Adult ADHD and Reward Systems

July 8, 2013 Elizabeth Prager

I've been having a really hard time with my ADHD as of late. My medication is out of whack, my school has been harder than ever and my schedule has been bonkers. I've started to find even the most fun activities to be super boring. Television, reading books, being out with friends - all of it is boring! My wife and I have come up with a reward system to try and alleviate some of my boredom.

Let me say first off that my wife is incredible. Luckily, I was diagnosed long before I met her, so she knew what she was getting into before we started dating. Also, I'm pretty honest (as this blog can attest to) about my Adult ADHD struggles and am really happy to work on whatever I can to be the best adult I can be. Sarah helps me a lot to think of strategies to power through the times when I get stuck in a funk.

My funk right now is so pervasive that my morning routine has been a big pain. My morning routine includes putting in contacts, brushing teeth, making breakfast, getting dressed, packing a backpack and waiting for my commuter train to head off to school. I find each and every task to be incredibly boring at the moment. Its' really too bad, too, because I have always been one to think that showering is a super fun activity and even that is boring right now! How have we worked at making it more bearable?

A system of rewards! I now have a checklist for each of the activities in my morning routine and each task has a certain monetary value assigned to it. For instance, putting in contacts is $0.10. It may not seem like much and it really isn't a lot, but while I'm in school we're living on my wife's non-profit salary exclusively so we're having a budget-friendly rewards system.

I've been following the system for just about a week and it is successful for two reasons. One, there is a really clear and motivation-inducing reward assigned to each tasks. Second, the checklist lets me see very easily how much I've already accomplished in the morning and just how many more boring tasks I have left to do. The most boring task - making a breakfast smoothie - is worth more money, of course, than putting in my contacts or brushing my teeth.

The reward system need not be monetarily based -you could get a new lego set for each week or completed tasks. You can really reward yourself with anything - the trick is to stick to it.

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2013, July 8). Adult ADHD and Reward Systems, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

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