Schedules, Structure and ADHD

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I think anyone with ADHD sees words like “schedule” and “structure” and they cringe just a little bit. (Show us the word “organized” though, and we’re all over it).

Schedules and structure imply things we should do but aren’t so good at doing. We know that order is good for us, and that structure creates order as do schedules, but still we shy away.

First, keeping order, keeping a schedule requires remembering – and we all know how good we are that!

But also, order, structure and schedules imply a certain rigidity or regimentation. We ADDers prefer doing things when we feel like doing them. Now the truth is that we often do a better job when we do something because we feel like doing it, but most of us really can’t live our lives that way.

Family, work and other activities can provide some structure to our days, but even then, that only goes so far.

Sure, maybe you have to make dinner every night, but does that mean you know ahead of time what’s on the menu? Or what about at work? You may have a certain set of tasks or projects each day, but do you have a plan for doing them? Or are you doing what you feel like doing first and putting off the rest?

My own life has been disrupted somewhat in the past few weeks and I’m feeling a bit disoriented. A schedule or some structure in my life would be very welcome at this point.

The thing is, I’m easily overwhelmed. (You too?) Now that I have to rearrange my whole life, where do I begin?

Well, I’m going to start with one thing – not my whole life. Each day, I try to come upstairs to my office and post something on mhy blogs, and do other things connected with them.

Right now that gets done when I feel like it. And recent events (or lack of them) shows you how well that works.

So my start on putting some structure back into my life is to designate a time each day when I will work on my blogs and my businesses. I’m still trying to work out the right time, but I think I have it under control. (Or maybe I just don’t want to tell you in case I don’t follow through! :))

You ought to be able to tell if I’m true to my word, though, cause most days there should be a new post on ADD Moms and ADD Student. (Weekends don’t count – I get a break, too).

What one small thing can you find to add order to your life?

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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3 Responses

  1. I have a best friend who suffers with adult ADD (and has a 17 yrs old ADHD son). I have tried to read as much about this problem so that I can understand her a bit better. I have always tried to force the issue that she needs schedules and structure in her life in order to have some sanity. Now reading your article I realise that is just not that simple, simply because its the schedules and structure are indeed the issues that people who suffer with ADD, are actually the problem.

    I am probably niave, since I dont have this disability. But, surely if you take your meds at the same time every day, eat right and exercise regularly, then ADD sufferers will be able to cope with schedules and structure. Otherwise, what is the point of the meds?

    Please help me, I really want to be a support to my friend, and I now just dont understand how suffers of this dibilitating disorder can lead “normal” lives.

  2. What a great friend you are, Linda!

    Certainly taking your meds regularly as well as eating healthy meals and exercising can help ADHD symptoms, but even doing those things on a consistent basis can be difficult for people with ADHD. If anything, the lives of people with ADHD are anything but consistent, unless structure is imposed from an outside source (such as a job or school).

    If your friend doesn’t take her meds at the same time each day, that’s a good place to begin. The key is to tie it into something she already does out of habit. I don’t take meds for ADHD, but I do take other medications. I take most of them right after breakfast with my morning tea, and the fish oil I take at night is triggered by an alarm on my cell phone.

    Once her meds are under control, you could try tackling another issue. I would suggest something simple that would make a difference in her life if she could get it under control. If she agrees, you could act as her ADD Coach, helping her set a goal, come up with a plan, and then make sure she follows through. This is usually done through gentle reminders – maybe a phone call or email or text once or twice a day checking on progress.

    Good luck helping your friend. If there’s more I can help with, just let me know.

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