ADHD Procrastination: Where it Comes from and How to Beat It

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Does ADHD procrastination have you stuck in a rut? Do you feel like no matter what you do you just can’t find the motivation to get yourself moving? If you feel this way, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Not only are you not the first person with ADHD to feel like procrastination just won’t let you go, but you also aren’t the first person with ADHD to seek out help to get beyond the procrastination curse.

Many people with ADHD feel a lack of motivation that limits their daily productivity. If you see this in your child, you maybe have even wondered how you can keep your ADHD child from being lazy? For many different reasons, many people with ADHD carry the negative stigma of simply not performing well. This may result from laziness because some people can just be lazy. If we stop there, though, we miss seeing the bigger picture, though.

Not every person with ADHD is lazy. Rather, the ADHD mind simply works differently from most people. This different processing makes it difficult for people with ADHD to engage in the same way as others. This different processing also produces many different symptoms, one being a greater tendency to disengage and procrastinate.

Fortunately, though, just because you struggle with procrastination that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. In this article, we try to get to the bottom of the causes of ADHD procrastination and the ways to resolve it well. Read on to discover ways to eliminate procrastination from your daily grind.

Causes of ADHD Procrastination

ADHD procrastination doesn’t occur in a vacuum. While people with ADHD might be more prone towards procrastination because of how their mind works, there nonetheless are some indicators that point to the causes of procrastination. Through understanding the causes, we can then better approach solutions for ADHD procrastination.

Let’s look more closely at what causes prompt us to procrastinate. As you go through these indicators, think of which ones apply most to your own life. Not all of them will apply the same to everyone. Still, if you struggle with procrastination most likely a few of these will sound familiar.

Issues with Getting Started

For most of us with ADHD procrastination, we probably find ourselves with this central issue: we just can’t get started. No matter what we do or how much we eliminate distractions, we just can’t take the first step. More than likely, if you find yourself reading this you identify with this cause of ADHD procrastination.

You know the task that you need to complete. You have the resources to do it, but your mind just won’t go there. Perhaps, your mind doesn’t settle down to the task and goes to everything else. Science actually teaches us that physical connections in our brain and how we process energy might cause our brain to jump to other things when we need to focus.

The wandering mind, as you may know all too well, at the start of a task can keep anything from ever starting. If you find yourself in the good-intentions-but-never-starting line, you need to find ways to settle your mind to the task at hand. You can’t let your mind take your productivity hostage. Rather you need to utilize it and train it to move toward starting and finishing tasks.

Feeling Overwhelmed

In addition to trouble with getting your mind going, many of us encounter ADHD procrastination simply when we feel overwhelmed. Since ADHD minds work differently, many of us can start feeling overwhelmed rather quickly. After we get overwhelmed then, ADHD stress sets in and everything starts to shut down. With stress and anxiety on our nerves, nothing seems to stand any chance of getting started.

Many remedies for treating the symptoms of ADHD seek to clear up the mind to help you better focus. Without clear focus, we get hit by all sensations at once and our minds overload. To fight back against feeling overwhelmed by tasks, you need to regain your clarity and focus. Once you can take one task at a time instead of feeling pressured to address all tasks at once, ADHD procrastination will start to fade away.

Fear of Failing

Another reason many of us face ADHD procrastination is that we are gripped with a crippling fear of failure. We look at the objectives that we have to complete and we convince ourselves that we can never get them completed. Nothing ever gets started because we believe we know exactly how it will end: in failing miserably.

Many with ADHD feel a fear of failure from all the times that they have tried to act like others but just never seemed to live up. From trying to follow directions and always getting distracted to trying to listen to our parents but never seeming to do it right, we have felt the sting of failure time and again. After a while, the fear of failing again simply keeps us from trying at all.

This fear of failure can be classified as one of the emotional symptoms of ADHD. Like other symptoms of ADHD, you can treat this one, as well. Treating a fear of failure lies in realizing your self worth lies in yourself, not in how you perform. You don’t have to define yourself based on how well you complete tasks. Once you understand this, starting tasks becomes much easier.

Solutions for ADHD Procrastination

Now that we understand a little more about the causes of ADHD procrastination, we can more effectively identify solutions to the problem. Since we all have different personalities and triggers, some of these solutions might work better than others. Some of these might even strike you as odd or unhelpful. Don’t worry, not all solutions will fit your personality best.

What you need to do in addressing ADHD procrastination is to match your personality and cause with the right solution. Read through the ideas below. Once you find something that seems to click, try it on for size with your favorite activity to procrastinate. If you don’t connect automatically with any of them, start with the first one and try each of them until something starts to work.

