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.
- 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.
- 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
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
- I've written about "brinksmanship," which describes the facet of ADD that allows procrastinators to seize victory from the jaws of defeat. Working in this last-minute fashion allows the ADDer to function in the sole operator he loves best and to finish an assignment brilliantly, albeit on his terms and in his time.
Easier Said Than Done
- I'm late all the time and I can't force myself to work when I'm at work. I can really relate to one commenter saying they feel like they are "addicted to procrastinating" and I hate it! I say "Ok I'm going to work on this" but I get so bored after a few minutes that I start reading online news. I find myself staring into space even though I have a deadline. By the end of the day I'm startled by the fact I have literally gotten nothing done all day. I find that stimulants such as caffeine and Adderall can either be a huge help or make me feel nervous and jittery. I tried the pomodoro technique, working for 25 mins and taking a 5 min break, but I can only commit to doing it if someone else is doing it with me. I can manage other people, but when it comes to my own work and housework I feel paralyzed.
- —Guest Procrastinating Manager
I know I have ADD.why won't doctors help
- I am an adult with ADD. I moved states, now the doctor here won't prescribe stimulants. I'm all over the place it is really affecting every aspect of my life.
- —Guest Nina
- Sometime, when I feel that paralysis of will, I put on music which almost miraculously gets me moving. Either a long, bouncy, improvisational jam by the Grateful Dead puts me in a a happy, rhythmic groove that is great for picking up clutter & doing housework. If the task is repetitive & tedious, I'll put on a long, rhythmic electronic instrumental piece and I feel like a machine, grinding out the results to the beat. Tangerine Dream's song "Through Metamorphic Rocks" is one that I'll play over & over, and lose all sense of time until the task is finished. The important thing to remember is that a major project must be broken down to a task level with a singular objective. No multitasking or breaks, as these will interrupt the Flow of Doing. These are examples of my method of triggering a hyperfocused state of mind. I have to be careful, since I also have symptoms of OCD, that I get working on exactly the task I need to do. If not, I'll spend a few uninterruptible hours uselessly.
- —Guest Stevobe
Getting Motivated with ADHD
- This is such a difficult topic for me to talk about because, for years, I have been labeled lazy and irresponsible. I know at times I have been lazy and irresponsible but there are times when it is the ADHD that's the problem. People ask me what the difference is and I tell them that it's a matter of CHOICE. When I'm lazy, I choose not to do what I need to do. When I'm irresponsible, I choose not to do what needs doing. With ADHD, it is a matter of NOT BEING ABLE to do what I need. Let me explain. Let's say I have a mess in my apartment. I see it and it is driving me crazy, for months at the time. One day I can't take it anymore and decide that I need to do something. The more I look at the mess, the more confused I get. It feels like my thoughts are jumbled up, going fast and the more I try to concentrate, the worse it feels. All that mess in my head goes around and around and around. Feels torturous. So, I don't tell everyone the struggles or ask for help from those who judge me.
- —Guest Ocean_Mist
Some procrastination for you
- I agree that lack of motivation is often not 'depression', I think of it as an addictive problem. In my case it is too easy to revert to daydreams instead of following through. Today, I feel more motivated. I will surely start working after this comment... I drink too much as I feel it engages me more with whatever I seek to pay attention to. This backfires as alcohol simultaneously impairs judgement about priorities. I agree with the designer about starting work in some miniscule way, by drawing circles if you need to draw something or highlighting a few lines of your notes if you need to study, scribbling a silly line about it. Think of it as pushing through a bristly hedge... it is not as bad as you think, the bristliest bit is at the edge. Do It!
- —Guest Kirsty
- I am afraid, and even though i see the symptoms of ADD, I have this feeling that it is just my own laziness, and it scares me, because i can't get motivated to not give up, and i am afraid i am imaging some of the symptoms just to have an answer to what this is.
- —Guest bjoernali
- I'm unemployed and need to find a job but here I am brain disconnected and thoughtless. How do I find a job that lets me use my positive ADHD talents. ADHD is a blessing and a curse.
- —Guest hdb