’t have children, you might like something visual for yourself.

My solution: I find that creating a written routine, minute by minute, helps you to produce a visual schedule when you are ready.

Not Having a Real Routine

Think about what you are responsible for each morning. I am responsible for parenting and getting myself out the door. My two focus areas are my son and myself. I need a realistic routine that gets both of us out the door with our bellies full and minimal extra stress

In the past I had a set waking time, but not a real Individualized Routine that had become a Habit.  Every morning would start off ok – but then deteriorate into me yelling and my son stomping around in response.

My solution: Things are getting better now that I made mornings a priority. My goal was to create a solid morning routine that I could stick to. So far so good.

If you want some incredibly inspiring and well thought-out information on morning routines check out Crystal Paine’s 14-day course Makeover Your Mornings. (this is an afiliate link.) I will discuss Crystal’s course in more detail later.

Any tips or tricks that keep your morning running smoothly?

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