Procrastination is a challenge for adults with ADD/ADHD.
Procrastination can easily lead to unpleasant consequences.
These include fines and penalties, lost opportunities, and even broken hearts.
These seven tips are proven to bust through procrastination.
You can complete boring or unpleasant tasks and get your life under control.
First of all, it’s important to reframe procrastination for what it is. Procrastination is an ineffective way to avoid unpleasant or overwhelming tasks.
You can take an active stand! Use these effective strategies for pushing through the tendency to let procrastination determine your fate.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
― Karen Lamb
Analyze the reasons behind procrastination.
Understanding why you’re putting off a task gives you important information about what type of strategies to use to overcome procrastination.
- Does the task have fuzzy boundaries? If so, this may prevent you from really understanding what needs to be done. Get clarification on the requirements.
- Are you having trouble knowing where to start? Is it difficult to break this complex task into parts? Work with someone who can help you identify the subtasks in the overall task. Obtain support to get started.
- Are you concerned that you’ll do a poor job and perhaps be criticized? Our past failures and embarrassments can haunt us. They can make us doubt our ability to handle what we need to do. It’s useful to stop and question whether your fears are real. Reframe your internal dialogue to acknowledge your abilities. Put the past in its proper perspective.
- Do you expect the task to be boring or unpleasant? Fight off these feelings of anticipated boredom and annoyance with the tips below.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
― Pablo Picasso
Our most powerful ally in the war on procrastination is our ability to think about consequences. We can make a choice in line with our values and needs.
When we choose to put off tasks, this can lead to self-criticism. Self-criticism and blame drain us emotionally and weaken our bodies. This can cause stress-related illnesses.
The “discomfort” associated with performing an unpleasant task only lasts for a short time. However, choosing to complete the task creates powerful benefits. These include pride, self-esteem and self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the knowledge that you can “get the job done” in your life.
Our body responds to feelings of pride by releasing chemicals that strengthen our immune system. Feelings of pride also trigger the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that makes it much easier to tackle boring and unpleasant tasks. Dopamine levels are lower in people who have ADHD. Therefore, an increase in dopamine reduces the challenges associated with adult ADD/ADHD.
Harness the power of social connection to stop procrastination in its tracks!
Reach out to a friend, colleague, or buddy. Many people find it easier to complete tasks when they work with someone. There are several ways to harness the power of social connection in the war on procrastination.
- Enlist someone to work on the task with you. For example, you and a buddy wash and dry the dishes together.
- Invite a friend over to complete her annoying task while you work on your unpleasant activity.
- Set up a communication system with a colleague or friend. Make a commitment to complete part of a task or to work for a certain amount of time. Check in with your accountability buddy to report on your progress.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Push through procrastination by alternating between pleasant and unpleasant tasks.
Our brains release dopamine when we enjoy ourselves. This increases our ability to fight off boredom and to concentrate. Find creative and exciting ways to alternate between interesting and less-interesting tasks. The “spill-over” effect of dopamine in your brain increases your ability to tackle the tough tasks. And you’ll enjoy them more!
Stop procrastination by putting your goal in plain sight.
On a postit write the words “Right now I am (name of task).” Commit to working on only this task right now.
Eliminate procrastination by delegating as many unpleasant tasks as possible.
Find creative ways to delegate. One way to do this is to trade tasks with a friend. You can also divide up the work based on your interests. For example, you don’t mind vacuuming and your husband doesn’t mind putting away clean dishes. You can split up the household chores to fit your interests.
“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
Work with an ADHD coach and bring procrastination to its knees!
Are you struggling to complete tasks? Do you need a friendly, supportive partner who is knowledgeable about strategies for beating procrastination? A specially trained ADHD coach can help you develop strategies to get going and keep going on difficult tasks.
Want some other great tips for getting a handle on “boring” and “annoying” tasks? Do you want to get control of your time? You can feel good about how much you accomplish. Download my free guide for better attention and concentration skills – including tips for busting through procrastination.
ADHD coach and board certified educational therapist. Dr. Kari, helps women conquer their biggest ADHD challenges. She assists women in getting focused, organized, and motivated. She helps them get unstuck, finish what they start, and accomplish more every day!
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