Keeping up with the Treadmill Tasks | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

Keeping up with the Treadmill Tasks | ADD . . . and-so-much-more.

I love Madelyn’s site.  She is a coach and pioneer on the subject of ADD/ADHD.  She knows what it’s like to struggle with trying to fit our symptoms into this world so we can be somewhat successful:) She is always a positive beacon in a sometimes dark world.

When I read this title, then the article, I kept thinking “habits are supposed to be easy. Something we do without thought.”

You’d think, at my age, I’d have a whole slew of habits, some good and some bad.

BUT, I do not.  Even the things I do on a daily basis, right down to the most mundane self-care stuff, are thought about consciously.

Showering requires me to remember the sequence in which I wash myself i.e. hair…wash and condition then rinse, wash neck, arms, torso, etc. etc. IF I deviate from the order I forget to wash something…always.  It is such a chore and I tire of it:)

It is the same for cleaning my teeth, brushing my hair, dressing for the day and so on and so on and so on.

I even have to think about walking, which is supposed to be automatic, isn’t it?

Everything I do requires a certain degree of awareness.  If not constantly aware of what I am doing it will not get done.  Yes, even walking.  I am often distracted to a standstill, finding myself wondering “what the heck was I doing?”.


My husband still marvels that I surprise him after 30+ years of marriage.

Joke’s on him, I still surprise myself after 58 years!

Certainly keeps things interesting, right?



14 responses

  1. sista-
    you forget to do some things, but do you think making dental appts or haircuts are really habits? maybe writing down all appts immediately on one specific calendar would be an example of a habit?

    1. Isn’t a habit something you do in spite of being distracted? Example, with pen in hand, eyes on calendar, but something distracts you during the conversation and the pertinent info gets recorded anyway. For me, that doesn’t happen. My intentions are to make a habit of writing spots down but often that info doesn’t get written down:)

  2. jeg – still cogitating on this. two issues? when walking, can’t remember destination and why. second, cannot make a habit, like bushing teeth for example. is that correct? two separate issues?
    do you have any habits at all?

    1. In my mind those two examples are part of the same issue…easily distracted. It doesn’t take much to distract me and once I’m derailed from my original purpose, say, heading to the bathroom to brush my teeth, but my trip is interrupted by the dog, then I will not get my teeth brushed until hours later, when the discomfort of my own nasty mouth grabs my attention. It is the same thing when walking to the beach. If something interesting happens, like an eagle flying low to hunt, then I will forget where I was originally headed. It is like this for everything, right down to how I take a shower, wash dishes and so on. Each activity is consciously mapped in my mind, step by step. But, if that activity us interrupted, it will be forgotten until something brings my attention back to it. When I had children in the house there are a LOT of things that did not get done:). Yet we all survived, happy and healthy and sound. Just goes to show that a lot of the things we deem important and essential are not that important after all.
      I do smoke cigarettes, which is classified as a habit. Except it is also an addiction, which might be the same thing:) however I am frequently forgetting about smoking when I am involved in that hyper focus mode ADDers are famous for. I can also be distracted from smoking a cigarette. I never smoke inside so when I head outside I can often be waylaid by something or other.

      1. i hope you dont mind my questions,let me know. trying to get clear and am fascinated by the concept that maybe there is some one who cant make a habit.

        if we say the problem is distractability, which all of ADDers have, then it is hard to come up with a strategy. if the problem is you get distracted and forget to brush your teeth, that is more workable.

        but it sounds like you intend to brush your teeth? would it be fair to say you have a habit of brushing your teeth but get distracted and side tracked?
        do you usually wind up brushing your teeth anyway each day? if so, is it really a significant problem?

        and you have a second problem that when you are walking somewhere you get distracted and forget where you were going and why?

        i think we are all distractable and in general it is hard to do anything about it, but we can work on specific problems if they are bothersome enough to justify the effort.

