Everyone procrastinates sometimes, but for people with ADHD, procrastination can be a particularly challenging obstacle.
If you have ADHD, you may find it hard to start a new project or to stay on track once you’ve started. You may also find yourself delaying everyday tasks, such as doing laundry or paying bills.
Whether you have ADHD or not, here are 11 tips that can help you manage procrastination.
It can be easier to procrastinate if you believe you have all the time in the world to accomplish your task.
Set a deadline for projects, even if there isn’t a specific one for your task. You can use the due date on bills, for example, as a deadline for paying them.
Streamline your workload by doing one thing at a time rather than tackling multiple tasks simultaneously.
This can help focus your concentration.
Make a list of each day’s workload and responsibilities by the hour, including an allotted timeframe for each. Time management and list apps can be helpful for structuring your day’s activities.
Estimate the amount of time each project needs.
For example, if 3 hours is realistic, don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to do it in less time.
Big projects can feel overwhelming. It can be easier to get work done in small, realistic tasks.
Write out the tasks required for each job and tackle them as individual projects with deadlines.
Take breaks for walking, stretching, or exercising. This will refresh your mind and give you an outlet for your energy.
If you have more troubling concentrating at certain times of day, don’t work on challenging or boring tasks during that time.
Schedule the tasks on which you procrastinate most during the times of day when you have the most energy and focus.
It can be hard to concentrate in noisy or distracting surroundings.
Find a quiet place where you can work with a closed door. Try to limit distractions, such as a phone getting constant alerts.
Give yourself a small reward upon the completion of each task.
This can be anything from a big reward like a nature hike to a small reward like a hot bath or nap.
if you don’t get a project done on time, or can’t concentrate on it effectively, don’t internalize it. Low self-esteem is a common effect of ADHD that can be made worse after procrastination.
Remember that procrastinating isn’t the same thing as laziness or lack of intelligence. It’s simply a challenge that you’re doing your best to overcome.
Procrastination can affect relationships as well as your workload. Putting off talking to a friend or family member or delaying a long-awaited meetup can strain your relationships and make you feel isolated.
Allocate a specific time each day when you will connect with others. This can be a simple text, phone call, or face-to-face meeting.
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurological condition that can occur in both children and adults. Some common behaviors associated with ADHD include:
Procrastination is not an officially acknowledged ADHD behavior. But traits associated with ADHD can make procrastination more likely to occur, especially if the task at hand isn’t particularly interesting to you.
ADHD-associated behaviors that can lead to procrastination include:
- having a short attention span
- challenges with organization
- difficulty with time management
- being hyperfocused on projects you’re passionate about to the exclusion of others
If you have ADHD, you may notice you procrastinate often, and that it’s affecting your quality of life, and relationships with others.
A small body of scientific evidence links greater rates of daily procrastination to ADHD. Anecdotal evidence from people with ADHD, and from parents of children with this condition, also suggest a strong link.
One small study compared adults with ADHD to adults without it. The researchers found that people with ADHD had significantly higher rates of indecision and procrastination.
People with ADHD have difficulty with the mental skill sets associated with executive functioning. These include flexible thinking, self-control, and working memory. A
An ADHD diagnosis can help
Many people reach adulthood without receiving an ADHD diagnosis. ADHD is associated with many different behaviors, and procrastination is only one, so a diagnosis can be challenging to confirm.
If you procrastinate and are wondering if it means you have ADHD, seek out a mental health professional to help provide a definitive diagnosis.
Procrastination is a common behavior in people with ADHD.
While everyone procrastinates sometimes, evidence indicates that people with ADHD may be more likely to procrastination often or on a daily basis.
With work and practice, the tendency to procrastinate can be reduced.