9 Tips for a More Productive, Organized Morning with ADHD

If you struggle staying focused, the morning rush is a doozy.

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Let’s face it—mornings aren’t easy for anyone. You’ve just woken up, your head’s still in a fog, and there’s a high chance at least one person in the house will spill their Cocoa Puffs on the floor.

But if you have adult ADHD, the morning rush can be especially challenging. That’s because symptoms of adult ADHD include challenges with executive functioning, or the brain’s ability to plan, react, and get things done. This means little decisions, like what to wear to work or whether or not to check your email one last time before you leave the house can throw your schedule off track, making you feel that frantic morning rush more so than other people.

Here are 9 tips for stress-free mornings to help those with adult ADHD, according to psychiatrist Susan Samuels, MD, of New York Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.

  1. Write down everything you need to do before you leave, as well as how long it will take you to do them.

  2. Prepare as much as you can the night before. Pick out your outfit, shower, repack your work bag, and even set out cereal bowls on the table. (One less thing to drop while you’re waiting for the coffee to kick in, right?)

  3. Try to be the first one up in your house. Yeah, we’re maybe asking you to get up even earlier, but hear us out: Having the house to yourself as you start your morning routine will eliminate distractions—like that spilled bowl of Cocoa Puffs—while you’re trying to get dressed.

  4. Start your day by making your bed. As much as you might not want to add another task to your morning routine, making your bed sets an organized tone for the day. (Here are tips to keep up your organization at work.)

  5. Skip the social media sesh on your phone. It’s tempting to check Facebook first thing in the morning, but it’s all too easy to lose track of time while commenting on your cousin’s cat videos. If you use your phone as your alarm, consider switching to an old fashioned alarm clock—or try setting your to airplane mode overnight so you’re not tempted by notifications first thing in the morning.

  6. Create a launching pad by the front door. Store all of your essentials there: keys, wallet, cell phone, purse, briefcase, etc. No more last-minute scrambling to find your phone before heading out the door. (Good riddance.)

  7. Divide and conquer morning tasks with your partner (or older children). One of you can get the kids dressed while the other preps breakfast, so neither one of you are too bogged down with extra tasks.

  8. Set an alarm to remind you when to leave the house. If you set it for five minutes before, you’ll give yourself a few minutes to grab your things and get out the door.

  9. Stick to a routine. Whether you prefer to start with a bowl of oatmeal or just munch on a granola bar while getting dressed, try to stick to the same process each day so you can get through the morning rush on autopilot.