It was the last two weeks of my graduate degree program. I was about to complete my Masters in Social Work degree and go off into the world of mental health care. There were just a few things standing in the way of my successful completion – a few things like three behemoth papers that needed to be completed. In. Two. Weeks!
You could say that procrastination had won. Again.
That was pretty much the story of my life from a young age. Undiagnosed ADHD, combined with a history of trauma (PTDS) left me more than neurologically unprepared for the rigors of higher education’s demands, and even for simply the demands of “adulting” in our world.
A handful of all-nighters, lots of coffee, and determination saw me through once again. But it didn’t feel good. I didn’t do my best, and I knew it. The pains of chronic procrastination once again ate away at my self-esteem.
Procrastination is not about laziness or time management. It’s about the inability to regulate emotions and moods. People with ADHD are especially prone to procrastination because they have difficulty with planning, prioritizing, motivating, organizing, and decision-making.
I’ve spent many years as a therapist and coach helping others overcome chronic procrastination because I finally learned to manage mine! 😀
If this is something you struggle with, here are some useful tips to help you overcome it:
✅ Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones and schedule doing them at a specific time.
✅ Ask for help from a supportive friend, mentor, or therapist.
✅ Set three alarms on your phone for each task.
✅ Find your “Big Why” – why is getting the task done important to you?
✅ Celebrate small wins with a fist pump and “Yes! I did it!” at each step of the process.
✅ Plan for a reward after you finish the entire task.
✅ Know your energy flow and schedule the most challenging work when your energy levels are highest.
✅ Exercise regularly to stabilize your moods.
✅ Seek help from a therapist, physician, or coach if the distress, anxiety, or anger becomes too difficult to manage.
Remember, you’re not alone. Procrastination is a common problem, but it’s one that you can overcome with determination and effort.
Here are some additional tips that are specific to people with ADHD:
1. Use a timer: Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on the task until the timer goes off. Then, take a 5-minute break. Repeat this process until the task is complete.
2. Find a quiet place to work: If you’re easily distracted, find a place where you won’t be interrupted. This could be a library, a quiet corner of your home, or even your bedroom.
3. Listen to music: Listening to music can help you focus and stay on task. Choose music that you find relaxing and enjoyable.
4. Take breaks: Don’t try to work for hours on end without taking a break. Get up and move around every 20-30 minutes. This will help you stay focused and avoid getting burned out.
5. Put your phone in another room or out of the house completely.
I hope these tips help you overcome procrastination and achieve your goals. Your dreams and desires are important and I’m here to help you accomplish them!
Let’s get it done!
PSS… here’s a little reminder to inspire you along the way.