In my experience most people procrastinate for several reasons. Here are some strategies that may help deal with some of them.
- The task or project is so big it seems overwhelming. Start immediately by defining the next physical action step you need to take. Remember it needs to be a physical action such as: find, read, write, gather, print, etc. Working with next action steps, shrinks the overall task or project into smaller, less overwhelming pieces.
- The task is confusing. When confusion isn’t cleared up it can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness which can then lead to escapist behavior (i.e. procrastination). The best way to avoid this is to ask questions immediately. Find out who you can go to for clarification. Be honest about needing help and have the courage to ask for it.
- The task is boring and /or you just don’t want to do it. First, ask yourself if the task really needs to be done, then ask, does it have to be done by you. If you have to do it, find a way to make it less boring. Try using music, TV, talk radio, an audio book, working with someone else in the room or even on the telephone; set a timer and plan a reward for when you are done.
- Perfectionism. When you feel that you have to do something perfectly you are usually setting yourself up for trouble. First, you have to change your standards. Not everything has to be an “A” job. Before you begin a task define what an “A”, “B” & “C” job would look like. Focus on working towards the “C” job. If there is still time left once you’ve completed your task, you can take that extra time to bring it up to a “B” or even an “A” job. Next, give yourself permission to write a bad first draft just to get something on paper. Once you get started it’s usually easier to keep going. Finally, limit your time. It’s amazing what we can produce when we are down to the wire with a limited amount of time. Sometimes simulating a time crunch can get you moving past perfection.
DISCLAIMER: All information contained in this post is based on the author’s personal and professional experience and is provided for informational purposes only. Tips and recommendations are provided to help adults with ADHD and Executive Function difficulties but may not work for everyone. So, please accept this information in the positive spirit in which it is given. Positive comments and experiences that will help others are always welcome.