ADHD Mom scenario, Picture this:
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You’re a mom with two kids with ADHD. You also have ADHD yourself. Mess follows you everywhere you go. It’s in your car, in your home, in your kitchen, in your hair! And the truth is, you don’t even know how it starts!
Your children attend a mostly parent-transport school. Upon pulling up to drop your child off, staff members of the school open your rear car door to help your children into the school.
Every day, you avoid eye contact with the lucky person who gets to open your car door. Hoping they don’t judge that you don’t keep your car clean.
Most days you say a silent prayer that nothing embarrassing falls out of your vehicle when they open that door. Like that time an empty water bottle went rolling across the parking lot, requiring the staff member to lay chase to your mess.
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But finally! Finally, I have hacked the car cleaning system for moms with ADHD.
If you like this post so far, you might also want to check out my post about how to make your mornings less stressful with your ADHD child.
Finally, I have found a way to keep your car clean without having to spend two hours every weekend finding the motivation to catch up with a disaster zone.
It all started when I read this fantastic book: Atomic Habits by James Clear. [Affiliate Link].
James has made a career talking to people about how to change their life with the power of habits. He’s an author, keynote speaker and honestly, an inspiration. You can catch up with more about him on his site, JamesClear.com.
In his book, James lays out the 1% rule for breaking and building habits. Both good and bad. The 1% rule is summed up below (taken directly from his website):
“You only win by 1 percent or 1 second or 1 dollar, but you capture 100 percent of the victory. The advantage of being a little bit better is not a little bit more reward, but the entire reward. The winner gets one, and the rest get zero.”
-James Clear, – The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards
The 1% rule is the idea that great habits that seem overwhelming can be broken down into micro applications.
For instance: the habit of reading before bed. To set the pattern into place, you would read only one page per night. Yes, I know that sounds so silly, but the idea is the practice of doing something repetitive to make it a habit.
The 1% rule uses the power of small baby steps to gain compound efficiency in all aspects of your life. James talks in the book about how to do this in a better explanation. But here is how I applied it to keep my car clean and how you can too:
Instead of trying to find the motivation to clean out all the junk in my car I focused on getting things out of my car day by day. I began using my gas station trips to grab handfuls of trash out of my vehicle and throw it away. Nothing too large, not more than a handful. But some, every time.
Within a few days, I managed to get enough trash out that the backseat of my car’s amount of garbage had significantly less. It no longer felt overwhelming to take a trash bag to it at home. So I did but told myself that was all I was doing with it today: one trash bag, 15 minutes of my time.
By the fifth day, I’d gained more momentum by making myself, and my kids take ONE extra item that didn’t belong in my car in the house every day. Not all of them all at once. The fact that I didn’t carry in a giant bag of stuff to go through, to sit in my living room or bedroom and wait for me to “Get to it” has made an enormous difference.
Finally, after five days of 1% application, my car was finally ready for vacuuming. I took it to be vacuumed and had it washed.
We still have some things in my car that have to be taken out. But every day we take out our daily items, as well as each of us, grabs one more thing from a pile in our middle row. I have a seven-passenger vehicle so for now; this isn’t disrupting too much.
I continue to throw things away at the gas station, and this weekend I plan to go and vacuum it again.
But this 1% principle is enlightening.
Not only does it allow me to improve on something as simple as how to keep your car clean, but it is a way to make that a habit without becoming overwhelmed.
Guess who is no longer ashamed in the parent-drop off lane when teachers open the door for my kids?
I plan to write more about how the power of habit can effectively help ADHD people overcome lots of other obstacles in the coming months. I have to continue to apply it to different things. Then I will do my favorite thing, and tell you about the remarkable results.
In the meantime, if you are like me and having a heck of a time trying to keep your car clean, try this. If it doesn’t work let me know in the comments below. If you want more than just a decent car, but a different life grab James’ book. You will not regret it; it is a game changer!
I listened to it on Audible because my ADHD brain never has the leisure to sit and just read. I love audible for the fact that I can “play” books through my car on my way to work maximizing my time. You can download Audible from Amazon yourself and get your first Two books for free by clicking below. [Affiliate Link].