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Procrastivity and Procrastination.
What it is and How to Help Yourself. 

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If you have ADHD then procrastination is likely something that you struggle with. It's important for you to understand why you struggle with it, rather that to fall prey to just criticizing yourself. Procrastination is a complicated issue and the roots of it are different for each person.

The simple definition of procrastination is repeatedly deferring something to one's detriment despite knowing there will be a consequence.

In normal procrastination you often find yourself procrastinating by doing something fun and enjoyable in order to escape something more important. 

But what about procrastination and procrastivity?

#Procrastivity is a version of procrastination where  you avoid a task by procrastinating on a less important task but one that is actually still productive and useful. It's a subset of procrastination.

For example, you may sit down to write a paper.

Instead of writing you may find yourself emptying the dishwasher. The dishwasher needed to be emptied, but the paper was actually the priority. 


When you choose a task to procrastivate on you choose the task that is not as urgent.  

In procrastivity you escape by doing something productive, but less of a priority. Often it's even something you in the past have procrastinated against.


Sometimes people who procrastivate may  tell themselves they  will be in the mood after they do the first task to do the more difficult thing. 

You may say something to yourself like

"First I'll get the little things done and  then the bigger things done and that's how I build momentum."

If that's the case and it works than its not procrastination. Often that does not work. 

Procrastination and Procrastivity: Why can you do some tasks and not others?


If you find yourself using procrastivity often, you can help yourself to understand your procrastination problems by analyzing it.


Why can you do some tasks and not others? What makes a task a procrastivity task?


In studying people who procrastivate it appears that people choose procrastivity tasks choose them because they are often:

1) Manual

2) Have clear steps

3) Have start and stop times ( even if they take longer)


It seems that the procrastivity tasks give ADHDers a clearer sense of you having made progress and are less overwhelming

In contrast tasks that ADHDers procrastinate against are:

  • Broader and overwhelming
  • Less clear as far as having a start and stop time
  • Less clear as far as having a sequence 
  • Require a higher cognitive load
  • May be emotionally overwhelming


One good example of something that ADHDers often procrastivate with is TAXES. 

So for example, someone might use procrastivity to mow the lawn when what they need to do is do the taxes.  


Procrastination and Procrastivity: Help yourself with Procrastivity


If you find yourself using procrastivity as a strategy to procrastinate there are some things you can do to help yourself with the procrastination.

1.Make the task more manual or physical so you have a better chance of getting it done.

2 Break the task down into sequences or steps so it isn't so overwhelming and you don't feel the need to avoid the task any longer.

3. Move  the task from an idea in your head to any step that requires the  actual physical doing of a task.

4.Turn the idea into a visual of actionable or achievable steps.

5. Set a time boundary or a task boundary.

6.Personalize the task by targeting those things that are helpful.

7. If the task is a big project you may need to chunk it and set appointments with yourself in your calendar to continue the task.

8. If you need to continue the task you may need to leave yourself a note about where you left off. 

9 Leave yourself some clues as to how to sequence the steps to rengage in the task. 



Visualization and Other Strategies to Help Motivate you Beyond Procrastivity and Procrastination

  • Remind yourself why you want to do tasks. What is the ultimate value that it is tied to?
  • Remember to visualize how you feel when you get done. Try and remind yourself of another time when you finished that task or a similar task and felt great. 
  • What does it feel like to be free from  the nagging sense of something you have to do? Once you are done there will be no more clouds hanging over your heads. You will be free to do the fun things.
  • Define the actionable step.
  • Ask yourself What is the smallest most actionable step I can take that will increase the likelihood that I  will do it? 

J. Russell Ramsay, Ph.D.ADHD Procrastivity and Lessons Learned