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Readers Respond: Motivational Difficulties?

Responses: 50


Updated May 09, 2010

From the article: ADHD and Motivation
Do you ever experience a sense of paralysis associated with a task or project – wanting to get started yet unable to make progress forward in any manner? And if you do get started, do you have difficulty maintaining your drive and persisting in your effort? It may begin to feel nearly impossible to get anything done! This can quickly lead to overwhelm, procrastination and avoidance and ultimately results in problems with productivity.

What strategies have you found helpful in getting started and sustaining focus on a task that is overwhelming or just plain boring? Please share your own experiences and ideas. Share Your Experiences

The Stereotype Persists

The irony is I've helped hundreds of people start and achieve new goals. Yet I have struggled - even failed - to reach mine. Reading the article that stimulated these responses was very helpful. Case in point: over the weekend I had the opportunity to "pitch" a book in progress about a life coach (me) grappling with ADHD (confirmed by a psychiatrist). After a 2 minute pitch the agent's dismissive comment was, "How do you know you're just not lazy?"
—Guest Life Coach with ADHD

Doing It My Way

In my last few years at work, I was a nonconformist but when the cutbacks came I was one of the last ones to be let go. When I got the job, I had improved my health quite a bit through diet, sleep and exercise and that made the Adderall more effective. I also had simplified my life and staying late or going in on my day off to make up for being late every morning or procrastination didn't affect my personal life much. During off hours it was quieter in the office and easier to concentrate. I exercised and/or practiced a mindful walking technique at lunch time that extended my lunch period a little but the extra clarity and relaxation was worth it. Through an assertiveness course I learned to handle disagreements with my boss a lot quicker and better. Usually I would just send a concise email to him stating my position/opinion etc and then just try to not argue if they disagreed. The training helped me ignore the inevitable criticism you hear all your life when you are ADD/ADHD.

Music Motivates

The one thing that motivates me in cleaning my house is putting on music that I enjoy. I lose myself in the music, distracting myself from the unruly task of cleaning, to believing I'm out dancing having the time of my life. Before I know it all is clean and we all enjoy the smell of a clean home. With a clean house it makes you feel invigorating and able to accomplish just about any task.
—Guest sandra

Great to Know

I have realized and accepted the fact that my son has ADD and I am dealing with it the best I can, but show my frustration at times. I was never aware that the laziness and lack of motivation was connected to ADD. I have not turned to medication yet and don’t want to, but I am considering it more and more, especially if medication will help his motivation and promote being proactive.

Motivational Difficulties

I have been trying to clean up my den. PAPERS drive me crazy. For weeks now each day I say ok I’m going to clean this mess up. Do I ? NO! Even when I was a kid Sat was cleaning day before I could go out with girlfriends. My best friend Debbie would come over and help me. I was just tooooo overwhelmed by the mess. And since it seems like it doesn’t bother me much and I live alone, I don’t seem to care. Now, I have invited a friend for dinner just so I would clean up, but not that often. Maybe you can explain more. I do take 15-20mg of Dexadrine for the ADHD. P.S. The funny thing is I do love to clean for work, especially seniors’ homes. The dirtier the better. Why is that? I’m 59 yrs old.
—Guest valerie j c

Asking for Help

It can become very frustrating and overwhelming to start a project and stay on task. I will either ask for help or frustrate my way through somehow. Also when there is no help too much time is wasted and at the end of the day nothing is accomplish. Just to add a comment I procrastinated to get started. Thanks.
—Guest SJ

Reminder Apps

I have an app that will keep reminding me to get started on something over and over until I finally get started (in a non-nagging way). I find that this helps a lot.
—Guest Mike

Relief in Relation

It brings me much relief to read of so many going through what I go do on a daily basis. I become frozen by my ADD. I was diagnosed two years ago, off the charts, but not in meds because I am not insured and when I did take meds I felt that they took my creativity away. I become very depressed by the feelings of being overwhelmed with tasks, as simple as they may be. I am a Major perfectionist and that anxiety also increases my procrastination, which in turns increases anxiety. It is an awful cycle. My ADD is full-blown, especially when triggered by personal issues that turn my head to "mush". And don't get me started on housework. I cannot even put into words how debilitated I feel. I do have the drive and vision to do all I must to succeed. At times I fear that I no longer "have it", but I have no other option, for myself, daughter and husband.
—Guest Bba


