This Is Why ADHD Adults Hate Mornings

by | Jan 12, 2021


woman bedroom slippers


Mornings suck in my house. From what I can tell, most ADHD adults hate mornings just as much as I do.

You know what I mean – something always trips you up as you try to start your day.

Sometimes you’re missing a shoe. (or a child) Other times, you find yourself running back into the house for items you forgot on the way out.

It’s 100% normal to feel frustrated and struggle to maintain composure in these situations.

If any of this sounds familiar, read on.

A successful morning routine doesn’t just happen by itself, it is intentionally created.


 why adhd adults hate mornings


time Blindness

I know you’re sick of hearing about this, but time blindness doesn’t mean being late all the time. It takes many forms, including under/over estimating the time needed to do things. See my friend Jaclyn’s post for more explanation.

A while back I wrote a post about success at work. I included a picture of my list of morning activities. Here is the photo.

This is what has to happen for me to get out of the house in the morning.

Staggering list of morning activities. With estimated times for each.

What I found was that even on a good day I needed over two hours to get myself and my child out of the house.

ADHD + time blindness =  a whole situation.

Solution: Sit down and make a list of everything that has to happen for you to get out the door, or start your day. Begin with the moment you wake up, and end the list with starting your first, “task” of the day.

Estimate how much time you need to do each and every item on that list.  Add a few minutes to your estimates. Now you have a more accurate estimate of how much time you need to get your day started.

Read my post on setting priorities, or check out my Three Is Enough system.

Frustration management

We all have a few things (or people) that always seem to slow us down in the morning. But we don’t often take the time to think about where things start to get out of control.

In my house, it often starts with asking my child to do something eight times and not getting any response. Which leads to me overreacting and well..screaming.

If you take medications for ADHD, you’ve probably noticed that parenting is very difficult when you don’t have your medications. There is no shame in admitting this.

Even if you don’t take medications, you have to find ways to deal with the emotional overload that is part and parcel of ADHD life.

Solution: Take note of when things start to go off the rails in the morning.

Does it happen when you are feeling ignored? Or are you feeling rushed/overwhelmed?

Observe your own habits for a few days you will start to see a pattern. Sometimes just a small tweak can make a huge difference in how things go.

And if you need to, TAKE YOUR MEDICATIONS.


Lack of night time routines

Again, this is not a new piece of advice.

I believe in doing as much as I can to make my life easier in the morning. I am not a morning person. In fact I want to do as little thinking as possible before 10 a.m.

Here is a link to my article about nighttime routines. It’s one of my most popular posts for a reason.

I’ve created a habit of prepping each evening for the next morning. I prep the coffee pot, pick out my clothing, and pack my son’s backpack. Now that we’re doing hybrid school, I check the posted work the night before so I know what to expect.

Solution: Come up with a nightly task list for yourself to make the mornings easier. If you have lunches to prep do those the night before. If you need to pull something out of the freezer for dinner, do that too.

motivation Doesn’t exist

In order to get your butt out of bed, you need some kind of incentive above and beyond the burning desire to be on time.

ADHD is sometimes referred to as a, “reward deficit.” As in, we don’t feel rewarded like other people just because we did the right thing. And motivation is a joke, even for adults without ADHD.

You and I need to be committed. Or at least we need to look forward to something, like a croissant and coffee and Concerta. Preferably all at the same time.

My solution: Find a bigger “why.”  Commit to something.

When your child was a baby and cried in the night, you fed him because you were committed to taking care of that helpless baby.

My friend Jaclyn once said to me during the podcast, “without a bigger WHY, nothing is going to get done.”  Her point was toward home management, but it holds true in almost all things in ADHD.

If getting out of bed means you will not get fired, that is a HUGE why.

Look at the big picture and try to find your WHY.  Listen to my podcast episode on the subject below.

[buzzsprout episode=’6775369′ player=’true’]


Lack of morning Routines

ADHDers have issues with routine. On one hand we need structure, on the other hand we resent it. The trick is to give yourself structure while also understanding how to be flexible within that routine.

Think about what you are responsible for each morning.

Parenting, personal hygiene, planning ahead, gathering supplies, getting out the door on time…the list goes on.

If I don’t have a solid routine in place, I won’t remember to brush my own teeth let alone my child’s.

My solution: Create a simple morning routine that you can stick to. Stack new habits onto already existing ones a little bit at a time. Tiny actions repeated over time make a huge difference in the quality of your life.

A morning routine doesn’t have to have twenty items on a checklist. Start with how you wake up, and build from there.

ADHD adults hate mornings, it is what it is. But we can make the early hours of the day easier on ourselves by implementing a few simple tweaks.

Meet other women just like you, get group coaching, and have some fun in the ADHD Enclave.