Trying to establish a daily routine

Before getting into the content of this post, I want to say thank you to this community. The things that I’m struggling with right now are things I feel like should be easy, things that probably are easy for neurotypicals, so admitting to having trouble with these things is pretty embarrassing for me. If this community wasn’t so open minded and supportive, I don’t think I’d be able to ask for help at all. So thank you. Okay, getting on with the post now;

Daily routines are a thing I’ve always struggled with, but it became more of a problem when quarantine started (which, for me, was in mid March) and it got much worse when my academic semester ended (I’m in university, the semester ended May 7th). For the first week or so I was cutting myself slack, after all Spring 2020 was by far the most stressful semester I’ve had, so I figured it was fine for me to be just decompressing for a week or so, but now I feel like it’s getting out of hand.

I should clarify that when I say daily routine I don’t mean like doing a bunch of work every day, I’m not trying to learn a new language or write a book, I’m just talking about basic self care. During my semester, I had at least a bit more structure even when it was remote, so it felt easier to incorporate self care into my routine when I had that structure, but now I feel aimless.

Here’s where I am now and where I want to be with the things I’m trying to improve on.

  • Food
    • Where I am now: Right now as I write this it’s about 4pm and I haven’t eaten today, though I think my mom is making dinner soon and I’ll eat then. I don’t have an eating disorder or anything, I’m not trying to fast, it’s just that I don’t have the motivation for making myself proper meals. Most days I eat more, but even so it’s usually just a bunch of unhealthy snacking and then a sorta healthy dinner, often times less and on some days I don’t eat anything that is even a little healthy. My overall health is pretty good, but I don’t want this quarantine to ruin that.
    • Where I’d like to be: I’d like to see myself eating at least 2 reasonably healthy meals a day (ideally it would be 3, but I think 2 is a good starting goal). When I say “reasonably healthy” I mean either it has some fruits / veggies, or some protein, or really just any ingredient with some nutritional value.
  • Sleep
    • Where I am now: Not much of a schedule. I’m frequently staying up past 3 am and not getting out of bed until noon or so. When I do this I’m pretty much guaranteed to have a bad day. Some days I get in bed by midnight but that’s less common. Most nights I go to bed at like 2:00-2:30 am, give or take.
    • Where I’d like to be: I want to be getting in bed before 1 am every night and getting out of bed by 10:00 am every morning. I often stay in bed for upwards of an hour of waking up (I daydream a lot) so when I say 10:00 am I mean actually get out of bed then, not just wake up.
  • Meds
    • Where I am now: I’m supposed to take Adderall once in the morning and once in the afternoon, but I frequently forget. Forgetting my meds makes me even less organized and makes all these problems worse. I also frequently forget to take a medication I have for a problem unrelated to my ADHD, I’m supposed to take the medication weekly but forgot for 2 weeks in a row a little while ago, for the past 2 or 3 weeks I’ve taken it on the wrong day (every 8 days instead of every 7 because I keep forgetting what day it is) which is problematic for my physical health (thankfully it hasn’t caused any health problems but if I keep forgetting it could cause some problems, nothing life threatening or really serious, but still it’s important I start taking it when I’m supposed to).
    • Where I’d like to be: I’d like to be taking both of my medications as I’m supposed to be taking them. For my Adderall that means one dose twice a day and for my other medication that means one dose once a week.
  • Hygiene
    • Where I am now: I’m not brushing my teeth most days, I simply forget. I keep procrastinating taking showers, I’m taking showers maybe once every 3 or 4 days, at the moment I it’s Friday evening and I think I last showered Wednesday morning. I haven’t been washing my face. As a result my teeth are getting more yellow, my hair is is really oily, I have more dandruff than usual, and my acne is getting worse.
    • Where I’d like to be: I’d like to be showering every 1-2 days, washing my face at least once a day, and brushing my teeth twice a day.

There are other things I’d like to see myself doing every day. I want to be getting into regular exercise, I want to be reading more, I want to be pursuing my special interests, but right now I think my focus needs to be on getting down the basics of a healthy sleep schedule, having a reasonably healthy diet, taking my meds as I’m supposed to, and improving my hygiene.

I feel like anytime I make an effort to improve my daily routine I do great at the start. I’m sure I could go a solid 2 to 3 days getting everything on my above list done to perfection, but then I falter a step, then I spiral, then I recover 2 to 3 days later and I restart the routine and it lasts for another 2 to 3 days and this becomes the pattern–2 or 3 good days, 2 or 3 bad days, repeat. I was wondering if anyone had some tips on how to actually sustain a routine for months at a time instead of days.


omg this is also me, i wish i could give advice but im on the same boat as you! ive made like 50 schedules and havent stuck to one


Mas_Raz, it’s always good to hear from others having the same struggles. I hope you make progress. I also wish I had advice for you, best of luck.

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I have the exact same problems! I always forget to do things that I told myself over and over I wouldn’t. I try so hard, but nothing seems to help. I have probably spent 100s of dollars on planners to get my self in order. They never work for me because I forget to check them or write in them. I would love some advice on this aswell.


Start with one thing.

  1. Get an app to remind you to take meds and set the times up. Maybe set 10am and put meds in a different room so you have to get up?
  2. Get out of bed at 10am every day no matter what time you went to bed. Even if you do nothing else do this. When you’ve had a chance to reset your sleep cycle (1-2 weeks) then think about diets.
    Lastly if you are struggling to get up then make plans to meet someone at say 11am. I do this on weekends or will stay on bed all day :slight_smile:
    If you cant leave the house then ask a friend to be your accountability buddy and call you each/most mornings.
    Was in similar situation, this was the first steps I took to fixing (not perfect, but progress is happening)
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my be you can try to find a coach adhd in order to have accountabylity