Procrastination hits us all, right? Ideally, it's only an occasional issue, but often it can be a chronic problem. Especially to those of us with adhd. We will avoid things we don’t feel like doing anytime, anywhere.
But the reality is we have to get crap done! Let’s stop figuring out why we do it and focus on how to address procrastination when it happens.
Here are 5 tips for overcoming procrastination:
Tip #1...Plan ahead
Getting started on a task is much easier when you have already done some pre-work. Now there are less excuses for avoiding the work. For example, you’ve been delaying working on a project at home because of all the steps involved. Do the prep work that’s needed, then schedule the actual work for later in the day or maybe the next day. Get out the tape measure, pencil, drill, level, sandpaper, whatever it is you need to make the project happen. You’re now prepared to jump into the actual project. Basically, you are setting yourself up for success and giving yourself fewer reasons to procrastinate.
Tip #2...Create the environment you need
Your environment can play a huge role in helping you get things done. It’s important to know yourself and now how you work best. Are you more focused in the morning, afternoon or night? Align your tasks with the effort needed and do them when you are best able to tackle them.
Do you need music, ambient noise or complete silence? Have the right playlist ready for the task. I say “right” playlist due to something that just happened to me...I needed to get boring house stuff done, but could not motivate for the life of me. Music helps me, so I turned on a disco playlist. Well, turned out that Disco is not the right playlist when I actually have to think. Every single song was my favorite and I couldn’t focus on doing what I needed to ...I was literally singing every song out loud! So, I, begrudgingly, turned on a less awesome playlist and was able to get done what needed to get done. Know what helps you motivate and create that environment.
Tip #3...Delete distractions
This tip goes in line with creating the right environment. Eliminate anything that you know will distract you from reaching your immediate goal. Some examples:
Tip #4 - Think of your future self
How will you feel when you have started or even finished a dreaded project? You’ll probably feel pretty good, right? Do something to make your future self proud.
This strategy can also help your kids. My teenage son has my procrastination issues and will come up with some of the best reasons to delay the inevitable. I remind him of a time he has done the task before (like homework) and ask him how he felt when he had finished it. It always feels better when you’re done, so tap into that feeling of accomplishment to help propel you to just start.
Tip #5...Just START
This tip is my favorite. When you think about finishing a project it’s easy to get pulled into the overwhelm of everything that has to be done. And overwhelm leads to a shutdown, which leads to pushing off the projects until “you’re ready”. Additionally, focusing only on that first step eliminates the perfectionism that can often come with any project.
Think of one thing that you can do to make progress and do that one thing. Maybe you won’t get it done, but you will definitely be further along than when you started.
Procrastination is, by far, my strongest ADHD nemesis. To get this post finally completed, I went with “Think of Your Future Self”. I knew how awesome it would feel to get it completed, so I tapped into that feeling and now I’m done. And it feels awesome!