ADHD Procrastination

The Link Between ADHD and Procrastination

Procrastination is a prevalent challenge for individuals with ADHD, often rooted in difficulties with executive functions like planning, time management, and prioritization. ADHD can make it harder to start tasks, especially those perceived as uninteresting or overwhelming. This delay isn't due to laziness but rather to how ADHD affects the brain's processing and motivation systems. Strategies to combat ADHD-related procrastination include breaking tasks into smaller steps, using external motivators like timers, and creating structured routines. Recognizing and addressing these underlying factors is key to reducing procrastination and enhancing productivity.

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ADHD & Procrastination: Displaced Diligence

One challenging task that people with ADHD struggle with revolves around procrastination. The word procrastination is derived from the Latin word, procrastinat, which means deferred until the morning

The struggle of adult ADHD to perform certain tasks within a given timeline can be traced to the inattention symptoms they might struggle with. Instances when a person doesn’t perform tasks that are far more critical than slacking off or unwinding can be considered careless mistakes for some people with ADHD. 😔

The possibly faulty time-management skills of those with ADHD can also contribute to their struggle with procrastination. Some adults with ADHD tend to get easily distracted by the concept of time, potentially leading to "Time Blindness" where they are less or not aware of the ticking of the clock. 😵 This might make them think that there is enough time for them to complete a task when, in fact, there's little to none. This is one of the many symptoms of people with ADHD that can result in poor time management, organization, and handling of schedule

what ADHD procrastination can look like...

Another possible negative consequence of having ADHD in adults is that some people think of them as lazy. Some individuals with ADHD tend to have difficulty defending themselves when tagged as lazy or idle. It might be difficult for them to explain that their problem doesn’t stem from laziness. 😭 Rather, procrastination and the lack of motivation can be contributing factors.  

Different factors can affect your drive to finish a task accordingly. Having trouble maintaining your focus can be one. Instead of doing school-related stuff or cleaning your home,  you might spend extended periods browsing social media sites 👩‍💻. The self-control you have might diminish or disappear, which can result in procrastination.

Probably, you can already observe how many people with ADHD have difficulty handling the above mentioned scenarios. But, some other symptoms might still come into play. For one, impulsivity might “make them like” the feeling of an adrenaline rush, putting themselves in the trouble of risking failure instead of calmly collecting everything ahead and beginning as scheduled.

The bottom line is that people with ADHD are not lazy and their procrastination is not intentional. Some ADHD symptoms just “trigger” it. 

Chronic Procrastination: A Delicate ADHD Symptom

So what does procrastination do? ADHD & procrastination can be a little hard to manage, especially if you experience other symptoms of ADHD together with it. Some adults with ADHD procrastinate because of the symptoms mentioned in the previous section. To name a few, we have the usual ADHD symptoms such as inattentiveness and impulsivity.

What's tricky with procrastination is it affects not only you but also your personal relationships. If they are counting on you for something and you aren't set to give them your one-hundred percent, you might be setting yourself up for failure, stress, anxiety, and wasted effort. 🥺 Moreso, your well-being might also be affected if you become idle now and do everything all at once hours right before the deadline. It is hard to complete weekly tasks if you compress them into two to three hours.

Chronic procrastination is one of the most challenging things to manage for some people with ADHD. It is called "chronic" because it goes on and off throughout time, depending on one's priorities and interests. Case in point: if the future deadlines are more important than what you're doing right now, then you probably will not think about putting them off anymore. 

Some adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder might find it hard to focus on certain things, such as big projects, because they might have trouble delegating, organizing, and scheduling tasks. It can also reach the point that stress and anxiety will take over, and low self-esteem and self-doubts will occur.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder vs. Deadlines

Regarding ADHD and beating deadlines, you'll most likely have to struggle a lot before accomplishing scheduled tasks

But, what's with some people with ADHD that they find it hard to comply with time-management-related activities and continue to experience everyday procrastination? It has something to do with the brain's ability to properly maintain good executive functioning.

Executive function is involved in the brain's capability to control and regulate one's behavior. It plays a huge role in your ability to execute tasks, make decisions, plan ahead, pay attention to details, initiate tasks, and monitor progress while doing a specific job. 📅

Clinical psychology made several systematic reviews of the connection between ADHD and the brain's executive functioning. Researchers found that an ADHD diagnosis affects the ability of our brain to function well and handle executive tasks, such as paying bills, maintaining schedules, planning ahead 📝, and organization. This is why some people with ADHD have a harder time completing time-bound tasks because they experience difficulty in maintaining focus on one activity. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodivergent condition with worldwide prevalence. Indeed, other people with ADHD struggle with self-control and have difficulty channeling their energy into tasks which should be their priority. 

What to Tell Your Mental Health Professional Regarding Procrastination

Mental health is as important as your physical health. If negative emotions and behaviors, such as procrastination, negatively affect your daily life, and you no longer fear the concept of missing deadlines, other aspects of your life - as well as other people - might get affected. 

You might want to visit a mental health professional 👩‍⚕️ and ask for help to manage your condition. It is essential that they know about the cause of chronic procrastination and how it connects with ADHD and executive function.

what ADHD procrastination can feel like...

Counseling psychology might help you get back on track: from having a low self-esteem to improving your overall well-being. Adult ADHD coaching is also one effective way of learning how to manage your condition and achieve better results. Aside from these approaches, treatment and management of the root cause of your procrastination should also be considered. 

If you haven't had a proper ADHD diagnosis, there are available medical facilities that can assess your mental health condition by reporting your experiences and symptoms. Once confirmed with an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis, and after identifying the category you fall under, then you'll have a better understanding of your condition. 💪 The more you know about your ADHD-related facts and symptoms, the more you'll have a deeper understanding of your situation, and the more you'll learn about how to manage your symptoms, including procrastination. 😘

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ADHD and Procrastination: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is procrastination a symptom of ADHD?

Procrastination is not an official ADHD symptom, but experts say many people with ADHD experience it.

What are the possible reasons why procrastination is common among people with ADHD?

Procrastination may be common among many people with ADHD because of their ADHD symptoms. For instance, getting easily distracted and being unable to focus on the task at hand, can affect your ability to beat deadlines.‍

Why is it important to address chronic procrastination?

It is important to address chronic procrastination because it can not only reduce a person’s quality of life (not being able to beat deadlines can affect work and mental health) but also affect interpersonal relationships.‍

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