      2. No problem about the ?s. I was in therapy for cognitive behaviour training so, yes, I intend to create the habit but they haven’t formed yet. I no longer gave teeth because of gum disease so severe it created massive bone loss and all the teeth were so loose they had to be pulled. I now have dentures…it’s been about 4 years now. They still bother me and make my mouth sensitive which reminds me to remove them at night and soak them clean. Not to say I haven’t forgotten to do this also, but far less often than brushing teeth:)
        When I am in hyper focus mode I am virtually indistractable. For example, while reading a good book or painting or even certain boring projects that catch my fancy.
        All I’m saying is there is not anything I can do automatically…I must have the thought process in mind to get things done.

  3. This really made me think about the systems and processes that I have set in place for everyday tasks…I’ve been thinking hard about what is “habitual” about my day. I think I’m still in a fog about some of the affects of my symptoms because I’ve just begun to acknowledge my ADHD. I appreciate this perspective. I’ve made sense of why I drop the ball on the larger habits like making dentists appointments, hair cuts for my kids, replacing clothes for the new season etc. I only respond when things get out of hand or an immediate response is needed. Out of site out of mind. I know once I fully understand the mechanics of my unique brain I will become more productive without putting in so much work.

    1. Ah yes, I too am quite familiar with dropping the ball until things turn into a crisis:) Story of an ADDer’s life actually LOL there is a scientific/medical reason for this behaviour and the standard “treatment” to change it is to convince/fool yourself into believing the crisis is happening BEFORE it actually happens. I have never been able to fool myself so this strategy has never worked for me.
      What has helped is prevention. I.e. I set 3 alarm clocks and have a very patient person call me, one that is willing to let the phone ring for as long as 20 minutes sometimes! In order to get to work on time, so I wouldn’t lose my job or feel rushed and overwhelmed every single day, I was more than willing to go to extremes to make sure I got up early enough to get to work on time. Back in the day it would take about 2 HOURS to get me up and running LOL a ridiculous amount of time and effort, I know! But totally worth it in the long run.

      1. I know now that I don’t function well before a certain time (10am) so I have always accounted for that need with every job-even before I started to acknowledge my ADHD symptoms. I also used a systems method of goal setting with my consumers who had trouble with keeping their lives together ( I hear the achievement and success discussions summarized with that phrase). I plan on using the same technique on myself this year for a few areas of my life that I want to improve. Social accountability is a major way to trick yourself into crisis. I avoided it before but I will hopefully get enough women with the same issues that I have, to set up some new systems and make them habits…I hope that you check in with me over at savvyadhdsista this year. Should be interesting lol. It’s all about our willingness to do something despite our symptoms. My methods work well for others so I hope I can set myself up for success. Hopefully support amongst like minded ladies will do the trick.

      2. I have subscribed to your site and look forward to seeing your ideas set in motion:)
        You know, new is always great…for a time anyway:). It’s sustaining the excitement that proves to be challenging LOL

      3. Well my hope is that I get excited by other folks’ successes and small achievements…Nothing to it but to do it. 95% is showing up as they say LoL 🙂

  4. interesting. i agree that habits should be automatic. but maybe that means we do them without having to make a decision to do them but not without thinking or at least not without awareness?
    so i just brush my teeth every day, dont have to remember or decide, but i know i’m brushing them, and dont have to think “ok, now up, ok now down, ok now up, —–.
    same with walking, i know i’m walking but dont have to think, “ok, now lift the left foot and move it ahead and set it down and now shift weight forward over it and now —“, it’s pretty automatic.
    so what’s the difference here??

    1. The difference is remembering to brush the teeth, which should be automatic since it’s something that is done every single day. The act of brushing is automatic, yet the habit is just not there without conscious effort. Same with walking. While the actual act of walking is a given, I must be viligent with keeping the destination/purpose in mind. So, a habit is what you say, automatic without thinking about it or making the decision. I have nothing like that…everything requires conscious thought, visual reminders and follow through. It takes a lot of energy to be me:)

      1. thanks
        for explaining. i need to think about that some more, very interesting.

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