Start your day with a simple routine

ADHD Business Tips - Use a simple routine to start your workday

Entrepreneurs with ADHD often dance to the beat of a unique rhythm, especially when it comes to organisation and time management. If you’ve got an ADHD brain, you’ll know what I’m talking about – no two days are the same when it comes to your energy level, motivation, or ability to focus.  

The dynamic and creative ADHD mind can be a true superpower, but it can also make the structured world of business a bit more challenging. One powerful strategy for navigating this landscape is embracing the power of a simple routine to start your day. Now, I know that “routine” can be a dirty word in our circles, but in fact there are lots of ADHD-friendly ways to incorporate the R-word into your workday!  

I’m going to show you how routines can be useful, share the intricacies of the ADHD brain when it comes to structure, as well as the transformative impact of a simple routine, and I’ll even provide some practical examples to kickstart your day for greater productivity.

Setting your workday up for success

Let’s imagine your workday as a canvas waiting for the first stroke of the brush. A simple kick-off routine serves as that initial stroke, setting the tone for the masterpiece you’re about to create. It’s not about curbing spontaneity; it’s about creating a stable platform from which you can launch a successful day.  

Here are a few of the many reasons to incorporate basic routine to start your workday:

  1. Structure in Chaos: ADHD brains thrive on stimulation, but too much chaos can be overwhelming. A routine provides a structured start, providing predictability and stability where it otherwise might be lacking.
  1. Steady Momentum: A routine kickstarts the momentum for the day. It’s like giving a gentle push to a swing—once in motion, it becomes easier to keep going. When you’ve got an ADHD brain maintaining momentum is key to overcoming the natural tendency to get distracted or procrastinate.
  1. Prioritisation Magic: ADHD entrepreneurs often struggle with prioritisation. A routine, especially one that includes a moment to identify priorities, serves as a practical tool to focus on what truly matters.
  1. Cognitive Warm-Up: ADHD brains can take a bit longer to shift into a focused state. A kick-off routine acts as a cognitive warm-up, preparing the mind for the tasks ahead. It’s like stretching before a workout, ensuring your mental muscles are prepped for the day’s challenges.
  1. Visual and Mental Clarity: A routine that involves visually organising tasks or reviewing visual goals provides clarity for those of us who are visual learners. Like creating a roadmap for the day, it can make it easier to navigate through projects and deadlines.
  1. Emotional Preparation: Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster of emotions. A routine provides a moment for emotional preparation. Whether through a quick mindfulness exercise or a visual review of positive goals, it helps set a positive and resilient tone for the day.
  1. Adaptability and Consistency: While routines might seem counterintuitive to the free-spirited nature of ADHD (read more below), they can offer a framework that allows for adaptability. Knowing that there’s a consistent starting point can be reassuring, even for those days when the entrepreneurial spirit feels a bit subdued.

The ADHD brain and workday routines

Because the ADHD brain thrives on stimulation and novelty, routines can feel akin to donning a straitjacket. But I want you to challenge that belief today and keep an open mind here because a well-crafted workday routine doesn’t need to be about constraints; instead, it can serve as a kind of guiding compass, offering a sense of solidity and predictability to an otherwise unpredictable day.

Renowned psychiatrist, author and ADHDer Dr Ned Hallowell believes that the ability to be productive with a chaotic brain hinges on finding the right balance of three key elements – motivation, novelty, and structure. A routine of course is in the structure department which is very often a point of contention or even rebellion for those of us with ADHD. The very thought of being locked into something can mean the idea is thrown out completely, rather than exploring how we might make it work.

But perhaps it’s not as hard as we make it… What if we could create a simple routine to start the day that provided the ideal quantities of motivation, novelty, and structure itself?

By building in enough novelty to keep you motivated and engaged you can develop a structure that is supportive rather than confining.  

Sample routines

If you’re slowly coming around to the benefits of having some simple steps to start your workday here are a few sample routines you can use for inspiration to help design one that works for you:

🧘 Mindful Momentum:

  1. Check-In: Begin by checking emails or messages for any urgent matters.
  2. Mindful Minute: Spend a minute in mindfulness to clear mental clutter.
  3. Top Three: Identify the top three priorities for the day.

⚡️ Energising Entry:

  1. Physical Warm-Up: Engage in a quick physical warm-up or stretching routine.
  2. Visual Goals: Review your visual goals or vision board to set a positive tone.
  3. Task Selection: Choose the first task based on energy levels.

🎯 Focused Launch:

  1. Task Breakdown: Break down major tasks into smaller, actionable steps.
  2. Review Schedule: Glance over your schedule for the day.
  3. Visual Reminders: Utilise visual cues or sticky notes for crucial reminders.

The days when you just can’t..

We all have them, so instead of pretending that your regular system will always work, for those mornings when the thought of a routine feels like scaling Everest, let’s keep things super-duper simple:

  1. Arrival Ritual: As you step into your workspace, take a deep breath, and acknowledge your presence.
  2. Priority Peek: Quickly glance at your task list and identify one priority.
  3. Quick Wins: Tackle a couple of smaller quick wins to build momentum – eg. delete 10 emails, do a 5-minute brain dump, block time out for a lunch break in your calendar.

Remember, the goal is always progress, not perfection. Your routine should be your ally, not your master so it needs to stay flexible. Think of it as another tool designed to leverage your unique entrepreneurial energy effectively.


If you don’t have a simple routine to kick-off your workday already, it’s time to try it out. Use elements that have worked in the past, things you’d like to become more consistent with, or the ideas listed here to craft one that you can test over the next week. Remember to keep it super simple (I recommend 3 steps max!), write it down & create a prompt (like an alarm or reminder) to ensure you don’t forget to do it!

Crafting a simple workday kick-off routine tailored to your ADHD rhythm can be a game-changer. It’s all about creating a rhythm that complements your ever shifting levels of energy, inspiration and enthusiasm. Whether you opt for a mindful start, an energising routine, a focused launch, or something else entirely, the magic lies in consistency. Embrace the power of routine and watch as your mornings become the springboard to more productive, fulfilling days on your small business adventure.

I’ll see you back here next week when we’ll look at simple routines for ending your workday!

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