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Routines: Autopilot for ADHD

Blog

Routines: Autopilot for ADHD

Pierre Séguin

I've lost count of the times that I've stared blankly at my significant other as she referred to a conversation we had the day before that I'm just not remembering. 

"We just talked about this," she sighs.

[Mental gears whirring.]

"Over dinner...?" Her brow furrows.

[Whirr. Click.]

"Oh, right!"

She's getting better at not letting this irritate her.

I easily remember technical stuff, specifications, word etymologies and various trivia. Yet for some reason, I often fail to recollect recently made plans, conversations I've had, decisions I've made. I'm just one of those people who really needs to write things down and set reminders to follow up.

I often say that my son comes by his ADHD honestly.

So how is it that I remember to clean the litter box every time I feed the cats in the evening?

I always charge my electronics overnight. I never fail to take my supplements with breakfast every morning. Teeth get brushed and flossed. A clean protein shaker gets packed for the gym. A healthy frozen pre-cooked meal hitches a ride with me to work for the noon hour.

I even remember to put my son's medication out and get his breakfast started so he's got smooth sailing on his morning routine.

You might think I'm about to say that I use Brili for my own daily routines, but that's not the case. In fact, like the majority of adults, I have formed habits over time and have repeated them so often that something just feels off when I skip a beat.

This said, one routine at a time is all my brain can manage without assistance. I get messed up when I have to manage my routine *and* my son's.

So I do use Brili to help me remember what my son is supposed to be doing. I watch his routines from my Pebble as they're happening and get vibration prompts so I can check in if necessary.

This lets me pay attention to my own stuff, which is good, because whenever I do get sidetracked and do my routine out of order, I forget important stuff. Like my wallet. Or a belt to keep my pants up.

Many experts have written about the importance of routine and habits for succeeding with ADHD. So besides confirming the truth of it through our lived experience, the key takeaway here is that with the right repetition, reminders and triggers, routines can be learned and maintained.

This is true parents and children alike.

Yup, it's easier said than done. This is where technology (especially Brili) can help. Use it to the extent that it's helpful and not creating extra work for anyone. Aim for incremental improvement and think of your success in one area as a building block for the next success.

Hey, as long as the litter boxes are clean, my kid gets his breakfast and my pants aren't falling down, I feel I'm a good way towards fulfilling my familial duties. And maybe even getting through the day unscathed enough to actually accomplish something. Cool, eh?

Upward and onward!

(Hey, have you seen my keys?)