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How to Deal With Procrastination if You Have ADHD

ADHD procrastination
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
Reviewer:

Umar Javed

Dr. MBBS

Content

Procrastination [1*] implies you habitually postpone tasks you ought to accomplish despite the outcome. While everyone procrastinates at some point in life, the habit can be a huge obstacle for people with ADHD. Procrastination can hamper personal relationships and cause problems in the workplace. When you regularly fail to submit tasks on time, others might perceive it as disrespect, laziness, or incompetence.

The challenges of inattention [2*] and impulsivity can make it more difficult for people with ADHD [3*] to initiate new projects or keep track of ongoing ones. Sometimes, ADHD procrastination creeps into your everyday roles, and you might find yourself delaying paying bills, doing laundry, or calling loved ones.

Just as the symptoms of ADHD can be managed, you can overcome ADHD-related procrastination. Before exploring the tips for breaking the habit of postponing things, let’s understand the link between ADHD and procrastination.

Have you noticed the symptoms of ADHD? Consult a licensed ADHD doctor online to know if you have the disorder.

Why Do People with ADHD Procrastinate?

There’s a strong connection between ADHD and procrastination. But is procrastination a sign of ADHD? Typically, the more severe the ADHD symptoms a person experiences, the higher the likelihood of procrastinating. Due to the strong link between the two, some criteria even consider procrastination a symptom of this disorder. For instance, the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale [4*] asks people how often they delay getting started on tasks requiring much concentration.

Notably, the degree and reasons for procrastination vary substantially among people with ADHD. ADD-based behaviors such as easy distractibility and poor concentration can also lead to procrastination. Often, interventions for ADHD address people’s tendency to procrastinate. However, sometimes, ADD-based behaviors are not the real cause. For example, some individuals with ADHD habitually postpone tasks due to perfectionism, anxiety, or extreme depression. Disorders such as learning disabilities that often co-occur also contribute to procrastination, especially among students.

While some forms of ADHD strongly associate with procrastination, others do not affect a person’s ability to accomplish tasks or follow up on projects.

ADHD can be managed with the help of medications or psychotherapy. Contact us to know the most suitable treatment for you.

How to Fix Procrastination in ADHD

If you suspect your procrastination stems from ADHD, talk to a professional to help diagnose the disorder and guide you on the proper course of treatment. Whether behavioral therapy like emotional skills regulation [5*] , lifestyle modifications, or medications, ADHD treatment helps alleviate the symptoms and resolve the associated procrastination.

You can also employ anti-procrastination techniques to help you overcome the habit and enhance your productivity.

How to stop procrastinating

Procrastination Tips

Whether you have ADHD or not, these tips can help you manage procrastination.

1. Set timelines

You’ll likely procrastinate if you think you have plenty of time to do a task. Instead of assuming you have all the time to accomplish it, set a deadline for the project regardless of size. For instance, using the due date on bills as the deadline for paying them is a good strategy to beat procrastination.

2. Avoid multitasking

Handling multiple projects simultaneously can be strenuous, especially if they require a lot of concentration. Streamlining your workload such that you complete one task and move to the next will help avert procrastination because of limited distraction.

3. Task restructuring and listing

Identify your tasks and responsibilities, then write them down. Pick the pending charges and create a list of things you should accomplish in a day, with the timeframe for each. If a day’s responsibilities are still many and challenging to work with, arrange the tasks in order of priority and divide the day into hours. You can use the list apps and other time management tools to help structure the day’s workload.

Psychotherapists at MEDvidi will tell you the most beneficial techniques for better concentration and motivation.

4. Strategic breaks for curbing task avoidance

When working with larger projects, you can break them down into smaller practical tasks. In between, have breaks to help your mind relax and rejuvenate. Setting alarms for the start and end of the breaks will help prevent procrastination even during these strategic breaks.

5. Work with your daily rhythms

Identify the times of the day you have trouble concentrating and those when you have the most energy and can focus well. If there are tasks you tend to postpone, schedule them for the hours your performance is at its peak. Avoid working on challenging tasks when your concentration is minimum.

6. Reward for motivation

Rewarding yourself for completing any task helps to increase your engagement and motivate you to do more. You should set a reward and only indulge in it after finishing the job. For instance, you can place a glass of your favorite juice on the table and drink it after calling the friend you had planned to speak to.

7. Changing the work environment

Overstimulating surroundings with noise or excessive distractions can contribute to procrastination. If you can’t move to a quieter place, consider strategies for improving your work environment. For example, buy noise-canceling headphones if the noise is distracting. White background noise helps people with ADHD focus better.

8. Allow room for mistakes

Instead of being hard on yourself, if you don’t get something right from the onset, release the pressure by giving room for mistakes and improvement. Understand that things might not work with the initial attempt.

Conclusion

So, why do people procrastinate? Sometimes, it can be a symptom or a consequence of ADHD, while some people may have this habit without being diagnosed with a mental disorder.

Everyone can procrastinate, but people with ADHD tend to struggle with procrastination more often. But you can break the habit of postponing tasks before it gets you into trouble. Adopt the anti-procrastination tips above and seek medical treatment to make your life more productive and feel better.

Sources

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5 sources
  1. Procrastination: When good things don’t come to those who wait. (2013)
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  2. The relation between procrastination and symptoms of attention‐deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in undergraduate students. (2014)
    Source link
  3. What is ADHD?
    Source link
  4. Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1 Symptoms Checklist
    Source link
  5. Overcome procrastination: Enhancing emotion regulation skills reduce procrastination. (2016)
    Source link
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
Reviewer:

Umar Javed

Dr. MBBS
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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.