“How to stop ADHD procrastination” is a collaborative post.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is a widespread phenomenon. Everyone goes through periods where they struggle to get simple tasks done, or put something off until they feel too overwhelmed to start.
People procrastinate for a variety of reasons. If there’s a difficult task it’s tempting to put it off. Procrastination usually stems from the ability to self-regulate emotions and moods. While procrastination isn’t always a sign of ADHD, this article was created to help you avoid procrastination when you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD.
Types of procrastination
People who procrastinate fall under six different styles of procrastinator. Not everyone procrastinates in the same way. Some people might be trying to get the perfect piece of work finished, or else be caught off in their own world.
People who procrastinate are usually put into two groups: those who procrastinate due to anxiety, or those who procrastinate due to boredom and frustration. Here are the six main styles of procrastination.
Linda Sapadin and Jack Maguire wrote a book detailing the six styles of procrastination and it has plenty of tips to deal with each specific style. Here are some key takeaways.
Anxious procrastinating styles
Perfectionist: This person might avoid starting a task because they know they won’t be satisfied with the end result. They won’t start until everything is perfectly organized. To them, not doing a task perfectly is the equivalent of failure.
Dreamer: The dreamer spends all their time daydreaming about grand ideas and how everything will be different one day. The problem is they procrastinate and overthink so much that they don’t act on their ambitions, leaving them as mere dreams.
Worrier: The worrier spends so much time thinking about the ‘what-ifs’ of their tasks that they avoid taking decisions altogether. The worrier faces a lot of anxiety over everything that could go wrong. Bored and Frustrated Procrastination Styles: Defier: If there are deadlines or small tasks the defier might think they’re above them. Why should they waste time doing such a small task? The result is the task gets pushed further and further back.
Crisis-maker: A crisis maker lets their boredom get the better of them. They ignore the task until pressure and stress build-up. They tend not to start tasks until they reach a certain stress threshold.
Over-doer: The over-doer says yes to everything. They end up with so many tasks they want to complete that they become overwhelmed. The multitude of tasks makes it hard for them to establish priorities, leading to distractions.
Is Procrastination a Sign of ADHD?
In short, no. Everyone has to manage procrastination at some stage. Like the article just covered, there are many different types of procrastinator. They’re not necessarily related to ADHD. But some ADHD symptoms make people diagnosed more susceptible to becoming procrastinators.
These symptoms of ADHD include:
- Problem prioritizing
- Poor time management skills
- Difficulty focusing on a task
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive restlessness
- Low frustration tolerance
- Poor planning
These common ADHD symptoms make it clear why someone diagnosed with ADHD might be more likely to procrastinate. If you’re struggling to overcome procrastination, here are a list of tips to help you.
How do I fix my ADHD procrastination?
Starting with small actionable tasks is a great idea for overcoming procrastination when you have ADHD. Knowing the science and figuring out what’s driving you to procrastinate is one of the first steps to managing it.
Take time to step back and see your relationship with procrastination. When you know your triggers, you can start to make changes in your life. Fortunately, the Today Is The Day app is full of these types of activities and lessons. If you’re ready to overcome procrastination then this app provides a great foundation.
It has a handy community section so you can exchange tips and ways to manage procrastination with people in the same situation as you. There are also habit trackers and reminders to help you get things done.
Studies show that people diagnosed with ADHD often have lower levels of dopamine. That’s why putting off tasks in order to do something more enjoyable – receiving a hit of dopamine makes people with ADHD more likely to procrastinate.
Use this knowledge as a way to reward yourself after you’ve completed a task. Plan your rewards. Plan a set amount of time for something enjoyable and set alarms so you don’t spend too long chasing dopamine.
If you’re stuck in a state of worry, doing some physical exercise is a great way to clear your mind. Once again this plays into the body’s desire for dopamine. Alternatively, meditation or breathing exercises can help you go back to a more relaxed and natural state.
Find the best method. If you’re very stressed, it might be harder to meditate than going for a run for example.
Sleep procrastination ADHD
Sleep procrastination is an overlooked part of ADHD. When you have ADHD you’re most susceptible to being distracted. There’s always some new activity or task you want to try out or switch between. This results in late nights and tiredness. Remember, without a good sleep not much is possible. It’s a rolling stone, if you don’t sleep you can’t focus well and will procrastinate more, which will result in losing more sleep.
Revenge bedtime procrastination is used to describe prioritizing these enjoyable tasks instead of going to bed. It’s quite common for people with ADHD. After a day spent doing tasks you might not have enjoyed or wanted to do, it’s important to remember to set time frames for enjoying these before bed and still sleep well.
Don’t beat yourself up too much if you find yourself procrastinating. While it might be harder for you to manage compared to other people, it’s still possible. Learning about your style of procrastination and your triggers means you can create a personalised approach to managing ADHD procrastination.
Getting a good night’s sleep can help you combat revenge bedtime procrastination. Additionally, external support such as alarms, anti-procrastination apps, and setting deadlines can further assist you in managing procrastination.