Thursday, April 14, 2016

Part 1: How to Develop A Routine - And How It Helps Combat ADD

One of the biggest game changers for me in controlling stress and anxiety was developing a Routine.

That being said, I'm still working on it.


Doing it was simple enough - set my alarm clock for 7 in the morning and do not hit snooze.
But I kept hitting snooze. The problem was, there is no real reason to wake up at 7a if it only takes me 15 minutes to get ready for work in the morning right? So I kept hitting snooze, and would end up rolling out of bed at 7:30a and by 8:30a wondering why I was in such a terrible mood and felt like there was too much to get done in the day.

So I had to convince myself there was a reason to wake up - coffee. Coffee, that wonderful elixir of awesomeness is a treat for me no matter what form it comes in. It doesn't matter if it's Folgers or high end latte art - it makes me feel like I'm giving myself a gift whenever I drink it. Also, I load it up with so much creamer that it resembles candy, who doesn't love candy?

Promising myself that there will be coffee when I wake up was enough for me to get up at 7a.

I would drink my coffee, read the morning's top posts on Reddit and look up to see that it was 7:30a, and probably time to start getting ready. My days were better - but not significantly changed - I still ended up in a bad mood by 9:30a, with a load of tasks to do.

And I don't mean tasks associated with my job, I mean mental tasks and questions that become a distraction:
 Develop character ideas for fiction contest. Pay the electric bill. Did Ezra go out this morning? When is the internet bill due? Did I tell Amanda I'd meet her at 6 or 7 tonight? What was the name of that book Matt told me about? Should I buy new food for my fish?

My full time job is pretty hands on and fast paced, so any minor distraction will start the stress ball -and the ADD ball - rollin'. All of the questions, all of the 'what's due?' would pile up on me starting almost as soon as I answered my first e-mail in the morning. I'd switch to google and search questions I had, check my personal inbox for my electric bill login and on an on. Eventually, my work inbox would be full of customers asking questions and the queue completely piled up.

Which would irritate me to no end. (One of the hallmarks of ADD is being unable to handle stress that is related to task management.)

So I decided to wake up just a little bit earlier and try the whole 'routine' thing again.

Here's what I do now:

Wake up at 6a - Remind myself there's coffee in my future.

6:05 - Let Ezra outside, brew coffee

6:10 - Feed Ezra

6:15 - Feed myself - have coffee!

6:15 to 6:45 - Wander around the internet - I try not to constrain myself to productive wandering and still check the top posts on Reddit, but I am inclined to read something from Brainpickings as well. Check what bills are due and pay them.

6:45 to 7a -Plan for the day - Review yesterday's scheduling, migrate tasks and check if there's anything I need to take to work (groceries, craft projects to show my boss, etc)

7a - Get dressed and start my AB Face Routine, do hair, make up and teeth.

Go to work - 7:40a

Waking up just an hour earlier to negate the distractions that will pop up later in the day is immensely helpful for me.

I find that I'm less stressed out over the little questions and mental tasks. Having a routine has allowed me to focus on what's in front of me without allowing my ADD to lead my mind away from my work.

Tomorrow I'll cover what my evening routine looks like. It's a little harder to stay on schedule with it - I have a boyfriend and a seriously comfortable couch.

What are some of the things you do to help your day go smoothly?

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