Everybody procrastinates. But as you probably know, we ADHDers procrastinate significantly more and with uglier consequences.
The good news is, most of our procrastination is caused by mental barriers built on the ILLUSION that we can’t or don’t know how to do the tough stuff. There are three main barriers:
- Fear — that you won’t know how to do it (or do it right); that it will take too long;. fear of the impending frustration and unpleasantness; perhaps some confrontation involved in the doing.
- Disarray: you don’t know which project to start with or where to start with that project. So, you don’t…start…anything!
- Indifference: You don’t feel the urgency. Nothing is compelling you to attack. Even if you KNOW it needs to get done and how to do it, you can’t get motivated — until the 11th hour when you’re in crisis mode (e.g., you’ve run out of clean underwear…or gas…or excuses).
In an earlier guest blog at coach Carol Gignoux’s site, I showed how how the first barrier, irrational FEAR, keeps us from taking action, and I prescribed a simple one-two punch to knock down that barrier to progress. More recently, I disemboweled the barrier of DISARRAY by breaking it into two digestible parts. Be sure to check those out, but first, let’s dispatch with the final one…
Indifference as a Barrier to Action
Why do we blow off even things we don’t fear and know perfectly well how to attack? Mundane things like washing the car, sweeping the kitchen, cleaning the litter box. It’s because…they’re mundane: they don’t hold enough interest for us.
Typically-wired folks can easily get all atwitter just thinking about washing and folding. But we need a little more “shiny/sparkly” to get interested enough to get out of our chair. Especially since the continued delay of such mundane stuff doesn’t significantly threaten our wellbeing…or our job, etc.
In fact, we seem to take brief pleasure in not doing something we’re supposed to be doing! Think about it: I mean, it’s kind of comforting to say, “I’ll do the laundry later…Ya, fuggetabout that stinky laundry room…I’ll just watch another episode of Family Guy…Ahhhhhhh, yes.”
The temporary pleasure of procrastination on a non-urgent to-do is about as commonplace to us ADHDers as random thoughts. But bottom line, we know it ain’t right, because we SHOULD be doing that laundry (or washing the dirty car, or fixing that bicycle chain, or whatever). But even the “should’ing” isn’t enough to fire up our dopamine receptors.
The Solution to Non-Execution
The solution is to create a greater pleasure in your mind that outweighs that little pleasure of indifference. That perceived greater pleasure will be your motivational fuel. And the way to create it is to visualize—really intently visualize–the rewards of doing the task; to imagine that completed project and the happiness it will bring you — or, the folks around you. For instance…
- The laundry – all stacked crisp and neat, or…
- The car all sparkly-sexy-clean…or best of all…
- Your kids – all smily cuz you baked that cake or fixed that broken bicycle chain.
Just spend a quiet moment anticipating the the sights and sensations of the positive outcome of your actions, and you will actually begin a physiochemical cascade that generates interest and motivation…and the ability to get up and get to work.
“The wise does at once what the fool does at last.”
– Baltasar Gracian
Remember, YOU have the control of this mechanism. Not the laundry. Not the TV. YOU do. And know that fear, disarray and indifference begin to evaporate when things are begun!
This is a powerful natural ADHD remedy! So paint that mental picture. And crush procrastination!
PS – Let me know if there’s a topic or challenge you want attacked. Already working on a couple of your requests…feel free to suggest more!
P.P.S. If you haven’t yet heard of www.CrusherTV.com, I hope you’ll check it out. Each Monday night at 10pm we “air” another episode chock full of useful productivity tips and “brain hacks”, and our Guest Experts provide more great ideas. Tons of other benefits for members, including free group coaching sessions. Hope to “see” you there! ab