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1 Routine to Improve Work Life Balance with ADHD

Updated: May 9

Do working hours and home life bleed together causing frustration with your partner? 


When your head hits the pillow, does your mind spin with a list of tomorrow’s to-dos?


Does it feel like there is ALWAYS more to do? 


In our interconnected world, disconnecting from the office is harder than ever. The idea of "work-life balance" seems as elusive as a parking spot at Trader Joe’s.


While I love my job, it shouldn’t invade time with family and friends, or my passion (cue the surf). Last year, work took over my life. My partner noticed. My friends noticed. I needed to make a change.


I decided to start small and made a 15 minute tweak to the end of my workday. The impact was immense. 


Now…

  • I fully disconnect at night and on the weekends. 

  • My mornings are predictable, less stressful, and more productive. 

  • I feel in control.  


In this blog, I will teach you one way to improve your work-life balance, even if you have ADHD. Let’s create your Final 15. 


TL;DR: download our co-cost guide to building your Final 15.


white male with long, dark hair, standing in front of a green background, wearing a black jacket

How to disconnect from work 

We can’t stop work from pinging us at all hours, but we can control how we react (or don’t react) to it. 


For neurodivergent adults, including those with ADHD, balancing work and life can be exceptionally difficult. Weak executive functions result in missed deadlines and miscommunication leading to high stress levels.


When overly stressed, we cannot do our best work. This is a common problem. One study found


“83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress, with 25% saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives.” 

I have a theory (one that I tested on myself): Unplugging from work every evening reduces stress levels, thus increasing happiness and job performance. 


What if you had a routine that cued your mind and body to disconnect from work at the end of the day? 


Enter the Final 15! Your end-of-day shutdown sequence. 


Do you struggle with work-life balance?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Sometimes


How to improve your work-life balance 

Last year, I created a routine that signals my brain and body to disconnect at the end of the workday. It’s a shutdown sequence. I call it “The Final 15”. 


My Final 15 has 4 steps. Here’s how it works: 


1. Check and update my calendar for tomorrow. 

2. Update my master task list and select 3 MITs (most important tasks) for tomorrow. 

3. Reorganize my workspace. 

4. Turn off all lights in my office.


After my Final 15, I don’t feel a need to do more work as I am prepared for tomorrow. I am organized, decreasing mental clutter and stress. Most importantly, the physical action of shutting off the lights allows my mindset to shift into nonwork mode. 


Ready to build yours? Download our no-cost guide here.


Next, create your Final 15. Physically write it down and keep it visible in your workspace. Aim for five steps or less. 


What if I struggle to follow through?

The ADHD brain often struggles with perfectionism and follow through. 


Remember, your Final 15 is a two-way door decision. If it doesn’t work, make adjustments. With this mindset, you can avoid getting hung up on creating the “perfect routine”.


Struggling with follow through? That’s normal! Here’s how to address it: 


First, find out why. Do you forget to follow through or do you feel unmotivated? 


I forget about my new routine

If you forget about your Final 15, create a visual cue. Set a recurring reminder on your phone or post a sticky note in an obvious location.


I feel unmotivated

If you remember your routine but feel unmotivated to do it, start here:

  1. Clarify your why 

    1. How will your life improve? 

  2. Identifying the friction:

    1. Ask yourself, “What prevents me from following through?” 

    2. Hint: It will be either an emotional or physical barrier. 

  3. Reduce the friction by making the first step so easy you would be silly not to do it. 


Summary

Struggling to disconnect from work after hours can affect your personal life and mental peace. This is especially true for adults with ADHD. Last year, I implemented a "Final 15" routine at the end of my workday, involving a 15-minute shutdown sequence that helps me fully disconnect and prepare for the next day. This routine has made my evenings more enjoyable and my mornings more productive.


Want to join our next cohort of Adult EF Skills 101?

We know adulting is HARD. It demands strong executive functions. Luckily, we've made a course to cover the fundamentals so you can make the best of each day. In this course, you will:


  • Learn how to plan your priorities 🎯

  • Learn to get started (task initiate) 🔨

  • Learn how to keep things tidy 🧺

  • Learn how to find and keep a job 👩‍💻

  • Learn how to communicate effectively 🗣️

  • Learn how to budget 🤑



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About the Author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

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About 👋

Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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