Making Your Mornings Stress-free

October 25, 2014 by

Morning Madness

Tim (not his real name) had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to be ready to leave for work by 7 a.m.  In addition to performing routine tasks like eating breakfast, packing lunch, showering and dressing, he spent a lot of time figuring out what to put in his backpack to take to work.  This meant a lot of decision-making and a lot of hunting for things if he decided he needed them, but didn’t know where they were.  He allowed himself two hours to get ready so he would not experience the stress of having to rush.

Debbie found it nearly impossible to get “out the door” when she needed to to make it to work on time.  She worried about the problems she would create with her boss if she arrived late.  She had no morning routine.  She admitted that she spent a lot of time wandering around the house figuring out what to do next.  Deciding what to wear was a challenge and, after she decided what to wear, she had to spend more time figuring out which make-up and jewelry to wear with her outfit.

Solutions for Morning Madness

Tim and Debbie, like many people with ADD (and some without it), have a tendency to stay up later in the evening and have more difficulty getting up in the morning.  Tim and Debbie, we decided, could make their lives easier by taking the following actions:

  • Doing more planning the night before.  Tim needed to decide which items he needed to take to work, put them in his backpack, and place the backpack near the door before going to bed.  Debbie needed to select and lay out her clothes,   eye shadow, jewelry, and shoes the night before.  This would eliminate the need to make decisions and conduct searches for things at a time of day when these adults with ADD are not at their peak.
  • Creating a written list of the tasks they routinely perform in the morning and doing them the same way, in the same order, every day, eliminating the need to think about what they have to do.
  • Consciously practicing the routine for 30 days to make it automatic and easy-to-perform, referring to the list to stay on-task if necessary.

Benefits of Stress-free Mornings

I have seen clients transform their mornings, and succeed in getting every day off to a better start when they were willing to take the above actions consistently until their mornings became easy.  One client even tracked his progress on his electronic calendar and this contributed to his success.  He put stars on the calendar for each day that he performed his morning exercise, spent fifteen minutes planning his day, and arrived at work by the time he set for himself.  At the end of a week or a month, he could pull up the calendar and see how many days he had succeeded in accomplishing these morning tasks.  Seeing how successful he had been encouraged him to continue.

Mornings need not be the most stressful part of the day!  You needn’t  arrive at work feeling like you’ve just survived a hurricane.  By creating and maintaining a solid morning routine, you can get every day off to a great start, and enjoy a life-enhancing sense of well-being.