Just Start Anywhere

ADHD procrastination most often wins out because it convinces us that we can’t get started at all. Taking the first step for almost anything comes as the most difficult action to make. Getting started comes to us as an immense hurdle that we can never get over.

Fortunately, most tasks that we procrastinate on happen to not be a marathon or bike race. In a bike race, you have to start at the starting line and you finish at the finish line. With most tasks, though, you don’t actually have to start at the starting line, rather you can start in the middle or at the end.

Why this matters for ADHD procrastination is that the goal needs to be for you to just start. It doesn’t matter if you start at the beginning or with an easier task that you would think would come at the end. If you don’t know where to begin, don’t begin at the start. Rather come at the task from an easier simple angle.

After you have started, you will find that you have ADHD procrastination mostly beat. After you get the ball rolling, more than likely your momentum will keep you moving until you finish or at the least get a lot closer than you ever would have not starting anywhere.

Set Small Attainable Goals

As we mentioned earlier, fear of failing keeps many of us from starting. The reason ADHD procrastination keeps us down is that in our minds, the task we have to complete is too big. In our internal thought process, we make our task out to be a great dragon to slay that we don’t think we can ever beat.

To slay ADHD procrastination, you need to take away the illusion that the task appears as too epic or grand. Sure, maybe the overall objective comes across as big and expansive. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t gradually work towards the overall objective by taking much smaller steps along the way.

To reach your final destination, you need to start taking smaller bites and slaying smaller dragons. Instead of looking at the task as the final goal, start making smaller more attainable goals for yourself. For instance, if you need to build out a budget for a whole year, set a goal to build a budget for one month. Reaching the smaller goal means that you have to do less to reach success. You remove both the fear of failure and the threat of procrastination.

One you start and finish the first small goal, set another and then another. Soon enough, you will have progressed far into meeting your overall task without ever having to take the overall goal head on. The small attainable goals provide small boosts of fuel and encouragement to keep moving you forward.

Get Rid of All Distractions

As with most any challenge with ADHD, fighting ADHD procrastination must involve eliminating distractions. From feeling overwhelmed to being stopped by stress, the reason you can’t get started revolves around the distractions around you. To help get started on anything, you need to learn to clear your mind and focus only on the task you need to complete. Once you only have that one objective in mind, getting started becomes a whole lot easier.

One way to eliminate distractions is to make sure you start a task having rested well and eaten. Our brains can’t focus if we feel hungry or want or need to sleep. Additionally, we can eliminate distractions through finding a right environment to work in. You need to work somewhere that electronics or people or noise won’t distract you. This could be a quiet spot in your house, at work, or maybe at a library.

Finally, you can work to eliminate distractions through focusing on your thoughts and mind. One way to get rid of distractions includes learning to use meditation to clear your mind. In meditation you can take a pause and breather and clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Additionally, a good way to focus your mind might be through listening to music. Science actually teaches us that music helps our mind focus and eliminate outside distractions.

Whatever the approach, you need to find the right distraction killer for your own situation. Once you remove the distractions, you will find getting started a whole lot easier. Ultimately, then ADHD procrastination will fade away.

Take Breaks

One way ADHD procrastination tricks you into never starting is through making you believe that you never will finish. Your mind looks at the task and starts to think that the time required is too much and so you move to something smaller and easier. To get around this thinking, you need to learn to take breaks.

Breaks can provide your mind and body rest after stretches of working. Many of us with ADHD simply can’t focus for long periods of time. Use breaks as often as you need as long as you make progress.

Many of us feel like we can’t take breaks, or we’ll never get back to completing anything. This can be true depending on how we take breaks. Your breaks must have a limit and an objective. The limit must be a set of time, any time up to 30 minutes. The objective must be to refresh so that you return to the work to be completed. If you don’t have limits or an objective your break will turn into giving up and procrastination will still win out in the end.

Don’t Let ADHD Procrastination Win

For many of us, we often feel like we have lost before the battle has even begun. As a result, we fail to see the point in even trying to change things. In this frame of mind, though, what you have done is simply let ADHD procrastination win. ADHD procrastination wins when you give up and think that you simply can’t do anything to change how you approach or begin tasks.

The reality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. As we have talked about in this article, there actually exist several causes of ADHD procrastination. Additionally, no matter the cause, you actually have many resources for different ways to get at and resolve ADHD procrastination.

What you need to do now then is to simply stop letting ADHD procrastination win. You need to stop believing that you don’t have the power and resources to fight back. You do and you can start today. Find encouragement in knowing that others have succeeded before.

Start fighting back by using the resources in this article. Additionally, you can find more resources online in articles like this or this.

Procrastination doesn’t have to have the final say. If you don’t believe us, take some tips from successful people who have found success themselves in this article. You can win the fight. Don’t give up just yet.