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If you have adhd, you more than likely struggle with beginning tasks that are boring,overwhelming or difficult. The first step to coming up with a plan for helping yourself with this issue is to understand why you have this problem. It's not because you are lazy, stubborn, or stupid. It's because your brain is different. You share this is common with many other people, and everyone who has adhd.
It is crucial for you to understand how your brain works in order to help yourself with procrastination.
Adhd is a disorder of executive functioning(EF). Executive functioning is needed to get just about everything done in every arena of life including work home and school. One crucial area of executive functioning that is impacted by adhd is motivation.
Motivation consists of the following things
It's what we need to get going on something, stop procrastinating and see it through.
We need to have the initiation to get started without direction or executive reminding.
You need to be able to do things on time. You need to correctly estimate how long the steps of a project are going to take, and you need to avoid procrastination along the way.
You need to be able to manage your attention and resist distraction.
You need too understand how to set a goal, stay focused on that goal, and be able to return to the task when things throw you off course that are unexpected.
All of these things are compromised in people with adhd.. You can learn more about what adhd is by clicking on this link.
As a result, people with adhd suffer in many areas of their lives. If you have adhd, it's important to understand that the things you struggle with are hard, because of your deficits in EF not because of poor choices you make.
Starting and finishing tasks rely on executive functioning
One thing we know is that interest dramatically improves motivation in people with adhd. Adhd brains need for things to be engaging in order for things to get accomplished TAKEAWAY. As an adhd'er you need to build extrinsic motivation and nurture intrinsic motivation.
Incentives are more important than any type of punishment or shame. Remember, you are not engaging in the behavior by choice, but because of the way your brain works. Now that you know it, you need to learn skills to work with your brain. Punishing and shaming yourself will never help create the skills but will lead to depression and immobilize you.
Note: Punishments don't work for children with adhd for the same reason. All they learn to do is lie and sneak to avoid it, and they develop a deep sense of shame.
1. Do X than Y.
In this equation X is something you dislike and Y is something you like.
2. Set up rewards.
In life we often do not congratulate and our efforts. Spend some time creating meaningful incentives for yourself. Think about all the things you like and enjoy and make a long list of these things to help use as incentives to build your motivation for hard tasks. As an Adhd person, you receive only 1 postive for every 15 negative in your live. As a child the ratio of negatives was even higher. It's important to focus on increasing postivity for yourself.
PLAN for the OVERWHELM to Keep Going: Break it Down Smaller and Smaller While Increasing the Rewards
Procrastination is often related to the size of the amount of overwhelm you are feeling. If you are overwhelmed it is because something feels too big or complicated. You may also have the mindset "If I don't try I can't fail".
When you have a big project or task, ask yourself "What will I do when I feel overwhelmed?"
Write down everything that the project entails and make a map of how to get there. Anticipate that you will get overwhelmed and ask yourself "How will I reduce my overwhelm when it comes up?"
One such way is to reduce your work load to smaller and smaller increments until you feel less overwhelmed.
For example work only for 15 minutes on a task and then take a five minute break. Specifically list what you will do during that time and reward yourself with something specific.
Then plan to work for 25 minutes and take a longer break substantially increasing the reward each time you lengthen the amount of time you are spending on the difficult task.
The more you work the more substantial the goal!
List what you are working on, figure out your approach, make a clear map and know what you are working on.
REMEMBER: Assess all the tasks you will need to do and know where you are going. Get help from a loved one if you are overwhelmed get stuck or need help prioritizing.
TIP :Figure out what helps you to do your difficult tasks. If it is music or something else gamify things in a way that helps you get it done.
Prioritizing/Improving Time Management can Reduce Overwhelm
The Eisenhower Matrix
In many seminars of time management for people with ADHD this matrix is used.
People with ADHD tend to spend too much time in the
The key is to shift your time to spending more time in Quadrant 2.
You can click on this page to learn more about this strategy and find more resources on it
Use Backwards Design to Decrease Obstacles
Backwards design is helpful because it helps you to first to visualize successfully meeting your goal. Then, you work backward to estimate time and determine how long something might take and develop your plan. It begins provide extra help for you in your brain where you struggle with your executive functioning skills.
I have to leave at 8 what time to a need to get up?
Create a Motivation Plan for Yourself to Help you Get Things Done
It can be helpful when you are struggling to create a specific motivation plan with concrete elements and post it in a place where you can adjust it.
Use the strategies above to help with all aspects of your motivation:
Years of negative feedback make you extra sensitive and you can expect that you will experience many challenges when you specifically address working on your procrastination. Stay positive and continue to modify your plan
Learn more about procrastinating here
Most of this information was taken from a webinar I attended with Sharon Saline.
Saline, Sharon (2018,November 17) Let’s Get Started: How You Can Get Stuff Done – with Sharon Saline, Psy.D. in 2018 ADAA webinar series