Trying to fix my morning routine so that I can get to work on time
I'm late! I'm late!
“For a very important date! No time to say goodbye, hello! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”
I need to sort out my morning routine. This is for several reasons, but the most obvious is my chronic late-for-workness.
One of the productivity tools I’m currently experimenting with (lots more on this later) is ‘habit tracking’.
The idea is beguilingly simple: set a few (just a few) habits you want to cement into your daily life and track when you manage to hit them.
You get streaks (which I like) and in some apps you can set target numbers (useful for fitness) and calendar targets (useful for those of us who can’t focus sharply on an undefined ‘future self’).
Along with a couple of fitness habits, I set myself a target to get to work on time. I’ve been taking the piss, quite frankly, regularly arriving 15-20 minutes late. I have a very understanding boss (and I do stay late to make up for it), but I worry about eventually wearing down my goodwill buffer.
Having spent a couple of days actively trying to improve this habit, though, I realised that the aim isn’t really simple enough to sum up in a simple tine tardiness I have to address them separately.
Morning routine: real and imagined
First: what is my current routine?
- Hit snooze for as long as I can. Get up somewhere in this window.
- EITHER get dressed or go straight downstairs (OK, I need to lock this down one way or the other).
- Put on kettle and cook breakfast – currently a friend egg on toast (can this be streamlined?) I never used to eat breakfast, but it is vital if I want to function properly on Elvanse/Vyvanse.
- Get dressed if I haven’t done so already, brush teeth, maybe put on makeup and fix my hair if I have time (and sometimes if I don’t…)
- Walk the puppy if it’s not a farm day (Thurs/Fri)
- Faff about for at least ten minutes even if I was going to be on time, triple-checking switches and sockets (and upsetting the puppy if she’s not at the farm because I’m drawing out the leaving process). Remember my coffee. Down it.
- Leave, usually enjoying the walk to work (but it’s ruined a bit if I’m anxious about being very late)
Next: what is my ideal routine?
- 07.00: Get up
- 07.00-07.20: Get dressed, brush teeth
- 07.25-07.45: Cook and eat breakfast. Make coffee
- 07.50-08.20: Either do a bit of work/housework or walk the puppy (depending on day). Drink coffee.
- 08.25-08.40: Put on makeup/straighten hair
- 08.45: Leave house
Right. I can see some obvious points to work on.
The most pressing is, I hate to admit, my relationship with the snooze button. So I’d probably better start there.
Not a morning person
Ugh, mornings. It’s such a cliché complaint, but my dislike of the a.m. has plagued me in a way that it doesn’t seem to plague other people I know (Stevie, the BFF, aside).
It’s not genetic. Even my mother, who is now pretty sure she has ADHD herself, is a morning person.
I, on the other hand, feeling physically anchored to the bed each morning. Making the choice to not hit ‘snooze’ one more time is extremely difficult. Every time.
I can have every intention of getting up at 7.00 or 7.30, but the sleepy mind will not cooperate and slams snooze until the last minute (well, not the last minute, not like the bad old days pre-sobriety: I generally give myself 40 minutes).
I want to aim for an hour-and-a-half in the mornings for a nicely leisurely experience, especially on the days I walk Luna in the mornings. I let her down a lot of the time by only giving her a tiny jaunt or none at all and saving it until lunchtime – not the worst thing in the world (she is also not a morning being) but not ideal.
Also, I will feel better if I have time to wake up before work.
It won’t be the entire solution to the problem (even when given lots and lots of time I am often late to things) but it will certainly give me some wiggle room to work on the rest.
Getting up early with ADHD
So: what can be done?
I hate the idea, but I think I’m going to have to experiment with one of these ‘get up before you can shut it up’ alarms.
Maybe one of the ones where you have to scan a barcode downstairs or something?
I need to make it good enough so that I can’t outsmart it first thing in the morning.
You’d think that would be easy, but my immense desire to stay in bed can focus my mind quite sharply in that one direction.
I’ll have a look at what’s on offer today and report back.