Procrastination Strategies for ADHD

In May, I led a teleseminar at ADD Classes titled Procrastination and ADD/ADHD: Strategies for the Real World.  I shared some great strategies to help you overcome your procrastination challenges.  In this article, I summarize the strategies that I shared during the teleseminar.  You can purchase the teleseminar directly from ADD Classes.

Strategies For Work

  • Volunteer for projects that interest you.  For example, I LOVE talking about strategies to help with procrastination.  Even if you don’t control all of your work assignments, volunteering for something interesting may help with other areas of your work as well
  • Practice Prioritizing.  ADHD can make it difficult to prioritize.  It can be really overwhelming to look at a laundry list of work to be done, especially if you have not prioritized.  This then leads to procrastination.  To move past procrastination, you can work on building the skill of prioritization.  See my related article, Prioritizing and Procrastination with ADHD, for more details.
  • Plan every day so you know what you need to do.  Sometimes procrastination looks like forgetting to do something.
  • Break big projects into smaller chunks to help each step of the project seem more manageable.  For example, if you have to develop a new process at work, it can be pretty easy to procrastinate because it is literally a HUGE process and assignment.  If you can identify smaller chunks and try to focus on one chunk at a time, it can be easier to get started.
  • Work on your hardest project or task first thing in the morning.  I had a client who procrastinated about making any type of phone call because she just does not enjoy making phone calls.  To counteract her tendency to procrastinate, she made a commitment to herself that she would make one difficult phone call every morning by 9:30am.  Once she made that phone call in the morning, she felt more confident that she could tackle all of her challenges that day!
  • Start with just 10 minutes.  Set a timer and just get started on the project.  If you find yourself saying you don’t have time to get started, just work on something for 10 minutes.  When the timer goes off, make a conscious decision – STOP because you are just working on it for 10 minutes or KEEP GOING because it really isn’t so bad after all!

Strategies to Use At Home

  • Develop routines or write out a checklist to help you through the mundane tasks you just hate doing every day and/or that you procrastinate about.
  • Make a game of things and play race the clock, either with family members, roommates or yourself.  If you have kids, it can be tremendously helpful in getting them moving as well.  I think it is the adrenaline that helps here.
  • Play your favorite music.  Tasks can be more fun and the music can be distracting in a good way.  Experiment with different kinds of music to see what helps you be the most productive.

Strategies for Your Personal Life

  • Do your personal activities interest you?  You are less likely to procrastinate when you are excited about doing an activity.  This can be especially true when it comes to exercise.  If you find yourself procrastinating on your personal activities, consider how you can get more interested in them and/or what activities you can add in to get more excited.
  • Keep a procrastination log  and consider what gets in the way.  If you keep a log or journal about your procrastination, you are likely to see themes regarding what is getting in the way of your procrastination.
  • Give yourself a reward for STARTING a project.   I recently started running again.  Running is not something I enjoy, but it is helpful for when I play soccer and just getting me in shape.  I bought myself a new piece of running clothing when I first started running again.  I was barely making it a quarter of a mile, and I already earned a reward!
  • Delegate where you can – who can you hire to plant your flowers, can the kids take out the garbage, can a friend edit your resume?

Which of these strategies can you implement today?  Don’t wait!

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