Procrastination (or, “I’ll write this blog when I get around to it”)

Posted on: December 20, 2011

To all of my readers:

It’s been a long time since I posted a new blog entry. I apologize for making you wait so long. See, my computer was down recently; which I know isn’t really an excuse, I could have posted from the library.
Then after I got my computer back, I was busy wrapping Christmas presents, baking cookies, sending cards, and all the other activities that consume so much of our time in December. I planned to take a few minutes to write a blog on how to make it through the stress of the holiday season, but I couldn’t think of anything specific to ADHD. I put off writing my blog for yet another day; hoping that inspiration would strike at some point. I turned on the computer and spent at least an hour reading and replying to everyone’s Facebook statuses and watching videos on YouTube. Before I knew it, it was six o’clock and I was hungry, so I had to make dinner. Then I turned on the TV, telling myself that I’d write a blog as soon as my show was over.
And so it went on and on. I kept wasting time, and I still had no blog written, and not even any idea of what to write about because I had procrastinated for so long.
Suddenly, I knew what the topic of my next blog would be- procrastination itself!

Procrastination is nothing new for people with ADHD, and at times, it seems as though it rules our lives. There are many reasons why we procrastinate. Sometimes, it’s because we get bored easily, and we want to turn our attention to something that stimulates our brain more than everyday mundane tasks do. Sometimes, it’s because we get distracted by another task, thought, or idea; and wind up putting off our duties. Sometimes, it’s just hard for us to get started on any task, especially one that is boring or requires more effort or energy than we have at the time. So we just put it off as a way of avoiding the task. Freud referred to this behavior as a defense mechanism.
Unfortunately, procrastination usually creates additional stress than anything else.  At the end of the day, we wind up frustrated because we wasted so much time and have nothing to show for it. We get angry at ourselves, and often feel incompenent even though we know we aren’t. We know we’re capable of accomplishing a lot and coming up with great ideas; if only we could just motivate ourselves to get started!
So what’s the best way to fight procrastination? There are a number of strategies that some people find useful. You could set a timer for half an hour and tell yourself that you will work until the timer goes off; and then take a five-minute break. Another helpful idea is to minimize distractions from your work area. Turn off the TV, unplug your modem, and set your phone’s ringer to silent. Close the door and ask the people you live or work with to please not disturb you until you are done. If you find you are restless and have too much energy to sit still; go for a walk or work out before you start. Sometimes I like to light a scented candle or burn incense while I write. I’m not sure why, but the scent helps me to stay focused. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me to stay grounded. Many people also find it helpful to set a deadline to have a task completed by a certain date or time.
There’s a lot more I’d like to say about procrastination, but I think I’ll put it off until tommorrow.


3 Responses to "Procrastination (or, “I’ll write this blog when I get around to it”)"

Great tips, Becky. I have a substantial writing project I need to start, and just haven’t gotten around to it… I will try some of your ideas. 🙂

Great blog and I have fell victim to the Procrastination trap many times…Thanks for the tips as I will try some! Was your last sentence a joke? -JG

Yes, the last sentence was a joke. It’s meant to be ironic because it’s about procrastination.

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