Sometimes I wonder if what makes committing to and sticking to a routine, schedule, or system- something it seems most people with ADHD are seeking- is putting this label on the collection of tasks that need to happen. It frequently feels like we are searching for this holy grail schedule, routine, or system that we put all this weight and pressure on the words themselves.
Does what I’m speculating apply to you? Does it make sense? This is where my head is at this week, so this blog may be more of my thinking- well, not out loud, but the written equivalent.
We may be telling ourselves (consciously or unconsciously) that if we write a schedule, routine, or system down and don’t follow it, then that creates an opportunity to “fail”. It could also present an opportunity to “succeed”, and with success comes the potential for all new things. Fear of success is as real as fear of failure. Change can be intimidating, even if it’s positive. Does any of this resonate with you? What do you want to do about it?
Routines, systems, schedules… these are all just new rhythms we are trying to get into. It takes time to learn a new rhythm. Think about the process of learning a new dance routine. It’s taught a little bit at a time. One part of the body, one section of the song, and we repeat it over and over until it becomes second nature. Then we add a new part of the body, or a new section of the song and we build on the routine that way. Slowly. If the word rhythm isn’t helpful, one could also think of routines, systems, or schedules as new patterns, which also take time to learn and commit to memory.
Are you putting too much weight on the words ‘routine, system, or schedule’? What’s the appropriate amount of pressure? How can you tell the difference? Would calling this new routine, system, or schedule you are trying to create something else be helpful? What about it would or would not be helpful?
What stories are you telling yourself about sticking to a schedule, routine, or system? Are they true? False? Rational? Irrational? If you don’t stick to your schedule, what’s the worst thing that could happen? The best? If you accidentally “fail” one day at following the routine, does that mean you can’t try again the next day? Does the “failure” shed light on possible needed adjustments that need to be made? How do you know when to give up versus keep trying versus adjust?
I know many of us want so badly to find a schedule, routine, or system that works for us. Just take a breath and slow down for a bit. Think about what your fantasy routine, system or schedule would look/sound/feel like. Think about everything you need to include in this routine, system, or schedule. If you notice yourself starting to get frustrated, overwhelmed, or anxious I invite you take a pause and breath. Check in with yourself and address what you need in that moment. Get back to crafting your schedule, routine, or system. It’s okay to not get it right the first time. It’s going to be a trial-and-error scientific process. The fact that you have the will and desire to keep trying gives me faith that you will find what you are looking for.