Kind of funny that the reason I'm reading this is because I can't stay focused on this boring project I have to do. I guess that's ADHD for you.
—Guest metsfan12694

work @ 9? i'm on time...it's 9:13

This explains so much about why I could never be @ wk on time. I would ALWAYS be @ least 5-15 min late. My last job (that I lost last year) was pretty laid back but people would make comments sometimes to wk on it. I did a great job so I figured hey I can be late b/c I make up for it by working my a$$ off. That only works for so long. I've lost a couple jobs due to lateness. At home I put off certain chores that I know should be done & do other things. A lot of times I'll put a load of laundry on just so something is getting accomplished. Today I knew stuff had to be done, & was looking up ADHD info instead & recipes (I made really good kebabs for dinner!) I saw it was about an hr before husband was coming home, then I kicked it in gear & vacuumed, mopped, cleaned bathroom, put laundry away...just so it looked like I was busy today. My husband's pretty smart though; he probably knows better. But at least I got some stuff done, right?! ;) There's always tomorrow...
—Guest becky

Successful with ADHD

I come from a family with ADHD. I watched my parents fail my whole life and I thought this was my future too. But I had a baby quite young and suddenly I had to succeed. So I put my head down and everytime it came up I thought of my baby and I put it back down again. I threw myself into things I never thought I could do and I didn't sink I swam. I made lot of mistakes. But I kept swimming. So throw yourself in the deep end and swim. You will find ADHD will help you with the big stuff, like public speaking, coming up with ideas. Diet, exercise and meds which I didn't start until my 30s helped with the small things. You can do it. I did and I have it off the charts.
—Guest One of Many

First person and Third person

As a special education teacher with ADHD, I see this in myself and in my students. Ironically I found this article when checking the internet for a class I am taking about reading and motivation. I find that music is very helpful for me and I see my students become "more motivated" when wearing headphones at the computer. I want to try to get a set of iPods for my students with ADHD to use while working, and I want to start lobbying for music to be a testing accommodation -- I suspect some of these students would pass more tests/score higher if they could have music on while they work.
—Guest Liz

Motivational Paralysis Grief

I just read this article and burst out in tears! I have lost so much time, friends, romance, special events, birthdays, work, to be honest opportunity after opportunity because of this. I know I'm not lazy cause once I get started you can't stop me. My brother says I only have two gears Go and Stop - he says I miss 2nd gear. Anyway - lazy people are different they have a choice to get up and get on with it - with ADHD you are paralysed like the engine of car that kicks over and just won't start cause the battery is flat, often cause we have just been on the go and we have collapsed or we have no motivation for discipline. MUSIC is a must to help with this - exercise is great and eat lots of antioxidants One trick I have is not to have food in the house so I have to go out to get some - once I'm out good luck trying to get me back home. No alcohol - it sucks for us really messes with us to be honest happier without it. But I think I still lose 2 or 3 days a week from this.
—Guest Belinda

how I get motivated with ADHD

I have noticed Yoga helps me a lot. It calms and focuses my racing mind. Eating fruits and veggies help a lot as well, since they help the brain work more efficiently. And finally, music. Listening or singing to it releases a lot of dopamine, which makes me feel more confident in my ability to complete tasks.
—Guest Hilary

Lazy my A**

I was in the International Baccalaureate program in high school and heavily academic, my HS career peppered with honors. Yet in my junior year of college, ADD has grasped me. I have 5 hours of free time and projects, I can't sit in the seat for even 5 minutes, I can't concentrate, and I physically can't do it. As I'm struggling with everything, doctors think I'm trying to get high and schedule weeks of appointments, and on top of it all: I'm "lazy"
—Guest College Academic

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Motivational Difficulties?

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